Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

Everyone has an opinion about sauerkraut.  As a child I could not stand the smell of the stuff.  But I have grown and my tastes have changed.  This is an easy dish that you create and let it do its thing.  The paprika and caraway seeds have a way of transforming the sauerkraut into a delicious masterpiece.  Enjoy! -AF

Pork Chops and Sauerkraut

4 (1/2-inch-thick) pork chop (I use boneless, but bone-in is fine)

1 T vegetable oil

1 (14 oz.) can sauerkraut

1 1/2 t caraway seeds

1 large tomato, chopped

1/2 t paprika

In heavy skillet, heat oil. Then brown pork chops on both sides.
Top with sauerkraut and tomato sprinkle with caraway and paprika.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 40 minutes or until chops are tender.  I check on this dish to make sure the heat is not too high.

Basic Meatloaf

It is really simple!  Everyone loves a comfort meal.  I’m not the biggest meatloaf fan.  It’s okay but it does not stop the mixer for me.  Let me paint the mood: A couple of weeks ago, it was rainy, gray, and cold.  The kind of day that I wanted to stay under a blanket instead of cooking.  It was a day for warm comfort food.  Investigating my refrigerator and pantry, I uncovered the perfect ingredients for a basic meatloaf.  Bonus, I had potatoes for mashing!  Verdict: The meatloaf was a hit and I will definitely make again. Enjoy! -AF

Basic Meatloaf

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 1/4 t salt

1/4 t ground black pepper

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup bell pepper, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

8 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup quick-cooking oats

Topping:

1/3 cup ketchup

2 T brown sugar

1 T prepared mustard

Mix all meatloaf ingredients well and place in a baking dish. Shape into a loaf.  Mix all topping ingredients and spread on loaf.
Bake for 1 hour at 375 degrees.

Amanda’s Green Drink

The Beginning

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share my favorite GREEN drink.  I began juicing about one year ago.  For weeks I did my homework on the best juicer and felt confident in my Breville purchase.  There is nothing like making a yummy, energizing juice to start your day.  By experimenting, you will find the veggies and fruits you love the best.  There is a ton of recipes and ideas that can get you started.  I LOVE my green drink- super healthy and gets me going for the day.  On a mommy note:  William loves me to juice up an apple/grape juice.  So yummy and no yuck preservatives.  And little does he know that it has a whole head of broccoli in it too!  Mommy tricks are the best!
I encourage you to get out there and juice something delicious. -AF

Amanda’s Green Drink

1 head of broccoli
1 bunch of kale
1 cucumber
1 head of celery
1 inch size of ginger root, skin peeled
1 apple
1 lemon (remove rind)

Wash all veggies before juicing.  Combine all ingredients in a juicer. This makes approximately 24 ounces.

The Machine

Third Course: Linguine with Pesto Avocado Cream

I am not a fan of trying a new recipe out on an important occasion.  It makes me nervous.  I feel that my recipes should be tried and true.  But with basil, avocados, and garlic, how can you go wrong! The linguine was a success and will be repeated in the future. If you love pesto, this is your meal.  On to dessert! -AF

Linguine with Pesto Avocado Cream

1 pound linguine

1 bunch fresh basil, reserve some leaves for garnish

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

2 T lemon juice, freshly squeezed

3 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the pesto by combining basil, pine nuts, avocados, lemon juice, garlic and oil in a food processor. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss pasta with pesto.  Divide pasta among serving plates and sprinkle cherry tomatoes over linguine.  To complete, garnish each serving with a basil leaf.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Let’s make it simple and healthy.  I grew up eating stuffed bell peppers at my Mom-Mom’s house.  She always used green bell peppers and cut off their tops to stuff.  This is a twist on her recipe that I know she would have loved.  Bonus for you: This make 6 bell peppers.  They are perfect for lunch or dinner the next day.  You’re welcome! – AF

Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 lb lean ground turkey meat

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 onion, minced

1 T chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

1 t garlic powder

1 t cumin powder

salt to taste

3 large sweet red bell peppers, washed

1 cup fat free chicken broth

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups rice, cooked

Olive oil spray

1/4 cup reduced fat shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a little olive oil spray in a medium size sauté pan and heat on a medium flame. Add onion, garlic and cilantro to the pan. Sauté about 2 minutes and add ground turkey. Season with salt and garlic powder, and cumin and brown meat for several minutes until meat is completely cooked through. Add 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth, mix well and simmer on low for about 5 minutes. Combine cooked rice and meat together.

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, and remove all seeds. Place in a baking dish. Spoon the meat mixture into each pepper half and fill it with as much as you can. Place all stuffed pepper halves on the baking dish and pour the remainder of the chicken broth on the bottom of the pan. Cover tight with aluminum foil and bake for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven, uncover, and top with shredded cheddar cheese.  Place in oven until cheese is melted.

Jambalaya

It’s getting crazy in our kitchen.  In celebration of Mardi Gras, we dished up Jambalaya.  This crockpot Jambalaya, packed a punch straight from The Big Easy. Cook it all day for a perfect dinner on Fat Tuesday or anytime you want a little taste of New Orleans.  Is there such a thing as too many beads?- AF 

Jambalaya 

1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch cubes

1 lb andouille sausage, sliced

1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chicken broth

2 t dried oregano

2 t Cajun seasoning, I used Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning

1 t cayenne pepper

2 t dried parsley

1/2 t dried thyme

1 lb frozen cooked shrimp without tails

In a crockpot, mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth. Season with oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme.

Cover, and cook 8 hours on Low or 4 hours on High. Stir in the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Serve with your favorite rice.  We used white rice this time.

Crockpot Jambalaya

Baked Chicken Strips

Mom, what are we having for dinner?  That’s the golden question on the way home from school.  An easy answer if you have this little recipe trick up your sleeve.  You can feel confident that these chicken strips are not fried and loaded with horribleness.  My little man always requests seconds.  Keeping it Real!- AF  

Baked Chicken Strips

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 t Italian seasoning

2 T  Parmesan cheese

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup vegetable oil

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

In a Ziploc bag, mix Panko, Italian seasoning, and Parmesan together; set aside.  Flatten chicken to 1/2 inch thickness;  cut into 1-inch wide strips.  Combine garlic and oil in small bowl.  Dip strips into oil mixture and drop in bag to coat with Panko mixture.  Arrange strips on greased baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, turning after 10 minutes.  Serve with favorite dipping sauce.

The Mighty Big

It’s just a few short hours until kick-off.  I’m throwing a “Hail Mary” for anyone that needs a last minute idea.  The Mighty Big always scores, well BIG with my family.  Invented in my teenage years, it has been served at many family celebrations.  We are all geared up for the big game.  Hoping my Pop-Pop’s team, The Giants, score big!  We know he has the best seats in the stadium! -AF

The Legendary "Mighty Big"

The Mighty Big

2- (11 oz) Pillsbury Crusty French Loaf

1/2 cup Italian Dressing

Your favorite sandwich toppings

Open both loaf containers.  On a baking stone or sheet, form a circle.  Bake using directions on containers, 350 degrees usually about 26 minutes.  Let bread cool.  Slice horizontally.  Take Italian dressing and massage into bottom layer of bread.Using your favorite sandwich toppings, create your Mighty Big.  We add ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, red onions, and tomatoes.  Then slice your Mighty Big into handheld sandwiches.  Makes about 8 sandwiches.

Create a Mighty Big circle

Fuller Chili

The countdown is on to the big game.  What will you be serving for the Super Bowl?  Change it up and make chili.  A chili bar is a fun way to let your guest garnish their chili with their favorite yummies.  I’m a sucker for a Frito Pie.  This regional treat always makes me happy.  You can see that I add the toppings.   Change the score this year with your own chili bar.
The countdown to Super Bowl has begun! -AF

Fuller Chili
(the first recipe my mother-in-law shared with me- A few adaptions have occurred but she still loves me!)

1 1/2 lb. hamburger or turkey meat

1 bell pepper

1 white onion

1 large can Ranch Style Beans

1 large can diced tomatoes

1 can stewed tomatoes

1 can Rotel (if you like it hot)

1 large can of tomato juice

1 pkg. chili powder (envelope)

1 T chili powder

1 t garlic

Brown meat.  Drain any fat.  Add package of chili powder and water.  Let season set.  In large soup pot, soften onions and bell peppers about 4 minutes.  Now add everything to soup pot.  The last ingredient I add  is the tomato juice.  You need to make the executive decision of how thick you want your chili.  Decisions, decisions.  Bring chili to a boil.  Simmer for at least 30 minutes.  You can also make in a crockpot.

Set the chili bar.  We add shredded cheese, onions, sour cream, and hot sauce.  Plus we love Frito pies. Load it up!

Make it a Frito Pie!

Soy and Ginger Cod

Fish was another one of those ingredients that I avoided cooking.  Honestly, it was only because I did not know how.  I will say every time, “Face your Fears in the kitchen!”.  In my case, my fear was fish.  This is a simple, baby step into cooking fish.  It is delicious and not too bad for you.  If you have not explored your local fish market, take a field trip.  It is interesting what a wink of the eye and a smile can do to land you the freshest fish in town.  Plus you will learn when the fish arrive each week and where it came from.
Face your Fears!- AF

Soy and Ginger Cod

3 T low-sodium soy sauce

2 t sesame oil

1/4 c green onions, finely chopped

1 t fresh ginger, grated

1 t garlic, finely chopped

1 lb. cod (roughy or flounder works great too)*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, ginger, and garlic in a small bowl. Place the fillets in an ovenproof casserole dish.  Drizzle the soy sauce mixture over the fish.  Bake for 12 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.

*When selecting your fish, make sure to ask where the fish has lived before it came to you.  There is a lot of research out there.  I avoid farm raised fish.  Also, I’m very picky about what country my fish come from.  Honestly, stick to USA regulated fish. (my opinion)

This recipe is for 1lb. of fish.  If you look at the fillets and notice it is not enough for your family, just buy more and change the measurements on ingredients.