Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Easy Pork Chop Sauté with Cranberries

Cooking Light

¼ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
4 boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of fat
⅔ cup orange juice
2 ½-3 tablespoons clover honey
2 teaspoons canola oil
¼ cup chopped onion
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped

Mix thyme and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with the thyme mixture.
Stir orange juice and 2 1/2 tablespoons honey in a small bowl until well blended.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and cook until browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Push the chops to one side of the pan, add onion to the empty half and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and beginning to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Pour half the juice mixture into the pan. Add cranberries. Reduce heat to medium and cook, turning the chops occasionally, until cooked through, 2 to 4 minutes.
Transfer the chops to a serving plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Add the remaining juice mixture to the pan. Increase heat to high and cook until the mixtures reduces to form a syrupy sauce, about 2 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper and up to an additional 1/2 tablespoon honey to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chops. Serves 2 (if you use thin chops) or 4 (thick chops)

Paradise Potatoes

1 large russet potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5-6 oz. fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup diced tomato (I used grape tomatoes)
salt and pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
sour cream

In a large skillet, cook the potatoes in the oil until lightly browned on one side. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper. Continue to cook until potatoes are brown and vegetables are cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Add tomatoes; top with cheddar cheese. Turn off heat and over until cheese has melted. Serve with salsa and sour cream. Serves 2-3.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup butter, softened
2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup finely chopped pecans
¼ teaspoon allspice
⅛ teaspoon ground clove
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 pinch ginger

12 ounces cream cheese (1.5 packages), softened
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
3 eggs
¾ cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
½ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoons cinnamon
¾ teaspoons ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground clove

Preheat oven to 350˚. Generously grease 13" x 9" pan. Cream brown sugar and margarine. Add allspice, clove, nutmeg and ginger. With electric mixer on low, add Bisquick and nuts until mixture is crumbly. Reserve two cups. Press remaining mixture in pan with fingers. Bake 10 minutes.

Beat cream cheese in electric mixer until smooth. Add sugars, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and clove and mix well until smooth. Pour mixture over crust in pan, and sprinkle with remaining two cups of crust mixture. Bake until center is set and top is golden, about 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting, serve well-chilled.

Orange-Garlic Beef

3 tablespoons oil
1 lb. boneless beef sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon orange peel
⅓ cup water
1 can condensed mushroom soup, (I used the fat-free kind)
¼ cup tomato paste
¼ cup orange juice
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
2 tablespoon molasses
pepper, to taste

Brown steak strips in oil over medium-high heat. Remove from pan and transfer to crockpot. Top strips with onion, garlic and orange peel. Stir water,soup, tomato paste, orange juice, bouillon granules and molasses together and pour over mixture in crockpot. Sprinkle pepper over all. Cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours and serve over hot noodles or rice.

Pumpkin Waffles

from Joe of Culinary in the Country

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups vanilla soymilk (I used regular milk)
1 cup mashed pumpkin
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and cloves.
In a small bowl, whisk together milk, mashed pumpkin, sugar, oil and egg. Pour into dry ingredients and stir just until moist.

Preheat waffle iron. Using about 1/4 cup of the batter per waffle, pour mixture into waffle iron. Let cook until the steam begins to subside - about 4-7 minutes. Remove waffles and repeat until batter is used up. Makes about 8 regular sized waffles.

Cocoa-Chili-Rubbed Chicken

1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a small bowl, toss together chili powder, cocoa, oregano, thyme, sugar and salt.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium. Brush chicken breasts with remaining oil and rub each generously with the spice mixture on both sides. Place the chicken into the skillet and sear on both sides. Place the skillet into the oven and bake until the chicken has cooked through, about 10 to 12 minutes.

Slow-Cooked Vegetable Soup

from Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook

* 3/4 cup chopped onion
* 1/2 cup chopped celery
* 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 large potato, peeled and diced
* 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
* 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
* 2 medium fresh tomatoes, chopped
* 1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
* 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
* 2 teaspoons soy sauce
* 1 teaspoon paprika
* 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1 bay leaf
* Dash cayenne pepper
In a large skillet, saute the onion, celery and green pepper in oil until crisp-tender. Add potato, sweet potato and garlic; saute 3-5 minutes longer. Transfer to a 5-qt. slow cooker. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 9-10 hours or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf. Yield: 12 serving (about 3 quarts).

Baked P'Sketti Squares

from Dorothy Reinhold in the San Bernardino County Sun

8 oz. dry spaghetti
1 ½ cups shredded zucchini, (about 2 small)
½ cup milk
1 egg
¾ tsp. dried oregano
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. onion powder
3 tablespoon grated Parmesan
1 26-oz. jar spaghetti sauce (I used Newman's Own Cabernet Marinara)
1-2 oz. thinly sliced salami or pepperoni, chopped (I used salami this time)
1 8 oz. bag shredded Mozzarella

Heat oven to 350˚. Mist a 13 x 9" baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain well and pour cooked noodles into prepared dish. Sprinkle with shredded zucchini and stir to mix. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure milk and add egg, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. Whisk with a fork to blend well. Pour milk mixture over cooked spaghetti and stir a bit to make sure ingredients are mixed in baking dish. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Pour sauce evenly over top. Sprinkle with salami or pepperoni, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle evenly with mozzarella, and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 5-10 minutes, to allow it to firm up enough to hold its shape when you cut it into squares. Serves 8-10.

PB & J Muffins

from Nic of Baking Bites

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
approx 1/3 cup jam (any kind. I like raspberry)

Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, peanut butter, eggs and milk until smooth. Pour into flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Fill each cup of the prepared muffin tin about halfway up with batter. Top each with a heaping teaspoon of jam and cover with remaining batter. Each muffin cup (of a standard 12-cup muffin tin) should be filled to the top.
Bake for 17-20 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top of the muffin springs back when lightly pressed.
Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12.
(I made 36 mini-muffins and 6 large ones)

Pork Roast with Honey, Garlic, & Sage

1 2-3 pounds pork sirloin roast
2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 Tablespoon fresh sage, minced
2 teaspoon crumbled dried sage
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 Tablespoon honey

Original Directions: Heat oven to 400˚. Line shallow roasting pan with foil for easy cleanup. Place pork in pan. In small bowl, stir together oil, lemon juice, garlic, sage and pepper; brush over top and sides of pork roast. Roast for 30-45 minutes; brush honey over top and sides of pork. Roast for 20-30 minutes more, until internal temperature, measured with a meat thermometer, reads 155˚.

My Directions: Soak lid of clay cooker in a sink full of water at least 30 minutes. (If you're using a Romertof, soak both pieces.) Place pork roast in bottom. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, sage, and pepper; pour evenly over roast. Put lid on cooker, place in cold oven. Turn heat on to 400˚. Cook 45 minutes. Drizzle honey over roast; cook another 30 minutes.

Ham and Spinach Pasta

8 ounces dried mostaccioli pasta or ziti pasta or elbow macaroni (I used Dreamfields)
3 tablespoons margarine
3 medium onions, cut into thin wedges (about 3 cups) or 5 medium leeks, sliced (about 3 cups)
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 ½ cups half-and-half or light cream or milk
1 ½ cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups cooked ham, cubed
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained

1. Cook pasta according to package. Drain and rinse.
2. In large saucepan melt margarine. Add onion or leeks and garlic. Cover and cook about 5 mins or till onions are tender, stirring occasionally.
3. Stir in flour, thyme, and pepper.
4. Add half and half, light cream, or milk and the chicken broth all at once.
5. Cook and stir til thick and bubbly. Cook and stir for 1 minute more.
6. Stir in pasta, ham, and spinach.
7. Spoon mixture into a 3 quart casserole.
8. Cover and bake 30-35 mins at 350 or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir gently before serving.

Beef and Cheese Foldover

from my sister Eileen

3/4 - 1 lb. lean ground beef
1/3 cup chopped onion (about half a small onion)
1/2 - 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (I use Bullseye)
2 8-count rolls refrigerated crescent rolls
4 slices American, Velveeta, or cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 375˚. In a large skillet, crumble ground beef and cook with onion until meat is browned. Stir in barbecue sauce. On a large cookie sheet* unroll the crescent rolls into two squares; place side by side to form a long rectangle. Press seams and edges together. Spread meat mixture onto crescent rolls, leaving about 1/2 inch on the ends and 4-5 inches on the sides. Lay the slices of cheese on top of the meat. Fold sides of pastry towards the middle (it can still be open), pressing to seal the ends. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake 17-20 minutes or until golden brown.

* If you're using a stoneware cooking sheet, you'll need to use a longer cooking time to ensure that the bottom gets cooked. If you're using a metal cooking sheet, you'll need to watch it to make sure the bottom doesn't burn. Serves 4-6.

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Furikake

6 slices bacon
1 Tbsp. white wine
2 teaspoons raw cane sugar
1 Tbsp. Yoshida’s gourmet sauce
⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Chop up the bacon quite finely.

In a large frying pan, sauté the bacon over a low-medium heat until it’s rendered a lot of its fat and is fairly crispy, but not burned. Drain the bacon on paper towels. Wipe out the pan to get rid of any bacon fat. Add the other ingredients over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is melted. Return the bacon and stir around until the liquid is gone. Let cool completely. Whirl it in a food processor until very finely chopped. Makes about 3/4 cup. This will keep in the refrigerator for a week or two (if it lasts that long).

Bittersweet Brownie Bites

¼ cup boiling water
1 tablespoon instant espresso granules or 2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
2 teaspoons powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine 1/4 cup boiling water and espresso in a medium bowl. Add chocolate chips, stirring until chocolate melts; cool slightly. Stir in butter, vanilla, egg, and egg white.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Add coffee mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon batter into mini-muffin tins coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.