Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crockpot Cherry Pork Chops

We have a lot of pork chops in our freezer (thanks to a great sale at Kroger) so I have been looking for some new recipes, and when I found this one for cherry pork chops, it sounded very sweet and sticky and something my DH was sure to love. It actually turned out a lot more savoury than I expected and really wasn't that sweet, which is really a surprise considering it is made with cherry pie filling!

4 pork chops
1 cup cherry pie filling
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown pork chops in a large skillet, season with salt and pepper
In a 3qt crockpot, combine cherry filling, lemon juice, bouillon and mace
Add pork chops, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day Dinner

We had a very yummy Christmas dinner this year, we didn't have the traditional English dinner as the hubby really wanted to have prime rib this year, and even though he felt he over cooked it, it was delicious!

We had the prime rib, our yummy roast potatoes, corn bread stuffing, carrot and butternut squash puree, mashed swede for me (the hubby isn't a fan) and green bean casserole.

Oh, and what Christmas would be complete without a box of After Eight mints? we made a last minute trip to the British store in Rice Village on Christmas Eve and picked up a box of these yummy mints, it really wouldn't be Christmas without them!

Christmas Roast Potatoes

Before I post about our entire Christmas dinner, I felt that our yummy roast potatoes deserved a post of their own! a reason why, is that I am usually not so great with the roast potato, I should be considering the great traditional English Sunday roast dinner would not be complete without roast spuds, but I guess I got lazy and forgot all the little tricks my Mum always did to make the perfect roast potato. So, this Christmas I was determined to overcome my past potato failures, and according to my Mum, the secret was goose fat. I was unable to find goose fat, but I did manage to find some duck fat in my favourite store here in Houston, Central Market, it cost $10 for a little tub of it, so don't tell my hubby!

I like to start by having the hubby peel the potatoes!

I like to keep the potatoes quite large, so only cut in half or thirds if they are very large

Take the duck/goose fat or whatever you are using to roast the potatoes in, place it in your roasting tray and pre-heat it in the oven until it is very hot

While the fat is heating, par-boil the potatoes, you don't want them cooked through, so just boil for 4-5 minutes

Drain the potatoes, and then shake them around to rough up the edges, this is what will make the potatoes extra crispy!

Carefully place them in the heated fat

And baste them in the duck fat

Season with salt and pepper

Roast them at 350 degrees for around 45 minutes to an hour, turning them half way through cooking

Monday, December 22, 2008

Weekly Menu

It's almost Christmas! which means not much cooking for me this week (well, except for Christmas day and a little frying of leftovers on boxing day)

Monday: BLT's with avocado and zuppa toscana soup

Tuesday: Our friends are coming over with their 3 girls so the kids can open their presents from us, and I think we are ordering pizza

Wednesday: Our Christmas Eve tradition... Saltgrass Steakhouse, yum!

Thursday: Christmas dinner... this year we aren't doing the traditional English dinner, as DH really wanted to make prime rib, so that with mashed swede, roasted parsnips and potatoes and green bean casserole

Friday: Boxing day dinner... bubble and squeak

Lemon Chicken Soup With Orzo

I got this recipe from an Ellie Krieger cookbook, and as the weather has actually cooled off here in Houston I thought it was perfect timing to make a big batch of soup.
I think this soup turned out yummy, although it was a tad too lemony so next time I think I'll cut the amount of lemon juice in half.

4 teaspoons olive oil
8 ounces chicken breast cut into small chunks
Pinch of salt, plus more to taste
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 stalks celery, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium carrot, diced (about 1/2 cup) (I didn't have any carrots so left it out)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup orzo
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with the salt, add it to the pot, and cook, stirring, a few times, until just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a dish and set aside.
Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme and cook, stirring over medium-high heat until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add 5 cups of the broth and bring to a boil. Add the orzo and let simmer until tender, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat down to low to keep the soup hot but not boiling. Warm the remaining 1 cup broth in a small saucepan until it is hot but not boiling. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Gradually whisk the lemon juice into the eggs. Then gradually add the hot broth to the egg-lemon mixture, whisking all the while. Add the mixture to the soup, stirring well until the soup is thickened. Do not let the soup come to a boil. Add the cooked chicken to the soup.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekly Menu

This week I am trying to make some space in my very full freezer, so we will be using up some frozen chicken, pork chops, ground beef and bacon. I also have a lot of Christmas baking to do for my FIL and BIL, I'm making coconut cookies, smores brownines, frosted pumpkin cookies and a few others I haven't decided on yet.

Monday: Dirty rice stuffed bell peppers with salad

Tuesday: Pork chops and pumpkin and cream cheese ravioli with sage butter sauce

Wednesday: BBQ baked chicken with steamed artichokes and mashed potatoes

Thursday: BLT's with avocado and lemon chicken soup

Friday: DH has the day off work, so we will probably eat out

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crockpot Red Chicken Curry With Butternut Squash

I saw this recipe on another food blog (but I don't remember which one) and it looked so good I just had to make it!

1 medium onion diced
1 red bell pepper
1 butternut squash peeled and chopped
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp each cinnamon, ginger and cumin
2 tsp red curry paste
2 cloves garlic
Juice from 1/2 lime
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth

Place the onion, pepper (I used green as I didn't have red) and squash in the bottom of the crockpot

Cut chicken into small pieces and toss with the cinnamon, ginger and cumin, saute chicken for a few minutes until browned, then place in crockpot

Combine curry paste, coconut milk, lime juice, garlic and broth in blender and blend until smooth

Pour over chicken and vegetables, cook on low for 6 hours, thicken with 1 tsp corn starch before serving

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Crock Pot Mango Chutney Short Ribs

This is one of our favourite crock pot meals. This time we used the boneless short ribs, but we both thought that the on the bone ribs end up a little more tender and fall apart, but they were still great. Also, usually we don't use the hot mango chutney, but the store was out of the regular this time.

Mango Chutney short ribs:
3/4 cup of beef broth
1/2 cup mango chutney
3 tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon worcester sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 lbs bone-in beef short ribs
1 onion sliced

Combine the first 11 ingrediants in the crock pot

Add ribs and turn to coat

Top with onions, cover and cook on low for 8 hours

We usually serve with rice or noodles, but we have a lot of potatoes to use up, so we had them with creamy mashed potatoes last night

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Advent Calendar

My wonderful hubby bought me this advent calendar last Christmas. He has filled it with little chocolates that he wrapped messages around, and I just had to put it on the blog, to show how sweet and romantic my lovely DH is.

Thank you so much, honey, I can't wait to find out what's behind tomorrow's door...

Turkey Pot Pie

I pretty much followed this recipe:

I'm really not very good with pastry, so I hardly ever use it. Even so, I think it turned out okay, and it tasted good, so that's all that really matters in the end!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Coconut Cookies

I made these cookies for a Christmas cookie challenge on a message board I participate in. I used to love the coconut cookies from Sainsburys when I lived in England, but since being in the States I haven't really found that many coconut cookies, so I knew I wanted to try and make some for this challenge.
I got the recipe from, and I have to say that they are wonderful. I think I will have to send them with DH to work tomorrow just to get them out of the house!

Chewy coconut cookies:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl and set aside

In a seperate bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar

Add egg and vanilla

Beat until light and fluffy

Slowly add the flour mixture

Stir in the coconut

Place teaspoonfulls on an ungreased cookie sheet (I used the cookie scoop I always use when makng cookies) and bake at 350 degrees for 8 - 10 minutes

Weekly Menu

Here are the meals we are planning for this week... I'll be posting recipes of my Mother in law's meatloaf and the mango chutney short ribs later in the week. I am also planning on making coconut cookies for the Christmas cookie challenge.

Monday: Turkey pot pie and green beans

Tuesday: Spaghetti bolognese, to use up all the tomatoes from my Aerogarden

Wednesday: Mango chutney short ribs with rice

Thursday: Crockpot chicken and butternut squash curry with rice

Friday: Will probably be leftovers

Friday, December 5, 2008

Zuppa Toscana Soup

Whenever we go to the Olive Garden, I always order their Zuppa Toscana soup, so when I found this recipe on another food blog I knew I had to give it a try.
This is actually the second time I have made this soup in the last couple of weeks, this time I didn't have any spicy sausage links but I did have a roll of spicy sausage, so I fried that up instead of baking the links in the oven, it worked just as well.

Zuppa Toscana Soup:
4 spicy Italian sausage links
1 medium onion diced
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp chicken stock base
1 qt vegetable broth or water
3 potatoes cut into small chunks
2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup of cream
salt and pepper

Melt butter and oil in a soup pan, add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent

Fry sausage, or if using links bake at 300 degrees for around 25 minutes, cut into half inch slices

The recipe calls for 1qt of water but I prefer to use vegetable broth, so add either water or broth, the chicken stock base, and potatoes and simmer around 15 minutes until potatoes are tender

Add the sausage to the soup

Add the chopped Kale

Pour in the half cup of cream, season with salt and pepper and let simmer for 5 minutes

I have to say that it turned out great and we will definitely be making it again!

Linked to : Eat At Home