Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pork Chops in an Orange-Cumin Sauce



I needed a quick and easy meal to cook for dinner last Friday night cause I had a lot to do...laundry, yuk!  I have made this particular orange-cumin sauce for one of my grilled chicken dishes but didn't have time for grilling. 

So knowing that I had pork chops on hand, I adapted that yummy sauce to become a pan sauce for the chops.  My oh my, was this yummy!

It's an easy weeknight meal with great flavors, Latin flavors, like a mojo sauce.  It has just a few ingredients so you can whip it up in a flash!

Hope you enjoy this recipe....we sure did!

You will need:  pork chops, orange juice, cumin, 2 oranges for zest and the segments, and cilantro. That's it! 

Zest your orange.  Next peel the oranges, be sure to remove the white membrane. (This part is bitter!)  Cut segments from the orange by slicing in between the white membranes.  


Place a tablespoon of oil in a hot skillet.  Salt and pepper both sides of your pork chops.  I used boneless skinless thin chops, but you can certainly use bone-in if you prefer.  (Thick or thin!)


Place chops in the hot skillet, cooking on the 1st side for 3-4 minutes. (Increase cooking time if using thick or bone-in chops)

Turn over chops and cook an additional 3 minutes until browned and cooked through.


Remove chops to a platter and keep warm.

Add zest, orange juice, and cumin to the skillet.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 1 1/2 minutes.



Remove from the heat and add orange segments.


Spoon mixture over pork chops on the platter and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.



Super flavors!


Pork Chops in an Orange-Cumin Sauce

Serves 4

1 T oil
4 pork chops boneless or bone-in
Salt and pepper
1 ½ t. cumin
2 T orange zest
1/2 cup orange juice
2 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
           
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Season pork with salt and pepper and cook until cooked through, 3-4 minutes, flipping once. Transfer to a platter and keep warm.
Add orange zest, juice, and cumin to the skillet. Cook until slightly thickened, 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in orange segments. To serve, spoon orange mixture over pork chops and top with cilantro.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chicken with Lemon Sauce



When I was visiting Mom a few weeks back we had so much fun cooking together.  Making old family favorites, and some new ones too.

One dish my mom always likes to make is Chicken with Lemon Sauce.  She absolutely LOVES LOVES LOVES lemon anything, but especially lemon chicken, be it stir fry or Italian style...anything lemon goes! 

This is a simple take on a chicken scaloppini, similar in technique and flavor.  


This can be made as a quick weeknight meal or served as an elegant dinner for guests.  Serve it with pasta or rice as we did, and change up your vegetables to fit your mood.

Hope you enjoy this as much as my mom does.  It's super easy to make.

Here we go...

You will need:  chicken breasts, flour, butter, chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest and parsley.

Butterfly your chicken breasts, not cutting all the way through so you have a large piece.  Place the breasts in between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound the breast out thin.  Go ahead pound that baby!

Salt and pepper your chicken.  Then put some flour in a pan and dredge your chicken breasts on both sides in the flour.



Heat up a skillet and put a pad of butter in it to melt.  Once heated add your chicken breasts and cook for about 3-4 minutes.


Turn your chicken over.  See how nice and golden!


Add your chicken broth, lemon juice and zest.  Cook chicken for another 3-4 min until done.  You can baste the chicken with the juices at this time to give it flavor.


Remove the chicken to a pan and keep warm.  Turn up your fire and cook the sauce until it thickens about 2 min.  Sauce should be boiling to reduce and thicken.

Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle parsley on top and serve.  Oops! I forgot the parsley on ours...oh well, use your imagination!



Yummy!




Chicken with Lemon Sauce

Serves: 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
3 T. flour
2 T. butter
1/2 c. low sodium chicken broth
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest
3 T. fresh parsley chopped (optional)


Butterfly your chicken breasts, but don't cut all the way through.  Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap; pound to an even thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt and pepper to season. Place flour in a pan and dredge chicken in flour.
Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pan and cook 3 minutes. Turn chicken over. Add broth, juice, and zest.  Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 3 minutes, basting chicken occasionally with sauce.  Remove chicken from pan; keep warm.
Bring sauce to a boil; cook 2 minutes or until thick. Serve over chicken.  Sprinkle with parsley!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Product Review: Williams-Sonoma White Chili Starter

Today's post is a new type of post... 

 A Product Review

I thought that you all might benefit from reviews of products that you may like to try but haven't.  These reviews will be of a food item that I've recently purchased and used.  Just an honest opinion of the product. They are not sponsored by anyone.

I hope you enjoy these reviews.

Williams-Sonoma White Chili Starter


I made White Chicken Chili using Williams-Sonoma starter last Saturday when it was cold and rainy here in LA.  I used the recipe straight off the bottle.  I found that it was a simple recipe and very easy to make.  Cook time was about 40 min. 

The flavor of the starter has a very nice combination of spices and made for a tasty chili.  It is not hot with spicy heat, and I detected the lime juice to be a prominent flavor.  Not overpowering but definitely prominent.  My boyfriend and I both ate this for dinner and liked the flavor.  The one shortfall is the servings per bottle.  This bottle makes about 4 servings.  If you eat a good portion then most likely it will only be enough for 2 people.  MGG ate 2 bowls full, and they were not more than 1 1/2 cups each serving, I ate only 1 bowl.  There was just enough for lunch the following day for 1 person.



The cost is $14.50 at any Williams-Sonoma store or you can order online.  Click here for a link to the product.  White Chili Starter

It's definitely a good item and worth trying.  My only reservation would again be the cost per bottle/serving.

If you try this item or have in the past, let me know what you think!

Here's the recipe:

Easy White Chili
Whip up a pot of this Southwestern-style chili with ease by using our time-saving starter. You can prepare the chili with cubed chicken breast or ground chicken or turkey.
Ingredients:
  • 1 to 1 1/4 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, or ground chicken or turkey
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 jar white chili starter
Tortilla chips, chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream for serving
Directions:
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Stovetop method: In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Return all the chicken to the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the white chili starter, stirring to scrape up the browned bits. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Slow-cooker method: In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the chicken, 4 to 5 minutes per batch. Transfer the chicken to a slow cooker and add the chili starter. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Ladle the chili into warmed bowls and serve immediately with tortilla chips, cilantro and sour cream. Serves 6.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mini Banana Bread Loaves


So I had to come up with a hostess gift for a good friend of mine but this friend is on a low carb diet.  So I found this wonderful recipe from Kraft's Food & Family magazine for Banana Bread Minis and altered it to be sugar-free and/or low carb.  I picked this recipe because it intrigued me as it used a yellow cake mix.

I've never used a cake mix in a bread recipe before.  Will it work?  Will it be too moist? I've got to find out!

So off to the store I go to purchase sugar-free cake mix and sugar free pudding mix.  This really makes the bread low carb.  About 8-10 carbs per serving.  I found that the sugar free ingredients didn't change the texture or rising of the bread. They were moist, a little cake like, but very delicate with a wonder banana flavor.  They were beautiful and tasted so yummy!

I made 5 mini loaves with this recipe.  2 for my girlfriend, and I gave 2 to MGG to share with the guys that work for him, and kept the last for myself.  Ha Ha!

You certainly can try the full carb/sugar version.  Just substitute regular yellow cake mix and pudding mix for the sugar free ones.   



Hope you all try this recipe and let me know if you enjoyed it!

Let's get baking.

You will need:  1 box sugar-free yellow cake mix (Pillsbury), 1 small box of vanilla or banana sugar free pudding mix, eggs, water, oil, 2 large bananas, and some pecans.

Take you cake mix, pudding, eggs, water, and oil and place in a large mixing bowl.  Using a mixer, blend all ingredients until smooth.



Mash your bananas.


Add bananas, and chopped pecans to the batter.


Mix until incorporated.


Pour in to 5 prepared mini loaf pans. (You can use the tin foil ones!)


Cook in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 min. 

Cool on wire rack and then serve!

See how cute they turned out!  My friend will love me forever!






Mini Banana Bread Loaves
prep time 10 min
total time 50 min
makes  20 servings or 5 loaves, 5 servings each

Ingredients:

1 pkg. sugar-free yellow cake mix
1 pkg.  Vanilla Flavor Sugar-Free Instant Pudding
4 eggs
1 cup  water
1/4 cup oil
2 large mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat first 5 ingredients in a large bowl with a mixer for 2 min. or until well blended.  Add bananas and nuts, mix just until blended.
Pour into 5 mini loaf pans sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake 35-40 min. or until toothpick inserted in the centers come out clean.  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Italian Roasted Fries


I love, love, love French Fries!   I have to say that they are one of my favorite foods...so much that I'd be completely satisfied to eat the fries and leave the hamburger.  Is that bad?

Growing up mom always made homemade french fries.  You know, the kind from real potatoes and deep fried in a pan...none of those frozen fries which were not very good back then.

But in my attempt to eat healthier I had to devise a way to lighten up the french fries and still get the same result.  Roasting is a great technique that creates a nicely crispy on the outside frie, pretty brown, and they look like french fries!  Honestly, I love these just as well as the original fried version.  As a matter of fact I only make these type of fries cause they are easy, tasty, and much healthier!  Oh yea, and tasty..did I say that already?

This version jazzes up the fries a little with some Italian flavorings.  Let me know how you like them!  

Here's how to make 'em.

You will need:  russet potatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.

Peel potatoes and cut lengthwise in to planks.  Cut each plank in to long fries (sticks).


Place fries on a baking sheet in a bundle and drizzle with olive oil.  You will want a light coating so don't overdo the olive oil!  About a couple of tablespoons at most. Toss the fries in the oil to coat.


Spread the fries out evenly on the sheet so they are not touching.  Sprinkle with garlic powder to taste.


Sprinkle with Italian seasoning to taste.


Bake in a preheated oven at high heat - 450 degrees so they roast up really nice.  Bake for 15 min.

Take the pan out and turn each of the fries over ( I know this is a little bit of a pain...) and return to the oven.

This browns the other side.  Bake for another 10-15 min. until nicely browned all over and potatoes are done.

My these look good!




Italian Roasted Fries
Serves 4
Ingredients:
2 large russet potatoes
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Italian seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Peel potatoes, cut into planks lengthwise.  Cut each plan into fries.
Place fries on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Just enough to lightly coat.  Toss fries in oil.
Separate fries out on the pan so they are not touching.
Sprinkle with garlic powder.
Sprinkle with Italian seasoning mix.
Bake at 450 degrees for 15 min.  Take fries out and turn them over so they brown on the other side. Return to oven and bake another 10-15 min. until crispy.



Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mom's Beef Stew


Anyone like comfort food?  Anyone having cold weather?

I've got a great solution for both.....Mom's Beef Stew!

This dish is hearty, warming, and brings such a sense of satisfaction!  It's been a family favorite for generations.  It's now a favorite of MGG's as well.  As a matter of fact, it was the first meal I ever made for him.  Such good memories!

Now, this stew takes several hours to cook.  Kinda low a slow, to really create the flavors.  So take some time on the weekend, during these cold winter days, and warm yourself up...make Mom's Beef Stew!

Here's what you need:  stew meat, onion, water, carrots, celery, a can of diced tomatoes, several potatoes, and some salt and pepper.

Cut the stew meat in to bite size pieces.


Cut an onion in to slices.


Add both onion and stew meat to a soup pot or dutch oven, adding water 3/4 of the way to the top.  Add salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Turn down and simmer 1 - 1 1/2 hours.


This is going to make a great broth.  If you loose too much water, just add more, but remember to season the broth again.

Meanwhile, cut the celery and carrots in to small slices.



Add to the pot.  Cook 1 hour.


Add tomatoes and more salt and pepper.  Cook 30 minutes to develop the flavors.


Meanwhile, peel potatoes and cut in to bite sized chunks.


Add potatoes and let them cook another hour.  Taste for seasoning.



Serve and enjoy the warmth and deliciousness!



Mom's Beef Stew

½  lb of stew meat, cut in to bit sized pieces
1 medium onion, sliced
water
3-4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2-3 stalks of celery, sliced
1  14oz can diced tomatoes
3-4 medium sized russet potatoes, cut in to medium chunks
Salt and pepper

In a 5qt stock pot add meat, onion, and enough water to cover 2-3 inches above the meat.  Heat over high heat to boiling and then reduce to simmer.  Add salt and pepper. (you will need to layer your seasonings)  Cook at a simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hrs.  This is going to make your broth.  If you loose too much water, turn your temp down, and add some water.
Add carrots and celery.  Cook 1 hour.
Add tomatoes, more salt and pepper.  Cook 30 min to develop the flavors.
Add potatoes.  Cook 1 hour.  Taste and season as necessary.
Serves 6.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake



So here's the last of my Valentine's Day recipes....you can't have Valentine's Day without chocolate.  Can you??

I was checking out Mom's Kraft Food & Family magazine and on the cover was an amazing bundt cake.  I was a devil's food cake with a mousse layer on top, and even had a chocolate syrup drizzle. 

What really drew me to this cake was the technique.  Don't get me wrong the chocolate is to die for...and I did, trust me, but the method was very unusual.  You see you put the cake layer in first, and then the mousse layer on the top, but by magic they switch places during the baking!!!  How can that be...I had to try it out.

Plus I just wanted a piece of heavenly chocolate cake!

OMG!!! This is all I have to say about this decadent, chocolately, yummy cake.....OMG!!!

Oh yeah, and the layers did switch during the baking!  Amazing!!!

I tweaked the recipe to make this sugar free, but you can just substitute out the Splenda and sugar free cake mix, for full sugar and regular cake mix.

Now be forewarned....this cake takes a lot of time to prep, bake, and refrigerate.  About 5 hours in total...but I had my doubts along the way...but found it was completely worth the effort.

Here's how to make it.

Take a 12-cup bundt pan and spray with cooking spray; pour in chocolate syrup.


 In a large bowl beat cake mix, water, oil and 3 eggs with a mixer 2 min. or until well blended.


Add in the sour cream and mix until smooth. 


Pour this over the syrup in the bundt pan.



Next, in a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and Splenda with mixer until well blended.  


Add eggs, and mix until incorporated.


Add evaporated milk and mix to blend.


In a small bowl melt 4 squares of baker's chocolate until melted.  About 1 1/2 min total. Start with 30 seconds, and stir.  Do another 30 seconds, and stir.  My total was 1 1/2 min.



Add melted chocolate to the mousse mixture and mix to blend completely.




Looks like chocolate milk doesn't it??

Pour the mouse mixture carefully over the cake batter.




Cover with foil and place in a 9x13 pan.  Add about 2" of water.



Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 45 min.  Place in the refrigerator, in the pan and let cool for 2 hours.

Once it has cooled.  Take out of the refrigerator, place a plate on the top and invert cake.  You may need to shake it a couple of time, but it will slide right out.

Holy cow!  Look at this baby!!



See the layers?


Want a piece?

(Oops!  I got in such a hurry I forgot the cool whip!  Oh well! you can add it if you want to)


Gotta go....I need another piece of this cake!  Make this...it's super yummy....Enjoy!!


Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake
Prep: 40 min.
Baking 1 1/2 hrs.
Refrigerating : 2 hrs

1/2 cup sugar-free chocolate syrup
1 pkg.  (2-layer size) sugar-free chocolate devil's food cake mix
1 cup water
1/3 cup  oil
7 eggs, divided
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 cup Splenda
1 can (12 oz.) 2% evaporated milk
4 squares  BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate, melted


SPRAY 12-cup fluted tube pan with cooking spray; pour in chocolate syrup.
          
BEAT cake mix, water, oil and 3 eggs with mixer 2 min. or until well blended; blend in sour cream. Pour over syrup in pan.
          
BEAT cream cheese and sugar with mixer until well blended. Add remaining eggs; mix well. Blend in evaporated milk and melted chocolate; gently spoon over cake batter in pan. Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray, sprayed-side down.
          
PLACE tube pan in shallow pan. Add enough water to larger pan to come at least 2 inches up side of tube pan. Bake 1 hour 30 min. or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate 2 hours. Invert cake onto plate; remove pan. Serve cake topped with COOL WHIP.

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