Monday, April 13, 2015

Baked pork chops

I don't normally cook pork. Unless it's in a crock pot. In fact I usually avoid cooking meat unless it's in a crock pot. Because I have that ever-present fear of undercooked meat, and the crock pot keeps things moist AND well-done.

Usually hubs grills pork chops, but tonight he declined and I did not have the foresight to prep them in the crock pot. So I tried something new.

Following the standard breading technique- minus the middle flour dusting part- I breaded some pork chops and baked them. And they turned out a little bland but not bad. Next time I'll add fresh herbs or punchier spices.

I used some stale GF Rice Krispies crunched up for the "breading" and not only did they 'snap, crackle, and pop' once they were on the pork chop, they gave the finished product a crispy texture that did not fall apart or off of the meat. I would use this technique again.

I made some ginger rice inspired by this recipe, and it was a really great accompaniment. Had a nice tang that paired very well with pork. Kind of made up for the pork chop blandness.

Baked breaded pork chops

In a bowl, mix: 1 egg, whisked with 1 T. mustard

On a plate, mix:
1 c. GF Rice Krispies, crunched up
1 tsp dried parsley
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese

Dunk the pork chop in the egg, then coat with the seasoned cereal mixture. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425 for 20 minutes or until they are done. If you use a meat thermometer, it should read 160. If you cut into the meat, any juices should be clear.

For the rice, mix in a pot: 1 c. rice, 2 c. water, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1 bay leaf, salt to taste. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes. After 10 minutes, dump in some frozen veggies and mix in; cover for another 5 minutes.

This makes enough for 3 pork chops.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Ham and potato soup

Why is it that there are ALWAYS ham leftovers? It's impossible to cook a ham, even a small one, without having weeks worth of leftovers. I always package them up in the freezer for quick sandwiches or an addition to soups.

The rest of this week was brought to you by sad vegetables. This is no exception. Three sad potatoes in the pantry got made into soup and I'm happy to say nothing got thrown out.

I will forever wonder how people take pictures of soup that don't turn out yucky-looking. That being said, SOUP:

Ham and potato soup

leftover cooked ham, chopped
3 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
shredded cheese
1/2 tsp mustard powder
salt and pepper, to taste
frozen peas, because I jam vegetables in everything now

Place the potatoes in a pot with some water-- just so they're halfway covered. Cover the pot and boil until the potatoes are fork-tender. Remove the lid to let some of the water burn off. Smash some of the potatoes with a fork, leaving it kind of chunky. Pour in enough milk to get the consistency you want, and stir in the ham and mustard powder. Bring to a boil and stir in the peas to warm up.

Serve with cheese on top.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Squash and black bean quesadillas

Thanks to the sad yellow squash in the fridge and staples like cheese and black beans, these quesadillas were created.

Cream cheese pairs fantastically with pepper jack cheese and salsa, and helps keep the other ingredients "glued" to the tortilla.

please excuse the shady kitchen-light picture

Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas

Corn tortillas
Cream cheese
Sliced pepper jack cheese
Black beans, drained
Taco seasoning*

Sliced sad vegetables:
Yellow squash

Sliced avocado

Spread cream cheese on a tortilla. Place on a preheated, greased skillet. Layer on pepper jack cheese and black beans. Keep the beans toward the middle so they don't spill out when you flip. Sprinkle on taco seasoning, to taste.

Layer on sliced sad vegetables, and top with another tortilla spread with cream cheese-- cream cheese-side down.

Carefully and creatively, flip the quesadilla so the other side has a chance to brown. A few lost beans can be tucked back inside.

Once it's browned and the middle is melty and hot, transfer to a plate and top with avocado and salsa. Dig in.

*Taco Seasoning:
I keep a mix on hand: 1 tsp each of salt, ground cumin, chili powder, coriander, and garlic powder, 1/2 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp of sugar and pepper. Shake it up in a small container and keep it until it's needed- which is kind of a lot.

P.S. These were a bit messy and cumbersome for quesadillas, which are generally easily eaten with the hands. In hindsight, I probably should have grated the squash and combined it with the black beans using the technique in this enchilada recipe, or made folded tacos.

P.P.S. I've found the secret to picking out avocados is to buy them hard, leave them on the counter, check them every day, and use them once they soften up just a bit. If that means shuffling the menu around the avocado's ripening schedule, so be it.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Veggie Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese + veggies. Easy and hearty enough for a main dish. When I make mac and cheese I usually make the sauce separately, but this is a one-dish meal: the 'cheese sauce' is nothing more than shredded cheese and greek yogurt.

Pssst. If you're looking for a recipe that hides veggies well, the shredded yellow squash disappears in this dish.

Veggie Mac and Cheese

2 cups gluten free noodles

1/2 block sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. greek yogurt

1 shredded yellow squash
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into pieces
or other leftover or sad vegetables:

salt and pepper, to taste

Put the noodles on to boil while preparing and shredding the other ingredients.
Once the noodles are done, drain and pour the noodles back into the pot. Stir in the vegetables and let them cook for a few minutes to warm, then stir in the cheese, greek yogurt, salt, and pepper. Once the cheese melts, dinner is done!

Makes enough for 2 plus lunch.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

This week's menu

Hey-oh. This week's menu brought to you by the vegetables getting sad in the fridge. Here's hoping I can cook them all before they get -too- sad.

Also brought to you by the absolute necessity to have dinner on the table each night. No shrugging it off and fending for yourself. It's going to be a busy week (and weekend), so here's also hoping I can get leftovers out of some of this stuff.

Monday- Veggie mac and cheese (with greek yogurt)
Tuesday- Ham and potato soup
Wednesday- Quesadillas filled with squash and black beans
Thursday- Crock pot beef
Friday- Baked fish

Hawaiian meatballs

Hawaiian meatballs. Or, I found out, just a fancy way of saying you added pineapple to meatballs. I originally wanted to try this in the crock pot, but I was afraid the meatballs would fall apart.

I'm generally not a huge fan of the fruit/meat combo, so this recipe didn't wow me. That being said it was good and hubs liked it so I will probably make it again; just not for company or anything.

P.S. I got distracted and the meatballs got a little well done. That's okay. Grandma always said charcoal is good for your stomach.

Hawaiian meatballs
1 pound ground meat (beef, turkey, venison, etc)
1/2 c. crushed GF Corn Chex
1 T. Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins is GF)
1/4 c. bbq sauce (Sweet Baby Ray's is GF)
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 eggs

Mix everything up in a bowl with your hands. Form into balls. Place in a skillet and brown on all sides.

In a separate bowl, mix
1 can crushed pineapple in juice- don't drain the juice- pour the whole can in.
1/4 c. chopped sweet peppers
2 T. vinegar.
Salt, to taste

Pour it into the skillet and bring to a boil. Depending on how much juice there is in the pineapple, some water may be added to bring the level up to mid-meatball.

Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, until the meat is cooked through. Serve over rice.

When you're ready for leftovers, crush the meatballs up (pineapple too) and fry them with some scrambled eggs for breakfast tacos. You won't even taste the hawaiian-ness under the salsa.