Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bring us the pork, chop-chop!

This is an extremely easy way to end up with tender, well-seasoned pork chops. This is one of those recipes where you let the oven do the work. I'm sure you could use a slow cooker.


8 boneless pork loin chops
1-2 Tbsp. spicy brown mustard
1 c. apple juice
Salt and pepper

Salt and pepper chops as desired. In frying pan, lightly brown chops to seal in juices (don't cook all the way through). Place in baking pan, and spread mustard over each chop. Slowly pour apple juice over all. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 325 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Spoon juices over chops before serving to keep moist.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You can't eat just one

The recipe for these fudge brownie tassies comes from Better Homes and Gardens. They are yummy and unique, but mostly they're so cute! Next time I might add a little sugar to the pastry dough. We thought maybe it could use some sweetening. Other than that, they were great.


1/2 c. butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. flour

Beat together butter and cream cheese, then add flour. Press a rounded teaspoon of pastry evenly into the bottom and up the sides of 24 ungreased tiny-muffin tins (you know, the kind used for tarts).

Brownie filling:
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter or spread
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

In small saucepan, heat and stir chocolate chips and butter over low heat until melted. Remove from heat, then stir in sugar, egg and vanilla. Drop about 1 teaspoon of mixture into each pastry cup. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes or until pastry is golden and filling is puffed. Makes 24.

P.S. You could nestle a nut inside each brownie before baking. You could sprinkle powdered sugar on top. You could top with a swirl of whipped cream. The variations are endless!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Say cheese

The recipe for these cheese muffins was featured on The Pioneer Woman's website. They have a nice spongy texture on the inside. My family enjoyed them, and they were a cinch to throw together. I must admit that I am obsessed with cheese. I couldn't live without it. So, I wished the cheese flavor in these muffins were a little stronger. Next time I'm going to use sharp cheddar instead of colby-jack.

1 1/2 c. flour
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. shredded cheese
1 c. milk
1 egg
1/4 c. melted butter

Whisk together dry ingredients, then stir in cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk and butter. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and stir with a spoon to combine. Bake in greased muffin tins at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes. Makes 12.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ham it up

I got this recipe for smooth, creamy split pea and ham soup from my cousin's food blog, Table for 7. It calls for a ham hock, which, for me, was the meaty bone left over from the spiral-sliced ham we had the previous night. The soup was really tasty, and it was something different for us. I had never made split-pea soup before, but I'll definitely make it again. And like my cousin pointed out, it's creamy but there's no cream in it. How cool is that?


1 onion, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 c. dried split peas
1 ham hock
8 c. chicken broth
6-8 peppercorns or ground pepper to taste
1 large carrot, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
Salt to taste

Saute onion in butter in large pot. Add peas, ham hock, broth and pepper. Bring to boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add carrots and celery, and simmer for 15 minutes more, or until veggies are tender. Remove ham hock. Cut off any remaining ham from bone and add to pot. (I probably got a cup of small chunks.) Discard bone. Using a blender, mix soup in batches until creamy and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasted rolls.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Homemade fast food

These little Mexican-style calzones are basically homemade fast food. They were good -- nothing fancy -- but good for a night when I didn't have much energy left. My family liked them. I'm sure you could make them Italian-style, with spaghetti sauce instead of salsa.


3/4 lb. ground beef
1/2 package taco seasoning
1/2 c. chunky salsa
1 can large refrigerated biscuits, such as Pillsbury Grands
1 c. shredded cheese
Sour cream and extra salsa for dipping

Brown ground beef with taco seasoning. Drain any excess fat, then add salsa. Mix in cheese. Roll out biscuits into six-inch circles. (Use cooking spray so the dough doesn't stick.) Spoon in meat filling, fold over, and press edges together. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden. Serve with sour cream and salsa for dipping.