Let’s talk about what is really important first. Our second oldest daughter is back from a three week trip to India. She’s tired and trying to readjust to life as usual around here but she is full of cool ideas and beautiful images and new words and concepts. She told us last night that she understands that she won’t learn big things if she stays in her comfort zone. She is excited to be an explorer of the world. She is excited to share that perspective with her brothers and sisters. It is great to have her home.Read More
Before we dive into the week’s reviews, let’s go back for the abbreviated weekend review. Friday night, we were expecting a crowd and had only four. We ate out. Saturday night, we had a lovely bucatini all' amatriciana, which was simple and tasty despite not being able to locate any guanciale. We substituted pancetta (which was sliced thin rather than cubed) and everyone was quite satisfied. This menu change means that we did not try the moroccan chicken brochettes that were originally scheduled for Saturday night. Those will be appearing on the menu again in the near future. If you made them, please send me a little review. I’m all ears.Read More
Right off the bat, I’ve gone and changed things up in the menu line up this week. We came home on Friday to chicken and more chicken. I just couldn’t make chicken again last night, so switched it up with Tuesday’s yakisoba. Excellent choice. This meal was fast. We even forgot two ingredients, sent a runner to the store, and still had dinner on the table in about 30 minutes.Read More
This pork loin with sweet and sour cabbage might be the easiest thing that I have ever cooked. Season the pork loin with olive oil, salt, pepper, and aromatic seeds (the recipe calls for caraway, but I forgot to get caraway seeds in my 17 trips to the grocery this week, so used cumin seeds). Bake for 25-35 minutes. While baking, make cabbage. Serve. Done.Read More
If you checked the menu plan for the week, you’ll notice that tonight’s pork chops were supposed to be served with a lovely beet salad. Surprise! We went with Brussels sprouts instead. Isn’t it funny that my three year-olds like Brussels sprouts? I’m not complaining. You may have also noticed that we were supposed to eat this meal on Monday, not Tuesday. Thanks to an impromptu date night on Monday night (again, not complaining), we are a day behind. We’ll be delaying a bit, maybe skipping something, and probably seeing that beet salad later in the week.Read More
I’ve made these pork chops before and they were pretty good. Let’s be honest. Not so tonight. Truly awful. I actually couldn’t make my kids eat them, not because they flat out refused, but because they were so bad that I didn't want to eat them either. The vegetables, on the other hand, were rock solid.Read More
Cooking is so relaxing when you don’t have a kid following you around asking for a snack before dinner or to play legos or to help with a puzzle. You can actually read the instructions and include all of the ingredients. When I was growing up, I remember my aunts and uncles saying that my grandmother had been a horrible cook when they were young. I suspect this is probably because she always had someone tugging on her dress asking her for something. I may know a little something about that.Read More
I need a new system. I keep saying this or that recipe was so simple. Really, do I cook anything complicated (ok, except the Christmas gnocchi, but I’ll get to that later)? Not so much. Maybe a sliding scale of easy? I’ll work on that.Read More
This old Southern Living slow-cooker recipe is a standby in our house. We use it on busy weeknights or Saturdays when we know we are going to be skiing or at a tournament or something. This Saturday, we knew that we were going to be busy prepping for Thanksgiving. Or in my case, watching the LSU game.
The recipe calls for bone-in pork chops and I highly recommend that you use them. I’ve tried it without and let’s just agree to learn from my mistake. The bone and the fat that comes with this cut makes a difference in the flavor. When done, the pork will fall off the bone easily, so you won’t have to worry about those pesky bones in the end. Also, don’t be afraid of the size of this recipe if you have a small family (or just two). We never have leftovers, but I hear reports from others that this freezes really well once cooked. You are doing the work anyway so throw a couple extra pork chops in for a later meal.
Because this is a crock-pot recipe, the prep is pretty simple. Dump a bag of frozen black-eyed peas in your slow cooker. I also dump a bag of frozen green beans. My aunt uses white beans when she makes this recipe and says it is great. You do have to season and brown the meat before throwing it in. If you are adding extra chops (or just want a little extra flavor), double the seasoning mixture and rub it on rather than sprinkling it on. This does make the meat more flavorful.
Once your meat is browned and in your crock-pot, sauté your onion in the pork leftovers (add a little olive oil if you have lean pork chops), then add a bit of chicken stock to pick up the sticky stuff on the bottom of the pan. The recipe calls for condensed chicken stock, but I think that’s a holdover in southern cooking like garlic cheese roll that no one else actually uses. Just use regular chicken broth. It’s fine. Dump those onions and the entire can of stock into your pot on top of the beans and chops. Do add a bit more salt and pepper to the mix, maybe even some creole seasoning if you have it. Now, go watch the game or go to work or whatever it is you do.
We serve this with brown or white rice (depending on when I remember that the rice needs to be made). Dig deep when serving to get all those beans out. My boys would tell you to add a little hot sauce. I think creole seasoning does the trick, but that’s just me. I didn’t even make a salad to go with this last night. What a slug.
Oh, and tonight, we are having steak with baked potatoes and broccoli. The birthday kids didn't want to pick anything for dinner nor do they want to pick cakes. We are having brownie sundaes. More on the celebration later.
“Oh, Mom. I love this dinner!” Words every mother wants to hear. And I heard them tonight. Twice.Read More
I really don’t know who comes up with these cooking times. Maybe I need a knife skills class. Is there such a thing as speed knifing? You know, like speed reading. Is knifing even a word?Read More
I’ll be honest. I’ve been a bit of a cruddy mom today. I was behind in writing up reviews, behind in photo editing (or at least the learning part of photo editing) and couldn’t get on the ball to get our weekly menu out before late this afternoon. My husband did the grocery shopping, the leaf raking, and the study group carpool. I forgot to wake up the little kids from nap. Yep, my kids definitely deserve a trip to the park tomorrow. If they ever go to bed.
Grocery shopping done (thank you, honey) by 4:30, we got in the kitchen. The pork prep was simple – rub here, rub there. You’re done. Get in there and get dirty.
We cooked the pork entirely on the grill tonight because it is supposed to snow this week. One last hurrah. If you have nice weather, go ahead and grill it on high for a few minutes per side then turn it down and cook for another 15-20 minutes. If not, grab a grill pan to give it a nice brown crunch, then throw it in the oven as directed. We’ve done it both ways. Still tasty.
While your grill is heating, you can make the quesadillas. I like to have the cheese mixture made in advance and the tortillas stuffed before putting the pork on the grill/grill pan. Just throw everything in the bowl and mash it a bit. If you have picky eaters, don’t tell them what’s in the quesadillas. This is what I did the first time we made this. I can’t count how many times we have made these quesadillas since or how many times it has been because the kids requested them.
Add a little jalapeño. You will be glad you did. If you can’t find small tortillas, large ones folded in half work great. You can grill the quesadillas also or you can just cook them on the stove in a little non-stick sauté pan. No oil, butter, etc. required. Keep the cooked quesadillas in the oven (200°) to keep them warm until you are finished.
Dinner was on the table by 5:30. Way early, I admit. I think we might have forgotten lunch today. Those quesadillas were gone in no time and one of my three-year olds had three servings of pork. I'd call that a success.