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”→
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!
Normally on Sunday’s I have dinner in the crock pot or oven so it’s ready when we get home from church. But yesterday, because of being away at a conference since Thursday, I hadn’t had time to prepare that type of a meal. So I turned to a menu of fish Continue reading “A Full Meal in Under 30 Minutes!”→
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!
Homemade Shake and Bake Pork Chops
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
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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!
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!
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!!
Does this look like leftovers to you? I don’t think so!!
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.
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!
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!
If you included weight loss in any of your New Year Goals, you will be really happy to try this recipe! This Deconstructed Pizza Casserole is low carb but highly delicious! If you’re hungry for pizza, but don’t want all the calories and carbohydrates, this will come in a close second to the real thing! I added a green salad and it was a perfect Saturday night supper that almost felt like, “Pizza Night!”
Here’s the easy recipe and my tweaks:
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes (do not use petite dice)
5 links (19.5 oz.) uncooked turkey Italian sausage
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and fresh-ground pepper to taste
8-12 oz. fresh mushrooms, washed and cut into thick slices (I used brown Cremini mushrooms.) To wash, wet a paper towel and wipe the mushrooms. Don’t rinse under water!
1/2 Red onion, sliced
1 1/2 cups grated Mozzarella cheese (I used part-skim mozzarella)
Pepperoni slices (I used Turkey Pepperoni, but you can use regular, if you prefer.)
Preheat oven to 400°. Spray an 8 inch x 11 inch glass casserole dish with non-stick spray or olive oil.
Pour the diced tomatoes into a colander placed in the sink and rinse with cold water. Let tomatoes drain a minute or two, then spread them out on paper towels to dry (or blot dry with another paper towel on top.)
Remove the sausage out of the casing, and cook over medium-high heat until it’s nicely browned, breaking it apart as it cooks.
While sausage cooks, clean mushrooms and slice into thick slices.
When the sausage is done make a layer of sausage in the bottom of the casserole dish and top with the drained tomatoes and red onions, spreading out over the top of the sausage. Season with dried oregano, salt, and fresh-ground black pepper.
Rinse out the pan if needed, then heat 2 tsp. of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot add the mushrooms and cook, stirring a few times, until all the liquid is released and the mushrooms are starting to brown. Layer the mushrooms over the sausage-tomato mixture.
Sprinkle the grated Mozzarella over the top of the casserole and lay the pepperoni pieces on top of the cheese, spacing them evenly so the whole top is covered with pepperoni.
Bake about 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Serve hot.
With yummy dishes like this, you could cut carbs and not feel like you’re missing your favorite pizza!