Friday, September 30, 2011

Pork Chops with Mushroom Bourbon Cream Sauce and Mushroom Pasta Salad

My meat of choice is usually chicken. Ever since I was a little girl, chicken has been my go-to. I went to New York once with my mom when I was in high school and for the week I was there, every meal I had was chicken.

I have very little variation in my diet, clearly.

But I made a change with this dinner! I actually really like pork chops, but for some reason I just don't make them very often. I don't really have a reason for my lack of pork in my diet, except that I just am drawn to chicken most of the time.

This dinner was such a success though that I think I need to change things up!

The biggest success of the dinner wasn't the pork itself actually. It was the fact that the breading on the pork was the best breading I've ever had on a piece of meat that I cooked. It didn't flake off, it didn't stick to the pan, it didn't leave spots of exposed meat.. It just worked.

The pasta salad was a nice accompaniment (though it seems to be upstaging the pork in the picture).

Pork Chops with Mushroom Whiskey Cream Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lb sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup white cooking wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp Jameson Irish Whiskey
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
2 tbsp water
2 pork chops
all-purpose flour
2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil


1. Saute onions, garlic, and mushrooms in 1 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet until the mushrooms are browned, about 15 minutes.

2. Increase the heat to high and add the white wine. Boil for about 4 minutes, until the liquid creates a glaze. Add the chicken broth and whiskey. Boil and reduce by 2/3. Add the cream and simmer, allowing the sauce to thicken.

3. Whisk the egg and water together in a shallow dish. Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Dip the pork in the flour, the egg mixture, and then the bread crumbs. Make sure the pork is thoroughly coated in bread crumbs.

4. Heat the 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add the pork chops and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until brown. Place the pork chops in a preheated oven set at 400 for 8 minutes.

5. Serve the pork chops with the sauce on top.

* serves 2

CALORIES: 518 calories

Mushroom Pasta Salad

4 oz dry pasta
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 oz mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup snow peas, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 yellow bell pepper, chopped

1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Rinse in cold water and drain.

2. In a large bowl mix the vegetable oil, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, oregano, thyme, and mushrooms. Add snow peas, peppers, and pasta. Mix to make sure everything is covered in the flavors evenly.

3. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

* serves 3

CALORIES: 100 calories

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Curried Chicken on Toasted Pita

Lunches tend to me my hardest recipe of the day. I like to keep the meal small enough so that I can eat a bigger dinner (because I love feeling full in the evening), but at the same time I like to mix it up and eat something more than a ham and cheese sandwich on an orrowheat roll.

There are times I fall into shitty-lunch-slumps. But lately I've began meal planning my lunches as well as my dinners. My lunches typically use an ingredient from the dinner before, so if, for instance, I thawed out chicken and knew I was going to have too much chicken for dinner.. the chicken gets used for lunch the next day. Or if I cut a tomato, knowing I'll only be using half of it for dinner, that tomato is the basis for lunch the next day.

This dish was killer and was a keeper.
I have a confession about it actually.

I had made mine and I ate it.
I had enough to make a second one, so I made it for Matt. Unfortunately, before Matt could get there I had eaten half of it because I just couldn't stop munching on it. The incredibly crispy pita was definitely the way to do it.

Curried Chicken on Toasted Pita

1/2 lemon
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, quartered
1 boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tbsp nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder
1 tbsp thinly sliced green onions
1/2 tbsp sliced toasted almonds
1/4 tsp salt
ground black pepper, to taste
2 pitas

1. Fill a pot with water. Add the lemon, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeno. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chicken and continue to simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the chicken and place it on a plate. Once cool, cut chicken into small pieces.

2. Stir yogurt, mayonnaise, curry powder, green onions, almonds, cilantro, salt, and pepper together in a bowl. Stir in the chicken.

3. Toast the pitas in the oven to your desired crispness. Put 1/2 the chicken on each pita.

CALORIES: 328 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 42 milligrams
FAT: 4 grams

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Curried Swai and Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

In regards to my last post, I feel like there might be something I need to clear up about the foods I post in this blog. Or maybe it isn't, but I'm going to anyway.

The food I make in this journal is Americanized. Each and every thing I serve is in no way authentic of anything, other than this food is authentic Americanized food. Everything is cooked in California. Nothing is intended to be authentic ethnic food. Everything is just the food I eat.

With that being said, I made curried swai and sweet potatoes. The curry with the sweet potatoes was amazing! It always surprises me when I combine sweet potatoes with a flavor I wouldn't think sounds like it would mesh at all... And it just does. Like my sweet potato tacos, for instance.

Curried Swai

2 swai fillets
1 green onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch of curry powder
pinch of red pepper
1/2 tbsp flour
1/4 tbsp Brummel&Brown yogurt spread

1. Rinse the fillets in cold water. Pat dry and place in a shallow baking dish.

2. Combine the green onions, garlic, curry powder, and red pepper. Rub over the surface of the fish. Cover and refrigerator for an hour.

3. Remove the fish after an hour and coat with flour.

4. Melt the yogurt spread or other margarine or butter in a baking dish in a 350 oven. Add fillets, turning once. Bake at 350 for 5-10 minutes.

CALORIES: 82 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 49 milligrams
FAT: 9 grams
SODIUM: 71 milligrams

Curried Mashed Sweet Potatoes

3/4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt

1. In a boiling pot of water, cook the sweet potatoes until tender - about 15 minutes.

2. In a skillet with the vegetable oil cook the onion for about 4 minutes. Add the curry powder and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

3. Mash the sweet potatoes with the sour cream and salt. Stir in the onions.

CALORIES: 156 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 7 milligrams
FAT: 4 grams
SODIUM: 238 milligrams

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thai Breaded Chicken Fillets

I haven't updated this in awhile. It isn't for a lack of cooking, because trust me, I have been cooking. But it's just a lack of free time mostly. I try to update in the evenings, but lately my evenings are filled with homework. Unfortunately, as this blog is so aptly named, my law work is important to me and has to take precedence over things that I just do for fun.

So I still am cooking, because that is a matter of survival... but updating is just going to be slow as I find time to do it.

This chicken recipe is delicious. I served the Thai chicken fillets with stir-fried mushrooms and corn and a cold noodle salad. I won't be sharing the noodle recipe though, because I didn't like it all that much. The chicken on the other hand will be making a home in my recipe box.

Thai Breaded Chicken Fillets

8 oz boneless skinless chicken breast halves, cut into nugget sized pieces
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 3/4 tsp fish sauce
1/4 lemon grass stalk
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white sugar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 tbsp bread crumbs
1/2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese

1. In a food processor combine jalapeno, green onion, lime zest, lime juice, 1/2 of the cilantro, fish sauce, lemon grass, salt, sugar, and mustard. Blend until smooth. Place the chicken in a bowl with the blended sauce. Place in the refrigerator and marinate for an hour.

2. Preheat the oven to 350.

3. In a shall dish mix together the bread crumbs, cilantro, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Remove the chicken from the marinade and roll in the bread crumbs, until evenly coated.

4. Place chicken in a greased pan. Rub a tiny bit of olive oil on top of the chicken. Bake for 20 minutes.

CALORIES: 151 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 60 milligrams
FAT: 2 grams

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti and Green Bean Casserole

Like the title indicates, this spaghetti definitely has a kick that most spaghetti's are missing. This spaghetti not only has an array of goodies hidden in the sauce, has chicken to add to the substance, but also has a spice that is really pleasant amongst the other flavors. I made this dinner one night and Matt's initial response was: I hate olives. Blarrgh.

But you know, when dinner was done he had eaten all his black olives, so I guess he didn't mind them too much. Then he asked if I'd make this recipe in the future. Maybe I broke his olive hatred?

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti

3 tbsp olive oil
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper, to taste
24 oz spaghetti sauce with mushrooms
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 jalapenos, diced
1 10-oz can sliced black olives
2 cups frozen corn
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
16-oz spaghetti noodles

1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet. Once the oil is hot add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the juices run clear.

2. In a saucepan add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, red bell pepper, jalapenos, black olives, and corn. Bring to a boil. Once boiling season with garlic powder, onion powder, and ground black pepper. Add the chicken and cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain.

4. Toss the pasta with the sauce.

CALORIES: 393 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 23 milligrams
FAT: 10 grams

The vegetable dish, the green bean casserole, is a classic. I mean, it's based on a classic. For Thanksgiving every
year my mom makes the classic green bean casserole, consisting of cream of mushroom soup to give the green beans an unhealthy cream delicious. When it comes to Thanksgiving I could eat green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and whatever dessert there was and be in heaven. Oh wait, and the stuffing, I need that too.

But Thanksgiving lacks something my body has been craving, which is the health factor.

This green bean casserole provides a great side dish either for a Thanksgiving meal or just a normal day (like today!) The cornstarch adds the creaminess to the dish without all the actual cream. I'm going to suggest my family go with the lower cal style green bean casserole for Thanksgiving this year.

Green Bean Casserole

2 cups frozen green beans
4 oz sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp ground mustard
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp Brummel&Brown
3/4 cup french fried onions

1. In a greased baking dish, combine the beans and mushrooms. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and mustard; gradually stir in the broth until smooth. Pour over vegetables. Dot with butter. Bake uncovered at 375 for 25-30 minutes. Sprinkle with onions and bake 5 minutes longer.

CALORIES: 235 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 0 milligrams
FAT: 13 grams

Friday, September 9, 2011

Coconut Pancakes

For the girl who never makes breakfast, I definitely have been all into posting breakfast foods lately.

Granted, the tops of these pancakes look a little black... The insides though were perfect.

* 2 pancakes for a serving

CALORIES: 310 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 72 milligrams
FAT: 15 grams

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gingered Pork Chops in Orange Juice

I hadn't cooked pork in a really long time before a few nights ago. When I was in college I made pork chops a lot. I find, like chicken, with pork chops there are so many things you can do to change the dish. I'm not sure how come pork fell off my radar for so long - but it is back on it!

In the past I have had some experiences with the pork chops being too dry. But this was not the case with this dish. I paired it with orange mashed potatoes, really playing up the orange flavor in both of the dishes all the while not being overpowering.

Gingered Pork Chops in Orange Juice

2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
salt, to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pork chops
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 tbsp whiskey
3/4 cup orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the flour, ginger, salt, and pepper in a ziplock plastic bag. Put the chops in the bag and shake to coat. Heat the oil in a skillet and once hot, brown both sides of the pork chops. Transfer the chops to a casserole dish.

3. Put the onions in the hot skillet and cook until limp. Pour the whiskey into the pan and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour the onion and juices over the pork chops. Pour the orange juice into the casserole dish.

4. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with the orange sauce in the dish.

* serves 2

CALORIES: 356 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 55 milligrams
FAT: 19 grams

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lemon-Lime Chicken Broil with Bean Salad

Simplicity is sometimes key. There are certain flavors I associate with simplicity. The taste of lemon does this for me. It is clean tasting, fresh, and while a strong taste is not overpowering. It doesn't need much to make it special. Lemon is just pure goodness.

Lemon-Lime Chicken Broil

1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into strips
Italian seasoning and salt to taste

1. In a small bowl mix together the lemon juice, lime juice, and olive oil. Place chicken pieces in the marinade and refrigerate for an hour.

2. Preheat the broiler of your oven. Fill the roasting pan with water.

3. Remove chicken from the marinade and arrange on the pan. Season with Italian seasoning and salt. Pour the marinade in a saucepan.

4. Broil the chicken for 10 minutes, basting often. Turn and broil for 10 more minutes.

* serves 2

CALORIES: 244 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 60 milligrams
FAT: 16 grams

Bean Salad

1 14-oz can black beans
1 14-oz can red kidney beans
1 14-oz can chickpeas
1 14-oz can pinto beans
1 10-oz bag frozen corn, thawed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
2 tbsb chili powder
1 tsp lime juice
1 8-oz jar salsa
1 pinch dried parlsey

1. Pour beans in a large colander and rinse under cold water.

2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients. Stir well. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

* serves 8

CALORIES: 123 calories
CHOLESTEROL: 0 milligrams
FAT: 2 grams

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pound Cake French Toast

I have been pretty good about making sure that one day a week (usually Sundays) I make an actual breakfast. I've never been a big breakfast lover in my life, but when I do eat breakfasts I prefer them to be sweet. This lends itself well to pancakes, crepes, and french toast.

I don't think I've made french toast since Mother's Day many years ago. I have a feeling I burnt it also, because that's how me and the kitchen used to communicate - I would try to cook something, it would burn miserably, and then I'd just be pissed and hungry. I'm really glad the kitchen and I learned to get along better, because I really don't like the taste of charred anything.

I mean, is anyone?

Anyway, I was inspired to make this french toast while reading A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg for Cook the Books. I really enjoyed the book and how Molly connected stories with her recipes, stories that reminded her of the recipes or were the inspiration to those recipes. Because really, everything we cook tells a story - even the shrimp over ramen noodles I made for dinner tonight. The story with that was, I didn't have anything planned and was trying to just use stuff in the house that wasn't promised to other dinners for the week.

While I was reading Molly's book, she talks about a delicious pound cake that her mom would make. In the notes, she writes, "the next morning,their friend warmed leftover slices on the grill for breakfast." As I read that I thought NOMMMMMMMM!!! And then I thought OOOOHHH FRENCH TOAST POUND CAKE.

As I continued to read I found that Molly's dad, Burg, loved to make french toast. And then I knew, I'd do it.

Of course, this isn't a breakfast for anyone dieting. But it is hearty!
I made the bread the night before and let it sit out overnight. Then I made french toast of it in the morning.

Pound Cake French Toast

Ingredients - for the bread
2 cups + 8 tbsp cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
5 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced at room temperature
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup blueberries, rinsed and dried well

Directions - for the bread
1. Preheat oven to 300. In a loaf pan, spray with Pam and then dust with flour.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 cups plus 6 tbsp of flour, the baking powder, and the salt.

3. In a food processor, blend the eggs and sugar for 1 minute. Add the butter and lemon juice and pulse for another minute, until fluffy.

4. In a large bowl toss the blueberries with 2 tbsp of flour. Pour the batter over the berries and fold gently until combined, main sure that all the flour is absorbed. Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean, about 1 and a half hours.

5. Cool over night.

Ingredients - for the french toast
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch of nutmeg
canola oil for frying
6 slices of the blueberry pound cake bread

Directions - for the french toast
1. Break the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl. Whisk the eggs. Add the milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg. Whisk to blend.

2. Place a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and pour in enough oil to completely coat the bottom of the skillet. Let the oil heat.

3. Put 2-3 slices of bread into the egg mixture, resting 30 seconds per side. Place the slices on a skillet. Cook until the underneath of each slice is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Remove and place on a paper towel and sit for a minute before serving.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken over Rice

I have all these old Cooking Light magazines that I pull out occasionally and make something out of. It's always hit or miss whether I'm going to find a dish I like in the magazines or not. This dish was a definite hit.

The Cooking Light recipes are so full of flavor without being full of fat and other bad stuff.

Check this recipe out on Cooking Light's website.