Toddler approved: Roast Pork Chops With Apples

Roast Pork Chops With Apples
Now that Miss A has started eating more and more table food and declared her toddler independence, we have started looking for recipes that will feed her and us for dinner. Many are just misses, but this one from the Baby Center was a hit with everyone. That said, being a “hit” with a one-year-old A means most of it didn’t get thrown to the floor.

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Toddler approved: Roast Pork Chops With Apples
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. I boiled the apple cider to reduce it a bit. Grease the bottom of a medium-size roasting pan or an ovenproof skillet (like our favorite cast iron skillet!) with the olive oil.
  2. Arrange the apples on the bottom of the pan, layered as needed.
  3. Place the pork chops on top.
  4. Then sprinkle with the sage, salt and pepper and pour the cider on top.

My opinion:
We didn’t actually baste the meat once or twice as the directions indicate and it probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Since we were eating this as a family, I didn’t “season with authority” (as J is so fond of saying!), but we were able to add seasoning at the table for our liking. All in all we would eat this again.
Yum

Weeknight Spicy Chicken Soup

Spicy Chicken Soup

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Weeknight Spicy Chicken Soup
As the weather cools, we start eating more and more soups. I would never have tried this without the urging of J. It doesn't sound delicious.  Plus when he told me it was a Bon Appétit recipe, I thought it would be way too complicated and complex. Turns out, it's super simple and  does taste delicious. It's definitely a new favorite. We've used leftover turkey and rotisserie chicken and both have been wonderful. The recipe says it serves four, but it can stretched to serve more, or cooked down longer to serve less.
Courses Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Courses Main Dish
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pick meat from chicken, shred, and place in a small bowl (you should have about 4 cups); discard skin and bones.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 8–10 minutes.
  4. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, about 2 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add shredded chicken, broth and cayenne and bring to a boil.
  6. Turn heat to low.
  7. Add spinach and divide soup among bowls.
  8. Top with scallions and serve lime wedges alongside for squeezing over.
Recipe Notes

My opinion:
That's it, really. It takes a total of between 15 and 20 minutes to prep everything and about 40 minutes to cook per the recipe.  This recipe is easy enough to be a weeknight dinner. If you let it cook down longer or reheat it for lunch the next day, the flavors intensify and meld together even more. If I am planning to eat it the next day, I leave the spinach out and add it in right before eating.  I adore this dish!

Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)

Shakshuka

During the last few months of my pregnancy, I had to increase my protein intake. Lucky for me, J found several recipes that tasted good, included several servings of vegetables and had lots of protein. This one from Tori Avey with a few modifications quickly became one of our favorites.

You can modify the spice level based on your tastes. If you want to add more eggs, feel free! It’s just as good the next morning on toast like huevos rancheros.

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Shakshuka (Eggs in purgatory)
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium (we use our cast iron skillet for this).
  2. Heat olive oil in the pan.
  3. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften.
  4. Add garlic and continue to sauté until mixture is fragrant.
  5. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5 to 7 minutes over medium heat until softened.
  6. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir to blend.
  7. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for another 5 to 7 minutes until it starts to reduce.
  8. Taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences.
  9. At a minimum, add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. You can also add more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka.
  11. Sprinkle the feta over the dish, or mix it in if you like.
  12. Then crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. In our cast iron skillet, we can get about five eggs around the outer edge and one in the center.
  13. The eggs will cook over easy on top of the tomato sauce. If you prefer more done eggs, you can heat the oven to 350 degrees and cook in the oven until set (when the skillet is jiggled, the eggs don't jiggle back).
  14. We leave the mixture uncovered and let simmer for between 5 and 15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced.
  15. Be careful at this point, because the mixture can go from reducing to burning quickly. 
  16. Serve in a bowl alone, over rice or with some french bread.

My opinion:
This dish is delicious hot or cold. With sides or alone. It’s easy, filling and perfect for a late fall evening.

p.s. Summer 2016 update: without the cayenne pepper and the chili powder, our toddler loves this dish. We just add the extra spices onto our own plates. 

Best summer garden snack or amuse bouche

We had some leftover mozzarella from making pizza and decided to make these as an amuse bouche, since we didn’t have any bread for the original. I could have eaten only these for dinner!

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Best summer garden snack or amuse bouche
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. We have found the best flavor comes from the broiler. Line your favorite baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Slice or wedge your tomatoes.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil. If you want to add garlic, you can do that now.
  4. Slice the mozzarella. If the cheese is slightly bigger or smaller than the tomatoes, that's ok! It will melt.
  5. Add to the pan oven under the broiler. If using the broiler on high, don't walk away, the dish will burn faster than you might think it will!
  6. When the cheese starts to slightly brown and bubble remove it the oven.
  7. Drizzle with the balsamic and top with a basil leaf.
  8. Allow to cool a bit before eating.

My opinion:
So delicious. The next time it’s too hot for a whole meal and we have left over mozzarella, I’ll make this as a stand alone dish. I didn’t even miss the bread (which is how this is traditionally made)!

Texas Style Smoked Brisket

Texas Style Brisket
Sometimes in addition to a delicious Smoked Pork you need a texas style brisket. Between J and his dad, they’ve created the perfect no fail recipe. Yes it takes 10 full hours, but it’s worth it.

Ingredients
trimmed brisket (honestly, we found our at Walmart, the other local grocers were ridiculously overpriced. We went with trimmed because untrimmed you’ll be throwing quite a bit out.)
Salt Lick rub available here.
Olive Oil

Directions:
Coat the brisket in olive oil, cover with the rub. Smoke for six (yes that is 6) hours at 225 degrees. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.  Cover the brisket in foil and cook for another four (yes 4) hours. Remove and let cool. Slice thin.

Texas Brisket

Opinion:
S (my bestie from Texas) put this up there with her mother’s recipe. Need I say more?

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Texas Style Smoked Brisket
Servings
Servings