Thursday, October 11, 2012

Balsamic Maple glazed Pork chops, Acorn squash with stewed apples and steamed broccoli

Pic from "Dine with a Darling"
Hey Paw! What's for supper?
Balsamic Maple glazed boneless Pork chops, Acorn squash with stewed apples, raisins and dried cranberries with steamed broccoli.

We love Acorn squash in this house. I'm surprised that so many people don't know what an Acorn squash is! My Mom always made this for us growing up. I use to prepare just one Acorn squash, (one makes two servings). I would "share" mine with my son, well, he likes it so much that I was hardly getting any! So now, I make 2 Acorn squash so we all have enough and there is some left over. Same goes for the broccoli, I have to make sure we all have our own and there is some left over. Hard to believe that my little guy loves broccoli, but he does. He also loves fruits and vegetables, probably because that's really all he knows. When he started on baby food, I tasted some labeled "peaches". Well, it didn't taste like any kind of peach I've ever had! So, from then on, I steamed fresh veggies and fruits for him and pureed them. As for the pork chops, I decided to try something new. I hope you all like it, we did. Let's get started...

Pork Chops:

3 thick cut boneless pork chops
1 cup maple syrup
2-3 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon of Caribbean jerk seasoning
1/4 teaspoon of dried pepper flakes
salt and pepper

Heat oven to 350
Place chops in a baking pan
Salt and pepper them to your taste
Mix the rest of the ingredients together and pour over the chops
Let sit for a little bit while you prepare the Acorn Squash
Put the chops and the Acorn squash in the oven at the same time
Bake for 45 minutes turning the chops over 1/2 way through the baking process

Acorn Squash:

Foil lined cookie sheet
Brown Sugar

Cut the acorn squash in 1/2 and scoop the seeds out
Place, upside down, on the foil lined baking sheet
Place in the oven along with the Pork Chops
Bake for 45 minutes turning the chops over 1/2 way through the baking process

The way to test the Acorn squash to see if they are done, is simply push the skin with your finger. If you're able to easily make an indention, they're done. If not, then allow to bake a little while longer until you are able to make an indention with your finger.

After you pull the squash from the oven, carefully turn them over using an oven mit, or something to keep from burning your fingers. Add butter to your taste and brown sugar, take a spoon and scrape the squash from the shell and stir into the butter and brown sugar. Try not to destroy the shell, as it makes such a pretty presentation on the plate, this green "boat" filled with sweet yumminess!

Stewed Apples:

1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 Red delicious apple
Some sort of fruit juice
Orange Juice
Dried Raisins and cranberries
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon (to taste)

Heat a small saucepan on medium low and add the butter
Wash the apple, then slice into bite size pieces, add to the butter. I leave the skins on, that's where all the nutrients are, and they become soft during the cooking process
Stir it around and let the apples cook a little in the butter
Don't let the butter turn brown!
Add the cinnamon
I use whatever juice is in the fridge, tonight it was actually fruit punch. I just pour in enough to cover the apples half way up, and then add a splash of Orange Juice. It add's a surprise taste that is lovely.
Add the raisins and cranberries and put the lid on let simmer for 10 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Scoop the stewed apples into the prepared Acorn Squash and enjoy!

Steamed Broccoli:

1 bag frozen Broccoli
3 tablespoons butter
salt & pepper

I don't own a steamer, I don't have enough room in my little kitchen for lots of gadgets. I've learned to make due with what I have and this is my version of steamed broccoli. I put just enough water to coat the bottom of a sauce pan, then I pour the frozen broccoli in with the water. I salt and pepper and add the butter, then put the lid on. Turn the stove onto medium heat and once a little steam starts to escape the lid, I turn it off and let it sit on the eye until it's time to serve.

There we go, that's what's for supper! Hope you like it, we sure did. In fact, after all my careful planning, my little boy still needed more broccoli. Well, guess that's one way for me to loose weight, right? ha ha ha. Good Night!

For other great acorn squash recipes:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Potato Carrot Soup slow cooked in the crock pot

Potato Carrot Soup slow cooked in the Crock Pot

I happen to adore potato soup. I sit and dream about it, a lot.  I've even made it a couple of times.  The last time I made it was about 15 years ago.  The experience was so horrible, I've never tried it again.

When I lived in the beautiful state of South Carolina, the winters weren't very wintry.  They were more. Cold with some wind, sprinkled with cold sprinkled with a few warm days.  My opinion is this, if it's winter, then I want snow.  If it's winter, and there is never any snow, it's time to move.  I did move, but not because of the soup.
 I remembered making a batch of potato soup while I lived in Virginia. It turned out very well.  Despite not having the recipe, I decided to give it a try in SC.  I imagined coming home from work to the smell of potato soup, of having a big bowl of it while curled up in front of the TV.  Dreaming of snow.
The next morning before work, I cut up the potatoes, veggies, added seasoning and the cream.  Set the slow cooker on low, walked out excited for the evening to come.  When I came home from work, I went straight to the crock pot for a peek.  I opened the lid, and. Shut the lid. Unplugged the crock pot.  Placed it outside on the steps.  Got into the car, and went to a fast food restaurant. Crushed.
Why?  I found out later, that you don't add the cream/milk at the beginning of the cooking process or it will.......anyone.........curdle.  Yes, curdle.  As in sour milk.  Disgusting.  But wait, that's not the end of the story.
When I came home, I decided to deal with the soup later.  I was not only tired, but disappointed as well, and the soup was already bad so it wouldn't hurt it to wait.  The problem is, my room mate saw the crock pot on the steps and moved it.  Why? Anyone's guess.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Several days later I remembered the crock pot.  If you can imagine, already curdled milk, potatoes, and some SC heat..... the smell of a rotting elephant would have been a welcome breeze to the stench that "soup" put off.  Gingerly taking the pot, lest any of that horrible stuff dripped on me, I dumped it into the wood pile at the back of the property.  I hosed out the crock pot, scrubbed, hosed, scrubbed, hosed and finally brought it inside to put into the dishwasher for two or three cycles.  Just in case.  Thankfully the ordeal was over, the next day was Saturday.  I'd just enjoy the unseasonably warm winter weather.
The next morning, I got my cup of coffee, a good book, my comfy clothes, and took my seat in the rocking chair on the front porch to enjoy my day.
During this time in SC, I had adopted a pit bull, named Mumblie Peg.  He got this name because he couldn't bark and he was missing part of his back foot.  The, person, who owned him before I got him, fought him in the pits.  Despite being scarred all over, missing part of his back foot and only having the ability to "mumble" when he barked, he was one of the greatest dogs I have ever owned.  He knew exactly how to "work" his nubby foot.  He was, what I call, a watch dog.
 Imagine you were a thief who had just broken into my house:  Mumblie would watch you take everything out of the house, make no move to stop you, make no sound, appeared.  Then he would watch you melt, as he tucked that stumpy leg under him and limp toward you.  Head lowered, tail wagging, then thump down on his behind so you could feed him, pet him and so on.  As you can see from the picture, Mumblie was not hungry.
 Quite the contrary, everyone in the neighborhood knew about our watch dog, and they fed him.  Many a worker gave that dog their entire lunch, only to realize they'd been had (that's Southern for, tricked), when Mum saw me and came bounding over on all 3 legs and the stump.  He was quite the character.  This morning he came toward me, grinning, tail wagging.  As he came closer, I noticed an odor.  It grew, the closer he got.  My first thought was, he'd gotten hurt and the wound was infected.  No, that wasn't it.  No the smell was of something rotting.  Definitely something rotting, something big.  We were near the river, alligators might have killed, he wouldn't go down there.  By now, he's nearly on the porch and I was gagging because of the horrific stench this dog was putting off.  I ran inside.  I discussed this turn of events with my room mate.  We decided to look around the property to see if there was anything that would explain the smell the dog was emitting.
 Upon leaving the house, I saw Mum heading for the woods.  I followed him.  He went straight for the wood pile.  The same wood pile I had dumped the offending soup into.  I held my nose, went in for a look, and there was no sign of the soup. Anywhere.  Not a scrap, drop, drip, nothing.  Mum had eaten the soup.  Mum smelled like the soup.  My days of  making potato soup were over.  Mum's days of me petting him were over until the smell that permeated his body was gone.  Poor guy.
15 years later, I've worked up the nerve to try again.  Man am I glad!  A girl I worked with had given me her recipe for crock pot potato soup, after I relayed the story to her.  Once we stopped laughing, she wrote it down for me.  That was 12 years ago.  No one can say I'm a coward, well, a chicken, but not a coward.

Sunday I cut up the veggies, put in the seasoning, turned the crock pot on low and left it all day long.  The smell was fantastic, mouth watering, everything I hoped for.  That evening, when it was time to finish the recipe, I couldn't.  I was scared it would be bad, and all that food would be wasted.  So, I waited, on what I don't know, but I waited.  Monday came along, time to do it.  In for a penny, in for a pound.  Let's just say, it was delicious.  I put too many carrots in it, so it wasn't exactly potato soup.  What can I say, I guess potato soup is not my strong point! None-the-less, it was delicious.

Potato Carrot Soup:

2 qts water (or enough to cover veggies) use chicken stock if you like
7 large red potatoes
1 small bag pre-cut carrots
1 large red onion
4 stalks celery
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter
2% milk

Cut the veggies up
Place in crock pot
cover with water, add seasoning
cook on low until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender

Pour out the water, reserve some of it

In a skillet melt butter, add flour and brown, gently over medium heat
add some of the reserved liquid until thick and bubbly
add the milk stirring constantly until you achieve a creamy consistency
remove from heat

Take a potato masher and mash the veggies in the crock pot
Add the thickened soup in with the veggies
Stir, serve immediately. Or.....

Fry up some bacon to sprinkle on top, with cheese, scallions, chives.......

Serve with crusty bread and some sweet tea.  OoooooWeeee that's some good stuff!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rice Pudding with homemade pudding, raisins and cinnamon

Rice Pudding with homemade pudding, raisins and cinnamon

Looks like Fall is here, and I'll have more time to post yummy recipes.  Might as well come out of the gate with a winner.  I have been battling Bronchitis for the last 3 weeks.  Finally went to the Doctor last Sunday where they loaded me up on medication that makes you feel worse, before it makes you feel better.  Since then, I was unable to sleep, or eat.  As I felt better, I wanted to eat, but everything hurt my stomach.  Tired of chicken noodle soup and crackers, I started combing the cabinets.  I ate a handful of raisins as I rummaged. Those were pretty good, but a bunch of those on a hurt stomach was not going to be a good idea.  Put the box back.  I found a bag of rice, made a mental note to cook some up for dinner the next day.  Then, WALAAAA, it hit me.  Mom used to make me rice pudding when I couldn't eat anything else.  I went on a hunt for a box of pudding mix, or a bag of the German pudding mix.  Nothing.  Then I remembered my Grandma's Jello Salad recipe.  Hold on, I know I said jello, but if you haven't tried this recipe you need to.  Grandma made a jello salad, then topped it with homemade pudding.  Since I always have eggs, milk, flour and sugar in the house, I knew this was the deal.  I fixed it, it was so good I nearly ate all of it.  It did make a bunch, so I couldn't eat it all.  I finished it off the next day. 
Things to remember.  The rice will absorb  the pudding, so it's best to double the pudding recipe if you are going to let it sit over night.  That way, it will still be creamy the next day.  

Rice Pudding with homemade pudding, raisins and cinnamon:

Cook rice according to package instructions.  
I used Sushi Rice, product of USA.  1 1/2 cups rice to 2 cups water

After the rice is cooked and fluffed prepare the pudding.  

1 cup of 2% organic milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup raisins (or more, I like more)
1 tsp. cinnamon (I like more with this too)

In a saucepan add all the ingredients, except raisins and cinnamon

whisk well & constantly to keep from burning.  

Once the pudding thickens, add the raisins and cinnamon
Take off the heat, stir well and pour over the rice.  
Mix well

You can bake it in the oven if you like a crispy topping to the rice pudding.  350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown on top.  

I didn't bake it, I gobbled it up.  It's so delicious.  
As I said, I did have leftovers and I learned two things:

1) Already mentioned above, the rice absorbs the pudding
2) If you re-heat it in the microwave the rice becomes a little hard and crunchy.

SO, I did this:

1) I poured some milk into the bowl and heated it with a wet paper towel over the top.  This keeps the moisture in, and gives the rice some more liquid to absorb so it's creamy again.  
2) Made a note to myself:  next time double the pudding recipe.