Friday, April 22, 2011

Cuban Seasoned Pork Chops

Just an FYI the soup will be posted early next week... But as promised I am posting this recipe (which tied in the poll with the Butter Parmesan Herb Pasta) from February. I can't believe I've put it off this long - but I'm finally bringing it to you! Also some good news, my husband has a draft ready to submit to his advisor and on his to do list: Schedule his Thesis Defense! Sure it probably won't be until sometime next month, but I can see a light at the end of this tunnel. It's been 2 years since he finished his coursework and at one point he was seriously considering changing his topic (comparing the visual complexity of this type of map with this type of map - and yes both types are actually in the first poster, which is made by my husband.) because the data was giving him such problems. It is great to be at this point now!

So what does that have to do with Cuban Seasoned Pork Chops - absolutely nothing. But sometimes a girl just has to brag about her honey bun. Just don't tell him I called him honey bun online. On to the pork chops, this is a recipe I pull out once in a while, basically when I have pork chops and remember how much I love it. It also helps if I'm not in an experimental mood... then I tend to try new recipes. These Pork Chops are honestly so delicious and I've tried them with rice and beans as well, it just makes them feel more authentic. It's also great because it doesn't require marinating for any period of time, which I have to admit is something I struggle with. I feel on top of things if I remember to have the meat defrosted by dinner time... anyone with me on this? Please say that there is at least one person out there who can relate.
 Cuban Seasoned Pork Chops
To start, you'll need the following: grated lime peel (from one lime - about 2 tsp), juice of one lime (about 1-2 Tbsp - I used the same lime I got the peel from), 1 Tbsp ground cumin, 1/2 Tbsp ground black pepper (it would be better if you had fresh cracked pepper), 1/2 tsp salt, 2 Tbsp olive oil (you can use vegetable oil as well), and 1 clove garlic - minced.
Mix all the above together - I know it does not look very appetizing, but this is the marinade that goes all over the pork chops. Oh, yeah speaking of pork chops - you'll need those as well! This works great with 4 pork chops, however if you want to use less, it will just mean more flavor for each one you do make!
Spread the marinade onto the chops and cook - I broiled mine using my makeshift double broiler. (Place directly onto oven rack about 4 inches under broiler - have a cookie sheet, actually more of a jelly roll pan with some water in it underneath the rack. Be sure to position the chops over the pan to catch the drippings.)
Alternatively, you can grill these... if it happens to be warm enough where you live to fire up an outside grill. Unless you have an inside grill - then you can do it whenever and you're a ton cooler than me. Plus I'd want to move in with you, or just into your house!
If you use my method, when you open the oven (halfway through - after about 8 minutes) it will be steamy enough to fog up the camera.
Flip and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees with a meat thermometer when inserted in the thickest part (also be sure to avoid bones if you are not using boneless pork chops - I wasn't but I do sometimes...)
Enjoy! I served this with some mashed sweet potatoes (mixed in a little cumin - tasted great - but I do mean a LITTLE like 1/4 tsp for 2 sweet potatoes), and chips with guacamole.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Menu: April 11-17 & a Blogging break

I've been itching to make tamales again lately, so I asked my tamale making friend to help me again... okay so we've both only made them once before - last fall. I will have to say that tamales are not HARD to make they just take TIME! I actually made enough this time to freeze some, which I did. So now next time I start craving tamales, I just have to pull them out of the freezer. I'm super excited about that. I'll let you know how they taste when I make them (I froze them before steaming, so I will have to steam them for over an hour!)

In other news, my husband submitted a draft of his thesis to his advisor about two weeks ago. He heard back and now has some edits to make. Unfortunately with how busy our lives have become and the whole sharing the computer I'll be taking a break to let him make the final leap to the end. We're hoping he can defend in the next 30 days! I will be posting the recipe from last week's poll - Chipolte Black Bean Soup sometime in the next week. If I get time to work on any posts I will be posting a tied recipe from about a month ago that I haven't gotten to as well (The Cuban Seasoned Pork Chops.) Once he's done with the writing of his thesis (which won't take the next 30 days - hopefully only two weeks) I'll be back and will be having a giveaway!

Here's the menu:

Tuesday: Tamales ** I included variations at the end of the post.
Wednesday: Tamales

Thursday: Tamales

Friday: Ate out

Saturday: Tortellini with Red Pepper Sauce (sorry no pictures)

Sunday: Spinach Bacon Quesadillas (Sorry no pictures)

No poll this week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Black Bean Tortilla Casserole

It seems like I'm running a day behind this week! I honestly feel like today should be Thursday instead of Friday. Hence the reason I'm posting this recipe today instead of yesterday... Putting the fact that I don't know what day of the week it is aside, let me talk about the recipe that you're about to read. I LOVE it! Seriously, I've started rating recipes on a scale of 1-10... well I do that when I remember. This delightful dish got a rank of 9. I've made it 2-3 times in the past few years and each time I asked Hubby what he'd rate it, he'd say about a 9. I totally agree with him and it is one of our favorites. I just forget about it or we'd have it a LOT more! Do you ever forget about a truly awesome dish you've had?! In a way it is nice because you get to re-discover something great. But on the flip side, I totally was missing out by not having this every week (or month really!)
I hope you all enjoy this as much as we do!

Black Bean & Tortilla Casserole
You'll need 1 cup chopped white (or yellow) onion and 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped.
Place in a skillet with 1 Tbsp oil and saute for 5 minutes.
You'll also need 1/2 cup picante sauce - I like the chunky stuff!
You'll also need 1/2 cup Salsa Verde. Or you can just increase the picante sauce to 1 cup. However, I loved the flavor of the green salsa!
You'll also need 1 can (14.5 oz) chopped tomatoes. I used tomatoes with chipolte peppers, but it works well with regular canned tomatoes as well.
Add the salsas and tomatoes to the pepper and onions.
Also, you'll need 2 teaspoons ground cumin. I was talking recently with my best friend about cumin - she's never bought it. I had her smell it and she decided it smelled like taco seasoning. Seriously it does make a HUGE difference when cooking with Mexican/Latin flavors.
Lastly (for now at least), you'll need 2 cloves of garlic.
Mince the garlic and add to the onion and pepper mixture.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Next, you'll need 2 cans (15 ounces) of black beans.
Rinse and drain the beans.
Add the beans to the pan and stir.
Spread 1/3 of the bean mixture over the bottom of a pan.
Use corn tortillas to form a layer over the bean mixture.
Top with 1 cup shredded cheese. I've used Cheddar and Monterey Jack - I did like the Monterey Jack cheese better, but the cheddar works fine.
Repeat layers.
1/3 Bean mixture,
and tortillas. Repeat with remaining bean mixture, tortillas and
sprinkle with a small amount of cheese.
Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with 1 cup cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes more, uncovered. Remove, let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, fresh cilantro sprigs, green onion and olives.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Menu: April 4-10

The beginning of last week was a rough one for me, which is reflected in the food we ate ;). Luckily this week is already doing better. Which you will also be able to tell in the menu I post next week!

However I want to discuss something else tonight. Last week I read a couple of posts about making bird nests and for the life of me I cannot find them anywhere! I didn't bookmark them because I knew how I was going to make them myself. I was going to transform the Little Critters recipe I shared earlier into bird nests! However I made them with pretzles and LOVED it. I made some with milk chocolate chips mixed with peanut butter chips, I made some more with white chocolate chips mixed with peanut butter chips, and then I combined some of the two batches. Verdict: Pretzles are SO much better than the chow mein noodles. However you'll want to break them up. Broken up mini twists are better than the straight sticks as they form better shapes. White chocolate - delicious! Milk and white chocolate mixed - delicious!
Here's our menu: 

Monday: Leftover Night

Tuesday: Frozen Pizza

Wednesday: Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwiches (Same as grilled cheese but with ham lunchmeat.)

Thursday:We must not have had something spectacular as I forgot to make a note and have totally forgotten what we ate!
Friday: Chef Salad
Saturday: Bacon & Spinach Quiche (It's true, hubby got SECONDS of quiche with this!)
Sunday: Chipolte Black Bean Soup (this soup may not look visually appetizing, but it is SO good!)

Vote for the recipe you want to see next week!  Tortilla & Black Bean Casserole won last week's poll and will be posted this Thursday.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Macho Nachos

When I was a teenager I played on our Church's basketball team. We would play a few of the other local congregations - it was all girls on each team. Our team pretty much just had fun... we were not in it to win it. Basically because we didn't have enough height/talent to be able to win some of the other teams (plus some games we only  had 5 players so we were pretty exhausted by the end). I'm glad we had fun though! One tradition we all loved was going to get Macho Nachos after each game - win or lose our leaders would pay for one or two to share between all the players. We all had a great time. Luckily they are pretty easy to make and my husband LOVES them. When I'm at my parent's we tend to have these for New Year's Eve which is a great tradition.

Macho Nachos

 First, you'll need some hamburger, browned (I cook 1 pound of hamburger with 1/2 to 1 cup chopped onion) and add Taco Seasoning.
 Prepare all toppings as well - We usually use lettuce (in this case it was spinach), chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, guacamole, and shredded cheese. Not pictured but used sometimes are refried beans, and sour cream.
 Melt shredded cheese onto tortilla chips (either under broiler or in microwave) - you can omit this step, but it does make it better. Then top with desired toppings.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Potato Bags

One of the first posts I created was a tutorial on how to make Potato Bags. I have wanted to redo that post with a few more pictures. I finally did it and instead of posting it here, I guest posted on Frugal Creativity. So head on over to check out the updated post. It posted yesterday, I'm just a bit slow at letting you all know.