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Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Cream Cheese Spaghetti

Sometimes it’s funny how a new recipe is discovered. This one, in particular, was quite amusing;  Cream Cheese Spaghetti. Now, before you go getting judgy on me let me tell you all about it.

I aim to do a bi-weekly meal plan. Like many people I get paid bi-weekly. Doing a bi-weekly menu, meal plan, and food prep can work well for that. Anyone who has ever planned meals for years on end knows that this task isn’t always just writing down a list of meals and then making them. There are schedules involved and the household members who are being cooked for.

As I many times do when preparing a meal plan I asked D3 and D4 what they wanted to eat over the next couple of weeks. Sometimes I get rapid fire answers and at times I get vague non-answers such as I got this past meal planning time. D3 replied, “Something with Cream Cheese.” As is in my nature I asked some probing questions. “Like a dip? Or an entrée?” She said an entrée.

I racked my brain for some time trying to determine what would make a good cream cheese centric main dish. Who can’t think of dips or sides that have cream cheese in them? I wasn’t going to add meat to the dish because that wouldn’t make it a cream cheese entrée.

The two things that I could come up with were spaghetti or tacos. Spaghetti and tacos become conduits for many things in my house, so why not cream cheese. I added Cream Cheese Spaghetti to the menu.

Finally the night came to make Cream Cheese Spaghetti. On my way home from work I called The Hubs and asked him if he would start the pasta water. “Oh, yeah. It’s that night, “ he said. Apparently he had not been looking forward to this meal.

I got home and made dinner, rounding the meal off with green beans and garlic toast. Everyone looked a little bit nervous as they were trying it. The looks said everything. They liked it. Seconds were dished out. The Cream Cheese Spaghetti recipe was a success.

As we were dining on this new recipe The Hubs asked why this was chosen. I went through the story above. When D3 heard that the other idea had been Cream Cheese Tacos she made an exasperated sound and said, “And you didn’t go with that?” The Hubs quickly reminded her that the likelihood of that dish making it into the rotation with another roughly 360 days left in this year was very high. We love tacos.

Cream Cheese Spaghetti ticked off all of the boxes that make it an excellent weeknight meal:

  • Quick
  • Easy
  • Cost-Effective
  • Crowd Pleasing
  • Delicious

While this isn’t going to tick any boxes for low-fat or low carb it will definitely be hitting our table again this year!

Cream Cheese Spaghetti

16-ounces spaghetti noodles

1 cup reserved pasta water

8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cubed

Seasonings to taste

Cook pasta according to the package directions. At the end of the cooking time, remove 1 cup of water from the pasta pan. Drain pasta and set aside.

Add the cubed cream cheese to the empty pasta cooking pan, or a Dutch Oven. Turn on medium  low heat. Whisk in about half of the reserved pasta water and continue to whisk, adding more liquid to thin. Whisk until cream cheese has melted and you have a sauce to your desired consistency.

Stir in salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley or your preferred seasonings to taste. Turn off heat.

Add drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat.

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2020 in Dinner Recipes, Recipe

 

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Pickled Garlic

Pickled Garlic

Today we get to celebrate one of my all-time favorite flavorings; garlic. It is National Garlic Day and that makes me very happy. While some sources cite that garlic cannot be considered a food per se, I absolutely do. I especially do when it is pickled garlic.

Garlic has been used as a seasoning or flavoring since the time of ancient Egypt. It is used in many types of cooking including Middle Eastern, Asian, Italian, and Latin American. This bulbous member of the onion family offers a pungent, spiciness to foods. It can also be used as a condiment.

I grew up eating garlic in and on foods. My father used to grow garlic in our garden and I loved helping him harvest it. When roasting garlic came into fashion I was right there. Roasted garlic is delicious spread on Italian bread with a little bit of olive oil.

Last summer on our family vacation I kindly asked my husband to stop at a little roadside shop. To be honest, I made him turn around and go back to this little place I saw called the Pike’s Peak Pickle Shack. They sold everything you can imagine in pickled form: asparagus, quail eggs, okra, and garlic. I bought a few jars of pickled goodies. One of them was pickled garlic.

I did not open the jar in our vehicle. Instead I waited until I got back to the cabin we were staying in. I only let myself eat a couple of pieces and shared a couple with anyone who wanted to try it. Daughter Number Four enjoyed it almost as much as I did.

Once we were home from vacation with my precious jar of pickled garlic I carefully metered it out. As it turns out The Hubs and D3 also liked it. On a trip home one weekend I shared a bit with Daughter Number One. It turned out to be a bad thing turned good.

Apparently I have raised a family of garlic lovers because D1 was instantly hooked. She began a quest to get herself some. She actually tried to get some from the Pickle Shack, but they do not send their pickled goodness out of state.

When D1 came home for Christmas she bestowed upon me a jar of Spicy Pickled Garlic that she had acquired at a meat shop in Wichita. They also have many locally sourced goods such as popcorn and honey. They also have pickled garlic.

Pickled garlic is not only delicious to eat straight out of the jar, but it is very versatile. I like to use it in drinks such as a Bloody Mary or Dirty, Dirty Martini. It is wonderful on pizza and Italian bread with some olive oil and parmesan. Another great use way to use it is as a condiment on taco night. The spice and brine are a wonderful compliment to Latin American food.

If you love garlic you should definitely try it pickled. It is a wonderful way to eat this adaptable spice.

Pickled Garlic

  • 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pickling salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 cups peeled garlic cloves (4-6 whole cloves)
  • 3 small dried peppers (Thai chilis, fresh jalapeno or Habanero (depending on your spice desire))
  • 2 Bay leaves
  1. Sterilize a pint jar and lid. Use a canning jar with a new flat and reusable / reused ring.
  2. Combine vinegar, salt, and sugar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add garlic and peppers and boil 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Place Bay leaves in sterilized jar. Using a slotted spoon add garlic and peppers neatly to sterilized jars. Use spoon to pack garlic tightly and leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
  4. Cover with hot liquid, covering garlic completely.
  5. Wipe lid of jar with a clean, wet lint-free towel. Cover with sterilized lid.
  6. Store the jar in the refrigerator. It is recommended to store for a month before using.
  7. Garlic will store refrigerated up to one year.

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Torta Sandwich

Torta Sandwich

One of favorite sandwiches to eat is a torta. While ‘torta’ means different things in different languages the torta I am referring to is the Mexican sandwich. If you are not familiar with it, let me tell you about it.

While this sandwich is traditional in Mexico, that is really the only consistency on what a torta is. Well, it is served on bread and has a layer of refried beans, almost as a condiment.

The range of toppings is seemingly endless. Almost any style of Mexican meat can be put onto a torta. My favorite is Chicken Milanesa. Also, there different styles depending on the region: Norteña, Suiza, or Jalisco to name a few. Some, like the Gema, are smothered in sauce. Tortas can be served cold but are traditionally served warm and are usually pressed, like a Cubano.

I have eaten tortas in many different cities and states and still the only absolute is that it is served on bread with refried beans on it. Some places, like Las Tortas in Denver, do it better than others.

Milanesa de Pollo Torta

Milanesa de Pollo Torta

I have only tried a few times to make a torta myself. My first attempt was not very good. I had purchased some Mexican style bolilo bread to use. Of course I used refried beans and other toppings that I layered on the bread. I used my sandwich press, but it was not close to any of the tortas I have eaten.

My second attempt was better. I had a different style of bread, more like a bun. Again I used the standard refried beans. However, I made a butter and chipotle sauce baste and seared that onto the inside of the buns before adding the beans and an avocado mayonnaise. Then I layered on some shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, jalapeño, tomato, and red onion. I made one for The Hubs with carnitas. He said it was a good try.

The most recent torta sandwich attempt has been my best to date. I made Milanesa de Pollo, my favorite. It is a very thin chicken breast cutlet, breaded and fried. I used yet a different type of bun for my bread. The buttery sauce that I toasted on previously was excellent so I did that again. Then the mayonnaise, refried beans, and layered toppings. This was steps above the first 2 attempts.

While my homemade torta game is still not where I would like it to be it’s getting better. All I can do is continue to eat these delicious sandwiches when I find them out, and try to replicate them at home. Just like getting to Carnegie Hall I think the key to a great torta sandwich is practice.

What food do you love to eat out that you just can’t quite perfect at home? I guess some foods are just better when someone else makes them!

Torta Sandwich

  • 4 Bolillo rolls or other crusty bun or roll
  • Butter (melted)
  • Chipotle Sauce
  • Refried Beans
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cheddar Cheese (shredded (or thin sliced Monterey Jack))
  • Lettuce (shredded)
  • tomato (sliced)
  • Avocado (sliced or mashed)
  • Onion (diced, white or red)
  • Pickled jalapeno slices
  1. Slice the bread in half, lengthwise. Brush inside with melted butter and Chipotle sauce, if desired. If buttered, toast on a hot griddle, grill pan, or panini press.
  2. Spread refried beans on inside of both buns, the mayonnaise.
  3. Place choice of meat and other toppings on bun and place top bun.
  4. Press the sandwich.

Styles of meat to use: Adobada, Al Pastor, Asada, Barbacoa, Carnitas, Chorizo, Chuleta Ahumada, Jamon (ham) Milanesa de Res (steak), Milanesa de Pollo (chicken), Salchichas (hot dogs), Huevos (eggs) Additional toppings may include melted cheese, mayonnaise, avocado, tomato, onion, chipotle sauce, and jalapeño.

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Homemade Corn Dogs

Homemade Corn Dogs

An odd food holiday or food themed day is on March 28. It is deemed “Food on a Stick Day” or “Something on a Stick Day”. It seemed obvious to everyone I mentioned it to that corn dogs was the answer. While I know my family likes corn dogs, I don’t eat red meat so thought maybe I should make something else. I chose two foods on a stick. Yes, I did make homemade corn dogs.

Given my past successes and failures at deep frying I was a slight bit pessimistic. Of course I did look up several recipes for homemade corn dogs so I had a fairly good idea of what was in store. I had purchased 2 packages of hot dogs, one beef and one non-meat. Because I had some sticks on hand already I did not need to buy any of those. It seemed like a good start.

Everyone in my household was very eagerly awaiting the corn dogs. You would think they were at the San Diego County Fair waiting in line at Chicken Charlie’s. The girls and The Hubs were very excited for homemade corn dogs.

I started them in The Hubs fryer. It didn’t go so well, so I got out my Fry Daddy. That was working better, but still not perfectly. The Hubs walked in and saw a plate of fails, looked over at me and with a mouthful of failed corn dog said, “cook them without the stick”. I am married to a genius. From that point there were no problems.

The homemade corn dogs fried beautifully. They weren’t as uniform as the pre-made purchased kind, but they were good. I don’t officially know how many the girls ate, but I overheard Daughter Number Four utter the number 4.

According to The Hubs he ‘almost’ liked the non-beef ones better because they weren’t greasy. I thought they were excellent. While I do not eat even the non-meat hotdogs very often it is an occasional treat. Homemade corn dogs were especially treat-like.

The Hubs also thought the homemade corn dog batter would be great for some other deep fried goodies. I guess that means I see deep frying in my future.

What comes to mind when you hear “food on a stick”? It would be fun to have an entire food on a stick menu!

Homemade Corn Dogs

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or honey
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 16 hot dogs
  • 16 wooden popsicle sticks or skewers
  • Oil for deep frying
  1. In a large bowl, mixing bowl, or blender jar combine cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Add egg and milk and blend thoroughly. This will be a stiff mixture.
  2. Preheat oil in deep fryer or in a large skillet with high sides.
  3. Pat hot dogs with a paper towel to remove moisture.
  4. Dip hot dogs in batter, ensuring the dog is covered completely. Drop into hot oil, turning to cook evenly, until golden. Remove corn dog from oil to drain on a paper towel.
  5. Serve with ketchup, mustard or other condiments.

Sticks can be placed inserted cooking if the fryer or skillet will hold the corn dog and stick. Otherwise, stick can be inserted after cooking.

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2018 in Recipe, Uncategorized

 

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Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

With my Golden brunch being such a huge success I was excited to move on with the rest of my Oscars day dishes. For the majority of the foods I was going to serve I was sticking with my Golden theme. Not exactly in the same mode as brunch, these golden beauties were a series of deep fried foods. The most exciting and worrisome of the deep fried delights was an attempt at Deep Fried Deviled Eggs.

I have only eaten deep fried deviled eggs at one place. There is a bar and grill I have been to a couple of times with my mother. On the first visit the waitress asked if we had tried the deviled eggs. We have both eaten deviled eggs so many times so we weren’t really thinking that we needed to pay to eat deviled eggs on a Friday afternoon outing. She then said that they only serve them on Friday and only until they run out.

Well, that clinched it. We ordered some deviled eggs, deep fried deviled eggs. It was actually the deviled eggs that brought us back the second time. So when I told my mother that I was going to be making some deep fried foods she said, “Oh – deviled eggs”. Sadly in my planning to make deep fried cookies, pickles, and onion rings the thought of deviled eggs had not entered my mind. That quickly changed.

There are a few reasons that I do not deep fry foods every day. The first one, of course, is health. A daily diet of deep fried delicacies is not recommended by any health association as far as I can tell. If you have information to the contrary please share it with me. The second reason is that I find deep frying to be a rather time consuming task in which the person manning the fryer has a nonstop job with very little time to stop and enjoy the food. This seems especially true when your deep fryer is small. Third, it’s messy. The battering is messy as is the frying. My kitchen is always a huge mess after deep frying. Lastly I have not become a master of deep frying. I have moderate success, but just as with baking bread there is definite room for improvement.

Whatever concerns I had about my adventure in deep frying they did not stop me. Armed with me excitement over the deep fried deviled eggs which would be a surprise to The Hubs and the girls I felt confident I could pull it all off.

I had a clear path I would take during the deep frying, starting with the least flavored of the foods ending with the most. It would be eggs, cookies, pickles, onion rings. Also, the coating for the eggs would be very different than the others plus they would need to be filled with the deviled egg filling post frying.

The deep fried deviled eggs were a huge success. I texted my mother as soon as I had piped in the filling so she could come down the 3 blocks from her house while they were still warm! She texted back immediately and said she was on the way. My girls could hardly control themselves when they saw them. There was some concern, but the intrigue and excitement overcame and they gobbled one up. The Hubs also took one. Another winning dish. My mom said it was the best part of her day, and that they were excellent.

a row of deep fried deviled eggs

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

As for the rest of my deep fried dishes they were not such huge successes. The store bought cookies that I battered trying to emulate a carnival-esque food actually disintegrated in the batter before I could even get them into the fryer.

My first batch of pickles, although I had dried them thoroughly, did not hold the batter. The subsequent pickles held the batter better but the onion rings did not. I will have to attempt those again soon.

I did put together a nice cheese board to make up for the fried food fails. It was delicious.

cheese board

Cheese Board

Even with food adventure not being perfect the deep fried deviled egg success made up for it with me. I tried something absolutely different and it worked perfectly. The family loved them and was impressed with how they turned out.

Share some of your favorite deep fried delicacies with me. Who knows, I might just add them to my next deep frying adventure.

 

Deep Fried Deviled Eggs

  • 6 hard-boiled eggs (cooled and peeled, halved with yolks reserved)
  • Cooking oil for frying
  • Sea salt

Coating

  • ¼ – ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs

Filling

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • Reserved egg yolks (mashed)
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  1. Lay halved egg whites on a paper towel to dry.
  2. Mash egg yolks in a bowl. Add mayonnaise, sugar, mustard, and vinegar and blend until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan or deep fryer add approximately 3-4” of oil. Heat the oil to between 350 and 375 degrees.
  4. Put flour in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish put panko.
  5. Place 3 or 4 halved egg whites in the flour, covering completely. Shake excess hands off of egg whites through fingers.
  6. Place floured egg whites into panko. Dredge eggs in panko to thoroughly coat. Ensure the eggs are completely covered by gently packing panko onto egg halves. Repeat with all egg white halves.
  7. When oil is hot place 3 or 4 egg whites into deep fryer, cut side down, for about 60 seconds or until golden. Turn over and cook for another 30-60 seconds until browned. If the center does not look golden turn back over and cook again for 10 seconds or until starting to crisp. Remove from oil to a paper towel lined try to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt. Repeat with all egg white halves.
  8. Fill a pastry bag with egg yolk mixture and pipe filling into fried egg halves.
  9. Serve while warm.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Shredded Cheese Wafers

Shredded Cheese Wafers

As I begin the process of working out a meal plan for the weekend, coming weeks, and broadly the entire month of March I find myself sitting in a stack of recipes in the form of books, cards, and computer typed printed out pages. A page just next to me, typed by my dad and printed out, is for Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese Wafers.

I can remember when my dad first made these for me growing up. While I am quite sure he did not make them for me, it seemed at the time that when dad cooked amazingly awesome stuff, especially with cheese, he was cooking for me. These easy and delicious cheese wafers were always a special treat.

More recently, my husband has been making cheese wafers in his copper skillet. During the time he has had the skillet he has made shredded cheese wafers no less than 10 times. In all of these times I am not sure if he has used Monterey jack or not. He mostly uses cheddar. The best part for me, though, is that I love cheese wafers as much today as I did when I was a child.

How does this have to do with meal planning? The Oscars are this Sunday and I like to make food based on holidays and happenings as much as I can. Although sometimes I can get extravagant with this, it doesn’t have to be. The most important thing is really about the taste and quality of the food. If the food is delicious and people like it what does it matter if it took 5 hours and 20 ingredients to make. Sometimes the best foods are the simplest to make.

Shredded Cheese Wafers

Shredded Cheese Wafers

These shredded cheese wafers are a perfect example of that. Whether they’re made in the oven or in a skillet on the stovetop they are an easy, delicious, and in their own right elegant dish.

Do you have a very simple but delicious food in your culinary collection?

Shredded cheese wafers

  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheese (such as Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • ½ – 1 Tablespoon olive oil (for skillet)
  • Parchment paper (for oven)

Oven Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Using about 2-2 ½ tablespoons of shredded cheese make mounds on baking sheet, leaving 2-3 inches between for wafers to spread.
  3. Bake 10-15 minutes, turning over mid-way. Crisps will brown on edges. Watch carefully, do not overbake.
  4. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Skillet Method

  1. Lightly grease skillet; heat over medium heat.
  2. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of grated cheese onto hot skillet.
  3. Cook for 3-4 minutes until lightly brown. Turn wafer over with a spatula. Continue cooking another 2 minutes until crisp.
  4. Remove from skillet and drain on paper towel.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Dried Beans

Dried Beans

Dried Beans Electric Pressure Cooker

About two years ago we got an electric pressure cooker. While you cannot tell from my posts, I absolutely love having it. Owning an electric pressure cooker has made a positive impact for a multitude of reasons. One of the benefits of owning an electric pressure cooker is the decreased cooking time of dried beans.

Being a non-red meat eater and eating very little animal protein I have relied on eating beans for protein for many years. Using the electric pressure cooker shaves hours off of the cook time.  If time is money I’m getting rich off of the time saved cooking beans with my electric pressure cooker!

Speaking of money, cooking your own dried beans is more cost effective than purchasing canned. Dried beans are also unprocessed and you control the amount of sodium, fat, and other additives when making your own.

Just in the past two weeks I have made red beans for my Red Beans and Rice and Homemade Baked Beans, and for General Rules for Cooking Beans

  • Before cooking dried beans, pick over and discard any broken or shriveled beans or bits of dirt and debris. Rinse beans and drain.
  • Beans may be soaked overnight, but the pressure cooker allows you to cook beans without presoaking.
  • Do not salt before cooking as salt inhibits cooking.
  • Onions, garlic, celery, sprigs of fresh herbs or a bay leaf may be added for additional flavor.
  • Beans can be cooked in large batches (1 pound beans + 8 cups water + seasonings + 4 teaspoons oil).
  • Cooked beans can be frozen in 1-cup amounts to add to other dishes
  • Do not fill pressure cooker more than one-third full when cooking beans.
  • Add 2 teaspoons oil per cup of beans to prevent foaming.
  • After cooking beans, clean lid, gasket, steam release valve, and float valve carefully.

 

It is important to read the manual of your brand of electric pressure cooker to ensure the best method of cooking dried beans; however I am going to give you some general rules and cook times.

Cooking times will vary depending on if you have soaked your beans or not soaked your beans. Smaller beans or legumes will have shorter cook times while larger beans need more cooking time.

The cooking time for one cup of a few varieties of unsoaked dried beans in the electric pressure is as follows:

Garbanzo Beans               50-60 minutes

Red Beans                           30-35 minutes

Pinto Beans                        30-35 minutes

There are so many wonderful uses and time saving reasons to own an electric pressure cooker. Cooking dried beans is just one of them, and one I recommend. I also suggest you try making your own refried beans once you have made some pinto beans in your pressure cooker.

Refried Beans

  • 2 cups cooked pinto beans (with reserved cooking juices)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • Salt to taste

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes

One of the very few problems I have with menu planning and cooking for my family is that I do not eat red meat and seldom eat poultry or fish. The Hubs loves the red meat, especially beef and pork, as he likes to remind me. It is fortunate that the people in my household are adventurous enough or hungry enough to eat the meals I prepare even when there is not even a hint of meat. That’s why I occasionally throw in recipes for them like Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes.

My mother shared this recipe with me close to 25 years ago. It came from a cookbook she had. She liked the recipe because it didn’t dirty a bunch of dishes, because everything could be prepped in the same skillet and then put into a casserole dish. She would comment that “it didn’t dirty too many bowls”.

When I made this dish for the family yesterday I did dirty a few more dishes than my mother, because I did not cook the stuffing in the same skillet as I had browned the pork chops.* When I was preparing the stuffing portion, the family thought I was making a Thanksgiving dinner it smelled so delicious! D3 and D4 don’t remember ever having had Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes before, but they have both suggested that we have it again soon. We all agree that I need to make twice as much stuffing the next time. It is excellent. My mother’s suggestion when I told her that I made it was that I invite her to dinner the next time. I served this with green beans.

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes, Green Beans

Would you like me to invite you to dinner, also?

Pork Chops with Stuffing and Potatoes

  • 4-6 pork chops
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup onion (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 4 ½ cups white bread (cubed)
  • ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 medium potatoes (cubed)
  • 1 can cream soup (or cream soup substitute)
  • ½ cup water
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Season pork chops with salt and pepper and brown in the skillet.  Remove chops from the skillet and place in baking dish.
  3. In same skillet *add the butter and melt. Add onions and sauté until tender. Remove from heat and add bread cubes, poultry seasoning and ¼ cup water. Mix well and mound stuffing on top of chops in baking dish.
  4. Place quartered potatoes in skillet where stuffing was mixed and stir quickly to coat. If not thoroughly oiled, lightly spray with cooking spray. Place potatoes around chops.
  5. In same skillet or small bowl mix cream soup and ½ cup water, stirring to combine. Cover potatoes completely with soup mixture. Bake for 1 hour, checking every 20 minutes to ensure potatoes are still covered with soup mixture. Add water if needed to keep potatoes covered.
  6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.

I use cream soup substitute in place of canned cream soup. Find the recipe below:

 

https://ortsofsorts.com/2013/09/16/chicken-spaghett…ezer-to-crockpot/

 

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Food is so much a part of life that it seems to be my number one focus in the world. Food dominates my thoughts most days. While it is important in my world it is not the most important thing in the world to me. My family is, especially my children. That’s why I got up earlier than normal on Valentine’s Day to make some awesome Chocolate Brownie Cookies. I let them take some for friends or just eat them. I also shared some with a few friends and my mom. She was a fan.

When I found this recipe I was looking for something that would be more than just a traditional cut out sugar cookie. I also wanted something that was a little more exciting than just a brownie and cake balls and cupcakes are my go-to. This recipe for Chocolate Brownie Cookies fit my criteria.

A bonus was that this cookie dough didn’t have to chill for hours and were so easy to whip up and roll out. They were also easy to decorate. For my purposes that morning I halved the recipe which allowed me to make enough for my girls, without having too many left at home. I suppose I could have made the whole batch and shared more with friends and family. However knowing that cutting it in half worked out beautifully makes this Chocolate Brownie Cookies recipe even more of a winner in my book.

 

Roll out Chocolate Brownie Cookies

 

Chocolate Brownie Cookies

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for the counter)
  • 2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (white chocolate chips, or candy melting coating)
  • Sprinkles for decorating
  1. Whisk flour cocoa powder, salt, and baking pwder together in a medium sized bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer using the flat beater until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down side of bowl with additions. Gradually mix in dry ingredients, scraping down sides of bowl, until combined. Form dough into ball and wrap in plastic wrap, flattening slightly into a disc. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  3. Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface to about ¼ inch thickness. Lightly flour the rolling pin and cookie cutter. Cut dough into desired shape. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 7-8 minutes, until edges are firm and centers are soft. Transfer to cooling rack.
  4. Put chocolate or candy coating into a glass bowl. Microwave on medium power for 60 seconds; stir. Return bowl to microwave at 30 second intervals on medium power, stirring after each, until melted. Transfer melted chocolate or coating into a small piping bag (or plastic zip top bag with one corner cut at an angle). Drizzle melted chocolate or coating across the tops of the cookies. If desired, dust tops with sprinkles or sugar glitter. Let topping set for 10 minutes to harden.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2018 in Recipe

 

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Rice Recipes

Rice Recipes

Rice Recipes

One of the best things about being in love with food is that I am constantly trying new food when I am out and about, searching for new recipes at home, and trying to replicate some of the foods I have tried while out about. This is definitely the case for one of my new favorite rice recipes.

A while back I was eating at a restaurant in Lawrence and ordered Arancini. Arancini are rice and cheese balls, breaded and fried. Hello. They were so delicious that I ordered them again the next time I was there; and the time after that. It was one of those dishes that I love to order, but thought it would be too hard or time consuming or use ingredients that I don’t commonly have.

I was delighted and thrilled when I discovered just after the holidays that it was none of the things that I thought it would be.

Finding myself hungering for Arancini one evening and did not want to drive the 45 minutes to Lawrence. I perused the web for some that sounded as close to those I loved as possible. No meat or white sauce, just melty cheese and rice balls served with a marinara. I found something that was close and reworked it a bit. I’ve made it twice in less than two months, it is definitely one of the best rice recipes.

This is also a good example of why, in life, we should not allow our preconceived ideas or fears to limit us. The reality may be (and often is) that it is easier than we thought and are lives are better for trying. I recommend you making these arancini yourself. You’ll be a better person and might find yourself with a new outlook and something to add to your rice recipes.

 

Arancini (Rice Balls)

Filling

  • 2 cups cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice
  • 8 ounces Ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella (shredded)
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiana
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

Coating

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 4 eggs (beaten lightly)
  • 2 cups Italian bread crumbs
  1. In a medium bowl add all ingredients for the filling. Stir well to combine. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  2. Place the flour, seasoned with salt and pepper, into a low sided dish or shallow dish such as a pie plate. In another similar dish crack the eggs and beat slightly. In a third dish place the seasoned breadcrumbs. Set aside.
  3. Preheat a deep fryer or deep pan filled with oil to 350 degrees.
  4. Remove the rice mixture from the refrigerator. Using a tablespoon measure out mixture into hands and roll into a tight ball, smaller than a golf ball.
  5. In small batches of 1-3, place the rice balls into the flour rolling or tossing them lightly to coat. Gently shake the rice balls allowing any excess flour to fall through your fingers back into the pan. They should be lightly coated. Place the floured rice balls into the egg coating and roll gently to cover. Then place the rice balls into the breadcrumb coating, ensuring they are completely coated. Repeat with remaining rice mixture.
  6. Gently place rice balls into the hot oil, several at a time. Turn to cook evenly until golden brown. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
  7. Serve hot arancini on a plate or platter with marinara and freshly grated Parmigiana.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2018 in Favorite Recipes, Recipe