Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pork Chop Casserole

Today's post is dedicated to the best Step-Mom this 15 year old girl could of asked for, Margie Tonsager-Taylor. She taught me the real meaning of "comfort" food, and passed away in her sleep yesterday morning after a long and happy life! I will see you on the other side, along with my dad!

I have been making this pork chop and stuffing casserole since early in my marriage, it is quick, easy and very tasty. To me it is comfort food, and my husband loves gnawing on the pork bones.
  • 2-4 bone in pork chops
  • 1 box of Stove Top Stuffing Mix
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (or whatever kind you like)
Preheat your non stick skillet to high, season your chops with salt and pepper to taste

Put 1 tbl of oil into your pan and sear the chops on both sides

Place the chops into a greased baking dish, in the meantime place your stuffing into a bowl and add the butter and boiling hot water, per the package directions. Mix well and place into your baking dish next to or on top of the chops

Using the same bowl as the stuffing, now add the can of soup, then 3/4 of a can of water, mix well, (you can add other spices or chives at this point), and pour over the stuffing and pork chops. Layer on your mushrooms last.

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cranberry Orange Bread

A friend of mine gave me this recipe some years ago. Sadly, we have lost touch, but I do think about him when I make this bread. It is delicious and I give it away every year at Christmas!

6 cups flour
2 3/4 cups of sugar
1 tbl baking powder
1/2 tbl baking soda
3/4 cup butter (I use 1 stick) room temp
3 eggs room temp
2 1/4 cups orange juice
1 bag of fresh Cranberries, chopped (I learned the hard way, use your food processor for this)

Mix dry ingredients, cut in butter.

Whip eggs and orange juice together, adding to dry goods slowly while mixing.

Fold in chopped cranberries.

Divide mixture into THREE greased bread pans

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until tester pulls out dry

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fall Crepes

With the Fall weather upon us and it being apple season, I decided to make Crepes topped with an Apple and Craisin compote.

In Oregon, we are well known for our apples, we have a huge variety available locally. I combined Granny Smith and Honeycrisp, the crepes were delicious! and the leftover compote ended up in hot cereal, YUM!

Crepe Batter
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbs butter (melted)
  • 1/4 tsp salt

This Recipe makes about 3-4 of the 10" pancakes or two servings

Use a "10-12" round non-stick skillet or frying pan.

First lightly beat the egg in a medium sized bowl, then add sugar, milk, salt and flour, mix well, melt the butter in the frying pan (or skillet) then while stirring the mixture add melted butter to it, continue mixing until there are no lumps, don't forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Once the batter is well mixed, then over medium heat pour just enough batter in the pan to cover the bottom of the pan, cook until the top of it is "dry" then flip the pancake. This takes a fair amount of finesse, as the pancake is large and not very 'tough'.

Get the spatula underneath the pancake and make sure that all around the pancake is loose first, then quickly flip it. After the flip, shake the pan a bit to get the pancake flat

Cook each one for about 30 seconds only after the flip. Slide the finished pancake out onto a dinner plate. I buttered them and rolled them up 2-3 at a time and topped with the compote and powdered sugar.

Apple Compote

  • 2 apples peeled, cored and sliced somewhat thinly
  • 1/2 cup of Craisins
  • Butter (2 tbl)
  • 1/3 cup Brown Sugar
  • dash of salt
Place your apples in a non stick pan, add your butter and saute on medium, if the pan appears to be drying out, add some water. Keep stirring on occasion.

Add your Craisins and brown sugar, a dash of salt. Continue stirring until your apples are tender and the sauce has almost caramelized.

After the Crepes are done, roll them up Jelly Roll style (I butter them before rolling them up) and top with the Apple Compote

Dust on some Confectioners Sugar

I've been tagged to do a meme from Pam at For the Love of Cooking. Thanks for passing it on to me Pam

I am to write 6 random things about myself:

1. I have 3 tattoo's, I would have more if my conservative husband would let me.

2. I cuss. ALOT!

3. I am a Coach Whore, purses galore, and shoes too!

4. I am the youngest in my family, my sis is 10 years older than me, and my brother is 14 years older, I was the surprise baby!

5. I married my high school sweetheart, we met when I was 15, been married 25 years in June.

6. I worked in the Technical Support industry for 13 years before I retired last year.
I tag YOU!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Buttermilk Bananna Pancakes with Chocolate Syrup

I had some ripe banana's to use up last weekend and decided to make buttermilk banana pancakes, one of our favorites!

When cooking, the banana's almost caramelize and with the chocolate syrup they were over the top! Whipped Cream would be a good thing as well. **I had to re-post this recipe as Blogger did not like the last version and removed all my widgets**

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Dash of salt
1 cup buttermilk (we use a bit more, we like our pancakes on the thinner side
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
Chocolate Syrup

In a large bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Beat the eggs with the buttermilk and melted butter. Combine the dry and the wet ingredients into a lumpy batter, being careful not to over mix

Spoon 1/3 cup of batter into the well greased skillet and place several of your sliced banannas into the batter. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. **Be sure and re-grease the pan in-between batches as the banannas trend to carmelize a bit and want to stick**

You can keep the pancakes in a 275 degree oven until ready to serve.

I served with sugar free chocolate syrup!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tamale Pie

I am not sure why this is called Tamale Pie, but it is certainly a Dunkin family favorite. I have been making this for my husband since our early married years some 24 years ago!

It has two of his favorite ingredients, corn and beans! It is quick, easy and very delicious!

1.5 lb hamburger, I use 7%
2 15 oz can Kidney Beans, drained but not rinsed
1 can corn
1 small can Rotel (tomato and chili)
1 small can sliced olives
1 7 oz can diced green chili's (I would use fresh if I had them)
2 packages of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
1 can Jolly Green Giant Niblets
1/2 onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
chili powder, Cayenne, garlic salt (to taste, I use several shakes each)

Cook your hamburger until about 1/2 way done, add the onions and spices, continue cooking until hamburger is no longer pink

Add the hamburger along with the remaining ingredients in a bowl, mix well **use only half the can of chili's and do NOT use the Niblets yet**
Place into a greased 9X13 casserole

Combine your two Jiffy Corn Bread mixes, with the can of Niblets (drained) and remaining chili's. Add the eggs and milk as the packages suggests. Mix until just combined

Place this on top of the meat and bean mixture (spreading to the edges) and cook at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes

Let cool for a bit (you can add shredded cheese in the casserole or on top if you like)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Black Bean and Chorizo Soup

I have been thinking about making a soup with black beans, and I love Chorizo, so I put a soup together for my honey! He is a bean man for sure!
I looked for some recipes online, but did not really find anything close to what I was looking for, so I winged it as usual!

The soup was rich and delicious, the Chorizo basically melted and made the soup so full flavored!

1 tube of pork Chorizo
1 16 oz bag of black beans
Broth of your choice (I used one carton vegetarian and half of a carton of beef broth)
1/2 a yellow onion, diced
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
6-10 good shakes of Franks Red Hot
Celery salt, several shakes
1 tsp or so of chili powder
1 tsp or so of cumin

First put your beans in a bowl and cover with water, soak overnight

The next day rinse and drain your beans

Place your Chorizo in your soup pot and get it sauteing, add your onions and celery and it will eventually turn into a paste almost. Add the garlic and keep stirring, when the meat is browned, add the broth (1 and a half cartons to start), stir well

Add the beans and the remaining ingredients and cook until thick and the beans are tender. This took several hours for me and I added more broth as needed.

Serve with Cilantro and Sour Cream if you wish!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cheater Spanikopita

I made Spanikopita last weekend and had tons of the filling leftover. I decided to experiment with the Puff Pastry in my freezer. It turned out really well and was so much faster and easier than dealing with Philo Dough. This would be great for a party.

1 box of Frozen Puff Pastry

Spanikopita Filling
1 box of Frozen Chopped Spinach (thawed)
1 container of Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 small container of Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg, beaten
2 cloves of garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Dill (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped scallions

You will have 2 Puff Pastry sheets in the box, you only need one.

THAW pastry sheet at room temperature 30 min-40 minutes

Preheat oven to 400°

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir onions, scallions and garlic until softened.

Mix in spinach and the spices. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the moisture has been absorbed.

Remove from heat, let cool slightly

Mix in Feta Cheese, Ricotta, egg, salt and pepper, stir until well combined.

UNFOLD pastry on lightly floured surface. Roll into 18"x9" rectangle. Cut into 18 (3") squares.

Press squares into 3" muffin-pan cups. Place 1 tsp or so of the mixture into the cups.

BAKE 12 min. or until golden. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 min. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bagel Dogs

If you know me, then you know of my absolute LOVE of Bagel Dogs. I decided I was tired of paying Noah's Bagels almost 4 bucks for one, and god knows how fattening the hot dogs they use are. I searched online and there are not really many recipes for this, but I finally found one here at America's Little Germany, it is the same recipe I used for my Pretzels!

These are delicious, really easy to make and are a perfect snack or lunch item.

1 package (.25 oz) package dry yeast (don't use fast activating yeast)
1 package Hot Dog of your choice (I used the Fat Free Kosher Dogs)
2 tbl brown sugar
1 1/8 tsp salt
1 2/3 cups warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups AP flour
1 cup bread flour
2 cups warm water
2 tbl baking soda
2 tbl butter melted
Kosher Salt

In large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Let is sit a minute or two.

Stir in both flours, and knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (I used the dough hook on my stand mixer and it turned out beautifully).

Place in a greased bowl (I use cooking spray), turn to coat the entire surface. Cover and let rise for 1.5 hours.

Combine 2 cups warm water and baking soda in an 8 inch square pan

Get your dogs ready and pat them dry

After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces, roll each into a rope about 1.5 feet long and starting at the top of your hot dog just wind the dough around the dog.

Dip into baking soda/water solution for a second or two and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet (I just used my Silpat on a baking sheet) What this accomplishes I have no idea?

Let rise an additional 20 minutes

Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown, remove, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with Kosher Salt

**I had 7 dogs, so there was leftover dough which I made into Pretzel Shapes and proceeded as above.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tacos Al Pastor

I wanted to make a wonderful homecoming dinner for my hubby who had spent the last two weeks in Atlanta, GA at Georgia Tech. He is a freak for Mexican food, the more authentic the better, and he can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I decided to make Tacos Al Pastor, in a very traditional way. I looked at a few recipes to get a general idea then dived in!

The meat was fall apart tender and so flavorful it was amazing, I will be making this often!

3 -4 lb Boston Butt (Pork Shoulder, bone in or boneless)
1 tbl dried onion powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp or so salt
1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 large onion chopped roughly large chunks
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, sliced (you can seed them if you don't like spicy food)
corn tortillas

Wet Ingredients
  • 3 tbl white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • Add enough water to make the mixture 2 cups

Avocado Salsa

  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • chopped purple onion, diced small
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1 medium tomato cubed
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges
Place your heavy bottom high sided roasting pan on the stove and get it screaming hot, add some olive oil to coat pan

Add your pork roast and sear on all sides, remove and set aside, reduce heat to medium high

Place your onion, garlic and jalapeno in the pan and cook for several minutes, until tender

In the meantime, add all the dry spices together and rub onto the pork, then place the pork back into the roasting pan on top of the onion, jalapeno mixture.

Now mix up your wet ingredients, and pour into the pan, spoon a bit on top of the pork roast.

Cook at 275 for 5-6 hours, turning the roast several times during the cooking process, it should be falling apart tender

Shred or cube (cubed is the traditional way) the meat and place on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes, this will caramelize the meat.

Traditionally this is served on corn tortillas with diced onion and cilantro.

I made an avocado salsa with just tomato, avocado and onion, a bit of salt and lime juice for the tacos.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Candy Cookies

I spotted this on "The Pioneer Woman's" website, it sounded like something fun and super easy to make. They were absolutely decadent and delicious. They aren't quite a cookie and not quite candy either.

These would be great to make with your kids!
If you have a Silicone mini muffin pan, I highly recommend using it, these are hard to get out of the pan.
  • Cookie Dough in a tube, whatever kind sounds good, I used chocolate chip
  • Snack size candies, I used miniature peanut butter cups
Slice the cookie dough into 1 1/2 inch slices and cut each slice into 4Th's
Place each piece in a very well greased mini muffin tin (use a Silicone one if you have it)

Cook at 350 for about 7 minutes

Remove from the oven and quickly squish a piece of candy into the middle of each cookie and return to the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown

Let cool overnight or at least a few hours (I learned this the hard way), and then remove from the tin, my husband banged the hell out of the tin and they popped right out

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Greek Night at the Dunkin's

We were dying for some Greek Food and I decided were were having Greek Salad, Lamb Chops and Spanicopita. It was a great deal of work, but soo worth it! I made the salad and marinade for the Lamb and hubby did the Spanikopita! The photos are not great, we were too busy eating!

My Greek Salad recipe is here

Lamb: I marinated the lamb chops in the following and grilled on the barbecue

1/2 cup of good red wine
zest of 1 small orange and the juice of that orange
3 tbl honey
3 tbl olive oil
Fresh Rosemary, several teaspoons


1 box of Frozen Chopped Spinach (thawed)
1 container of Feta Cheese, crumbled
1 small container of Ricotta Cheese
1 Egg, beaten
2 cloves of garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp Dill (optional)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped scallions

1 box Phyllo dough, at room temp
1/2 cube melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Heat vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Slowly cook and stir onions, scallions and garlic until softened.

Mix in spinach and the spices. Cook approximately 10 minutes, or until most of the moisture has been absorbed. Remove from heat, let cool slightly

Mix in Feta Cheese, Ricotta, egg, salt and pepper, stir until well combined.

Carefully peel off a sheet of phyllo dough, lay flat and brush with butter. Add another layer of phyllo and brush with butter, add one more for a total of three.

Place a small amount of spinach mixture onto each piece of dough. Fold phyllo into triangles around the mixture. Brush with butter. Repeat until you are out of filling.

Place filled phyllo dough triangles on a large baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Acorn Squash & Carrot Soup

With Fall firmly in our grasp here in Oregon, I decided to try creating a soup full of fall flavors. I had an Acorn Squash that needed eating and a bunch of Carrots.

I roasted all the vegetables first, to add an additional dimension of flavor, added a bit of heavy cream, and finally some citrus to punch it up a bit. It turned out beautifully! I thought it was delicious and unusual!

1 acorn squash cut in half, seeded
10 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3 inch sections
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 4ths
1 Orange, the juice of (or you could use several tablespoons of Orange Concentrate)
Olive Oil
Fresh Thyme sprigs
1/2 cup of Heavy Cream
1 can low sodium chicken broth
1 soup can water
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 tsp nutmeg
good shake of ginger
small shake of allspice

You must first roast your vegetables, place them on a heavy sheet pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper and thyme and toss.

Roast at 385 degrees for about 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally (I had to do it in 2 batches)

Remove and let cool, you can then dig the pulp out of the the Acorn squash and put it directly into the soup pot with the remaining roasted vegetables.

Add the broth and the can of water, and the spices, go easy at first you can add more later

Puree in a blender our use your handy immersion blender, heat soup up to serving temperature

Add your orange juice and heavy cream, taste and re-season as you like. I am a huge fan of ginger and nutmeg so I added more.

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