Just a little ole working gal, who loves food

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pan Fried Pork Chops

Here is a recipe for one of those super busy weeknights where you only have about 20 Minutes to cook. Or if you are like me...don't feel like cooking and just want something fast and tasty. My husband loves these too because he takes the leftovers to work the next day in a sandwich with caramelized onions and peppers.

Easy Peasy Pan Fried Pork Chops

 Grab a package of pork chops. The thinner the better...and no bone...it will just take longer to cook.
 Season the pork chops with Sea Salt and Pepper.
 Prepare your flour. Combine 1 Cup Flour, 1 Tsp Cayenne, 1 Tsp Smoked Paprika, 1 Tsp Dried Parsley, 1/2 Tsp Garlic Salt, 1/2 Tsp White Pepper.
 Heat a frying pan with about 1/2 inch cooking oil. Not too hot...you don't want to burn the pork chops.
 Cover your pork chops in the flour mixture...
 Both sides...shake off any excess
 And place in your hot oil.
 Flip after about 4-5 minutes or until crispy and brown...continue cooking on the other side for about 4 minutes as well. Remove the pork chops from the oil when cooked and let rest on a paper towel lined plate for about 5 minutes (covered in tin foil to keep warm) before serving.
Serve with Canned Corn and broiled veggies. Seriously...this took me 20 minutes total to put together and tasted pretty yummy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Spicy Jambalaya

I will be the first to admit that I know very little about southern cooking...and I am sure that the "southern cooking" I have tried in the great white north would be laughable to anyone who is from the south. But I am so intrigued by this food culture. I love the richness about it and the spice. My god do I ever love the spice.

My husband has a weaker stomach than mine so this is a once in a while dish for us...but man, does this ever clear up a congested sinus. You can make this dish with less spice..I have never tried...but I am sure it would still be just as good!

Spicy Jambalaya
 So here is where I know, this dish stops being authentic "southern". I used Spanish Chorizo. I do not have access to Andouille Sausage, which is what is traditionally used. Chop 1 Spanish Chorizo sausage and brown in a large oven proof pot (I used a cast iron pan to saute everything then transferred it to a oven safe dish....I really need a cast iron pot)
 Remove browned sausage and set aside
 In the same pan with all the sausage yummyness, Brown 3 cubed chicken breasts (lightly seasoned with salt, pepper and flour). You just want to get a nice light brown crust on them.
 Chop 1/2 large Onion, 1 Red Pepper and 4 Celery stalks.
 Add half the chopped veggies to the chicken and saute about 2 minutes.
 Make your spice mix. 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1 1/2 tsp White Pepper, 1 tsp dried Basil, 1 tsp dried Thyme, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Black Pepper, 1/2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
 Add your spice Mixture, 1 Large Chopped Tomato, and 2 minced garlic cloves to the pan. Cook for one minute.
 My pan was wayyyy too full so I transferred everything to a pot to finish up. Add 1/2 Cup Marinara sauce, 2 Cups Chicken Broth, 3/4 cup long grain white rice, and the rest of the chopped vegetables. Stir to combine and stick in a 350F oven for 25-30 minutes.
 After 25-30 minutes of baking in the oven, add 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and 3 Green Onions, also chopped.
 I add my shrimp at this point as well..about 1 lb of Tiger shrimp, shelled and de-veined. Cook in the oven for another 10 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked!
And there you have it.. Canadianized Jambalaya in a spaghetti bowl. Yum, yum, yum!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sloppy Joe's a la Jenn

Or what we like to call them...Sloppy Jenn's :)

Growing up this was a staple in my family for weeknight meals. They were fast, yummy and a great way to hide vegetables! Plus, what kid doesn't love eating messy foods with their hands!!

Now that I am older, and have read what goes into the canned Sloppy Joe sauce, I decided that this is totally something that would benefit being made from scratch. The sodium and weird unpronounceable ingredients freak me out. Not to mention the taste just isn't the same anymore.

Here is a great, easy, tastier version of Sloppy Jenn's!
 In a large saucepan cook about 6 slices of chopped thick cup bacon until crispy and brown. Remove bacon from pan set aside on some paper towel. Leave the grease in the pan as well will be using the same pan to brown the meat.
 Finely chop 1 Onion, 1/2 Large Green Pepper, 1 Jalapeno and 1 garlic clove, set aside
 I found it best to make my sloppy joe sauce before I started anything else. That way it is ready to pour in once the meat is browned. For the sloppy joe sauce you will need 1/2 Cup Ketchup, 1 small can tomato paste, 1/2 Cup water, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, dash of cinnamon...really..just one shake of my shaker was enough, salt and pepper to taste
 Whisk to combine and set aside. The sauce will be pretty thick.
 In your bacon greased saucepan add 1/2lb ground turkey and 1/2lb extra lean ground sirloin along with all the pre-chopped veggies.
 Brown on medium high heat, stirring frequently
 Once meat is browned lower the heat to medium low and add back your pre-cooked bacon
 And then the sauce
 Cook covered for about 10-15 minutes. If the mixture get too dry you can add a bit more water...or in my case..we added about a 1/4 cup of beer and simmered for an extra 10 minutes.
Serve on a crusty kaiser bun with sharp cheddar grated on top. Perfectly messy supper~~and done in about 30 minutes!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Do you have a go to dish that you always good when company is coming over...or when you just want something a little more special? Well mine is risotto. I know a lot of people don't really like making it as you do have to watch it and stir it a lot..unlike conventional rice that you have just put boiling and leave it alone. This recipe is one of my favourites....i love earthy mushrooms and try to get a variety of them when making this dish! Good Parmesan Reggiano is also a MUST for a great Risotto!

Grab yourself a nice variety of mushrooms. I have some Shitake, Oyster and Cremini mushrooms here. Chop and set aside. You should have between 1-2 cups of chopped mushrooms.
Mince 1 small onion and 2 garlic cloves.
At this point I also prep my fresh herbs. My regular Thyme has already died off in my garden, however, I have an abundance on Lemon Thyme. I used about 1 tsp fresh Lemon Thyme...set this aside for later too.

On one of your stove burners have a pot of chicken broth simmering. You will need the hot broth throughout the cooking process

In a large deep saucepan over medium high heat melt 2 Tbsp butter. Add the onions and saute
Once the onions become translucent add the garlic and cook for about one minute or until fragrant. Now add your rice. This recipe serves 4-5 people with only 1.5cups of rice! Please use Arborio Rice. This is a very important ingredient as there are starches in Arborio rice that when cooked slowly, make the creamy texture that makes risotto so famously amazing. Once you add the rice you want to stir it around, being careful to not let it burn, but to start to lightly toast. You will hear it crackling. That's when you know its time to add the liquid!

Add 1 cup of white wine to the rice.
Quickly add your mushrooms. Stir around until most of the wine has evaporated. At this point I usually lower the head a bit to medium.
Season your risotto with a little salt and pepper and start adding your broth one ladle full at a time until the mixture becomes "loose" but not soupy. You want to keep this consistency throughout the cooking process, as once the starches from the rice start to work their magic, the liquid will thicken and become nice and creamy.
Keep adding broth when needed and stirring...this process takes about 20 minutes. You don't need to be vigorous with your stirring...just make sure that the rice is not sticking and that the mixture stays 'loose'.
You can add your fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking process. Once the mixture starts looking creamy, try a bit of the rice. It should be like pasta and served slightly al dente, but not crunchy. keep on adding broth and stirring until your risotto has the right texture and consistency.
Once the rice is cooked add 1/2 cup of freshly grated good quality Parmesan Reggiano cheese and 2 tbsp of butter.
Mix thoroughly off the heat...perfectly creamy risotto.
Serve as a side with Protein or just on its own. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grilled Zucchini with Parmesean

Back in May i planted 4 little plants that were marked "English cucumbers" at the local nursery. My husband and I eat a lot of cucumbers as snacks and in salads so thought it would be awesome to grow our own...and maybe even make some homemade pickles. So come summer and the "cucumber" plants are huge and sprawling and they are starting to flower...that is when I noticed...I bought Zucchini..not cucumbers. Ah well...not that it bothered me...I love zucchini, but my husband does not. Thank god my neighbours love it too as I have been unloading these babies on them!!

Here is my very quick and easy way of cooking zucchini as a side with weeknight dinners!

Slice your zucchini into 1/4 inch slices.
Season with salt, pepper and olive oil.
Shave some Parmesan Reggiano onto a plate and keep handy. I shave about 2 slices per zucchini slice.
BBQ your zucchini about 5 minutes per side. Once you flip add the Parmesan shavings to the zucchini slices.
Serve once cheese is melted.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spatchcock Chicken

Wow...so apparently I took some time off of posting...I apologize for that and in return have an absolutly fabulous recipe!!

To spatchcock a chicken is to remove the backbone of the bird and lay it flat to cook. I have to say...it felt kinda weird butchering the chicken but the result was amazing, juicy, flavourful chicken.

First you take a whole chicken. I like to rinse my chickens and then pat them dry with paper towel

Lay the Chicken, breast side down on your cutting board and have a pair of heavy duty kitchen shears handy

 Cut along both sides of the backbone of the chicken and remove
 The chicken should look all nasty and gross and sliced right open. Really, this photo could convert people to veganism!
 Flip the chicken over and press down inbetween the breasts to flatten. Your chicken is ready!
 Now for the marinade. I used the Juice of 1 Orange, 1 lemon, 1 tbsp fresh chopped taraggon, 1 tsp rosemary, 1/2 tsp savory, salt and pepper and 4 tbsp olive oil.
 Whisk to combine the marinade. You can pour this over your chicken and let sit in the fridge overnight. However, I just poured it over right away and roasted...still had lots of flavour!
 Cut a few slits in the chicken and slide some garlic cloves under the skin.
 Pour the marinade over the chicken and rub all over. Place chicken on a rack over your roasting pan and roast at 375F for 55 minutes.
 Once cooked let the chicken rest for about 10-15 minutes under some tented tin foil before serving.

A perfect Sunday meal!