Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garlic-Rosemary Pork Chops

I may have mentioned that I recently have been loving coconut. The other flavor that I now love is Rosemary. I planned on making pork chops for dinner and was wanting something different and I came across this recipe on Our Best Bites. I worried a little after tasting the rub (before putting it on the pork chops) that it was going to be too mustardy, but my fears were unfounded. The mustard must've (he he) absorbed into the pork chops, leaving only yumminess. I served it with garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad and it was excellent. And if you serve it on a Strawberry Shortcake plate with a princess place mat, it tastes that much better (look at Aurora eyeing my yummy pork chops).

Garlic-Rosemary Pork Chops
Adapted from: www.ourbestbites.com
4 pork chops
2 1/2 Tbsp. oil
4 tsp. dried rosemary
2 1/2 Tbsp. honey mustard
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
A few dashes of pepper

Line baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Stir together the oil, rosemary, mustard, garlic, kosher salt and pepper until well combined. Rub into pork chops (all sides). Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Favorite Oatmeal Cookies

Of all the oatmeal cookies out there, these are my favorite. The recipe is from my mother-in-law and these are delicious eaten cooked or raw. We generally prefer raw. Are you hyperventilating about the raw eggs? Well, don't. I'm pretty sure that when eggs are mixed into dough and then frozen and then consumed, that it alters their chemical make-up and no salmonella bacteria is able to penetrate the egg cells. Umm, or something like that. Okay, I made that up.

Now here is a little secret of mine for most of my recipes involving chocolate chips: multiple chocolate flavors.
I like to add at least semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips and sometimes, if I'm feeling a little crazy, white chocolate chips, too! The more the better! I also always lessen the sugar that it calls for by at least 1/4 cup, sometimes more. Go ahead and try it. You can't tell! (but do lessen the salt a little, too).
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 c. oatmeal (quick is best)
chocolate chips.
Cream together the shortening and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, soda, salt and stir until well combined. Mix in oatmeal and then add chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.
To freeze dough (and eat later, straight out of the freezer) roll it in wax paper in a log-like fashion.
When you want to devour some dough, just pull that dough log out of the freezer and cut a slice off. This is a good way to have cookie dough for an ice cream shake, too. Mmm, cookie dough.
P.S. Why would this picture be turned on its side and how do I fix that? Come on, smart computer family members! Solve this for me!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Primavera Risotto Nests with Fried Eggs

This recipe is (slightly adapted) from Bon Appetit, a food magazine that I have a subscription to (thanks Carolyn). It has really yummy recipes with fancy names, like this one. Almost so fancy that I feel it will taste exotic. This recipe surprised me by how great the flavors blended together and how it didn't taste super exotic or foreign, just wonderful. I was also starving by the time I ate it so that may have helped by how wonderful it was. The rice mixture would have been really good alone, but honestly adding the fried egg on top is what made this recipe so so good!

One thing that may keep me from making it often is the time it took. It takes a lot of stirring by the oven so you need to have all of the ingredients prepped beforehand so you can just dump them in when it calls for them. I'm thinking that I could just cook the arborio rice in the rice cooker with the other ingredients and it might come out the same. I'll have to try it; that would cut down on the time significantly. But seriously, you need to try this recipe when you have a day where you just want to cook something different and yummy!

Primavera Risotto Nests with Fried Eggs

4 T. (1/2 stick) butter, divided
2 c. chopped button mushrooms (I omitted these, I'm not a fan.)
3/4 c. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c. arborio rice
3 1/2 c. vegetable broth, divided (it originally called for 1/2 c. dry white wine, but since we don't drink alcohol I used all broth. I also used chicken instead of vegetable broth.)
3/4 c. 1/3-inch cubes carrots
2 c. diced trimmed asparagus
3 c. (or more) of water
1 c. Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
1/2 c. shelled fresh peas or thawed frozen peas
1/4 c. chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 T. olive oil plus additional for drizzling (we didn't drizzle but it might be good)
4 large eggs

Melt 1 T butter in med. skillet over med./high heat. Ad mushrooms; sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Melt 3 T butter in large pot over med./high heat. Add onion; sauté until beginning to soften. 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add rice and stir until translucent at edges, 5 minutes. Add 1/2 c. broth. Stir until liquid is absorbed, 1 minute. Add 1 c. broth. Simmer until broth is absorbed, stirring often, 3-4 minutes. Add carrots, asparagus, and 1 c. broth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often, 5-6 minutes. continue to add remaining broth, then water, 1 c. at a time, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often and letting almost all liquid be absorbed after each addition, about 25 minutes total.

Stir 1 c. cheese, peas, parsley, and mushrooms into risotto. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 T. oil in large skillet over med./high heat. Cook eggs, without turning, until whites are cooked through and yolks are cooked to desired doneness.

Put rice on plate and use a spoon to make hollow in top of each mound. Top each with egg; drizzle with oil. Serve with additional cheese if desired.

-Now I was fooled by the proportions because it says that this was 4 servings. For us, this was probably double that. It made a lot of food. Also, we both wanted two eggs per dish so keep that in mind too. Oh, but this dish was so good! Let me know if you try it!

Cheddar Ranch Turkey Burgers

This is the recipe that my coworker has been telling me about for a while as we've discussed yummy BBQ recipes. It takes no time at all to prepare, but they're so good! And it makes turkey burgers taste great, so this is a little bit healthier way to try a cheeseburger.

Cheddar Ranch Turkey Burgers

1 lb. of ground turkey
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 packet of ranch dressing mix
lettuce, tomato, ketchup, etc.

Mix ground turkey with cheese and ranch dressing mix until thoroughly combined. Grill until done and assemble.

And that's it. Enjoy your summer BBQ.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tres Leches

We went on a picnic and bike ride with some good friends and so I made a dessert for us to have when we got back. I found this recipe on Pioneer Woman. Her photos are much prettier than mine, but, oh, it's delicious!!

Tres Leches
  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 5 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Sugar, Divided
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • ⅓ cups Milk
  • 1 can Evaporated Milk
  • 1 can Sweetened, Condensed Milk
  • ¼ cups Heavy Cream

  • 1 pint Heavy Cream, For Whipping
  • 3 Tablespoons Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan liberally until coated.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Separate eggs.

Beat egg yolks with 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until yolks are pale yellow. Stir in milk and vanilla. Pour egg yolk mixture over the flour mixture and stir very gently until combined.

Beat egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, pour in remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat until egg whites are stiff but not dry.

Fold egg white mixture into the batter very gently until just combined. Pour into prepared pan and spread to even out the surface.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Turn cake out onto a rimmed platter and allow to cool.

Combine condensed milk, evaporated milk, and heavy cream in a small pitcher. When cake is cool, pierce the surface with a fork several times. Slowly drizzle all but about 1 cup of the milk mixture—try to get as much around the edges of the cake as you can.

Allow the cake to absorb the milk mixture for 30 minutes. To ice the cake, whip 1 pint heavy cream with 3 tablespoons of sugar until thick and spreadable.

Spread over the surface of the cake. Decorate cake with strawberries. Cut into squares and serve.

I don't know why, but my egg whites would not form soft peaks. It seemed to have the opposite effect the longer I beat them. It still cooked with no problems though.
It was the perfect treat to come home to and share with our friends who had never had Tres Leches before. It's one of Matt's favorite cakes because he ate it all the time on his mission, being on the border with Mexico. I am a big fan of very moist cakes, so smothering cake in sugar milk will always sound like a great idea.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Brightest Cupcakes You'll Ever Eat

I thought these cupcakes looked like so much fun! It was my nieces birthdays (a day apart) so I threw a little party while they were here. These may have caused a slight breakdown as I had been looking forward to making them all day, and had worked so hard on our house to get everything unpacked and the nails and other sharp objects put away before the kids came to visit (post move-in and construction items), but it left little time to make them. I was already tired and as I reached into the cupboard to find the food coloring, I remembered I had l let a friend borrow them! Since the food coloring was the most exciting part (however they were delicious!) I was quite upset. So, needless to say, I drove "into town" at 9:30 p.m. to buy some food coloring. It was a good thing in the long run because I was able to get the gel food coloring, which worked very well.

It looks just like play-dough.

Colorburst Cupcakes
1 white cake mix
2 eggs
1 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1/3 C vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients until incorporated (about 30 seconds). Scrape sides of bowl and then beat on med-high speed for 3 minutes.

Divide the batter into separate bowls, depending on how many colors you use. I used 4 colors and it came out to about 1 1/2 cups-ish per bowl.

Use gel food coloring to color batter to desired intensity. (Gel food coloring works better by providing lots of color with less food coloring. I found it in my local grocery store.)

To give the cupcakes a striped look, put a spoonful in at a time and a tip Our Best Bites gave was to set out a little bowl of water and dip your finger in the water and then spread out the batter. This is so the batter doesn't stick to your finger.

Bake them according to the package directions, until a toothpick comes out clean. (Make sure they're not undercooked. My toothpick came out clean and I think they could have used an extra couple of minutes.)

Find a great frosting recipe to top them off with.

I have never had so much fun making cupcakes before; you can get so creative. They just look so yummy (I love that you can see the colors through the wrapper) and they're so much fun to eat!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crash Hot Potatoes

These potatoes were so good! They weren't as pretty as the Pioneer Woman's, I think it's because they weren't cooked quite long enough to smash as easily, but they were delicious! Matt wants these again soon.

Crash Hot Potatoes
  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt To Taste
  • Black Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste (I used Italian Seasoning and Rosemary)
Preparation Instructions

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in as many potatoes as you wish to make and cook them until they are fork-tender.

On a sheet pan, generously drizzle olive oil. Place tender potatoes on the cookie sheet leaving plenty of room between each potato.

With a potato masher, gently press down each potato until it slightly mashes, rotate the potato masher 90 degrees and mash again. Brush the tops of each crushed potato generously with more olive oil.

Sprinkle potatoes with kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and fresh chopped rosemary (or chives or thyme or whatever herb you have available.)

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Pork Chops in Orange Sauce

I'm Cooking Again!! My cooking space may look like this still (notice the counter top-less cabinets on the left and the rigged-up old counter tops on the right, ...and the drill), but it works when you haven't made homemade meals in a long long while.

This recipe was good, (I'm a big fan of sweet sauces), but next time I might add a little more orange juice and definitely the orange zest (I was out of oranges) to make it a little sweeter. I think the method of cooking them was my favorite; it made them so tender and it was very easy. I might experiment with different sauces to find my favorite.

Pork Chops in Orange Sauce


  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 ounces each)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cold water


  • Combine paprika and pepper; rub over both sides of pork chops. In a large nonstick skillet, brown chops over medium heat.
  • Combine the orange juice, sugar, cloves and orange peel; pour over pork. Cover and simmer for 18-22 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Remove chops and keep warm.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Discard cloves. Serve sauce with pork chops. Yield: 4 servings.

Serve with Crash Hot Potatoes (below) or rice!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers

Lately I have been really liking coconut. It must be all those years of buying Dad Almond Joys and having a bite. I made these the other day and thought they were a good twist on chicken fingers. The coconut adds just enough sweetness and pairs well with the spices. And if you can believe it, I followed this recipe exactly (I even measured the spices!). The kids ate it up. We dipped it in ranch and BBQ and I thought the sweet BBQ was the better sauce for it. On the website where I got it she said to pair it with sweet and sour sauce, and I think that would have tasted really good.

Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers
12 chicken tenders
2 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 c. sweetened coconut flakes
1 c. panko bread crumbs (ok, I just realized that I actually didn't follow this recipe exactly. I didn't have these, so I used my italian bread crumbs from Wal-Mart, but I bet the panko would have been yummy)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Chop coconut into smaller flakes. Beat eggs in shallow bowl. Put flour in another shallow bowl. In yet another shallow bowl stir together coconut, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt, curry and onion powder.

Coat chicken tenders in flour, then egg, then crumb mixture. I had to used my hands and press the crumb mixture on the chicken tenders to coat them really well. This is what our hands looked like after:

Line baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with cooking spray. Place chicken tenders on the pan and cook for 20 minutes. On the Our Best Bites website, she said to watch them closely and don't over cook them. Now, like all of you, I am a product of our mother and tend to error on the side of caution when it comes to cooking chicken. But this time, I decided to cook it for the 20 minutes (and make sure there was no pink inside). And here is the amazing part, I didn't over cook my chicken! And it was really juicy and yummy! And nobody got salmonella!