Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Apple Pork Chops and Seasoned Mashed Potatoes

I'm going to be honest here:  the Apple Pork Chop recipe is not mine, it's McCormick's. You can find it on the back of the "Apple and Sage Pork Chops" seasoning packet. However, I love it so much, and they include the whole recipe on the card, so I had to share it. I even included a picture! Also, I made this with mashed potatoes tonight, and it came out great. I lightly season my potatoes, which turns out great with any dish. So, to recap, Apple Pork Chops = McCormick,  Lightly Seasoned Mashed Potatoes = Mine! Enjoy :)

McCormick's Apple and Sage Pork Chops (serves 4)
4 boneless pork chops (medium-thick cut), about 1.25-1.5 lbs
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp sage
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 medium apples (they say red, I always use green. They hold up better), pealed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup apple juice
1 tbsp brown sugar

Mix the flour, all the spices and the salt  in a small dish or wide bowl. Rub a scoop of the mix all over each chop, enough to lightly coat. Reserve the rest of the mix.
Heat the oil in a large skillet to medium-high heat. Brown the chops on both sides very well (especially if they are thick). Remove from the skillet. Add the onion and cook for about 1-2 minutes. Add the apples and cook another minute.
Stir in the apple juice, brown sugar, and rest of the seasoning mix. Push everything to the edges of the pan and add the pork chops back, with any juices that have collected on the plate. Bring the juice to a light simmer and cover. Cook for 5 minutes, or until chops are done, or light pink in the middle. **The FDA recently revoked the warning to cook pork until it is white. I always cook mine until it is light pink in the middle, and then let it rest for 10-15 minutes. It will be cooked perfectly when it's done resting.** Remove and let rest for 10-15 minutes.

Lightly Seasoned Mashed Potatoes
2 medium potatoes, pealed, diced and boiled
1/2 - 2/3 cup of milk
1/2 tbsp butter
a scant 1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
1/4 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper

Add the butter and seasonings to the potatoes. Mash well. Gradually add milk until it's to the desired consistency.

This is what mine looked like when it was done tonight. I forgot to take a picture before I cut it up...sorry!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Coconut Shrimp with Dipping Sauce

Nothing much to say about this recipe. Simple, good Coconut Shrimp. A few tips: It is important to use sweetened flaked coconut. This is the only way I make the sauce, but you can use other jams with it if you want to experiment....but I think everyone should give this dip recipe a try first :)

Coconut Shrimp
1 pound extra large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
3 egg whites, beaten
Vegetable oil

1.  Rinse and dry shrimp with paper towels. Mix cornstarch, salt, and cayenne pepper in a shallow bow; place the eggs into a separate shallow bowl and pour coconut flakes in another separate shallow bowl to make an assembly line. Pour vegetable oil into a large frying pan with sides to about 1/4 of an inch. Turn the pan to medium high to preheat while working with the shrimp.
2.   Working with one shrimp at a time, but quickly, dredge it in the cornstarch mixture, then dip it in the egg white, and roll it in the coconut, making sure to coat the shrimp well.
3.   Fry the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side, until a nice medium golden brown. Remember, the shrimp will continue to cook slightly after you take it out of the pan, so don't worry about under-cooking, and try not to overcook. You want the pan nice and hot so that the coating gets browned and the shrimp aren't overdone and chewy.

Dipping Sauce
1 cup Smucker's Orchard's Finest Apricot-Peach Jam
4 teaspoons brown mustard (not too spicy)
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish

Mix all the ingredients together well. Serve with Coconut Shrimp.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweet Potato Salad

This is a new take on potato salad that I made a lot last summer. The original recipe called for only sweet potatoes, but I add white potatoes too. It's best to boil them separately, because the sweet potatoes cook faster than the white potatoes. I've boiled them together in the past, and you just end up with sweet potato mush. Also, you can sub low fat or reduced fat items.

White and Sweet Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds red (or any white) potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 ½ pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup milk
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley

           1. Cook both potatoes until fork-tender. Drain well.
2.      2. While the potatoes are cooking, in a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add to vinegar mixture to the hot potatoes and stir gently to coat. Cool completely.
3.      3. In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and milk. Stir in the celery, onion and parsley. Gently stir into cooled potato mixture. Serve immediately or cover and chill.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Stuffed Shells; 2 ways!

My husband and daughter can't have dairy, so when I make stuffed shells I make a batch with meat, and a batch with cheese. They're equally good, no one can pick which is their favorite.

Stuffed Shells, 2 ways

Meat filling

2 tbsps olive oil
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
1 cup red wine
Salt / pepper
1 tsp minced garlic
½ cup minced parsley
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 egg

Place olive oil in a large skillet; turn the heat to medium. Add the meat and cook, stirring and breaking up lumps, until the meat loses its color.
Add the wine, salt, and pepper, then turn the heat to very low. Cook, stirring occasionally and adding more liquid if needed until the meat is very tender and the sauce is thickened, about 45 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Cool, then stir in the parsley, parmesan and egg. If the mixture is too liquidy, stir in some bread crumbs. 

Cheese Filling
1 cup small curd cottage cheese
1 cup cream cheese
6 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (you'll need another 6oz later)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
½ tbsp butter
1 bag spinach, steamed, drained and chopped

Lightly saute the spinach with the garlic, onion and butter.
Mix together cottage cheese, cream cheese, ½ of the mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, eggs, and spinach mixture.

Preparing the shells
1 (8oz) package jumbo pasta shells
1 (26 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce

Boil the shells in water according to the box. Drain and rinse with cool water. Stuff the shells with fillings. Spread 1/3 of spaghetti sauce in the bottom of a 15 x 10 inch pan. Place shells open side up, and close together in pan. Spread remaining sauce over top, and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 35 minutes, or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Lime Cooler (Drink)

Another of my mom's creations! It's about 90 degrees in my house right now, from having the oven on tonight, so one of these came in handy :) Of course this version is "virgin" but feel free to add liquor to suit your needs!

Lime Cooler
1 cup no-salt soda water
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 lime, cut in 2
5-6 ice cubes
Mix the waters with the sugar. Add the ice and squeeze the lime pieces over the drink, dropping them into the drink after. Enjoy!

Strawberry Pie

Since it's just about strawberry season, and with the holiday weekend coming up, I figured I'd post a nice, easy dessert recipe too. This is the best strawberry pie recipe I've found out there. Enjoy!

Strawberry Pie
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked
1 quart fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup cool water

1.      Arrange half of strawberries in baked pastry shell. Mash remaining berries and combine with   sugar in a medium saucepan. Place saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring  frequently.
2.      In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Gradually stir cornstarch mixture into boiling strawberry mixture. Reduce heat and simmer mixture until thickened, about 10  minutes, stirring constantly. Pour mixture over berries in pastry shell. Chill for several hours  before serving.

First recipe....Turkey Meatball Florentine

I'm going to try to post a recipe every day, and sometimes I'll post tips.
This recipe was developed by my mom and then I adjusted it a little bit. The ground turkey is a nice change from beef.

Serves: 4 for small portions, or 3 for bigger portions

Turkey Meatball Florentine
1 lb ground turkey
1 handful chopped spinach, fresh, raw
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dried minced garlic
3 tbsp olive oil, seperate
1 14oz container low sodium chicken broth
1 pkg baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp rosemary
2 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup cool water

  1. In a large bowl add the turkey, spinach, egg, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, and salt and pepper to taste. With your hands lightly mix until the egg is combined, but do not over mix. Gently shape into golf ball sized balls, making sure not to over-press the mix or it will be hard.
  2. In a frying pan with sides, heat 2 tbsps olive oil. Cook the meatballs in the pan until they are nicely browned on all sides. It's ok if they're not fully cooked, but they should be mostly cooked at this point. Remove the meatballs and let rest.
  3. In the same fry pan add the last tbsp of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and saute until they start to soften.
  4. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Then, add the spices, and salt and pepper to taste, to the broth.
  5. In a cup place the cornstarch and water. Mix well, then pour it into the boiling broth. Stir well, and when thickened, turn to low.
  6. Return the meatballs to the pan and continue cooking if needed, or let sit until ready to enjoy. Serve over pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.