Dinner · Family life · Tablescapes

Family Friday- Set the Table

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I have had some comments both here on my blog and in person about struggles with setting the dinner  table and making mealtime a family highlight of the day. I’d like to offer some suggestions that might make it easier for you to accomplish this! It’s not about making your house look like the Biltmore dining room. It’s simply about putting out what will be needed for the meal – silverware, plate, glass, and napkin so the meal can be eaten and enjoyed.

The how: 

Continue reading “Family Friday- Set the Table”

Dinner · home · Home making · Lightened Up Recipe · Meal planning · refreshment at home · Tablescapes

My Kitchen Table – Settings & Sustenance

We all have to eat.  But what we fix and how we serve it can make a huge  difference in how much enjoyment we give ourselves and those with whom we share the meal. I can remember growing up that my mom always made the table and the food a special part of each day.  I don’t go overboard on a regular day, but I try to make the food and the table inviting.  Today’s post is just a little glimpse into how I set the table and what meals we’ve been enjoying recently.

Al Fresco Dining – Once the weather turns warm, we eat outside as often as possible!  One morning recently I took breakfast outside to the front porch where the sun was shining and ate sitting in a rocking chair.  That’s even better than Cracker Barrel! Continue reading “My Kitchen Table – Settings & Sustenance”

Dinner · Lightened Up Recipe · Sandwich

Reuben Sandwiches Done Light(er)

Reuben 2a

I love a good Reuben Sandwich at a restaurant, but I’ve seldom ever made one at home.  First, the Corned Beef is expensive at the grocery store.  Second, the calories are even higher!  But when a generous man at our church shared his homemade sauerkraut with us (again!) I kept thinking about how good a Reuben Sandwich would taste using that freshly made kraut!

So, Continue reading “Reuben Sandwiches Done Light(er)”

Beef · Dinner · Gluten-Free · Uncategorized

Hamburger Craving Fulfilled! ~ Hamburger Stacks

A hamburger and fries is a tempting treat occasionally, but when you see the calories and fat numbers, a guilt trip can arrive faster than your drive-through order!

But you know, eating right doesn’t have to  mean you do without delicious food.  This recipe for a hamburger and potatoes isn’t completely healthy, but it’s a lighter version

Continue reading “Hamburger Craving Fulfilled! ~ Hamburger Stacks”

Dinner · Pork chops

Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops

Man I love a bone-in pork chop!  They are thick, juicy and scrumptious!  Are you old enough to remember the commercials for Shake and Bake coating mix for chicken and pork? Here it is…

The commercial might be comical now (especially those “southern accents!”), but it’s true – this coating is easier and better than frying!

I Recently found a lovely package of pork chops on sale at Kroger and brought them home, not knowing how I would prepare them.  Then remembering those crispy oven-baked pork chops from my childhood, I Googled “Homemade Shake and Bake Pork chops” and found that Southern Living had a great recipe!!

Look at this pork chop with its delicious coating that was BAKED!

Shake and bake 1

Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 4 (1/2-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops
Step 1

Preheat oven to 425°. Stir together first 6 ingredients, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a 1-gal. zip-top plastic freezer bag.

Step 2

Sprinkle pork chops on both sides with remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper. Place 2 chops in breadcrumb mixture, and shake to coat well. Place chops on a wire rack on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chops.

Step 3

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes; turn chops over, and bake 10 more minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted in thickest portion registers 155°. Let stand 5 minutes.

Southern Living added a Mustard Sauce. I tried it and it was delicious!!  Here’s the recipe for that:

Mustard Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Step 4

Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, and sauté 3 minutes or until softened. Increase heat to medium-high; add broth, and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Stir in mustard, cream, and lemon juice, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in chopped parsley. Serve immediately with pork chops.

shake and bake 3

Now, aren’t you hungry for a crunchy, savory pork chop?  i SERIOUSLY could eat this every week, and that’s coming from a girl who likes variety in her menu!  I hope you’ll find someone to give you some help (spoken with a southern drawl!and try this recipe!

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Crock Pot · Dinner · freezer

Making Frozen Leftovers Tonight’s Supper – The Easy Way!

Leftover collage

What, oh what would I do without my freezer?  I’ve said it before, but my freezer is my best friend…well, you know what I mean.

It’s there for me!

It has supper waiting!

It has gifts inside, both for me and many other friends!

Isn’t that a great friend?!

I’ve always put leftovers in my freezer, but I’ve not always stored them in the best way, or in a way that was easy to reheat them.  But I have two new tricks using frozen leftovers that have worked for me and I want to pass them along to you!

  1. Slow-Cook leftovers from a frozen state.
    Last Sunday I went to the freezer before heading to church and I pulled out a container with a yummy casserole, Countryside Chicken Bake, full of great things, aside from the chicken, like Cream of Mushroom Soup, sour cream, rice, and carrots (or peas, if you prefer).  I had marked the container saying, Countryside Chicken Bake, Two Servings.  Knowing that would be perfect for our Sunday dinner, I took it in its frozen state and put it directly into my slow cooker, adding about 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth to keep it moist .  I put the crock pot on High for one hour, low for 3 hours.  I think going slow and making sure there is plenty of liquid is the best way to reheat so you’ll have a good outcome.
    When we came home from church, it was hot, juicy, tender and ready to eat!  That is a freezer win!!

    Countryside Chicken bake
    Does this look like leftovers to you?  I don’t think so!!

    countryside chicken bake 2.jpg

  2. Put small amounts of chili, soups or stew into muffins tins for individual servings.
    I love this so much!  You know how the last half of the chili doesn’t look too appealing after eating it two days in a row?  This makes it a cinch to store and reheat for dinner another day when you’ll be glad to see it again!

    I had leftover Taco Soup last week with just a little left over.  I used the large muffin tins, but regular sized one will work, too.  Fill them up, cover with syran wrap and freeze for a couple hours or overnight until frozen solid.
    Then run warm water on the bottom of the tin and then pop them onto a tray.
    Store the frozen soup “pucks” in freezer bags, labeled with the soup name.
    soup collage.jpg
    When you need lunch or supper, pop the frozen soup into a microwave container and warm it up!  You could do one serving or six, depending on your needs (and the amount of leftovers, of course!). At one time this winter I had three different soups in the freezer.  It made for a really easy lunch, which seems to be the hardest meal for me!
    Image result for taco soup
    Leftovers don’t have to have a bad name!  They can be reused at a later time and used in a way that will make a busy day much less stressful if you store and reheat properly.

    If you try these tips I bet your freezer will become your best friend, too!

One more thing that I love about my freezer is freezing breads that are ready to bake, like these rolls or these muffins!  They’re super good and so handy to have on hand!

Happy freezing!

Denise Signature 150 px