Tag Archives: food

Mommys’ Pork Chop Sandwich

Yimg_5509_1Yes, I am over the age of 30 and I still call my mother “Mommy”. What can I say? I never made the transition from Mommy to mom and I could not see myself calling her mother. Mother seems much too formal to me but I don’t knock anyone that calls their mother – mother. Actually, a couple of my aunts called my maternal grandmother “Mother”. The rest of us called her Ma Dear. However, mother seemed to fit coming from my aunties.

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Okay, I digressed. Mommy’s Pork Chop Sandwich jumped into my head the other day when I was trying to come up with something for dinner other than chicken or beef. We had already had both during the week along with fish so I had to make a decision on which one would get a second turn for the week. Truth be told I love pork chops. The problem was that my hubby is not big on pork unless it’s bacon. So tentatively, I decided to make pork chop sandwiches like my mom did back in the day.  I wasn’t sure he would go for it. To my surprise, when hubby asked what were we having for dinner and I said Mommy’s Pork Chop Sandwich he only said what time do we eat. Now, I am not sure if he was just really hungry or was in the mood for pork. Either way, I was happy.

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Mommy’s Pork Chop Sandwich is fairly straightforward. Two slices of bread. Mustard. Hot sauce and on occasion a little mayo. This basic combination of flavors tastes wonderful – at least to me.

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As for my hubby, he jazzed up his pork chop sandwich by adding lettuce, tomato and the cole slaw I made to go with the sandwiches. After thinking about my hubby’s creation, I realized the sandwich he made was similar to another sandwich I make which has chicken instead of pork chops. Great minds think alike.

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Enjoy!

Mommy’s Pork Chop Sandwich

Ingredients:

2 – 3 pork chops

2 – 3 cibatta rolls sliced

1 medium tomato sliced (optional)

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup flour

½ cup shredded lettuce (optional)

½ cup cole slaw (optional)

1 tsp mustard

salt

seasoned salt

black pepper

hot sauce

Adobo seasoning

smoked paprika

Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.

Place flour in a shallow dish and season with a little Adobo seasoning, seasoned salt and pepper.

Season pork chops with salt, pepper and Adobe seasoning. Sprinkle with smoked paprika. Dredge seasoned pork chops in flour. Shake off excess flour. Gently place chops in hot oil. Fry until golden brown and cooked all the way through. Approximately 5 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Spread mustard on one side of each sliced roll. Place one pork chop on each roll. Shake hot sauce over pork chop (you decide the level of spiciness). Top pork chop with the other slice of bread.

Optional: Add sliced tomato, lettuce and cole slaw.

Eat Up!

 

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

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There are two foods I love to eat but until recently I never thought of putting them together into one recipe. I love eating apples and I really like butternut squash. Once I thought of combining them into a recipe I was on a roll. The first recipe I came up with was a Butternut Squash and Apple Soup. Soup seemed the most logical recipe to try since the day was crisp, cold and little windy. Days like that call out for soup and I just happen to have both butternut squash and granny smith apples on hand.

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Years ago squash was classified as either a winter squash or a summer squash. Butternut Squash is known as a winter squash because they are generally picked in the winter and have a thick skin. Summer squash is picked in the summer and has a delicate thin skin that is edible. During the summer months I love to make sauteed yellow squash with onions. I also like to make Zucchini and Tomatoes with onions. Both squashes have a thin skin and are wonderful when mixed with onions and/or tomatoes.

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Soup is very versatile which means you can toss almost any combination of vegetables together with a little broth and call it soup. This time around I tossed  veggies and fruit together and the result was delicious if I do say so myself. I have roasted butternut squash with apples in the oven to create a tasty side dish with turkey or pork so I imagined the combination might taste pretty good in soup. My imagination turned into reality which is always a thrill!

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Whether you decide to make this soup during the crisp days of fall or in the middle of summer I think you will be pleased. Soups fans enjoy soup no matter the season. Me? I am truly a fan of soup.

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Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Ingredients:

1 granny smith apple – peeled and sliced

1 lb butternut squash – peeled and cubed

1 small onion sliced

1 small red pepper sliced

1 scallion thinly sliced

3 slices bacon crumbled

2 cups chicken stock

½ cup half and half

¼ cup heavy cream

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp cinnamon

pinch nutmeg

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place squash, apples, onions and red pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Toss gently to coat. Spread out on a rimmed cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

Place in oven and roast for 15-20 minutes until squash and apples softened. Remove from oven and place in a large pot. Add chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes until is heated up. Remove from heat. Blend using an immusion blender or place in a blender until smooth. Stir in half and half along with heavy cream. Place back on low heat for 5 to 10 minutes until soup thickens. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle crumbed bacon and scalllions on top.

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Kale and Sausage Soup

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Got leftover kale? Don’t throw it out. Whether it is from my Cannellini and Kale recipe, kale salad or some other kale dish you can turn it into a delicious soup. If you have been following my blog, you know I am a fan of soup. Creamy or brothy. I love soup any time of the year.

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Kale is one of those vegetables that has taken center stage in many kitchens whether at home or in restaurants. Kale has a beautiful vibrant green color and there are a few variations like common (curly) kale and Tuscan (Italian) kale and salad Savoy kale. The nutritional value is probably why kale has become so popular and can be prepared in multiple ways. Kale is a good source for protein, vitamin A, C and K. Plus, kale is considered to have cholesterol-lowering and cancer risk-lowering benefits.

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The other day I made kale as a side dish for dinner and had quite a bit leftover for the next day. I didn’t feel like eating it again as a side dish so I created a kale and sausage soup that was pretty tasty if I do say so myself. I think it helped that all of the seasonings I used in the kale the night before had a chance to meld together. Personally, I think soups, stews and certain other dishes taste better the next day just for this reason.

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The best part about making Kale and Sausage Soup is that half of the work is already done if you use leftovers. Add a few more ingredients and a tasty broth and you have a delicious meal or an appetizer to go with a delicious meal.

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Kale and Sausage Soup

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale (stems removed) or 2 cups leftover kale

1 15 oz can small white beans (do not drain)

1 pkg chorizo sausage (casing removed)

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup water

1 cup fresh corn cut from the cob (scrap the cob) or 1 can of white corn strained

2 scallions sliced

1 small white onion diced

½ yellow pepper diced

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

½ tsp thyme

¼ tsp cumin

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add sausage. Break sausage with a spoon and brown. Remove from pot and drain on a paper towel. Pour off fat from sausage.

Add remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pot along with diced white onion and yellow pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then saute until vegetables are softened. Add chicken broth, water and sausage to the pot and reduce heat to medium. Let soup simmer for 3 minutes. Add kale, and remaining seasonings. Stir and cook for an additional 10 minutes is using fresh kale and 5 minutes if using leftover kale. Stir in corn and scallions to the soup. Simmer for 3 minutes then turn off heat.

Serve with a slice of crusty bread or cornbread.

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Tostadas

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Tostadas remind me of an open faced taco or a burrito. I know burritos are not crunchy like a taco but the ingredients I put inside of my burritos are similar to what I put on top of my Tostadas. Not long ago at one of our office celebrations I discovered packaged tostada shells. A co-worker brought in the tostada shells with pulled pork ( a recipe I will try later). I was so excited to see the corn tostada shells I had to find out where she bought them. Unfortunately, she had purchased them at a local store near her house which happens to be far from where I live. Needless to say, I would not be traveling over the state line just for tostada shells.

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Of course I started searching for packaged tostada shells in every grocery store I visited. I finally hit pay dirt at a neighborhood grocery store where I shop on occasion for certain types of foods.

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Like I said earlier, Tostadas remind me of an open-faced taco. The difference is that I top the Tostadas with brown rice and beans. The rest of the toppings are pretty much the same as my tacos. Check out the Latin section of your local grocery store and you may find the packaged tostada shells. These babies are a big time saver but if you like making your own tostada shells go for it!

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This recipe turned out to be a winner with my friends and family because everyone could build their own Tostada from the “fixins bar” I set up. Shredded chicken, beef, beans, rice, tomatoes, fresh avocado, my homemade Guacamole and more made dinner both fun and good to eat.

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Tostadas

Ingredients:

4 – 6 tostada shells

1 cup cooked brown rice

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

1 lb ground turkey or beef

1 ½ cup queso cheese shredded

1 4 oz can green chiles

1 4 oz can chopped jalapenos

1 pkg taco seasonings

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brown the meat in a medium-sized frying pan over medium high heat. Drain off fat then reduce the heat to medium low. Sprinkle in taco seasoning, green chiles, jalapenos and water. Stir to blend everything together then add browned meat.

Lay out tostada shells on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each shell with a little cheese then layer rice, meat mixture, tomatoes and top with more cheese. Place in oven for 3 – 5 minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven. Top with sour cream, fresh avocado slices or guacamole.

 

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Deviled Eggs

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Who knew? Who knew I could actually make delicious Deviled Eggs? I sure didn’t. I have been trying for years to make perfect Deviled Eggs and over and over again I failed. I kept trying because I love eating Deviled Eggs. Whenever I attend a party I seek out the Deviled Eggs first. Of course on a few occasions I discovered my host or hostess could not make good Deviled Eggs either.

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Finally, I figured out that instead of trying to add a bunch of special seasonings or unique ingredients I needed to keep it simple. In most cases, it is best to stick to a basic recipe then gradually build on your success (that philosophy could be applied to life in general). Now, my Deviled Eggs are definitely lip smacking good. Sticking to a simple recipe made it easy to adjust my recipe after my initial success. My stepped up version of Deviled Eggs adds a little bit of bacon. Remember, bacon makes everything better or a least it can’t hurt. I am sure my fellow carnivores would agree. My vegetarian friends will still find the basic recipe to be delicious. Try topping with minced red onion or a little cilantro. Whatever you decide to do I am sure you will enjoy these Deviled Eggs.

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Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:
6 – 12 large eggs
1 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp relish
¼ tsp mustard
¼ tsp chopped parsley
water

Optional:
minced red onion
minced cilantro
3 slices crispy bacon crumbled

Place eggs in a medium sized pot with enough water to cover the eggs. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Bring eggs to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let eggs sit for 5 minutes. Remove from stove and run under cool water for 60 seconds or let eggs cool for 10 – 15 minutes.

Peel eggs and then slice in half. Gently squeeze yolk from the eggs into a bowl. Add seasonings, mayonnaise and mustard. Mash the yolks with a fork and mix the ingredients. Spoon mixture into a small plastic bag. Clip one corner of the plastic bag. Squeeze mixture into each egg shell and top with crumbled bacon, minced red onion or cilantro. Chill before serving (unless you cannot wait!).

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Garlic BBQ Chicken Wings

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I am going to admit something to the world. I prefer to take the easy way out when it comes to frying chicken. Chicken wings and specifically chicken wingettes are the easiest pieces to fry if you are frying chicken. Wingettes are already cut into pieces and do not need a lot of cleaning. Other parts of the chicken like the breast and thigh need tender loving care to make sure you get most of the fat and other questionable things off of the chicken. Drumsticks are not hard to clean but they take longer to cook than wings. So yes, I can be a little lazy when it comes to frying chicken. That being said I do love fried chicken and don’t mind frying up a batch of wings for the family any day of the week.

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I came up with my Garlic BBG Chicken Wing recipe after watching a food show that showed the cook adding garlic to a butter sauce then pouring it over fried chicken wings. I liked the idea of adding garlic and butter to a BBQ sauce then pouring it over fried chicken wings instead of a plain butter sauce. The result was quite tasty and since I baked the wings after frying them and drenching them in BBQ sauce there was a nice little char to the wing.

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This recipe is simple because you can use whatever flavor BBQ sauce you like the best. If you want something a little sweet but spicy, try Stubbs Sweet Heat BBQ sauce. The sauce has a nice tang and you can feel a subtle heat in the back of your throat as you eat. Adding the garlic just added another wonderful level of flavor to the wings. There are so many different flavors of sauce that will work well with this recipe. Start out by experimenting with your favorite BBQ sauce then go from there. I am 99% sure you will enjoy these wings no matter what sauce you decide to use.

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Garlic BBQ Chicken Wings

Ingredients:

1 jar Stubbs Sweet Heat Bar-B-Que Sauce

2 pkgs chicken wingettes washed

2 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp salt

½ tbsp black pepper

frying olive oil or vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl season chicken with salt and black pepper. Add oil to a dutch oven or large heavy pot (about half way up the side of the pot. Turn heat to medium high until oil begins to smoke slightly. If you are brave, flick a drop of water into the pot. If it sizzles the oil is hot.

Cook chicken wings in batches (8 – 10 pieces each time) until they are crispy. Drain on paper towels.

In a medium sauce pan melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 2 minutes then add BBQ sauce. Stir to mix butter, garlic and sauce. Reduce heat to low to keep warm while cooking chicken.

Add chicken and sauce to a large container with a top. Shake to coat the chicken wings. Spread chicken out on a foil lined baking pan. Bake in the oven for 10 – 15 minutes.

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Guacamole

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My hubby has been trying to get me to make Guacamole for years. He has even brought home recipes from co-workers who he said made “the best” guacamole for office parties. To say I was intimidated by his “the best” statement would be an understatement. My past attempts at making Guacamole never quite hit the mark. It was either too lemony, too salty, too garlicky or too yuck!

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Yep, I don’t mind saying I made some terrible Guacamole in my earlier days of cooking. Now? Now, I can say I have finally pulled together a recipe that is simple and full of flavor. Keeping it simple is the key to making Guacamole. Having only a few ingredients and seasonings helps to keep the avocado the star of the recipe. After all, it is not really Guacamole without the avocado.

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Speaking of avocado, did you know that avocados are rich in fiber with about 10 grams in a medium-sized avocado. One of the things I love about avocados is that they are versatile. I use them in salads, toppings for my tacos and tostadas or in spreads or dips. I think some folks even use avocados as a hair conditioner and as a facial mask to improve their complexion. I would rather eat avocados than wear them.

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So, for anyone out there that has been intimidated by the idea of making good Guacamole try my version. I no longer feel like a wimp and neither will you.

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Guacamole

Ingredients:

1 small container of fresh salsa drained

4 ripe avocados cubed

1 4oz can of jalapenos drained

½ tsp cilantro

½ tsp black pepper

½ tsp salt

¼ cup olive oil

Dressing:

In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, salt, black pepper, cilantro and garlic powder.

Place drained salsa in a medium-sized bowl. Pour lime juice over salsa and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Add avocado and jalapenos to the salsa. Pour dressing mixture over avocado. Gently toss salsa and avocado together. Let chill at least 15 to 30 minutes to allow flavors to blend. Serve with tortilla chips or thin slices of french bread.

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Chocolate Coconut Bars

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I have not been keeping up with my blog lately because of so many family events in recent months. Between my mom moving, my son getting ready for college and just interacting with family I have not had much time to spare.

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I figured I needed something to give me a kick start and would be very easy to pull together. Chocolate Coconut Bars turned out to be a quick recipe that gave me the kick start I needed. I decided to be daring and made a batch for my team at work to see if the Chocolate Coconut Bars would be a hit outside of the family. By the time the day was over there were nothing but crumbs left in the container and I had thumbs up messages throughout the day. I have to admit that it is a good feeling when others appreciate the food you make. I think I now have a new set of guinea pigs besides my family to test out recipes on.

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My Chocolate Coconut Bars are just a different version of an old time favorite. I remember having them years ago at a friend’s house or maybe it was an office party. Either way, they were a tasty treat but a little too sweet for me. I think because the hostess used sweetened coconut, raisins and only sweet chocolate in the recipe. I changed it up a bit to cut down on the sweetness and added a bit of tartness to the bars. Instead of sweet coconut flakes I used unsweetened shredded coconut. I also added craisins instead of raisins for the contrast of sweetness and tartness.

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For those folks that are not a fan of coconut you might be surprised at how subtle the taste of coconut is in this recipe. There were a number of folks on my team that said they really do not like coconut but the combination of the unsweetened coconut with the chocolate, craisins and walnuts made the bars taste delicious. Over the years there have been a number of foods I thought I did not like but I was convinced somehow to try them again. I found that when certain foods were combined with some other food or was seasoned differently I really did like it. I often say to my son Don’t knock it til you have tried it”.

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Chocolate Coconut Bars

 Ingredients:

15 – 20 graham crackers crushed

1 14 oz can condensed milk

1 stick of butter melted

1 ½ cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup milk chocolate chips

1 cup chopped walnuts

½ cup craisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl add crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Stir until well combined and graham crackers are moistened. Spread graham crackers evenly onto a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Add chocolate, coconut, walnuts and craisins to the large bowl and mix well. Spread mixture evenly over graham cracker crust. Drizzle condensed milk over chocolate mixture. Place baking sheet in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes to make sure coconut does not burn.

Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes then cut into squares.

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Lemon Squares 2

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I have always wondered why advertisers like to use the phrase “new and improved” especially when it is attached to an already popular item. Why mess with a product when it is considered to be wonderful from the very beginning? I thought about that when I decided to tweak my Lemon Squares recipe and created Lemon Squares 2. I won’t say my new recipe Lemon Squares 2 is a “new and improved” version of my original Lemon Squares recipe but it is “new” and it is good.

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Like the original recipe Lemon Squares 2 are lemony but have an added layer of flavor because of the cream cheese filling. Yes, I added cream cheese to the mix to create a lemon cheesecake like texture. Good ahead and say it. Yummy! I also added chopped pecans to the crust to make sure there was a contrast of textures. After all, I did not want to have a one note recipe.

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For those that are thinking about the calories, take heart in knowing I used low fat cream cheese to lower the calories a little. But, let’s be honest. This is dessert and it is a cheesecake like treat. So go easy on the number of Lemon Squares 2 you decide to eat at one sitting. Spread out the deliciousness and eat them every other day rather than every day. It will be hard but I am sure you can handle it. Of course, if you are like my youngest son, you can eat them everyday and not gain an once. But then again, he works out all the time and has that “young” metabolism I miss so much.

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The next time you have a taste for lemons or cheesecake consider making a batch of my Lemon Squares 2. I think you will enjoy them.

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Lemon Squares 2

Ingredients:

Crust:

2 ¼ cup all purpose flour

½ cup chopped pecans

½ cup granola crumbled

¼ cup + 1 tbsp confectioner’s sugar

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter cut into small cubes

Filling:

8 oz cream cheese softened

1 ¾ cups sugar + ½ cup sugar

¾ cup lemon juice (use meyer lemons if available)

¼ cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour

4 tbsp confectioner’s sugar for dusting

1 tbsp lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla or almond extract

¼ tsp salt

4 large eggs (room temperature)

1 egg yolk (room temperature)

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch glass dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Sift flour, salt and confectioner’s sugar into a large bowl. Add pecans, granola and butter. Working quickly, mix butter into flour until butter is broken down into tiny pieces about the size of a large pea (use a food processor if necessary). Press mixture into bottom of the glass dish pushing about one third of the crust up the sides of the dish. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes then bake for 10 – 15 minutes. Crust will be pale.

While crust is baking prepare the lemon filling by whisking together sugar, flour and salt. Add lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract. Stir until combined. Whisk in eggs and egg yolk. Set aside.

In medium bowl cream together cream cheese and ½ cup sugar. Add 1 egg and ½ tsp vanilla extract. Set aside.

When crust is done pour cream cheese mixture over warm crust and spread out evenly over the crust. Next pour lemon filling mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Bake for an additional 35 – 45 minutes. Center should still jiggle a little. Remove and let cool completely before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and cut into squares.

 

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Queso Fundido

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Tortillas are a staple in my kitchen.  Between making chicken burritos, breakfast burritos , tortilla chips and soft tacos as a quick meal I make sure I always have tortillas on hand.  I was searching for a new way to use tortillas when I just happen to come across a delicious looking Mexican dish that included tortillas.  I had never heard of Queso Fundido which means “melted cheese”.  I discovered that Queso Fundido is actually a very popular dish even in the states.

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In most areas Queso Fundido is made as an appetizer but my research showed some folks like to turn it into a sandwich.  Since I was new to making the recipe I thought I had better stick to making it an appetizer.  There were so many different recipes out in the cooking sphere I decided to find a basic recipe then add my own little twist.  The standard ingredients for any Queso Fundido is spicy sausage, tomatoes and cheese.  After that you can add whatever seasonings you like.  Chorizo is the sausage of choice in most recipes because of the level of heat and spice.  If you are not into spicy sausage, you can still make this dish but use a milder Italian sausage.  Nobody will care.  Use whatever makes you happy.  But if you want the Queso Fundido to be authenic, use the chorizo.

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Be prepared for this dish to disappear quickly.  If you have cheese lovers in your house, they will definitely love Queso Fundido.  Serve it up while it is hot and bubbly along with warm tortillas.  Talk about Yummy!

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Queso Fundido

Ingredients:

1 pkg ground chorizo or spicy Italian sausage

6 flour tortillas

1 jalapeno seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

2 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped

2 cups mozzarella or Mexican cheese

¼ cup diced onion or scallions

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp ground cumin

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Heat olive oil in medium sized skillet. Brown chorizo until cooked and slightly crisp. Remove sausage from the pan and drain on paper towels. Add garlic, onions, jalapeno tomatoes and seasonings to the skillet. Stir to mix well. Reduce heat and cook for 3 – 5 minutes until veggies are soft. Add sausage to the mixture and stir to combine.

Spray a pie dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle ½ of the cheese in the bottom of the dish. Layer ½ of the chorizo and vegetable mixture over cheese. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the chorizo mixture then top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until cheese melts and dish is slightly browned and bubbly. Serve with warmed tortillas.

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