Sunday, February 10, 2013

Pork Chop Bake

I love and hate that after college, all my friends scattered across the US. I have friends in Seattle, Boston, NYC, and Chicago. It's great when I'm traveling, but it's not so great when socializing. Last summer on my east coast solo trip, I stayed with Ayesha and Alex in NYC. I am so thankful that they let me crash on their couch for a few days and gave me a great culinary tour of the city.

This Christmas, it dawned on me that Alex would probably be home for the holidays, so we got together for lunch. I picked him up in Holland (his home) and we had lunch in Grand Rapids (my new home). His family owns Montello Meat Market in Holland, so when I picked him up, I got a quick tour of the operation, complete with Sam in the back hacking a large piece of meat. Then, a lovely surprise! I welcome to the West Side box of meat from the market. There were pork chops, burgers, ground beef, various beef cuts and some amazing homemade bratwurst. I was really looking forward to savoring each cut and eating delicious meat over the new few months.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and you'll find my refrigerator not working. The compressor broke when I wasn't home (twice) and my entire fridge/freezer thawed out. Thankfully, it was really cold out at the time and my porch then acted as my freezer. The staff at my apartment complex did a nice job of replacing the fridge in a pretty timely manner. However, the meat had been defrosted twice in a few days and I was getting a little leary of how long it would last. I put on a request on Facebook for some recipes and this was one of the results. 

I grew up eating pork chops with applesauce and macaroni and cheese, so this was a great way of getting the apples without making full on applesauce. Go make it. It's delicious.

Pork Chop Bake
original recipe from Holly Hentz
2 pork chops
2 tsp. butter
2 medium apples, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce

1 small sweet onion, diced (1/2 cup)
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

In a small nonstick skillet, brown pork chops in butter. 

 Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the apples, cranberry sauce and onion. Transfer to an 8x8 baking dish coated with spray.
Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over apple mixture. Top with pork chops.

Cover and bake at 325 for 45 to 50 minutes or until pork reaches 160 and apples are tender.

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Green Peppers

Sometimes I have to remember that not everyone likes all the same foods that I do. I love peas and lima beans. Matt hates them. I hate mushrooms. Matt loves them. Sometimes, I have to suck it up and put the things that I hate back into a recipe. There are plenty of recipes I have altered to get rid of things I don't like. Maybe it changes the recipe too much, maybe it doesn't. I'll never know.

When I found this recipe though, I knew that if I was sharing, I was going to have to include the mushrooms. I have never actually had a Philly Cheesesteak, but I assume that the mushrooms are important. That is how I found myself sauteeing mushrooms in butter one day last week. I took them out of the oven and they smelled delicious, but when it came time to eat the mushrooms, I couldn't do it. I can sneak the little guys in there, but a whole sliced mushroom? No way! There are delicious and definitely a way to get your fill of Cheesesteak if you're someone on a gluten-free diet. 

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Green Peppers
originally from Quick & Easy Recipes

8 oz. Thinly Sliced Roast Beef
8 Slices Provolone Cheese
2 Large Green Bell Peppers
1 Medium Sweet Onion
6 oz. Baby Bella Mushrooms
2 Tbs. Butter
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1 Tbs. Garlic – Minced
Salt and Pepper – to taste

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, remove ribs and seeds.

Slice onions and mushrooms.  Saute over medium heat with butter, olive oil, minced garlic and a little salt and pepper.  Saute until onions and mushroom are nice and caramelized.  About 25-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400*

Slice roast beef into thin strips and add to the onion/mushroom mixture.  Allow to cook 5-10 minutes

Line the inside of each pepper with a slice of provolone cheese. 

Fill each pepper with meat mixture until they are nearly overflowing.

Top each pepper with another slice of provolone cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown. 

Blueberry-Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

Another recipe for when regular oatmeal or cereal just isn't cutting it. I have been craving blueberries lately and didn't want to take the time to make them into scones like I had originally planned. Good thing I had bookmarked this recipe

Blueberry & Raspberry Baked Oatmeal
originally from So, How's It Taste?

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
 1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2-3 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
1 cup blueberries or raspberries, fresh or frozen, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
2. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix the oats, half of the walnuts, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the syrup, milk, egg, butter, and vanilla.
3. Spread the sliced bananas in a single layer over the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the berries. Sprinkle the dry oat mixture over the fruit in an even layer. Pour the liquid ingredients evenly over the oats.
4. Sprinkle the remaining nuts and berries over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is browned and the oats have set. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.