Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mustard-Herb Crusted Pork Chops

Randy brought me home this recipe to try. He found it in an old magazine and tore it out. It's an Emeril recipe. I never made one of his recipes before, so I was excited to try it. The original recipe called for lamb chops, but I opted to use pork chops instead. Don't get me wrong, I love lamb, but I have never made it before. It's one of those meats like veal that I let restaurants cook for me. Plus it's also hard to find in crappy NEPA grocery stores. This recipe was delicious, so flavorful. I can't even describe how good it was, plus it was simple. I'm always looking for new ways to jazz up breaded pork and chicken and this recipe is a keeper.

Mustard-Herb Crusted Pork Chops
adapted from Emeril Lagasse, Emeril 20-40-60

6 boneless center-cut pork chops
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried rosemary (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix together mustard and garlic.
Mix together bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and herbs.
Salt and pepper pork chops.
Brush mustard mixture on pork chops.
Dredge chops in bread crumb mixture.
Heat oil in skillet on high heat.
Cook pork chops 2 minutes on each side.
Place in baking dish.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Not a T.V. Dinner Salisbury Steak

You remember those gross T.V. dinners with salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, and corn? The ones where you were lucky if they included a brownie for dessert? I grew up eating a lot of those frozen, processed dinners. That's what happens when you come from a single-parent family. They were awful and I vowed I would never eat frozen salisbury steak ever again. I hadn't eaten those little beef patties for quite some time and a few years ago my cousin gave me this recipe. I did modify it a bit to exclude onions since we don't eat them. So if you like hamburgers covered in gravy, then you'll love this recipe.

Salisbury Steak
1.5 pounds ground beef
1 cup white mushrooms, sliced
10 - 15 saltine crackers
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 packet brown gravy

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly spray baking pan with nonstick spray
Make gravy as directed and set aside.
Crush saltines and mix with milk.
Add saltine mixture, garlic, onion salt, and pepper to ground beef.
Mix and shape into 6 patties.
Cover with mushrooms and gravy.
Bake for 35 - 40 minutes.
Serve with mashed potatoes and corn for the full T.V. dinner experience!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Fluff

We were over my mother-in-law's a few weeks ago for dinner and she made a pumpkin dip for dessert. It was so good! I asked for the recipe, but it was a mix she bought while she was on vacation. Instead of trying to find a mix, I decided I would go home and recreate it. After making the pumpkin lasagna the other night, I had leftover pumpkin puree, so I decided to experiment. I think I got the recipe pretty close to the mix. This dip is addicting. I served it with pound cake slices.

Pumpkin Fluff
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 block cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup whipped topping

Cream together cream cheese and sugar.
Add pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and powdered sugar.
Beat well.
Fold in whipped topping.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin, Zucchini, & Sausage Lasagna

Now that it is fall, I feel the need to make something pumpkin. I couldn't decided between pumpkin pie, cookies, whoopie pies, bread, cheesecake—the list goes on. Randy suggested a recipe from my new Food Network Magazine and asked me to try it: Pumpkin Lasagna. It just didn't seem right to me. When I think pumpkin, I think of something sweet not savory. I was skeptical, but I gave it a whirl. And boy was I glad I trusted my husband! It came out great. The pumpkin paired nicely with the zucchini, sausage, and cheese. It added a nice spice to it. It wasn't sweet at all. So don't fear the pumpkin and give this recipe a try! This recipe would work well with any combination of veggies and meat.

Pumpkin, Zucchini, & Sausage Lasagna
adapted from Robert Irvine's Pumpkin Lasagna, Food Network Magazine 11/09

1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
Box of no-boil lasagna noodles (I used Barilla brand.)
2 jars favorite sauce or homemade
16 oz. ricotta cheese
2 cups favorite shredded cheese (I used a mix of raw milk sharp cheddar and mozzarella.)
1/4 grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 eggs
salt, pepper, parsley, Italian seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Lightly spray 9 x 13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
3. Slice zucchini very thinly. Salt and pepper zucchini and set aside.
4. Brown sausage in a skillet over high heat. Add garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning to sausage while cooking. Drain sausage and mix with 1/2 to 3/4 cup sauce and set aside.
5. Combine pumpkin puree, 1 egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
6. Combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1 egg, salt, pepper, and parsley. Mix well and set aside.
7. Assemble lasagna: Ladle sauce onto bottom of baking pan. Place 3 lasagna noodles on bottom of pan. Top with 1/2 sausage and sauce. Top with 3 more noodles. Top with ricotta cheese mixture and more sauce. Top with 3 more noodles. Spread pumpkin mixture on top of noodles and top with zucchini slices and sauce. Top with 3 more noodles. Spread the rest of the sausage, ricotta cheese mixture, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Top with sauce and remaining 3 noodles. Top noodles with sauce and the rest of the shredded cheese.
8. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.
9. Remove foil and cook an additional 10 minutes.
10. Serve with salad and Italian bread.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Go Blue! Buffalo Chicken Pizza

PSU Football + Buffalo Chicken Pizza = Good Time

GO Penn State! As most people know, I graduated from Penn State and I am a huge PSU football fan. Randy and I managed to get to the homecoming game last weekend. They defeated the MN Golden Gophers 20-0. A very good game, despite the snow. Last night, I whipped up some buffalo chicken pizza for us while we were watching the game on TV. PSU played a good game and finally defeated Michigan on their turf—first time since 1997! This pizza is spicy and delicious, plus quick to whip up, especially if you use pre-made crust as I did. I made it during half-time with time to spare.

Go Blue! Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Favorite crust recipe (I used pre-made)
1 pound boneless chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 - 1 cup cup favorite buffalo sauce
1/2 - 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
1 - 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
salt and pepper

Prepare crust as directed.
Preheat oven to temperature indicated by crust instructions.
Salt and pepper chicken.
Saute chicken in canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat, until no longer pink.
Toss chicken with buffalo sauce.
Top crust with buffalo chicken mixture.
Top chicken with cheddar and mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle bleu cheese crumbles on top.
Cook according to crust directions.
Serve with bleu cheese, celery, and cold beer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken with Roasted Seasoned Potatoes

My husband loves anything buffalo—chicken wings, crack dip, potato wedges, fries, chicken fingers, etc. Every time we go out he orders wings. He requests this dish quite often and I don't mind since I love buffalo, too. This recipe isn't figure-friendly, but it is definitely healthier than deep fried wings, plus it's delicious. I made seasoned roasted potatoes on the side.

Bleu Cheese Stuffed Buffalo Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/4 wing sauce
4 - 6 tablespoons bleu cheese crumbles
1 cup bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spray baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Mix together ranch dressing and wing sauce.
Cut a slit in the middle of each chicken breast.
Pack chicken with bleu cheese.
Brush wing sauce mixture on both sides of chicken.
Coat chicken with bread crumbs.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes.

Roasted Seasoned Potatoes
4 large potatoes
1/2 green bell pepper
2 - 3 tablespoons canola or olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Lightly spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Chop potatoes and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces.
Add oil, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper to potatoes.
Shake to coat.
Place potatoes on cookie sheet.
Bake 34 - 45 minutes until potatoes are done.

Razzberry Filled Vanilla Cupcakes

I love to bake, especially cupcakes! The recipe I used the other night for the apple pie cupcakes yielded over 30 cupcakes, so I had a few extra left over. I wanted something other than plain vanilla cupcakes, so I decided to fill them with raspberry preserves. I made these once before for my husband's birthday, but I topped them with cream cheese icing. This time I used buttercream since I already had a batch made for the apple pie cupcakes. I think these are my new favorite cupcakes—they were so good! Since I love to share my baking creations, I brought some of these into work with the apple pie cupcakes. These were the first ones gone. They were a huge hit and everyone raved about them.

Bake your favorite white cupcakes. (I used Martha Stewart's recipe. They are a denser cupcake and held up well when I added the preserves. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect white cake recipe, though.)

To fill cupcakes:
Use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake.
Put aside chunk of removed cake.
Fill the holes with seedless raspberry preserves.
Place chunk of cake back on top of cupcake like a plug.
Top with vanilla buttercream.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I was looking for a different recipe for pork chops. I couldn't think of anything except the old standby: breaded pork chops—boring. My husband suggested flavoring them with garlic before breading them. At first I was going to melt butter and garlic together and dip them in the butter mixture before breading them. But I didn't have much butter in the house and didn't want to run to the store. I racked my brain and came up with another idea—garlic mayo. I brushed it on both sides, breaded the pork chops, and baked them. They came out moist, and garlicky. These were so good that you can chase away vampires after eating them. My husband named these "NO KISSING GARLIC PORK CHOPS." I will definitely make these again.

6 boneless, center cut pork chops
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
Garlic salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly grease baking pan with nonstick spray.
Mix together mayo, minced garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
Brush on both sides of pork chops.
Coat both sides of pork chops with bread crumbs.
Bake 40 minutes.

Apple Pie Cupcakes

I came across this recipe on a fellow nestie's blog and immediately bookmarked it. My husband and I visited a local orchard last week and came home with honey crisp apples. If you've never tried a honey crisp apple, run don't walk, to the nearest orchard or grocery store and get yourself some. They are the best apples in the world—sweet and crispy. I had a few apples left to use up, so I decided to try out this recipe. My husband loves apple pie, so he was excited when I told him I was making them. He loved these, especially since the apples were still warm when he took a bite. I can't express how delicious these were. They are a perfect fall treat. I took a few of these to work for my coworkers to sample. They enjoyed them as well.

Apple Pie Cupcakes
adapted from: Annie's Eats via Fatty Fat Fats


Bake your favorite white cupcakes.
(I used Martha Stewart's recipe. They are a denser cupcake and held up well when the apple mixture was added. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect white cake recipe.)

Apple Filling:
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons white sugar
2 large Honey Crisp apples

Peel, core, and dice apples.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
Add the apples, cinnamon, and sugar.
Mix well.
Cook about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.

To fill cupcakes: Use the cone method to remove a chunk from the center of each cupcake.
Discard (or eat) chunk of removed cake.
Fill the holes with the cooled apple mixture.
Top with vanilla buttercream.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheddar Onion Crusted Chicken

I didn't think I liked French's French Fried Onions. I'm not a fan of green bean casserole. But my co-worker was raving about this baked chicken she made using french fried onions. She said her kids don't like onions and they loved this dish. So I decided to give it a try. She used French's French Fried Onions to coat the chicken and baked it. When I was at the grocery store, I found French's Cheddar French Fried Onions and decide to give those a try instead. This chicken is moist on the inside, crunchy on the outside, and delicious. I think this recipe will work well with pork also.

Cheddar Onion Crusted Chicken
source: French's Cheddar French Fried Onions container

3 chicken breasts, cleaned and sliced in half
1/4 cup honey mustard
1 cup French's Cheddar French Fried Onions
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat bottom of baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Crush French's Cheddar French Fried Onions and place on a plate.
Salt and pepper chicken.
Brush honey mustard on both sides of chicken.
Coat both sides of chicken with crushed french fried onions.
Place in baking pan.
Bake 30 minutes.

Stuffed Peppers

Since it's getting colder outside (we had our first snowfall here already!), I like to make warm, satisfying meals. Stuffed peppers is just that. These aren't one of our weeknight meals because they are a tad time consuming, so I usually reserve this meal for Sunday dinners. I like to use yellow, orange, and red bell peppers because they are sweeter than green. I also add Parmesan cheese to the tops of the peppers while they are baking for a nice crust on top.

6 bell peppers, hulled out (I use yellow, orange, and red.)
1 pound ground beef
1 bag boil-in-bag white rice
2 jars of favorite tomato sauce
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons minced garlic
Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper, to taste

Hull out peppers removing seeds and ribs.
If needed, slice bottoms to make them stand up.
Lightly grease glass baking dish.
Boil rice according to directions.
Drain rice, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
Brown ground beef.
Add Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and garlic to ground beef.
Drain ground beef.
Mix together with rice.
Add 1 jar of tomato sauce and a few shakes of salt and pepper.
Add bread crumbs, half of the Parmesan cheese, and cheddar cheese.
Mix until well combined.
Stuff each pepper with beef and rice mixture.
Stand up peppers in baking dish.
Pour 1 jar of sauce on top of peppers.
Cover with foil and bake 1 hour.
Remove foil and sprinkle remaining Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake an additional 20 - 30 minutes until peppers are soft.
Serve with crusty Italian bread and a Caesar salad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chicken Parmesan

I've been a slacker lately. I have good reason since Randy and I were busy celebrating our second wedding anniversary. We hit a local wine festival, ate at a Thai restaurant, and spent the night at the hotel where we were married.

When we got back we were craving Italian food, so I decided to make one of our favorite dinners. I know there are tons of different recipes out there for chicken parmesan and everyone makes it differently. I adapted this recipe from my mother-in-law. She double breads the chicken and pan fries it before baking it in the oven. It comes out nice and crispy.

Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and cut in half
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 eggs, beaten
Italian seasoning, salt, pepper
Canola or olive oil, for frying
Favorite sauce
Provolone or mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Coat chicken with bread crumb mixture.
Dip in beaten egg.
Coat again with bread crumb mixture.
Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan on high heat.
Fry chicken for two minutes on each side.
Place chicken in a lightly greased pan.
Bake 30-40 minutes until chicken is no longer pink.
Top with cheese and sauce.
Serve with a side of pasta and Italian bread.