Sunday, November 23, 2008

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
2 tbls vegetable oil
1 jar (12 ounces) homestyle pork gravy
1/2 cup raisins
1 tbl honey
1 1/2 tbls cinnamon
dash allspice
1 tart cooking apple, thinly sliced
hot cooked rice

In a large skillet, cook pork chops in oil until browned on both sides; season with salt and pepper. Stir in gravy, raisins, honey, cinnamon and allspice. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until pork chops are tender. Add apple; cook 5 minutes or until apple slices are tender. Serve with hot rice.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Single Cookies

Today Rachel thought she'd like to do some baking but didn't want to end up with a whole batch of cookies sitting around the house tempting us. So I got to thinking about how one would make a single cookie in a toaster oven, and decided to do some internet research. Here are a few preliminary results:

A basic chocolate chip cookie:

A cookie that uses a shot glass as its only measure:

A step-by-step guide:

A video:

A good one made from pancake mix with no eggs:

An instant oatmeal cookie:

The obvious solution is to make whatever cookie recipe you're craving and freeze the dough to use one cookie at a time. But sometimes the point of "doing some baking" is the preparation! And so these single-serving cookie recipes fit the bill.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Roasted Vegetable Soup

From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family.

6 to 8 C chicken stock
1 recipe Roasted Winter Vegetables
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For serving:
Good olive oil

In a large saucepan, heat 6 C of chicken stock. In two batches,coarsely puree the roasted vegetables and the chicken stock in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pour the soup back into the pot and season to taste. Thin with more chicken stock and reheat. The soup should be thick but not like a vegetable puree, so add more chicken stock and/or water until it's the consistency you like.

Serve with brioche croutons and a drizzle of good olive oil.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

From Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Family Style: Easy Ideas and Recipes That Make Everyone Feel Like Family.

1 lb carrots, peeled
1 lb parsnips, peeled
1 large sweet potato, peeled
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled and seeded
3 Tbsp good olive oil
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat oven to 425

Cut carrots, parsnips, sweet potato, and butternut squash in 1- to 1 1/4- inch cubes. All the vegetables will shrink while baking, so don't cut them too small.

Place all the cut vegetables in a single later on two sheet pans. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until all the vegetables are tender, turning once with a metal spatula.

Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste, and serve hot.

Serves 8

Use left overs to make Roasted Vegetable soup

*Heather's note: This is one of the tastiest ways I've ever eaten these vegetables. They also look pretty and smell great. I probably used more olive oil and completely forgot the parsley and it was still yummy.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

From the New York Times

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not lowfat)
2 cups milk (not skim)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sharp or extra-sharp cheddar cheese, grated
½ pound elbow pasta, uncooked.

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and position an oven rack in upper third of oven. Use 1 tablespoon butter to butter a 9-inch round or square baking pan.

2. In a blender, purée cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. Reserve ¼ cup grated cheese for topping. In a large bowl, combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan, cover tightly with foil and bake 30 minutes.

3. Uncover pan, stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes more, until browned. Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 large pumpkin
1/2 lb fusilli (spiral) pasta -- I used the dyed kind for a more festive, fall look
1 yellow onion
1 zucchini
1/2 lb ground beef
1 can Italian seasoned diced tomatoes
black pepper
crushed red pepper
garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 350. Cut the top out of the pumpkin and remove the guts. You can carve something into the skin of the pumpkin or draw a face on it with permanent marker.

2. Put top back on pumpkin, cover with foil. Put pumpkin on cookie sheet and bake for 45 min to 1 hr.

3. Cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the package directions call for. It should be underdone.

4. Saute ground beef, onion, and zucchini in a frying pan. Season to taste with spices. Vegetables should also be undercooked.

5. Mix pasta, drained tomatoes, and beef mix in a large bowl.

6. Grate LOTS of cheese into it. Dump the whole mix in the pumpkin.

7. Bake for another 30-60 min, until dinner inside is hot, and pumpkin is tender.


Make sure you buy a pumpkin meant for eating. When I made this, the pumpkin I bought was all stringy inside and tasted disgusting.