Category: Main Dishes

Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

My return to cooking started with a sale on pork chops.  With apples in season, I decided to make Martha Stewart’s Pork Chops with Apples and Onions.  You sear the pork chops first, and then saute a mixture of apples and onions. I stirred in some white wine, and then returned the pork chops to the pan to finish cooking.

Pork chops can dry out so easily, but this recipe helps prevent that.  The dish also offered a nice blend of savory and sweet.  I served the pork with sauteed spinach and whole wheat pasta.  It was a delicious fall meal, and also made great leftovers.  But just one tip: bring a steak knife in your lunch bag!

 

pork chops apples

Chickpea, Spinach, and Delicata Squash with Gnocchi

My sister went to the Farmer’s Market, picked up a few delicata squash, and gave one to me.   She had no idea what would happen next….

It all began with this recipe from Eating Well, one of my favorite sites.  I started by pouring balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, to make the balsamic reduction for a garnish.  Meanwhile, my Mom had leftover mashed potatoes in the freezer, so we decided to make our own gnocchi.  It’s pretty simple with just potato, egg, and flour, except the dough required about twice as much flour as usual.  With flour just about everywhere and dough on our hands, we smelled something burning, and realized the balsamic was in fact reduced to a smoking mess on bottom of the saucepan.

Things got a little easier from there.  I took out a big frying pan, and sauteed the sliced delicata squash with onion and garlic.  Then I added vegetable broth and covered the pan until the squash was softened.  I added the gnocchi, spinach, chickpeas, and some sliced tomato, and cooked it until everything was done.  We had a little balsamic left for drizzling, and some Parmesan cheese for the top.  Finally, dinner was served.

Putting all the mess aside, this actually turned out really well!  Things were so hectic that I didn’t do a lot of measuring and timing, but I would still suggest the recipe.  But maybe you should just buy the gnocchi….

 

 

chickpea gnocchi

 

One Pot Fettuccine

You may have seen the One-Pot Spaghetti recipe and pictures on Facebook, Pinterest, and various blogs.  I’m not sure of the true origin, although many roads lead to Martha Stewart.  I’ve seen a lot of references, but I chose the Italian Wonderpot recipe from Budget Bytes to guide me.

Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, and you can assemble the pot within just a few minutes.  Some versions include red pepper flakes for a little extra heat.  I kept thing simple with minced garlic and Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle.

Although this doesn’t have the complexity of a gourmet pasta dish, it has a good taste and works well as an easy meal.  There’s plenty leftover for lunches too.  Double win!

 

one pot fettuccine

 

One Pot Fettuccine

2 c. vegetable broth
2 c. water
1 (12 oz.) package whole wheat fettuccine
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 onion, chopped
1 (8 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
1 (16 oz.) package frozen spinach
2 t minced garlic
1 T Penzey’s Pasta Sprinkle, or Italian seasoning

Place ingredients in a large pot, in the order written.  Make sure that ingredients are covered by liquid.  Cover pot, and bring to a rapid boil.  Remove cover, and boil for 12-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.  Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

 

Pork Chops and Peaches

Today’s recipe is brought to you by the letter “P”.  We have pork chops, peaches, and sugar snap peas.  And it was all inspired by this recipe from Cooking Light.

It’s fun to use fruit in an otherwise savory dish, especially seasonal summer fruit.  The peaches did get quite soft in this recipe, so I adjusted the cooking times below to keep them a bit firmer.  Pork chops can be a bit boring, but the peaches, onion, and wine come together to create a flavorful sauce.

I hope you all had a wonderful Fourth of July!  I’ll be back next week with some new recipes from the long weekend.

 

pork chops peaches2

 

Pork Chops and Peaches

3-4 boneless pork chops
2 t canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, sliced thinly
1/2 t dried thyme
2 peaches, sliced thinly
1/2 c. white wine
1/4 water
1/2 t Penzey’s Mural of Flavor

Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper.  In a large frying pan coated with cooking spray, cook pork chops for 3-4 minutes on each side.  Remove, and set aside.

Add oil to pan.  Add onion and thyme, and saute for 10 minutes.  Add peaches, wine, water, and seasoning.  Simmer for 5 minutes, scraping bottom of pan to remove any browned bits.  Add pork chops back to pan, cover, and simmer until pork is cooked through.

-Adapted from Cooking Light

Tomato Zucchini Flatbread

Have you taken a good look at the frozen vegetables at your grocery store lately?  Of course, there is nothing like fresh, preferably local, produce.  But frozen is just as nutritious, and sometimes a lot more convenient.

My latest find is frozen grilled zucchini from Price Chopper.  The zucchini is sliced, with grill marks and all, but there are no other ingredients listed on the label.  How do they do that?  I have no idea (but I am working to find out!)

I used the zucchini and tomatoes to make this simple flatbread.  I added hardboiled eggs for just a bit more protein, and enough cheese to add flavor without overwhelming the vegetables.  It was just about perfect!

Moral of the story?  Next time there’s a hot day and the farmer’s market is closed, spend a little time in the freezer aisle.

 

tomatozucchiniflatbread

 

 

Tomato Zucchini Flatbread

1 pint cherry tomatoes
2 c. frozen grilled zucchini
1 T olive oil
1 lb. whole wheat dough, such as from Trader Joe’s
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan
4 oz. Cabot 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Place tomatoes and zucchini in a glass dish, and drizzle olive oil.  Roast at 375F for 30-40 minutes, until tomato skins are cracked.

Spread dough into a rectangle on a cookie sheet, extending as far to the edges as possible.  Spoon vegetable mixture onto dough.  Top with chopped eggs, and sprinkle cheeses.  Bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes.

 

Chicken Pasta Casserole

Eating well is all about being prepared, which usually means making meals in advance.  In order to cook more efficiently, you also need to be prepared.  When chicken breasts were on sale at my Price Chopper for $1.99/lb., I bought a large package.  Then, I boiled the chicken and shredded it, and put it in the freezer in 2 c. portions.  I used one container for the Chicken Enchiladas I made a couple of weeks ago, and another for today’s casserole.  It saved me a lot of time.

I know that summer doesn’t generally equal ‘casserole’, but those of us who work in climate controlled environments often still like a hot lunch.  I was inspired by Recipe Girls’s Chicken Spaghetti Casserole, which she had lightened up considerably.  I lightened things just a little further, and this still turned out to be a rich, cheesy casserole.  There is also a lot of it, which means I have no excuse for not bringing lunch this week.

 

chickenpastacasserole

 

Chicken Pasta Casserole

6 oz. whole wheat penne
1 T canola oil
1 large Vidalia onion, peeled and sliced thinly
1 (10 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
2 c. chopped broccoli
2 cans 98% fat free cream of mushroom soup
1 c. skim milk
2 c. cooked, shredded chicken breast
8 oz. 2% Colby Jack shredded cheese

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta al dente.  Set aside.

In a large frying pan, heat oil, and add onion.  Cook for 15 minutes, until onion begins to get soft and browned.  Add mushrooms and broccoli, and cook for 15-20 minutes more.  Add soup and milk and stir until blended.  Add chicken and stir.  Add cheese and stir until melted in.  Cook on Low for 5-10 minutes until heated through.

Coat a 13″x9″ dish with cooking spray.  Place pasta on bottom of dish, and then top with chicken/vegetables mixture.  Stir to coat.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes, until bubbling.

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

One of my favorite summer recipes is Zucchini and Black Bean Enchiladas.  But zucchini isn’t quite in season yet, so I decided to try a different version.  No matter what you stuff in the tortilla, I think the key to great enchiladas is homemade sauce.

This time I used Penzey’s Chili 9000 seasoning to make the enchilada sauce.  It is not too spicy, but does have a lot of flavor, with Ancho Chili Pepper, Cumin, Garlic, Cilantro, Onion, Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Lemon Peel, Mexican Oregano, Black Pepper, Cocoa Powder, Citric Acid, Turmeric, Cinnamon, Coriander, Ginger, Natural Smoke Flavoring, Fenugreek, Cloves, Fennel, Nutmeg, White Pepper, Anise Seed, Jalapeño Pepper, Star Anise, and Cardamom.  Don’t stress if you don’t have access to Penzey’s, just substitute a mix of chili powder and cumin and you’ll be all set.

The enchiladas themselves were also delicious, and will make great packed lunches for the week.  I still can’t wait to have the zucchini and black bean version again later this summer!

 

chicken spinach enchiladas

 

Chicken and Spinach Enchiladas

1 t minced garlic
1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce
1 T Penzey’s Chili 9000
1 c. vegetable or chicken broth
1 T canola oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
2 c. cooked shredded chicken
1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
6 tortilla, such as La Tortilla Factory
1 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar

To make the enchilada sauce, coat the bottom of a small saucepan with cooking spray.  Add minced garlic.  Cook just until beginning to brown, and then add tomato sauce, spice, and broth.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat canola oil.  Add onions and cook for 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat.  Add chicken, spinach, and 1 c. of the prepared enchilada sauce.  Simmer for 5 minutes, until heated through.

Coat the bottom of a 13×9″ dish with cooking spray.  Fill each tortilla with a heaping 1/2 c. of chicken mixture, and place seam side down in the dish.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce over filled tortillas.  Sprinkle cheddar cheese on top.  Bake at 350F for 20-25 minutes.