Sunday, April 22, 2012

Week 16: Italian Herb Skillet Bread

I like bread. A lot. When someone asks the question, "If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?" My answer is always bread. I mean, think about all the lovely things that are bread. Donuts, bagels, scones, rolls, etc. 


I found this recipe on Pinterest.

Seeing such tasty bread things makes me want to make them immediately. I haven't had good luck with making my own bread, so I resorted to using frozen rolls and making them fancy. 

I also got to use my cast iron skillet for the first time. I bought it for super cheap a few years ago and haven't had the opportunity to use it. 

I was hoping that these would be a little more dense than what they turned out to be. It's like Olive Garden. They advertise the soup and breadsticks and salad thing and it's so exciting because, never ending bread! Then you bite into the breadstick and it's just air. That's what these were like. Airy. Good, but airy. They needed more butter too.

Italian Herb Skillet Bread
originally from the Rhodes website

7 Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Spray a small iron skillet with cooking spray. Place 7 frozen rolls in the skillet, leaving plenty of room for rising. Cover and allow to rise for several hours. Uncover rolls. 
Combine herbs and mix with melted butter. Brush rolls with half of the melted butter and herbs. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. 
Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes, or until rolls are a deep golden brown on top.
Brush with additional butter and serve in skillet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week 15: Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad

I've been dreaming about salad. 

Let me repeat that.

I've been dreaming about salad.

This is not like me. This is a splendid day. I guess it's been a few days, but still.

I just wanted spinach and dressing and something sweet all tossed together into a salad.

I spent two days searching for this salad. I knew I had it somewhere. It was tucked away in an internet folder waiting to be found, and find it I did. 

It includes bacon. That was probably the first clue that I would love it. Part two...strawberries. LOVE. I love strawberries. I might have mentioned that before. Goat cheese I can pass on and oh, did I mention that I like pecans too? This salad has all those things in it. It's like one of those commercials where they tell you something, but wait! There's more!

Strawberries and spinach!

But wait, there's more!

Orzo and pecans!

But wait, there's more!

Beware, the amount of red onion that it calls for is pretty potent. I would recommend less. I still smell like it and I ate this an hour ago.

Warm Strawberry Bacon Orzo Salad
originally from How Sweet it Is

1/2 cup uncooked whole wheat orzo (or any other grain)
2 slices bacon, chopped
1/4 cup whole pecans
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups raw spinach
4 large strawberries, sliced
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
fresh basil for garnish
salt and pepper

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Fry until golden brown and crispy, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Add pecans and toast for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally so they do not burn. Remove and drain on a paper towel. In the meantime, boil water for orzo and cook according to directions.

Add sliced red onion to the skillet with a sprinkle of salt and stir to coat with bacon grease. Saute until onions are soft and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and spinach and cook until spinach wilts. Add in strawberries and orzo and mix to coat. Season with salt and pepper, then add in pecans and bacon. Remove from heat and stir in crumbled goat cheese. Top with fresh basil to garnish if you’d like. Serve immediately. It tastes good cold too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 14: Strawberry Banana Cream Baked Oatmeal Squares

I don't really deal well with change. The same orange carpet, or rust as my mom would say, has been in my room for as long as I have been around. I like the way things are. When I do decide that something needs to change, it must change immediately or the moment will pass and it won't happen. I find that there are many things in life that we can't control, so keeping the same carpet or keeping all my pens lined up on my desk all day is a comfort. Sounds a little autistic of me (I can hear my mom saying this right now).

I eat oatmeal every day. Well, every weekday. I eat it with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pecans. It's delicious. However, sometimes I change it up. Moments of change, remember?

I do love me some strawberries and they were sort of cheap at the store last week, so I bought them and some bananas and threw these together. 

Also, I'm addicted to The Vampire Diaries. I'll keep watching it until one of my two favorite characters stops taking off his shirt...or he starts getting flabby. I'm shallow like that. 

Strawberry Banana Cream Baked Oatmeal Squares
serves 4-6

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 large egg
1 cup milk
1/4 cup half and half
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium ripe banana, mashed
3/4 cup chopped strawberries (about 4 large berries)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray – I used a 10×7 dish, but an 8×8, 9×9, round cake pan or another size close to that will work too.

In a large bowl, combine oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, mixing until combine. Measure out the cup of milk, then whisk in egg and vanilla extract. Add half and half to the milk mixture, then stir it into the dry oats. Mix in mashed banana and melted butter, then chopped strawberries, then scoop the batter into the baking dish. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the top is set. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before serving. Top with strawberries, bananas and milk or half and half infused with vanilla extract.

Note: If served immediately, squares may not hold together perfectly. If they are left to cool, they should hold together fine and be able to be eaten with your hands.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Week 13: Asiago Breaded Pork Chops

I'm such a slacker. I bake and cook wonderful things and then I never post them. Sometimes I even forget to take pictures of them because I've devoured them so quickly. Laziness has something to do with it all too. Oops.

I took a picture of these things though. It was the first time that I've made pork chops and I think they turned out pretty well. You do have to be prepared though. I made the mistake of not having things in order, so when I added the pork chops to the pan to brown, the first pork chop soaked up all the oil and then the rest got a little burned. I also didn't use any Corn Flake's. I don't like buying something that I'm just going to use once and then not again. I used crushed Ritz crackers instead and I think it turned out just fine. 

Pair it with whatever you want. Mac and cheese, cheesy rice, applesauce. Any of these are good. Vegetables would probably be a good choice too. 

Asiago Breaded Pork Chops
4 thin, boneless pork chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup asiago cheese, grated or crumbled

Preheat oven to 325.

Trim fat off of pork chops and tenderize with a fork.  Heat skillet on medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. In separate bowls, pour milk into one, then breadcrumbs and corn flakes into other.

Dip chop in milk and let soak for about a minute. Dip in bread crumb mixture and coat thoroughly. Add to skillet and let cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes, or until breading is golden brown.
Take off heat and add 1 cup chicken stock to skillet. Also add 1/4 cup asiago cheese on top of each chop.

 Cover and bake at 325 for about 45 minutes. Make sure the chops do not dry out. If the skillet becomes dry, add more chicken stock.