When I packed up most of my belongings into a POD, I had all kinds of food and drinks for those who came to help: cookies, pizza, ranch pretzels, candy, juice, pop (yes pop), and liquor. Drinking liquor while moving heavy boxes and furniture is a fantastic idea, isn’t it? Okay maybe not large quantities of it but I did have several more than half-empty bottles of liquor that I was in no mood to put in a box and move, so I told my my friends to drink up or at least take it with them when they left.
There were however a couple select bottles that I did keep and brought them with me. Such as a new bottle of Patron silver, several bottles of wine, and the remnants of Disaronno. Now, my parents do not drink alcohol except on the rare occasion but that didn’t stop me from getting excited by the idea of making pork chops with an amaretto glaze.
It’s been a long time since I’ve cooked pork chops, but these were the most tender and juicy pork chops I have ever had. I’m not sure if it was pounding the crap out of them with a meat mallet that did it or the cooking method, but either way they were fantastic. And in case you didn’t think it could possibly get any better, they were also smothered in a amaretto-maple glaze. Winner winner
chicken pork chop dinner.
This month I had the pleasure of browsing through the recipes by the very person who gave us The Secret Recipe Club – April of Angels Homestead! Some recipes of hers that I enjoyed included a festive Shamrock Pizza for St. Patrick’s Day, Creamy Salsa Verde, and even a recipe for 2-Ingredient Banana Pancakes using just banana and egg whites. She also just celebrated her 4th blogiversary last week, so head on over and check out her blog (there’s even a giveaway).
I chose to make her recipe for smoked sausage with bell peppers and onion. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to prepare and couldn’t be easier, making it a perfect weeknight meal. Caramelize the peppers and onion, then add the sausage until heated through. There is no need for a sauce and just some garlic for seasoning. The sweet bell peppers, onion and smoked sausage bring plenty of flavor and moisture all on their own.
Two years ago: Grilled Balsamic Chicken with Mozzarella and Pesto
It’s that time of the month again! No not that, sick-o…. it’s the 4th Thursday and the month and therefore Pass the Cook Book Club time! For July, we were given three recipes from Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust by Ina Garten. I almost made the blondies but ended up going for the ribs as I have never cooked them myself before.
I prepared the BBQ sauce the day before to make my life easier the next day when cooking the ribs. The BBQ sauce alone smelled amazing as it simmered on the stove and this recipe made a TON of BBQ sauce (I had a lot of BBQ sauce leftover, but I am actually excited about it because it’s delicious). Then the next day, my plan-ahead-preparations were thrown off by going to the store to buy the ribs and finding out they were frozen solid! I then had to thaw them in the sink full with water but it worked fairly quickly.
Finally, once they were in the oven topped with BBQ sauce, their aromas began seeping through the surrounding rooms. Despite the treat my nose was enjoying, I was still nervous somehow about whether they would be good or not because I am not a grill-master. But as soon as they were transferred to the grill I was convinced they had to be good when one of the bones literally fell off the meat. This was further verified upon finally sinking my teeth into the ribs and cleaning off every bone – not a trace of meat left on those suckers!
One year ago: Strawberry Malted Pancakes
When I told On the Border Products that I was planning a Taco Night dinner, they made sure to send me all the necessary ingredients to complete the taco bar experience. In fact they almost overwhelmed me with options by sending four different kinds of tortillas chips, two cheese dips, and also four salsas with varying degrees of spice and chunkiness. I was excited to see the Guac Blast chips again after the fun chicken recipe I made with them in the past.
But of course what’s a taco bar without some margaritas? They also sent along two different margarita mixes, but instead of filling up the bucket and freezing the entire thing, I decided to mix per order in case people preferred blended or on the rocks. It was really easy to mix and tasted great either way.
For the tacos I decided to make some slow cooked Mexican pulled pork. I’ve made two kinds of Mexican pulled chicken for tacos and nachos so it was time for a little change. Once cooked, the pork was extremely tender and full of flavor. Definitely worth the wait as it was also great topped with On the Border’s salsa, cheese dip and all your other favorite taco toppings.
I also made an avocado cheese ball to go with all those chips, and the recipe will be shared tomorrow!
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I know I was just complaining about the heat being back, but with rain predicted the rest of the week it’s actually staying below 90 for a few days, hooray! I’m really loving this milder summer Memphis has had thus far because that means I can turn on my oven guilt-free (and high-bill free). I should probably bake a bunch this week just in case it’s never cool again, but that also means I need to clear out some space in my freezer to store them. The three ice cream flavors I currently have in there are not being devoured fast enough! Who wants to come over for an ice cream party??
But today’s post isn’t about ice cream or baked desserts, is about baked meat! Some people are a little weirded out by fruit and meat combos. I happen to thoroughly enjoy things such as hawaiian pizza, orange beef and chicken, kebabs, pineapple fried rice, and the first offender is likely my mom’s pineapple burger. Fruit and meat entrees are especially desirable during the summer and this recipe hits the spot. A (not-dried-out) pork loin chop is topped off with an avocado-mango salsa and served with a spinach quinoa. It’s a light yet filling meal, but if for some reason you need a little more try scooping up some of the salsa with corn chips! I actually had a little bit of leftover salsa and ended up doing that exact thing the next day.
Fried rice is one of my favorites although I’ve only made it myself a handful of times. It is likely due to Qing bringing in fresh homemade fried rice for us at work sometimes, and I am convinced I cannot make it any better. One of these days I need to watch her make it. She uses Asian BBQ pork which you can only buy at the Asian grocery store – another place I need to check out evidently.
Meanwhile while planning to invade her kitchen, I took a stab at fried rice again with this pineapple and pork chop version. Granted there is no competition when it comes to Qing’s fried rice, but it was still quite good. Next time I would use less onion, but that may just be my preference. But I really thought the grilled pineapple was a must for the flavor of this dish. Start up your grill!
Be sure to check out the original post by The Pioneer Woman for great step-by-step photos.
Ask and you shall receive. On my last pizza post, many of you left comments to keep the pizzas rolling so here’s this week’s installment! This time I’ve made a recipe I found on Bev Cooks awhile back. You make a pesto using spinach leaves for the sauce, and top it off with red pepper, Italian sausage and of course Mozzarella cheese. It’s a pretty fantastic little dance of ingredients. And they certainly look good together too!
Of course as with all of my pizza recipes, you do not need a stone and peel to make pizza at home. Just cook it on a pizza pan or cookie sheet as you prefer, but I am convinced that the crust comes out as pure perfection when using a stone. So you really should get your hands on one sooner rather than later. Probably my favorite kitchen item ever. And I am sure you can tell how well-loved it is by it’s stained appearance in pictures.
By the way, is anyone shocked that I rate every pizza I make as 2-3 servings? Maybe I am just a fat kid but there’s hardly a pizza made in my kitchen that ends up producing more than 3 servings. Maybe I cut my slices too big, but I don’t care O:-).
Hope everyone had as great of weather as we did over the weekend. First my dad and I took care of a few odd things around my apartment, such as hanging my newest work of art (check it out). We were super crafty too because I didn’t have a level, just used a straight piece of wood and a tape measure. Then my dad and I took advantage of the weather and spent some time walking around the Lichtnerman Nature Center on Saturday followed by a movie and some great frozen custard eaten on a bench outside. On Sunday we enjoyed brunch on a friend of mine’s roof-patio, followed by cooking our holiday dinner with all the windows open in my apt, while the wonderful aromas were filling my kitchen.
Now that we are on the subject of food, have you ever flavor injected your meat? If you haven’t you really should. It results in serious flavor saturation. And with this ham recipe, you also get a nice sweet glaze on the outside, locking in all of that flavor. Of course, since this was a pre-spiral cut ham some of the injected juices leaked out, but having it seep through the layers was good enough for me. This recipe made way too much for the number of people who were eating it, but leftovers are not frowned upon!
Serves approximately 20
1-10 lb. fully cooked, spiral-cut smoked ham, on the bone
1 cup mango chutney
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup pineapple juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the ham on a rack in a heavy roasting pan, cut-side down.
- In a pot over medium heat, add chutney, sugar, syrup and juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved and then bring to a simmer. Continue to cook until it begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Using a flavor injector, inject ham with some of the cooled glaze mixture all over, inserting the needle in various directions (use as much as desired). Pour the remainder of the glaze over the ham and cover completely with foil.
- Bake for 2 hours until the ham is fully heated. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Source: The Spiffy Cookie original
I have a confession. I originally did make something using andouille sausage for the Holiday Recipe Club blog hop yesterday, and it was this mac and cheese. Instead I had decided to post something that was a little more in the spirit of the Mardi Gras holiday (hence the bananas foster muffins). But now it’s time to share the savory side of how this holiday was celebrated in my kitchen.
I cannot recall the last time I ate andouille sausage but such a question will become easy to answer now that I have made this because I definitely plan to make it again. Recipes that take traditional mac and cheese for a spin by adding other ingredients and seasonings, such as seen in this recipe, are some of my favorites. Mac and cheese really is a great base for the construction of a very delicious meal – after all, how can you go wrong with pasta and cheese?
One year ago: Pizza Bagels
CAJUN MAC & CHEESE
12 ounces whole-wheat pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
6 oz. andouille sausage, diced
2 bunches green onions, sliced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbsp Cajun spice blend
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Salt & pepper
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 1 minute less than package directs. Reserve 1 cup of cooking water then drain pasta.
- In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until it begins to brown. Add onions and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the Cajun seasoning and flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes longer. Gradually and carefully whisk in the milk. Whisk until sauce is thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes.
- Add the cooked pasta and cheese to the skillet, tossing to combine. Add pasta water to thin sauce if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for 1 minute. Serve.
Source: Adapted slightly from Handle the Heat, originally from Food Network Magazine March 2012.
Have you made plans for Valentine’s Day yet? I actually do not have any yet, but in the meantime have not slacked off on making Valentine’s Day inspired treats and meals. For example, after I mastered the stromboli I decided it was time to take on the calzone. But not just any calzone, but a heart-shaped one! And it conveniently serves two people. Or maybe four if you serve anything substantial on the side.
And if the shape alone wasn’t enough this baby is actually stuffed with sausage lasagna filling. Gooey, cheesy, meaty loveliness wrapped up in dough. Yup, go ahead and eat your heart out. (Sorry sorry couldn’t resist)
One year ago: Oreo Truffles
SAUSAGE LASAGNA HEART CALZONE
1/2 lb pizza dough
1 lb spicy Italian sausage
1-1/2 cups pizza sauce
8 oz low fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Pinch of salt, fresh cracked pepper
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning, plus more for topping (optional)
1 egg, beaten (for brushing dough)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown sausage until browned. Drain and return back to skillet. Add pasta sauce and reduce heat to low to simmer.
- Place ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella cheese and seasonings in a mixing bowl. Mix until well combined.
- Cut the pizza doughs in half. On a floured sheet of parchment paper, form two large hearts and roll until about 1/8″ thick. Move one dough-heart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Top the dough-heart on the baking sheet with sausage marinara then with ricotta (you may have leftovers), leaving a 1/2″ edge. Brush the edges of the dough with egg and top with remaining dough-heart. Press seams together, brush entire top lightly with egg then sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Cut a few slices in the top, transfer to a cookie sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
Source: Adapted slightly from Picky Palate.