Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pork Chops With Balsamic Maple Glaze & Mashed Sweet Potatoes

It's Fall!  And that means hearty, heart warming dishes that embody the feeling of snuggling up under the fire and food that warms your senses.


4 pork chops (you can use bone in or thin cut)
1 tbl chili powder
salt & pepper

Heat non-stick skillet with 2 tbl Olive Oil and 1 tbl butter.  Wait until oil gets to just below smoking point and add seasoned  chops.

If you are using thin cut, they should only take 3-4 mins per side to cook.  You don't want to over cook them!

The idea is to sear the meat not sweat it.  If using boneless chops cook 3-5 minutes each side and remove from heat.


This makes 3-4 servings:

4-5 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into same size wedges

bring large pot of water to boil and cook potatoes until fork tender, about 15-20 minutes


Add 1/4 stick of butter, 1 tbl. honey, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 2 tbl. brown sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Mash all together.

Meanwhile while the potatoes cook, start the sauce:


In a small sauce pan, bring 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar to a boil and reduce until it becomes a syrup (about 5-8 mins).  Add 4 tbs. maple syrup, 1/2 c. chicken stock,  2 tsp. dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp. chili powder, 1/4 tsp. cumin, pinch of cayenne, 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar and 2 tbs. red wine and reduce sauce until thick.  season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve sauce over pork chop and mashed sweet potatoes and with roasted veggies of choice.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sausage, Bean & Tortellini Soup

I was going to make my Italian Wedding Soup but at the last minute I decided I wanted something more along the lines of a pasta e fagiol but with more veggies.  So, I improvised and came up with this creation.  If you can't find chicken sausage, use pork and you don't have to use cheese tortellini, it's just what I had on hand.  This would be just as good with elbows or any other short pasta.  This is a great, hearty and delicious soup that's even better the next day.

1 pkg. chicken sausage with tomato, cheese and herbs
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1/2 c. fresh parsley
1 sprig fresh rosemary
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2  32 oz. containers of chicken stock
1 28 oz can of san marzano tomatoes, whole in juice
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 cans canellini beans
1 lb fresh cheese tortellini
1 piece parmesan cheese rind
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
5 fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
salt, pepper to taste
2 medium zucchini, cut in chunks
1 medium onion, diced
1 bundle fresh baby spinach,
parmesan cheese for serving

In the bowl of a food processor, add the onion, parsley, basil, garlic, celery and tomatoes and pulse until smooth.  set aside

In a large soup pot, take two swirls around the pan with olive oil and let get to just below smoking point.  Remove chicken sausage from casing and crumble into pan.  Cook through.  Add chopped carrots and zucchini and saute about 4 minutes.  Add bay leaf, red pepper flake and thyme and rosemary sprig and saute until fragrant.  About 3 minutes.  Add wine and reduce by half.

Once the sausage mixture has reduced, add the reserved tomato mixture, beans, and add salt and pepper to taste.  Let come to a boil and add parmesan cheese rind.

Add chicken stock and let come to a boil again.  Cover and reduce heat.  Let the soup simmer for about 1 hour.  Once the soup has thickened, add tortellini and cook for about 5 more minutes.  Turn off heat and add in spinach and stir until it wilts but still has a bite.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with fresh basil and parmesan cheese.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chorizo Quiche

I've  done many variations of this quiche since I first had it in Solvang a few years ago.  Yesterday, I did some experimenting with lightening it up and used soy-rizo and egg whites and milk instead of whole eggs and cream.  I passed this on to my taster *aka husband* and he didn't notice the difference.  A heart healthy / figure friendly recipe that doesn't compromise flavor!  Woo hoo.  You can do the full fat/ meat version if you like.

1 9" pie crust
3/4 pkg of soy-rizo
1 idaho potato, peeled and diced
1.5 c. shredded pepper jack cheese
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1.5 c. lowfat milk
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbl. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425

Cook room temp. pie shell for 10 minutes.

Reduce oven temp to 350

In the meantime, heat a saute pan with a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and add the diced potato.  Season with salt, pepper, 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1 tbl. chili powder, and a dash each of paprika and cayenne.  Saute until tender...about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, place the chorizo and saute.  Add the remaining chili powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne and add the cinnamon.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook for  about 5 minutes on the stove until the flavors come together.  Remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, and milk until it is well incorporated.  Add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

In the cooled pie crust add a layer of the chorizo, then the potato and a layer of cheese, add the remaining chorizo and top with cheese, pour the egg mixture on top.

Place on a sheet pan to catch any spills.  Cook for about 35-40 mins until the quiche is firm to the touch.  Serve topped with salsa and whatever other toppings you like.

Sausage & Potato Soup

This is one of those soups that warms the soul from the inside out.  My family and I have different variations of this soup, and none of them are wrong or right, so this is my version!

6 sausage links--3 sweet, 3 spicy
3 idaho potatoes, peeled and diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic, diced
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
2 cartons chicken stock
3 peppercorns
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 c. white wine
1 sliver of parmesan cheese rind
salt, pepper to taste
parmesan cheese for serving

Drizzle the bottom of a heavy soup pan with EVOO, remove sausage from casing and saute and break apart sausage .  Add potatoes and saute for 5minutes more.  Add pepper flake, sprigs of fresh herbs, bay leaf, and peppercorns.  Add rest of vegetables and saute for about 3 minutes.  Deglaze the pan with white wine.

Let the wine reduce by 1/4.  Add the stock and parmesan cheese rind and let soup come to a boil.  Once soup comes to a boil, cover and reduce soup to a simmer and let simmer for about 1 hour.  Remove herb stems and  taste for seasoning.  Adjust as neccessary. 

Serve with grated parmesan and cheese bread.  

*You can add heavy cream at the last minute for a creamier consistency, I've also added kale in the last few minutes as well.  This soup is great for whatever you have on hand.*