Baked Garlic Honey Pork Chops

 

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I won’t lie, pork chops scare me. You walk a fine line between nice tender meat or a dry jerky like patty. Every once in a while Perry will ask for something other than beef or chicken. He will suggest I try my hand at pork. Since he doesn’t ask for it too often I oblige. This is only one of two pork chop recipes on this blog right now. I hope to diversify my catalogue of recipes, and this is a delightfully delicious start! These chops are tangy, sweet and savory. The combination of flavors is fabulous and I’m willing to bet that you’ll be lapping up the sauce with with whatever side you pair these chops up with. I have to give credit to the blog who inspired me to try this recipe. If you like these chops check out other tasty recipes on Mama Hen’s Kitchen.

Serves: 4      Time: 40-50 minutes       Calories: 186/pork chop

Ingredients:

  • (4) 1 inch thick boneless pork chops (size matters here, friends. Otherwise you may end up with dry chops)
  • Salt and pepper to season the chops
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (I used canola)
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • (Optional) If you like spice throw in some red chili flakes to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper on both sides.
  3. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Brown the pork chops (about 3 minutes per side).
  4. Set the pork chops in a baking dish.
  5. Whisk together the remaining ingredients. Be sure that the honey is well combined.
  6. Brush this mixture over the pork chops on both sides. Pour the remaining sauce all over the pork.
  7. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake until the internal temperature reaches your favored tenderness. This is approximately 30-40 minutes. For your reference Medium-Rare (145F-150F), Medium (150F-155F), Medium-Well (155F-160F), Well (160F).
  8. Bathe these babies with sauce before serving, and plate with your favorite sides!
  9. Enjoy 🙂

*Photo is an original belonging to me.

*Recipe is adapted from Mama Hen’s Kitchen

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Gnocchi and Vegetable Soup

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My husband and I recently returned from a dive trip to the Philippines. It was an amazing trip filled with great diving, good friends and TONS of delicious food and drink. That said, when we returned home from a week of lush eating and drinking we needed to incorporate a healthy dose of vegetables into the week’s menu. It is not necessarily soup weather where we live at the moment but I could not pass this recipe up. As is my pattern, this is a super easy dish to throw together. Seriously, the most difficult part is prepping the veggies. This recipe will be ideal for brisk fall and brutal winter nights to warm up your core and fuel your body with nutrients. This recipe was adapted from Umami Girl who hosts a wonderful recipe blog.

Serves: 8

Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bunch of celery, rinsed and sliced
  • 1 lb bag of carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3 (32 oz) cartons of vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 (15 oz) can of white beans
  • 6 oz baby spinach
  • 16 oz package of gnocchi
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
  • crushed red pepper flakes to top

Directions:

  1. In a large pot heat olive oil over medium-hot heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute until tender/crisp (about 5 minutes) then add the carrots and garlic and cook until garlic becomes fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  2. Add the three cartons of vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring it to a boil. Once boiling turn down the heat to create a simmer.
  3. Once simmering stir in the white beans and spinach. Once spinach begins to wilt add in one gnocchi and cook it until it pops up to the top. I do this in order to taste the broth. Taste your tester gnocchi with a healthy spoonful of broth and veggies. Add salt/pepper to your taste at this point. Once you have the broth up to your standards add in the rest of the gnocchi and cook until they pop up to the surface of the soup.
  4. Dish the soup and top with Parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

Spinach Tomato and Sausage Skillet over Angel Hair Pasta

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I am not a big fan of super saucy dishes unless it is curry. I feel that when things are over sauced it takes away from the real stars of the dish. The big players in this one are spicy sausage and chunky style sun dried tomatoes. The combination of these two offers a degree of savory-sweet (with a kick). It is my favorite flavor combo making this recipe a new favorite in my Rolodex. If you are into bold flavor and a meal that will feed your family for a few days than give this dish a try! This recipe was adapted from a beautiful recipe blog called Julia’s Album.

Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (I went with spicy but refine to your own taste)
  • 8.5 oz jar of sun dried tomatoes julienne cut in oil (reserve the oil you will use it to cook)
  • a pinch (or more) of red pepper flakes. I tend to like things spicy and opted for upwards to three pinches. Tailor it to your taste
  • 6 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • One bunch of fresh basil, chopped (I am aware that “one bunch” is incredibly vague so to clarify just buy a packaged bunch of fresh basil from your market’s produce section)
  • 8 oz fresh spinach
  • 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 lb angel hair pasta (or whatever pasta you prefer)

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet heat the entire contents the sun dried tomato jar over low heat. Once heated up the temperature to medium and add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Cook until the sausage is no longer pink.
  2. Add Roma tomatoes, basil, spinach, garlic, and salt/pepper to taste. Toss this mixture gently to be sure that all veggies get coated with the tomato oil goodness. Continue to cook until the spinach begins to wilt. Then remove the skillet from heat and cover it.
  3. Cook your pasta per the packaging, drain and add it to your sausage and vegetable skillet. Mix it all together and plate.
  4. One extra and totally optional tip is to reserve some of the spinach (or buy extra) and add crisp spinach to the dish as you plate it. This adds color, nutrients and a wonderful crunch to the dish. I highly recommend.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

 

Inside Out Cabbage Roll Soup – Crockpot

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I’m late to the “get bikini ready” party. It is the end of June and I’m just now starting to worry about eating healthier, exercising more and ultimately looking decent this summer. Better late than never I always say! I was unsure of this soup at first because I am not a huge fan of cabbage unless it is in colcannon on St. Patrick’s Day. However I needed something to start me off right and everyone raves over cabbage soup. I have to say this recipe took me by surprise. It had a great flavor that was not overpowered by the cabbage. Also, my apartment did not stink as the cabbage cooked either which was a fear of mine. I was pleased with how easy and tasty this recipe ended up being. We had many meals, lunches and dinners, out of one batch. This recipe will make it into our soup rotation for sure! The original recipe can be found at http://www.sugarfreemom.com, but I did modify the ingredients a bit. I halved the amount of ground beef and upped the amount of veggies.

Serves: 9-12     Calories: about 290 per serving    Time: 3.5 hours on high or 6.5 hours on low

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 16 oz jar of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, riced
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 1 large head of cabbage

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over high heat and sauté until soft.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink. Add the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant
  3. Add the seasonings, cauliflower and marinara sauce to the beef and mix until combined.
  4. Add beef broth, cabbage, and beef mixture to your crockpot. Stir until combined
  5. Cover and cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  6. Enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Original recipe adapted from http://www.sugarfreemom.com

Spinach and Mozzarella Meatloaf

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This is not you mother’s ketchup and brown sugar topped meatloaf. This is a flavor packed cheesy meatloaf. I’ve had fails with meatloaf before that left me with a brick of dry beef but this recipe made such a juicy loaf that I doubt I’ll ever use a different one again. It is really hard to describe just how good this meatloaf was! I was able to prepare this ahead of time which was great as I had a busy afternoon planned with the kids. We got home in the late afternoon and all I needed to do was preheat the oven and cook this baby up. It does take an hour and 15 minutes to bake so be sure to allow yourself that time.

Serves: 1 loaf about 8 slices     Calories: approximately 444/ slice     Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 2 cups of finely chopped spinach
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl mix together ground beef, spinach, bread crumbs, 1.5 cups of the mozzarella cheese, onion, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper. Mix well but do not over-mix as you run the chances of drying it out.
  3. Transfer this mixture to a loaf pan.
  4. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella over the top of the loaf.
  5. Make a tent over the pan with foil. Don’t let the foil touch the cheese on top of the loaf because it will just stick to the foil and peel off.
  6. Bake for 1 hour
  7. Remove loaf from the oven and take off foil.
  8. Place loaf back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.simplifylivelove.com

Mozzarella Filled Meatballs with Pesto

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Not only are these extremely easy to execute but they are also wildly delicious. This recipe has a lot of different flavors that range from bold to simple. They all work really well together. The pesto is very fresh and robust, whereas the gooey mozzarella adds an amazing creaminess. The chicken meatball “shell” ties it all together with crunchy garlic bits and a bread-y base. I wouldn’t recommend serving these with anything too heavy because they are really the star of the show. I served them with steamed vegetables and found them to be the perfect “supporting actors.” By some miracle, we did not eat all of these in one night and were able to get two dinners out of them. They reheat really nicely. This will be a repeat recipe and I can’t wait to get creative with what we serve alongside them.

Serves: 5     Calories: 385.4 per serving   Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh or store bought pesto, (My Fresh Pesto Recipe )
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella or 1/4 of a roll of mozzarella cheese, to roll into small balls
  • Parmesan cheese for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. Mozzarella is a pretty melt-y cheese so if you are using shredded cheese mold the cheese into about 20 small/medium balls. If you’re using a block of mozzarella, cube about 1/4 of the block and roll into 20 small/medium ball shapes. Put these into the refrigerator while you mix up the meatball ingredients. This shouldn’t be too difficult as the warmth of your hands should make the cheese pliable enough.
  3. Mix together the ground chicken, panko, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, and 2-3 tbsp of the pesto.
  4. Form a small/medium sized meatball and press one mozzarella ball into the center. Roll the filled meatball in your hands to make sure the mozzarella is completely covered by the chicken mixture. If you don’t do this well enough the mozzarella will just ooze out in the oven. Repeat until meatball mixture is all used up.
  5. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. You can either toss the meatballs all together with the pesto or you can spoon a bit over each meatball. I chose to spoon a bit over each because I love pesto that I didn’t want any to go to waste. I ended up with quite a bit left over (scrambled eggs anyone 😉 )
  7. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

*Recipe adapted from http://www.sweetandsavorybyshinee.com

Taco Tamale Pie

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I’m always weary of recipes that come straight from big corporations marketing theirs and others’ products. This recipe, however was pleasantly AMAZING and took me for quite a surprise. The flavor was perfectly spicy and paired wonderfully with the cornbread topping. I also loved how easy this recipe was. It is definitely an on-the-go weeknight recipe packed with flavor.

Serves: 6       Calories: 515/serving      Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 packet of taco seasoning
  • 2 cans of whole kernel corn, drain
  • 1 (16 oz) jar of Pace picante salsa
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 box (8oz) jiffy cornbread mix, prepared

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Cook beef over medium high heat until browned. Pour off extra fat.
  3. Stir in taco seasoning, corn, salsa, and cheese. Spoon this mixture into a 3 quart baking dish.
  4. Prepare corn bread batter and pour over beef/corn mixture.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes or until cornbread topping is cooked through.
  6. Dish and enjoy!

*Photo is an original belonging to me

**Original recipe can be found at http://www.campbellskitchen.com