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I love pork chops, but there is only so much I can make with them. Most of the time I just fry them or I use my one slow cooker recipe for pork chops when I’m feeling lazy, so you could imagine how happy I was to come across another recipe that seemed good enough to try.

I started grubbin’ on this and realized half way through my meal that I didn’t take a photo yet. As you can see I was really feeling this…

This is a really great recipe. It takes no time to cook in the slow cooker and the results are fabulous or as my husband said “this is on point!”. The pork chops come out so moist, the gravy has a great flavor and my family really enjoyed it.

Creamy Slow Cooker Pork Chops
adapted from Ninali
Serves 4-5

1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Pepper
Some season salt (Lawry’s Season Salt is what happening right now)
4-5 whole boneless Pork Chops, about a half to three quarters thick
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
2 (10 ounce) cans Cream of Mushrooms
1 (10 ounce) can Cream of Chicken
1 (14 ounce) can Beef Broth
1 package Onion Soup Mix, 1 ounce packet
4 -5 cups of cooked rice

Rinse pork chops and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle each pork chop with a little season salt on both sides. Combine flour, garlic powder, salt and pepper together in a shallow dish. Generously flour each pork chop with flour mixture and set aside.

Over medium heat, heat oil and add butter in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Brown each pork chop (2-3 at a time) until golden brown on each side, about 3-4 minutes on each side. Set pork chops aside.

Pour the cans of cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken and beef broth in your slow cooker. Mix in the envelope of onion soup mix until well combined. Submerge pork chops in the sauce mixture and cook on high for 3.5 to 4.5 hours until chops are fork tender.

In the meantime prepare your rice. Once chops are done, serve over rice with gravy from slow cooker. These are also great with some mashed potatoes and some veggies…oh! and a dinner roll to soak up some of that gravy.

Enjoy!

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Better Bagels

For a long time now I’ve been wanting to make some homemade bagels. Done plenty of research and found a recipe that was easy and made delicious bagels.


The process does take some time…but  you won’t regret making them and you might become a bagel snob.


I know I am.

Better Bagels
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (go to the link if you need see step-by-step pics)

*Makes 8 bagels

INGREDIENTS:
Dough
1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
4 cups (17 ounces) bread flour (be sure to fluff your flour before measuring it)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) warm water

Water Bath
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Manual/Mixer Method:

To make this dough by hand or in a mixer, combine all of the dough ingredients and knead vigorously, by hand for 10 to 15 minutes, or by machine on medium-low speed for about 10 minutes.

The dough will be stiffer than other soft yeast doughs but will still be pliable and smooth once it has finished kneading. It should be stiff and floured enough not to leave much residue on your fingers after pinching a piece but not so stiff that you can’t easily pinch off pieces of dough and work with it.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with lightly greased plastic wrap. Set it aside to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until it is noticeably puffy.

Transfer the puffed/risen dough to a work surface and divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a smooth, round ball. Place the balls on a lined or lightly greased baking tray and cover lightly. Let them rest for 30 minutes. They’ll puff up very slightly.

Once they have rested, one-by-one, use your thumb to poke a hole through the center of each ball then twirl the dough and use your other fingers to stretch the hole until it is about 1 to 2 inches in diameter. The entire bagel will be around 4 inches across. Place the shaped bagels on a lined baking tray (the same one that you’ll bake them on).

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Prepare the water bath by heating the water and sugars to a very gentle boil in a large pot.

Transfer the bagels, three or four at a time, to the simmering water. Increase the heat under the pan to bring the water back up to a gently simmering boil, if necessary. Cook the bagels for 2 minutes, flip them over using a wide spatula, and cook 1 minute more. Using a wide spatula, carefully remove the bagels from the water and place them back on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining bagels.

Top the bagels with your desired ingredients. If you are going to use a dry topping, such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds, whisk together 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon water and brush each bagel with the mixture before topping heavily with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc. If using Asiago or another cheese, there is no need to brush the bagels with an egg white glaze, simply place the shredded cheese on the bagels.

Bake the bagels for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re as deep brown as you like. Remove the bagels from the oven, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Bake your bagels one sheet at a time. Its fine if the bagels that went through the water bath sit out while the other bagels are baking.

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I’ve had my slow cooker for about five years and I’m not sure why I didn’t start using this thing a lot sooner, cause its really one of the best kitchen appliances I own (thanks mom!).

So if you have one and all its doing is taking up space, may I suggest you blow the dust off of it and make this recipe I’m about to share for Beef Stroganoff?

This recipe takes no time to prepare, you can do a gazillion other things while it cooks and once its done you have a delicious meal on the table for your family to enjoy!

Now go get your slow cooker and show it some love!

Beef Stroganoff
adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

2-3 pounds stew meat
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon season salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 medium yellow or sweet onion, diced
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ cups beef broth
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/3 cup flour
6-7 tablespoons apple juice or water ( I used apple cider, worked fine)
4-8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup light or regular sour cream

Place the stew meat, salt, season salt, pepper, mushrooms and onion in the slow cooker. Stir to distribute the seasonings, mushrooms and onion. Add the garlic salt, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth and ketchup give it a good whisk making sure all ingredients are combined.

Cook for 7-9 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.

About 30 minutes before serving, combine the flour and apple juice or water  in a small bowl, whisking vigorously to combine well. The mixture should be thick but still pourable so add a tablespoon of apple juice or water at a time to thin, if needed. Pour the flour mixture into the slow cooker, whisking quickly to mix in with the stew meat and juices and to avoid lumps. Cook on high for 30 minutes. Stir in ½ cup sour cream right before serving.

Serve over pasta, rice or baked potatoes.

*The leftovers of the stroganoff can be frozen. Store the leftovers in a freezer-safe container and then thaw in the refrigerator (usually takes about a day) and reheat over medium-low heat in a saucepan on the stove.

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Bought to many lemons one week. It wasn’t like they were on sale…just felt the need to buy a bunch of them…thinking I was going to make something great!

Not sure what I was thinking…but as days past… my lemons began to look sketchy…

So I asked a few friends for suggestions and decided to make some…

Lemon Coconut Bread

It was good but not great. Smelled wonderful…but tasted kind of blahh. The recipe called for unsweetened coconut…which I had on hand (weird). I think that’s what didn’t do it for me. Next time I will try this recipe with sweetened coconut flakes.

Try it for yourself. Let me know what you think. You might like it…or not.

Lemon Coconut Bread
adapted from Farmgirl Fare

2½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 cups finely shredded unsweetened coconut
2 eggs
¾ cup milk
½ cup fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon lemon zest (or more if you want a bigger kick of lemon)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick or ¼ pound) butter, melted

Coconut Glaze (optional)
*made this cause I needed some sweetness, it helped.

1 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. Coconut extract

1. Heat the oven to 350° degrees. Grease and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. With a rubber spatula stir in the sugar and coconut.

3. In a small bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.

4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture, stirring just until combined.

5. Add the melted butter and stir just until smooth. Be careful not to overmix.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean. Ovens vary, so start checking for doneness after about 55 minutes.

7. Let the bread cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes and then carefully remove it from the pan. Make sure bread is completely cool or slightly warm before slicing. Store in an airtight container for 3 days or wrap in plastic and/or aluminum foil, pop in a plastic zipper bag, and freeze.

8. To make coconut glaze. Mix all ingredients with a whisk until well blended and smooth. Pour glaze over bread.

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There is not much to say about these cupcakes…they left me speechless with delight! Though they take a little work to make, the end result is well worth it.

I’m sharing this…cause I don’t feel like sharing the ones I baked…Booo-Yah!

Roasted Banana Cupcakes
adapted from Martha Stewart

3 ripe bananas

*2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
* if you don’t have cake flour, try 1 3/4 cup of All-Purpose flour, I’ve done this in many recipes and the result is pretty much the same, sift it before measuring.

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs, separated (egg yolks in one bowl, egg whites in another)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe by Black Martha

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

6 oz cream cheese

3 cups of powdered sugar (no more than 4 cups)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

To make cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 whole unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 15 minutes. The skins will darken. Remove bananas from oven and let them cool before peeling.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Line standard muffing tins with paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk together cake flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the sided of the bowl as needed. Add roasted bananas and beat (medium speed) to combine. Add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of sour cream, and beating on medium speed until just combined after each. Beat in vanilla.

In another mixing bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, whisk egg whites to soft peaks. Gently fold egg whites into batter in two batches.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks and let cool completely before frosting.

Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days in fridge or frozen not frosted up to 2 months in airtight container.

To make frosting:

With an electric mixer using a paddle attachment, on medium high cream together butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Switch to low speed and add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Once powdered sugar is incorporated, add the vanilla extract and cinnamon, mix until combined. Switch to medium-high speed and beat frosting until smooth.

If you want the cream cheese frosting stiffer add some more powdered sugar to it (taste as you go…you don’t want it super sweet).

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We eat a lot of bananas in my house and sometimes we have way to many left over. Ever have that problem? Don’t you hate when you have 2 or 3 bananas just chillin’…they become all brown…sometimes black and spotty…way too soft to eat and you don’t know what to do with them? This is an issue I have every week.

So instead of sharing some boring ol’ recipe for banana bread, I think you will appreciate this recipe a lot more.


I give you Banana and Chocolate Crumb Cake.


Yes! Chocolate and Bananas…its harmony! Its a great cake to eat for breakfast with some coffee or as a snack any time of the day. I have made it several times for my family and some lucky friends and they love it.

So don’t throw those bananas away just yet!

Banana and Chocolate Crumb Cake

Topping
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened dutch-precess cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Cake
1 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
4 oz semi sweet  chocolate bar chopped into small pieces
1 to 2 ripe bananas, mashed (depends on the size of your bananas, I usually use one, if your bananas are small use two)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch round 2 or 3 inch deep cake pan.

First make the topping. In a bowl of and electric stand-in mixer (you can you use a hand mixer) on medium speed, beat the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder and cinnamon to blend. Add the butter and mix until crumbs form. You might see some loose flour still, that’s OK. Stir in the chopped chocolate, transfer mixture to a clean bowl and set aside.

To make the cake, in a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar for about 2 minutes, until smoothly blended. Stop the mixer and scraped down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding the second one after the first egg is fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla and let it mix on medium for 1 minute. The mixture will look slightly curdled.

On low speed add half of the flour mixture mixing just until it is incorporated. Mix in the sour cream and the remaining flour mixture until it is incorporated. Fold in the mashed banana, until blended. Scraped half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped up chocolate all over the batter to form a solid layer of chocolate. Scrape the remaining  batter over the chocolate, use an offset spatula to spread it evenly.  Spoon the topping evenly over the batter, enough to cover the top. You will have left over topping (freeze the leftover to use for later).

Bake for 40-55 minutes, until the center feels firm when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack, about 1 1/2 hours. If you want to remove the cake from the pan, take a sheet of wax or parchment paper place it on top and tip the pan over into the palm of your hand, then quickly place the cake onto a plate.

Slice up cake and serve. Enjoy!

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Here is something easy and absolutely delicious to try for dinner this week. I make it almost every other week and its great to eat the next day.

Pasta with Chicken and Tomato Cream Sauce
slighty adapted from Ree a.k.a the  Pioneer Woman

Serves 4- 6 hungry people

1/2 box of Penne Pasta
2 -3 boneless chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth (regular works fine too)
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon of dried Parsley
1/2 tablespoon dried Basil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse and pat chicken dry w/ paper towel. Season with your favorite chicken seasonings ( I use McCormick Montreal Chicken seasoning and sprinkle a little kosher salt of my chicken) or/and salt and pepper. Pour about a tablespoon of olive oil in a medium casserole dish (big enough to bake your chicken in), place seasoned chicken in dish. Bake for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and when cut the juices run clear. Depending on how big your chicken is cooking time may vary.

* If you don’t want to bake your chicken, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and olive oil in a skillet and cook the chicken until fully cooked.

Once your chicken is done, chop it up and set aside.

Cook Penne pasta until al-dente( fancy word alert!), about 11 minutes (read the box for correct cooking time).

While the pasta is boiling, start making the tomato cream sauce. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Now add the chicken stock. Let is boil for a few minutes (let some of the liquid evaporate), give it a stir or two. Next add the tomato sauce, stir until combined, then add the cream,stir until well combined. Add some salt and pepper to taste (you can do this at the very end once you add everything in the pot together). Turn heat to low and let simmer for a few minutes. Stir occasionally.

Once your pasta is done. Drain and add it to the tomato cream sauce. Add the chicken, parsley, and basil, stir it all together. Add some shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese.


Serve in bowls and enjoy the goodness.

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