Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Herb Crusted Pork Chops with Balsamic Onions and Creamy Parmesan Orzo


Not gonna lie, this was an awesome dinner. The best part is how EASY it is to make, even on a weeknight. There was very little clean up which made for one happy Julia.

For the Pork Chops:

-Ingredients-
1/2 c flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 c Panko bread crumbs
1 T thyme, finely chopped
1 T rosemary, finely chopped
1 t basil, finely chopped
1 t sage, finely chopped
salt and pepper
4 center cut pork chops
olive oil, as needed for pan frying

-Directions-

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Place flour, eggs, and panko in 3 separate bowls next to each other for a breading station. Add the chopped herbs to the panko and mix around. First, salt and pepper the chops. Coat them in the flour, dip them in the egg, and then coat them generously with the breadcrumb mixture. Place on a plate and refrigerate for 20 minutes so your coating won't fall off while frying.

3. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add the pork chops and fry until golden brown on each side. (2-3 minutes per side). Transfer to a cookie sheet.

4. Place the chops in the oven and cook until they are done (about 5 minutes, depending on thickness). Remove from oven and allow to rest briefly. Serve with balsamic onions.

For the Balsamic Onions:

-Ingredients-

2 T olive oil
1 large onion, very thinly sliced
salt and pepper
2 T balsamic vinegar

1. In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent.

2. Season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until the onions begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar and continue to cook until the onions are completely caramelized and very soft. Serve on top of the finished pork chops.

For the Creamy Parmesan Orzo:

-Ingredients-
1 T butter
1 c orzo
1 1/4 c chicken broth
1 1/4 c water
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c frozen peas
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper

1. Heat butter in medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add orzo and cook about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken broth and water and stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat, simmering until all of the liquid is absorbed by the orzo, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in cheese, peas, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

St. Patty's Day Gnocchi



Well, I told ya'll I would not be able to post as much once spring break was over! I made this dish on St. Patricks day and to be perfectly honest... I did not enjoy it too much. The first few bites were delicious but it was so SO rich that I found myself picking out the gnocchi and shaking most of the sauce off. I did want to share it with you though!

Next time... I would definitely halve the sauce as there was so much when I was done it looked like a chowder. Otherwise I would have really enjoyed the dish. Oh.. would have used a lot more cabbage too! It cooks down so much while you're caramelizing it you cant even taste that its there!

-Ingredients-
2 T butter
1 T canola oil
1/4 c small diced carrots (but on the actual episode he said to chop them larger so they don't get mushy during all of the caramelization)
1 c diced cabbage (would use more!)
1 T minced shallots
1 t minced garlic
2 c cooked corned beef, sliced and shredded
1 t fresh ground pepper
1/4 c white whine
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 1/2 c half and half
1 T dijon mustard
1 T whole-grain mustard
1 T prepared horseradish
2 c grated sharp Irish cheddar
3/4 c peas, fresh or frozen
1 package gnocchi (recipe called for 1 lb linguine but I thought gnocchi would be better!)
1/4 c grated parmesan

-Directions-



1. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat, add butter and canola oil. Add the carrots and cabbage and cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage starts to caramelize, about 20 minutes.

2. Stir in the shallots and garlic and saute another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the corned beef and black pepper and cook until beef is crispy, about 10 minutes.

3. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add the cream, half and half, the mustards and horseradish. Let simmer until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir in the shredded cheese.

4. Meanwhile, cook your gnocchi (or linguine). When done, stir into the sauce and add the peas. Serve immediately garnished with the parmesan cheese.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

Meaty Meat Lasagna



Lasagna. What is more comforting than that? This is not a recipe I received from anywhere, but I have learned it through watching my mom and making my own sauces over the years.

I will admit, it is odd trying to measure what I put into my bolognese sauce.. I usually just throw in proportions measuring with my hands or my eyes but I made an attempt to get measurements for blog purposes. :)

Please, don't use jarred sauce. It is so easy and just as cost effective to make your own sauce.

-Ingredients-
1 lb ground beef
1 lb hot italian sausage, casings removed (or bulk)
4 cloves garlic
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 6 1/2 oz cans tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 c dry red wine
1 T salt
1 t pepper
1 T oregano
2 T sugar
1/2 T basil
2 bay leaves
2 c mozzarella
3/4 c grated parmesan
15 oz ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 box no boil lasagna noodles

-Directions-

Preheat oven to 375.

Brown ground beef, sausage, onions and garlic. Drain.

Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bay leaves and seasoning. Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours. Remove bay leaves.

Combine ricotta with the 2 eggs, mixing thoroughly.

Layer your lasagna in a 13x9x3 inch pan:



1 1/2 c sauce
4 noodles, overlapping (they will expand to the outer edges while cooking)
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the sauce
1/2 c mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

4 noodles, overlapping
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the sauce
1/2 c mozzarella
1/4 c parmesan

4 noodles, overlapping
1/3 of the ricotta mixture
1/4 of the meat sauce

4 noodles, overlapping
1/4 of the meat sauce
1 c mozzarella cheese
1/4 c parmesan cheese

Spray aluminum foil with cooking spray and place on top of lasagna (sprayed side down). Cook 55 minutes. Remove foil and cook another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Let lasagna rest uncovered for 15 minutes before serving.



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Roast Half Spring Chickens with Potatoes, Olives, and Lemon



This is a Rachael Ray recipe. I use her recipes a LOT. I know we just had roasted vegetables last week but.. I love them AND this recipe looked different to me.

I was terrified to cut a chicken in half, but it was actually very easy. Watch a video showing you how here.




Anyways, the dish turned out great and smelled awesome while cooking. Brining made the chicken so succulent and the olives and lemon gave the veggies a different flavor. I did not use spring chickens because they had a regular fryer chicken on sale at Lowes so I grabbed that. It was a lot of food for the two of us but we have lots of leftover chicken! This recipe serves four.

-Ingredients-


For the brine:
4 tablespoons Kosher salt
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
2 stems rosemary, cut into two inch pieces
A few bay leaves
A few sprigs thyme
2 1/2 quarts water

2 halved small spring chickens (2 birds, 3-3 1/2 lbs, halved)

1 sack pearl onions
2 pounds baby potatoes, smaller ones whole larger ones cut in half
1 bulb garlic, cloves crushed and skinned
2 lemons, one sliced, the other cut into quarters
1 cup good quality green olives
A few fresh bay leaves
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
oil
salt and pepper

-Preparation-

The day before the meal, combine the brine ingredients and the chicken in a large bag. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

The next day:
Preheat oven to 500.
Boil water in a medium pot and add pearl onions. Cook 3-4 minutes. Drain and cool in an ice bath. Squish onions out of their skins, leaving them whole. Place in a shallow roasting dish. Add potatoes, olives, lemon, garlic, bay leaves, rosemary and thyme. Drizzle with a little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place a cooling rack over the baking dish.


Remove chicken from the brine and pat dry. Coat skin with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on top of the vegetables and roast at 500 for 35 minutes then turn down the heat to 300 and roast for another 20-30 minutes.

Turn the oven off and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve chickens with the quartered lemon to squeeze on top. Serve with the vegetables on the side.



Monday, March 14, 2011

Forewarning

I will be posting a lot of recipes this week. I already have them all planned out and I'm excited! :)

But... I want to point out on my first week of blogging that I AM on spring break and I don't usually make such lavish meals every night of the week. This week I'm posting a lot. "Grand Opening" of my blog, if you will. Unfortch, I will probably be posting only a couple of times a week once SB2K11 is over. My last spring break ever, by the way. I guess that's okay since I'm 24 and should have had my last spring break 3 years ago. Oh wellll.

Either way, this week there will be many delectameals posted. So stay tuned. Woot!

10 Ideas For: Rotisserie Chicken

10 ideas for: rotisserie chicken

I am always stuck with leftover chicken and trying to find new ways to use it up. Real Simple provides a few in their March 2011 issue.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Steak with Individual Potato Gratins and Grilled Asparagus




Today was such a beautiful day here in North Carolina, it would have been foolish to NOT grill out for dinner! What better to grill than a big juicy steak? There were some New York strips on sale at Lowes so thats what I got. I usually prefer ribeyes or filets but I was trying to save some money. I wish I hadn't because I am so nervous I will overcook the strips (because I've done it a few times before) that I took the steaks off way too early. We threw them back on for a couple of minutes. They were cooked perfectly but still.. not as tender as a ribeye or filet.

I knew I wanted a side dish that involved potato, because well.. meat and potatoes.. duh. I didn't just want a regular baked potato tonight though. I remembered a recipe I used a while back from Melissa D' arabian and I thought that would be good for tonight.

I'm glad Lowes had the nice, thin asparagus I like. I hate the big fat ones. It doesn't get much better than grilled asparagus.

How I Made the Steaks:

I make steaks one of two ways. Sometimes I marinade the steak in Dale's for about 20 minutes before throwing them on the grill (any longer and they become wayyyy too salty). Wes' dad introduced me to Dale's and I made them that way every single time for a while. But sometimes I now simply salt and pepper the steak before grilling, then placing a pat of garlic butter on the steaks while they rest after cooking. Both ways are delicious. I was in the mood for Dale's tonight though. In total, I grilled the steaks for 8 minutes for medium rare. Yum.


5-Minute Individual Potato Gratins:

-Ingredients-
Vegetable Spray
2 large russet potatoes, roughly peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 Cup grated cheese (Recipe calls for Swiss- I used 3 cheddar blend with cream cheese)
2 green onions, finely chopped
salt
freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup heavy cream

-Directions-
Preheat oven to 375
Spray 8 muffin tins with cooking spray. Layer potato slices, cheese, and green onions into each muffin cup. Season with salt and pepper and top each gratin with a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream. Cover with foil and bake 30 to 40 minutes, removing the foil halfway through cooking time. Invert gratins on a plate and serve. (Note: This recipe serves 4-6 people. I halved the recipe, using only one potato and I still had leftover after making 4 muffin tin gratins. I have also used fat free milk in place of the cream and the result was still delicious.)


Grilled Asparagus:



-Ingredients-
Bunch of asparagus
Canola oil
Greek seasoning
Lemon juice


-Directions-
First, trim the woody ends off of the asparagus, toss in canola oil in a large bowl. Cover the asparagus LIBERALLY with Greek seasoning. I'm giving you permission to go crazy. Throw in a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice and toss again. YUM. (This recipe also works well with broccoli- grilled our sauteed.)


I also have a chicken brining for tomorrow night's meal... can't wait!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It really grinds my gears when...


Sitting here watching Food Network (on a Saturday night...woot) and I realized something that always upsets me.

Please, do not compare mushrooms to meat.

Mushrooms are not meat. Meat is not a mushroom. I don't care if the texture is similar or whatever other stupid reasons that may be had. I want meat, not a mushroom.

If you didn't know this about me already.. it is time that you learn. I love meat. I love cooking it and eating it. Grilling, roasting, searing oh my.





Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mock Beef Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables and Gravy


















For my first blog post I wanted to make something I am somewhat familiar with. I had my sister over and Wes had a friend over so I wanted to make a large protein. When I saw eye of round was on sale at Lowe's I decided that would be perfect. And perfect it was...
(I'm still working on my food photography s
kills..practice makes perfect, right?)

Mock Beef Tenderloin and Roasted Vegetables

3 lbs eye of round roast
meat tenderizer
Montreal Steak Seasoning (or seasoning of choice)
3 carrots
3 stalks of celery
1 large onion
10 baby red potatoes
canola oil
salt
pepper
Gravy (homemade would be best... I used a McCormick mix because it was an afterthought)

Preheat oven to 425.
Wash the carrots, celery and potatoes.
Peel the carrots and cut on a bias into chunks.
Cut the celery on a bias into equally sized chunks.
Cut the onion into large chunks. (Do not pull the petals apart)
Quarter the potatoes.
Toss all of the vegetables in canola oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Line the bottom of a roasting pan with the vegetables.
Season all sides of the roast with meat tenderizer and your choice of seasoning.
Place the roast on top of the vegetables.
Cook for 45-55 minutes for rare (135 degrees) or 60-65 minutes for medium (150 degrees).
Remove roast and let rest on a plate tented loosely with foil for 10 minutes.
In the mean time, I threw the veggies back in the oven to get a bit more caramelized plus to keep them hot.
While the meat is resting and the veggies are finishing, prepare gravy. I used McCormick mix because I decided last minute I wanted gravy and thats what I had.
Slice the roast, take out the veggies and serve! yum!









Another Attempt..

I have attempted to start blogs before, but never ended up updating them more than once or twice.

I started to wonder... why does this happen? I seem so excited at first and then just forget about it. It certainly doesn't help my case that I have a reputation for never finishing what I start.

Then, I figured it out. I was never writing about something I truly cared about or anything I felt others would want to read. I would start to write about my daily life but then I realized, who wants to read about my boring life anyway?

But food... everyone loves food. I love food. I love to cook. So why not share my successes and failures in the kitchen with anyone who is interested? This is my goal. I will update as often as I can and attempt to post attractive pictures of the meals I make. We'll see how this goes...