Archive for the ‘Pork’ Category

Crispy Breaded Pork Cutlets

July 15, 2008

These were AMAZING!! I’ve finally found the trick to perfectly crisp oven-baked meats. I saw this recipe on an episode of The Martha Stewart Show and thought the whole meal sounded delicious. I loved the idea of browning off the Panko bread crumbs in the oven before coating the meat. It gave them a richer golden-brown color and added tons of crispness. I also loved the way you coat the chops in dijon mustard instead of dipping in egg. It added a great flavor and saved calories! I was just thrilled with how these turned out! I will use this same coating strategy with chicken and maybe even fish.

If you’ve never used Panko bread crumbs, TRY THEM! I found them in my normal grocery store in the International Aisle way down on the bottom shelf.

I served the pork chops with the suggested sides: Creamy Corn and Saute of Peppers.

Crispy Breaded Pork Cutlets

Source: Everyday Food


Serves 4

* 1 1/2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) (I also added some spices to my breadcrumbs…garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, salt)
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as safflower
* 4 boneless pork loin chops (6 to 8 ounces each)
* 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
* Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss panko with oil. Bake, tossing once, until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees.
2. Meanwhile, one at a time, place chops between two large pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet or the bottom of a small heavy pan, pound to make 1/4-inch-thick cutlets.
3. Dividing evenly, coat pork with mustard; season with salt and pepper. One at a time, dip cutlets into panko, pressing firmly to adhere.
4. Place a rack on a rimmed baking sheet; place pork on rack, and bake, without turning, until opaque throughout, 10 to 15 minutes.


Shredded Pork Tacos

July 15, 2008

These pork tacos were a great weeknight meal. They would be perfect for a busy day when you are out all day because you just pop everything into the slow-cooker and leave it. The recipe is from Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking Light. Now that I’ve tried pork tacos this way, I am eager to try other methods too. I served the tacos with fruit salad.

Shredded Pork Tacos

Source: Make It Simple: The Best of Cooking LIght

Since pork tenderloin is already a lean cut of meat, it literally falls apart after eight hours. Use two forks to shred the meat while the mixture is still in the slow cooker. You can also serve the pork mixture on sandwich buns.

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup beer or water

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (1.25 ounce) package 40%-less-sodium taco seasoning (I made my own taco seasoning)

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

8 (6-inch) corn tortillas

2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce

1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in an electric slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW for 6 to 8 hours. Stir in cilantro.

2. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup pork mixture onto each tortilla, and top each tortilla with 1/4 cup lettuce, 1 tablespoon cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped onion, and 1 1/2 teaspoons sour cream. Fold tacos in half. Yield 4 servings (serving size: 2 tacos).

Calories 379 (28% from fat); Fat 11.6g (sat 4.8mg, mono 2.9g, poly 1.2g); Protein 42g; Carb 28.1g; Fiber 3.2 g; Chol 119mg; Iron 2.1mg; Sodium 343mg; Calc 142mg

Smothered Pork Chops

June 12, 2008

I saw this recipe on Sweet, Savory, Southern and thought it sounded like a good homestyle, Southern meal. It was just ok for me. Definitely too bland for our taste which surprised me since there was a TON of seasoning in the flour dredge mixture. Next time I would just decrease the flour to about 1/2 cup but leave the same amounts of spices because it makes WAY more flour dredge than you actually need to coat 4 pork chops.

I also found the pork to be a bit tough but I might have overcooked it which would make it my fault. I just never know how to tell when pork is cooked-through! Grr!

I served this with roasted green beans and buttermilk mashed potatoes (recipe to follow).

Smothered Pork Chops

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup buttermilk
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Put the flour in a shallow platter and add the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper; mix with a fork to distribute evenly. Pat the pork chops dry with paper towels to remove any moisture and then dredge them in the seasoned flour; shaking off the excess.

Heat a large saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. When the oil is nice and hot, lay the pork chops in the pan in a single layer and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove the pork chops from the pan and add a little sprinkle of seasoned flour to the pan drippings. Mix the flour into the fat to dissolve and then pour in the chicken broth in. Let the liquid cook down for 5 minutes to reduce and thicken slightly. Stir in the buttermilk to make a creamy gravy and return the pork chops to the pan, covering them with the sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes until the pork is cooked through. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Source: Food Network (Tyler Florence)

Spaghetti Carbonara

June 12, 2008

I don’t think I had ever had Spaghetti Carbonara before last night. I had heard of it but I guess it just never caught my attention on a menu. The other day when I was looking at Joelen’s blog I saw she had made Spaghetti Carbonara from scratch. This time it caught my attention…pasta, bacon, egg, cheese, and basil. Sounds right up my alley!

And it was! The only complaint I had was that it was a little bland but I fixed that by adding lots of salt, pepper, and dried basil (since I only had a small amount of fresh on hand). Overall though, it was a winner.

Spaghetti Carbonara

Source: America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pound bacon (6-8 slices), halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 3/4 inch pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
3 large eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
3 small cloves garlic, minced
1 pound spaghetti
sea salt
ground black pepper
basil, chiffonade for garnish

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position, set heatproof serving bowl on rack, and heat oven to 200 degrees. (I just microwaved my serving/mixing bowl for 5-7 minutes to keep it nice and hot.) Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large stockpot.

2. While water is heating, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat until shimmering, but not smoking. Add bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and crisp. about 8 minutes. Add wine and simmer until alcohol aroma has cooked off and wine is slightly reduced 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm. Beat eggs, cheeses, and garlic together with fork in small bowl; set aside.

3. When water comes to boil, add pasta and 1 tablespoon sea salt; stir to separate pasta. Cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta for about 5 seconds, leaving pasta slightly wet. Transfer drained pasta to warm serving bowl;l if pasta appears dry, add some reserved cooking water and toss to moisten. Immediately pour egg mixture over hot pasta, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes or 3/4 teaspoon table salt; toss well to combine. Pour bacon mixture over pasta, season generously with black pepper, and toss well to combine. Garnish with basil and serve immediately.

Croque Madame

April 30, 2008

Croque Madam

This is officially the first thing I made in the kitchen in our NEW HOUSE!! Yay! We found a beautiful house to rent and moved in last Sunday. The kitchen was the first thing I unpacked and organized because I was DYING to break it in. As I was unpacking my cookbooks I realized that I don’t use them nearly as much as I should to find recipes. Normally I get my recipe inspirations from the internet.

So I cracked open Rachael Ray’s 2, 4, 6, 8 30-Minute Meal Cookbook that I was given as a gift. The book is actually quite nice because it gives you recipes for 2, 4, 6, or 8 people. Since it was just going to be the two of us I looked in the just for 2 people section and found this recipe for Croque Madames. We were VERY pleased with this dinner. Satisfying and easy. Alex raved about the “gravy” as he called it which was actually a Bechamel Sauce. We had some sauce left over and he declared we “couldn’t waste it” so he spread the “gravy” on toast. I served these with the salad that she suggests in the book which will be my next post.

Croque Madam

Croque Madame

Source: Rachael Ray 2,4,6,8 Cookbook

* 6 tablespoons butter, divided
* 1 rounded tablespoon flour
* 1 cup milk
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper
* 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)
* 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
* 4 slices white bread (I used wheat)
* 2 large eggs
* 4 slices deli-cut ham, look for a dry ham rather than boiled
* 4 slices deli-sliced Swiss cheese, look for Emmentaler
* Parsley, chives or thyme (any or all on hand), chopped

Yields: 2 servings


For the bechamel sauce: Place a small sauce pot over medium-low heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute or so. Whisk in the milk and bring it to a bubble then drop the heat to low. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, nutmeg and Dijon. When the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat.

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a medium non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. When the butter melts, crack the eggs and add them to the pan, keeping the whites separate from each other. Cook to desired doneness, sunny-side-up to over-hard.

While the eggs cook, generously butter bread with the remaining butter. Keeping buttered sides facing out, build ham and cheese sandwiches; spreading béchamel on the insides of the bread and using 2 slices of ham and cheese for each sandwich.

Heat a second skillet over medium heat. Cook the sandwiches until golden, about 3-4 minutes, then turn. Cook them for 2 minutes more then transfer to plates, top with eggs and more sauce, garnish with herb of choice and serve with a knife and fork.

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

April 6, 2008

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas

As I was planning this week’s menu, I just happened to stumble across this recipe of Rachael Ray’s on the Food Network’s website. I decided it sounded delicious so I put it on this week’s menu. Turned out I couldn’t wait to make them so I made them the very first night of the week. Alex RAVED about these. He insisted that these be made over and over again in the future.  I thought they were very very tasty but unfortunately there was one thing holding back my enjoyment of them. I made the very stupid mistake of actually reading what all goes into Chorizo. Don’t ever make this mistake if you think you like Chorizo like I did. The ingredients were disgusting and I just couldn’t seem to get over it. It even went so far as to make me almost gag when I was eating the delicious quesadillas, not because they didn’t taste great but because I kept thinking about what all was in the chorizo. Yuck! I really don’t know if I’ll ever to be able to eat the delicious mexican sausage again. Boooo! I will definitely make these again in the future but I will make mine with just the shrimp and the cheese. I think they would still be delicious this way but Alex refuses to let me leave the chorizo out of his quesadillas in the future (apparently the ingredient list didn’t affect him the way it did me). I also really like the Guacamole but Alex says he likes his version of Guacamole better…go figure. 🙂

Shrimp and Chorizo Quesadillas with Smoky Guacamole

Source: Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals

2 ripe Haas avocados
1 lime, juiced
A couple pinches salt
1/4 cup sour cream, 3 rounded tablespoonfuls
2 chipotle peppers in adobo, available in cans on specialty food aisle in Mexican section
1/2 pound chorizo sausage, sliced thin on an angle
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some for drizzling
1 clove garlic, cracked away from skin and crushed
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, ask for easy-peels at fish counter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 (12- inch) flour tortillas
1/2 pound, 2 cups, shredded pepper Jack cheese

Cut avocados all the way around with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pit, then spoon avocado flesh away from skin into a food processor. Add the juice of 1 lime, a couple of pinches salt, sour cream and chipotles in adobo. Pulse guacamole until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl.Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown chorizo 2 to 3 minutes, then remove from pan. Add oil, garlic, then shrimp. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and cook shrimp until pink, 2 or 3 minutes. Transfer shrimp to a cutting board and coarsely chop.

Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and a large tortilla. Cook tortilla 30 seconds, then turn. Cover 1/2 of the tortilla with a couple of handfuls of cheese. Arrange a layer of chorizo and shrimp over the cheese and fold tortilla over. Press down gently with a spatula and cook tortilla a minute or so on each side to melt cheese and crisp. Remove quesadilla to large cutting board and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 5 wedges and transfer to plates with your spatula. Top wedges of quesadillas with liberal amounts of smoky guacamole.

Green food is not always a bad thing…

March 18, 2008

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops

Yes, you are seeing it right…those are GREEN mashed potatoes and green beer in the background. Haha…I get such a kick out of myself!  Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Instead of going out to eat or eating “authentic” Irish food like corned beef, I prefer to be quirky and come up with green food at home in my own kitchen. When else can you eat green food and not gross people out?!

Now enough about the green stuff…the main dish, Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops, is quite possibly my FAVORITE way to eat pork in the whole world. It is DEL-ICIOUS and so so easy. It’s a recipe from Giada De Laurentis on the Food Network which, to me, explains why it’s so darn good. I’ve tried very few of her recipes that I didn’t like. It had been a while since I had made this recipe and while eating Alex and I kept asking “Why don’t we make this more often?!?”

I am also submitting this recipe as my entry to the “Tasty Tools” event hosted by Joelen. The purpose of the event is to challenge participants to highlight their use of certain specified kitchen tools. This week’s tool was a microplane/grater which is one of my most frequently used tools in the kitchen. Most often I use my microplane for grating parmesan cheese into wonderfully fine shreds, but I also use it to zest citrus or grate whole nutmeg. For the Parmesan Crusted Pork I used my microplane to grate the parmesan and I also chose to add a bit of grated lemon zest to the coating.


Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis

2 large eggs (I used Egg Beaters)

¾ cup dried Italian-style bread crumbs
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
4 pork chops
salt and pepper
3 tbsp. olive oil

Whisk the eggs in a bowl to blend. Place the bread crumbs in a plate. Place the parmesan cheese in another plate. Sprinkle the pork chops generously with salt and pepper. Coat the chops completely with the cheese, patting to adhere. Dip the chops into the egg, then coat completely with the bread crumbs, patting to adhere.

(I’m lazy and low on counter space so I just combine the parmesan and the bread crumbs in the same plate. I also added some lemon zest to the parm/bread crumb mixture. I dipped the chops in the egg and then dipped in the parm/crumb/zest mixture to coat. They turned out just as good as the first time when I followed the recipe instructions exactly.)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the pork chops, in batches if necessary, and cook until golden brown, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a plate and serve with lemon wedges.

Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

March 3, 2008

Bummer. Two just “OK” meals in a row!! This is another Weight Watchers recipe that I found but just wasn’t thrilled with. Even Alex wasn’t such a fan of this one, though. Maybe I should just stay away from Weight Watchers recipes (especially since I’m not even on WW)! Alex and I both agree that these would have been better without the cinnamon. The cinnamon was just….well, weird. ‘Nuff said.

Chili Rubbed Pork Chops

Chili-Rubbed Pork Chops

POINTS® Value: 5
Servings:  4
Preparation Time:  10 min
Cooking Time:  7 min
Level of Difficulty:  Moderate

Spice rubs are the secret of good barbecue. Although you can use fresh herbs, dried ones make better rubs as they don’t burn as quickly over high heat and can sit overnight without wilting.


* 2 tsp chili powder
* 1 1/2 tsp packed light brown sugar
* 1 tsp ground cumin
* 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
* 1/4 tsp table salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
* 20 oz lean pork loin, boneless center-cut chops, four 5 oz pieces
* 1 sprays cooking spray


* In a small bowl, combine chili powder, brown sugar, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

* Butterfly pork chops by laying them flat on a cutting board and slicing in half horizontally, stopping a 1/2-inch from edge to keep halves attached. Pry chops open, then flatten them on your work surface. Rub spice mixture on both sides of chops. Place chops on a plate, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

* Coat grill rack or a large grill pan (I used my George Foreman) with cooking spray; heat grill or set pan over medium heat. (Note: Never spray cooking spray directly into a heat source, whether a grill or a stove.)

* Grill chops for 3 minutes, then turn and continue cooking until grill marks appear and chops are firm, about 4 minutes more. (An instant-read meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of a chop should register 160°F.) Transfer to a serving plate or cutting board; let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yields 1 chop per serving.