Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Grilled Pork Chops Review

The only negative I have found is that brined pork doesn't brown as well on the grill.
Any thoughts as to why?

Finally, I made these chops.  I just didn't give my boy an option.
I am fully blaming him that it took three menu plan postings before 'Grilled Pork Chops' made an appearance on my dinner plate.  Every time I told him that I was making these for dinner it was "Ah Mom, I'm not hungry.  I ate lunch really late." {aka I'm going to run through a drive through} 
He ate two.
Something about the brining makes the pork so much more flavorful and less dried out and chewy...even using thinly cut pieces.  Non brined pork chops are delicious immediately after grilling but do not seem to hold up well, in flavor or texture, when cooled.
I was astonished to find that my lunch leftovers retained the character of last night's meal...the next day.  

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

adapted from this recipe

This has got to be the easiest recipe ever in all the history of Pumpkin Bread.

1 box Carrot Cake or Spice Cake Mix {I used carrot}
1 15oz can of 100% pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Stir the first three ingredients until well combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  In an oiled loaf pan {I used coconut spray}, spread the batter until even.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a knife or cake tester is clean when removed.  Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and turn out to a wire rack allowing to cool completely before slicing.
Spread with softened butter or cream cheese for extra deliciousness :)

A new Fall tradition is born....at least in our home.
  This one is so getting made again.

Menu Plan Monday 10/17/16

  The salesperson told me these are grown in Florida and are similar to lychee.  I bought a small basket on a whim, like the ones used for strawberries, and now I wish I had purchased at least two.
The exterior is daunting but comes off easily...it is almost as if the flesh is separate from the peel.  The seed inside is somewhat bitter if you accidentally bite in to it, but is not horrible.

This chili recipe is flavorful from herbs and spices...not from tomato sauce.  To be honest, I still like the cornbread, cheese, and sour cream better than the actual chili but everyone else here says it is great :)
I made a few changes to the original recipe to cater more to our tastes:
Use 1 cup of beef broth in place of the water, deleting the beef bouillon altogether.
Add additional beans...any type that your family enjoys.

Korean Beef is a family favorite that shows up pretty frequently in our rotation.  I had to get ground beef and pork from the store for the chili on Monday, so I used the extras on Thursday for a quick meal.  Browning the meat and either freezing or refrigerating makes this come together quickly.  I do not like to cook rice on the top of the stove, so I used this rice method.  To me, so much easier and less mess.

Positively, absolutely, hands down, my favorite meal of the week!
Simple salad with raspberries, almonds, sliced chicken and a peach and dill dressing.
I'm seriously thinking of making this exact thing again one night this week.

Through sheer determination, we headed back towards the path of eating a vegetable or two with every meal and as a whole adopted a more balanced eating plan over the last seven days.
*Gasp* we feel better.....Imagine that!?!
 Note to self...cheese is not a food group, as much as you may want it to be.

I was also late in deciding and posting what we would be eating last week, so some of my decisions were passed over for others but on the whole we had a much more nutritious week of eating.

I used the String Cheese Manicotti that I had stored in the freezer for a quick Friday night meal.  I served that with green salad and had yogurt for dessert.

This picture does not depict how lovely the flavor was.

Another pasta dish adapted from this recipe was made to use up some odds and ends that were hanging out in the freezer.  Of course the substitutions were insane since I was using what I had!  I used ham instead of the sausage, peas instead of the asparagus, feta instead of the blue cheese, apples instead of pears, and no herb butter at the end, just some dried herbs.  
Substitutions rule...while not necessarily photogenic, this is a one dish wonder.
I love to cook with wine occasionally and that may be why I am enamored with this dish. To me, these flavors scream Fall.

DINNER OPTIONS THIS WEEK:  With a few carryovers

Broccoli or Green Salad

Grilled chicken salad using this marinade for chicken breasts

Pork Chop Recipes | Quick and Easy Grilled Pork Chops
Baked Parmesan Potatoes
Roasted Asparagus or Limas

Quiche {freezer meal}
Green Salad

Quick and easy this week, with the pork chops making an appearance, yet again.  The goal this week is to continue eating multi colored meals with lots of fresh items. 

Happy Monday :)

This post is linked to orgjunkie.com

Kitchen Goals 10/14/16-10/16/16

  1. Make small batch apple butter--I couldn't chop any more
  2. Juice oranges
  3. Prep vegetables for the week
  4. Make a ginormous salad for lunches and dinners
  5. Look in the freezer for inspiration for meals {and straighten}
  6. Make chicken stock
  7. Bake the quiche in the freezer
  8. Prep fruits and sides for week of lunches
  9. Make potpourri on stove with fruit and spices
  10. Make bread in the bread maker
  11. Banana bread or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread or Apple Spice Cake.
I was not going to post this on a Sunday morning, with the weekend almost over, but somehow I woke up at 4:30 this morning and decided that yes, yes I can do all the things!   In addition, I may possibly clean out my email, write another post, and head to the grocery store for a few forgotten things all before 8 am.  We shall see.

UPDATE AT 1:30 pm

Sweet potato slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Baked at 375 for about 40 minutes.
Thanks to my future daughter in law for the recipe...simple but good.  Especially since
sweet potatoes have never been my favorite vegetable.

Look at the cute little pepper heart ;)
Just two of the things I chopped.  I also chopped yellow, red, and green onions.  Took grapes off of their stems and packaged them for easy grab and go lunches.  Chopped broccoli, asparagus, and tomatoes, and lettuce.

Baked the quiche that was in the freezer for lunch today.  Someone {Ty}, really liked this a lot.

Browned ground turkey {amazing deal found on my early morning shopping expedition} and made taco meat for salad tonight.

Sliced six chicken breast horizontally to make for even cooking and then packaged separately, one with marinade, one without.

Baked a loaf of homemade bread...in the bread maker, but still!

Made, chilled, and placed in storage containers six cups of chicken stock.

Made homemade salad dressing for taco salad.

Straightened the freezer.

Packed my lunch, set the coffee maker for tomorrow morning, loaded, unloaded, and loaded the dishwasher.  Took out recyclables to the bin.  Put away hanging clothes, made my bed, ironed uniforms for the week, and cleaned my bathroom.

Now, for a nap.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 10/10/16

I'm running late with my menu post this week and as predicted, I went completely rogue last week for my menu.  Sandwiches ruled supreme.  

Photographic proof that I rocked the homemade junk food last week

Okra and Fresh Tomatoes
{family favorite, weird, I know}

{I used wraps instead of buns}

Something new I found that I have decided I can not live without.

See all of the links above--homemade junk food is the best.

All of these dishes from last week are delicious in their own right, but honestly, should not be eaten back to back. Where are the vegetables you might ask?  Err..there were two, all week.  Okra and Edamame.  This girl needs a salad.  

Even though I have brought this recipe forward for several weeks, I swear I'm making the pork chops at some point in the next seven days!

The only day that I know for sure what is on the menu is Tuesday.  My oldest son and his fiancee are coming over for chili and cornbread.  I am preparing the crock pot tonight and it will simmer all day leaving only mixing up the cornbread and shredding the cheese for after work. {I'm having a massage before they come over.  Things must be easy}

Two meals decided, three to go and one for good measure.

Rotisserie Chicken with Romaine Salad {shopping night}
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken {if on sale} or Grilled Turkey Mignon
Korean Beef {using ground chicken}

For some unexplained reason, I feel like following the rules this week.  Time will tell ;)

Happy Monday!

This post is linked to orgjunkie.com

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Waffle Makers Rock

 This was the absolute best grilled cheese that I have ever made.  
You wanna know why?  The answers are super simple.

1.  I spread the butter to the edge of the bread.
2.  I used two slices of good old fashioned not a real food American cheese.
3.  I used my waffle maker.

The wells of the waffle maker toast each bite to crispy perfection~side note~the perforated lines automatically cut this in to four little perfect bites of goodness.  I am learning about and loving my handy dandy waffle maker more and more every day!
Who knew?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday 10/3/16


I say this every year.

Time passes.  My kids get older { not me :p }

Fall arrives again.

And I yell, Yeehaw!

I am not holding my breath for Fall temperatures just yet, but I have noticed that the daily highs are closer to 90F than to 100F, a step in the right direction, at least in my mind.  I will be complaining about freezing to death {I am a big whiny baby when the temperatures go below 60F} before too long, but until then I wait with true anticipation for crisp, cool breezes and lower thermostat readings.

Until then, I will pretend that Fall has arrived and make dishes that are a tad bit heartier...somehow less "summer" like.  Doing dishes and heating up the house are my arch enemies so this should be interesting...very interesting.

Sparkly days and cool breezes to you and yours.

Last week's menu had more than one standout recipe and one of them I didn't even take a picture of because it was dark before we ate that meal.  Any one of the following recipes/methods are keepers in our family.
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken
Taco Pizza
Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin {used maple syrup) and this method to ensure I didn't overcook it...although my grill must not get as hot as it should, because mine cooked 7, 6, 6 and then rested 5. So good.

Aglio E Olio--We make what we call Old World Italian Pasta with the same ingredients but the method we use requires significantly more olive oil than the 1/3 cup used by Ina's recipe. Always a sucker for a good substitution {and healthier} I went for it.  Sadly, this version is a definite no-go in our household. From now on we will stick to our favorite method and plan for the calories....it is a healthy oil right?


Orecchiette with Baked Chicken Meatballs--I bought organic ground chicken for $2.50 per pound.

Brined Grilled Pork Chops

Eggplant Parmesan Stacks

Scott's Famous Wings

chicken wings Image

And plan as I may, usually I go rogue and make whatever strikes my fancy at the time.  Same ingredients, different configuration.

This post is linked to orgjunkie.com