Saturday, April 28, 2012

Jerk Pork Chops, Pineapple, and Cucumbers in Sour Cream

This is a triple threat today.  A little taste of Floribbean on this 82 degree Saturday!

Jerk Pork Chops: (marinade recipe from

2, thick cut pork chops
jerk marinade: 

1/2 cup Pimenta ( allspice berries)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
6-8 garlic cloves
4-6 Scotch bonnet peppers
1 tablespoon ground thyme or 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
1-2 bunches scallions (green onions)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon soy sauce to moisten

Put content in a food processor or blender and liquefy
Pour sauce in a Jar and keep refrigerated.
The sauce will keep forever if kept refrigerated
To increase spiciness blend pepper and pimenta and add to sauce the hot peppers at any time.

Marinate the chops over night and flip once in the morning to make sure they are evenly coated.

Ideally, you would use allspice wood if you have it, if not, hickory chips work just fine.  Soak the chips in water and follow your smokebox's directions for us. Preheat your grill to high heat and place the chops on the gill, close lid for 1 minute.  Flip the chops, baste and cover for another minute.  Drop the heat to medium and continue to grill the chops for another 4 minutes.  Flip the chops, baste and close the lid and grill for another 4 minutes. Remove from grill and let stand at least 5 minutes before serving to let the meat rest.

Cucumbers in Sour Cream:


2 medium cucumbers, peeled, sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 tsp salt

1/4 to 1/3 C Heinz (brand is important) apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl sugar
8 oz sour cream
Just before serving, drain cucumbers and onions WELL.
Blend dressing ingredients together. Add dressing to cucumbers and onions. Garnish with paprika.

Grilled Pineapple

This one couldn't be easier.  Either use a fresh pineapple, or the easiest way, a can of pineapple slices.  drain the pineapple and reserve the juice to mix with your orange juice (YUMMO).  Sprinkle both sides of the pineapple slices with a little brown sugar to help them caramelize on the grill.  Place the slices on the grill over medium heat for 4 minutes total, flipping frequently to avoid sticking/burning.  Serve immediately or over ice cream.

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!!  This was SOOOOOO yummy!  The cucmber recipe is from my Aunt Josie and perfectly compliments the heat from the jerk.  The pineapples were perfect and the whole meal just tasted like sunshine on a plate.  This one is going in the highly recommend pile!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Remy's Ratatouille

While I love my veggies as much as the next girl, I tend to keep my vegetarian main dishes to pasta or casseroles.  I wasn't sure about this one, but I thought I'd give it a shot.  I got the recipe from Pinterest from a blog: Smitten Kitchen .  Here's the recipe:

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.
We didn't really change much on this one.  Ours isn't as "pretty" as the other because frankly we don't have a mandoline or food processor, lol. We used individual casserole dishes and my hubby left out the peppers since he knows I can't stand them (but seriously I did buy them just for this recipe and now I'm stuck with a couple of peppers *sigh*).  He added Italian seasoning on top instead of just thyme.  Delicious!  Seriously this tasted so fresh and smelled incredible both while cooking and eating.  I think I liked it more than the hubs since he used a bunch of all fairness though he'd put salt on a salt lick.  I worry that without serving it over pasta or with bread we may get a bit hungry later, but for now I'm all kinds of full.  I give this one ****

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Baaaaaack!

So, lots going on around here lately.  First, we happily moved into our own home 2 months ago( a small beach shack, but we don't own the land) right now we are staying with my grandmother until my parents return from Canada.  So, rather than cooking for two, we're cooking for three.  I've been pretty good about sticking to good foods, but lousy about taking time to blog and take pics.  So, I'm back with a vengence.  Today's selections are La Baguette's French Onion Soup and Fresh French Rolls.  i took a few pictures as I went along just to demonstrate . Do NOT put this under the category of quick meals, lol.  Here are the recipes as written:

La Baguette's French Onion Soup

Serves 8

6 cups (2 pounds) thinly sliced yellow onions

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc), optional

10 cups boiling chicken stock (or vegetable stock if vegetarian)

2 teaspoons black or white pepper, or to taste

French-bread croutons

1/2 pound genuine Gruyre or Austrian Swiss cheese, grated

Cook onions in butter, covered, over medium-low heat until moisture forms and onions are transparent but not brown, about 20 minutes. Uncover, raise heat to medium and cook 45 minutes or longer, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and onion's natural sugars caramelize; onions should be dark golden-brown.

Add wine and bring to boil. Add chicken stock; simmer 2 hours, covered with lid partially ajar, on low heat.

Refrigerate, uncovered (to prevent stock from souring) overnight. When cold, skim congealed butter off top.

Before serving, add pepper to taste and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Place broiler-proof bowls on baking sheet. Fill each with soup and top with croutons and a handful of cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and browned in spots, about 5 minutes.

Source: La Baguette.
Nutrition data, per 2-cup serving: Calories 216 (39 percent from fat); fat 9.3 g (sat 5.3 g, mono 2.8 g, poly .6 g); protein 20 g; carbohydrates 11 g; fiber 2.3 g; cholesterol 31 mg; sodium 192 mg; calcium 311 mg.

Fresh Baked French Rolls:

3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour


In a large bowl, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
To the yeast mixture, add the oil, salt, and 1 cup flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough has pulled away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces, and form into round balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheets at least 2 inches apart. Cover the rolls with a damp cloth, and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Oven Baked "Fried" Chicken

I have had this recipe once before, about 4-5 years ago, and I lost it.  It took me forever to remember where I got it from in the first place.  This recipe is from Robin Miller's (Food Network) Quick Fix Meals "To your health" episode:


Cooking spray

2/3 cup instant oats

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 (4-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 cups frozen green peas, steamed or microwaved until hot


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In a resealable plastic bag or shallow dish, combine oats, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, paprika, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well and set aside.

Brush each chicken breast with Dijon mustard. Add chicken to oat mixture with tongs and turn to coat both sides. Transfer chicken to prepared baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Bake 30 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with peas. Serves 4.

OMG, YUMMY!!  Let me start by saying that the house we moved into does not have a working oven.  Believe it or not, even with me loving to bake, it is not a top priority.  We have all manner of cooking appliances plus a roaster oven (for large jobs) and toaster oven (for little ones).  I baked these in the toaster oven outside (since I didn't want to heat up the whole house) and had to vary the times a bit. The only other variation from the recipe was I used bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless, skinless breast meat.  Frankly, I can eat only so much chicken breast before it just flat out looses any chicken flavor and becomes cardboard tasting to me.  Sometimes you just hafta switch it up and save calories elsewhere.  DH agreed and would like to add this recipe as a staple :D

PS- just a warning, some people actually tried using oatmeal instead of oats (yuck).  Stick to rolled oats and you should be just fine.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Hamburger Stroganoff

Several things.  One, Blogger has been down for over a day so the oven fried chicken recipe from Wednesday night should be back online this weekend.  Now I know that this is like the third stroganoff recipe, but this is one of my go to recipes which is not healthy in and of itself, but with some substitutions, can be made that way.  Here's the recipe from Betty Crocker's New Dinner for Two circa 1968, page 46:

1/2 Cup minced onions
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 Cup butter
1 lb ground beef
2 Tbl flour
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced or 1 (8 oz) can sliced mushrooms
1 can (10 1/2 oz) cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 Cup sour cream

Saute onion and garlic in butter over medium heat.  Stir in meat and brown.  Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and mushrooms.  Cook 5 minutes.  Stir in soup.  Simmer, uncovered 10 minutes.  Stir in sour cream.  Heat through.  Garnish with parsley.  Serve over egg noodles. 4-6 servings

Substitutions:  First the recipe was halved.  All the substitutions made were to make it healthier rather than for taste preferences.  I used ground turkey instead of ground beef.  I used low fat cream of mushroom soup and sour cream as opposed to the full fat versions.  You would never have been able to tell the difference!  YUMMY :D.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Caribbean Broccoli Chicken Salad

This recipe is from a Publix Apron Meal card.  I took HUGE license with it and only loosely based the salad on this recipe:

3–4 Deli chicken tenders (.75 lb)
1 mango
Juice of 1 lime
1 head Bibb (or iceberg) lettuce
3 tablespoons mango chutney
2 tablespoons peach preserves
3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
1 (12-oz) bag broccoli slaw
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Cut chicken tenders into thin slices.
Peel and slice mango (1 1/2 cups).
Squeeze lime for juice (1 tablespoon).
Remove lettuce core; separate individual leaves.

Prepare dressing in medium bowl by whisking chutney, preserves, and lime juice until smooth. Stir in yogurt and mayonnaise until blended.
Add slaw, chicken, mango, and raisins; toss to coat.
Arrange lettuce leaves on serving plates and top with salad; sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Serve.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 470kcal; FAT 14g; CHOL 60mg; SODIUM 700mg; CARB 61g; FIBER 6g; PROTEIN 27g; VIT A 90%; VIT C 150%; CALC 10%; IRON 10%

There were the following substitutions:I have no mango chutney nor do I like chutney so instead of the chutney and peach preserves, I used mango/passion fruit preserves.  Instead of yogurt, I used low-fat sour cream.  I couldn't find the broccoli slaw so I used cole slaw mix instead and since the hubby hates raisins, I used craisins.
I really liked this one!  It was very light and refreshing but still filling.  This would be a handy recipe to have around for those hot summer days.  I don't know how easy the ingredients are to find outside of the south, but I'd imagine you can make substitutions where necessary


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Zesty Grilled Chops

I can't believe I've been absent from here for over a week.  We went camping this past weekend and I changed schedules this week so I haven't been able to keep up like I should.  Anyway, here are the zesty grilled pork chops with a side of carrots and snap peas.  This recipe is from Taste of Home Simple and Delicious cookbook circa 2007 page 32:

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
6 bone-in pork loin chops (8 ounces each)

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar, chili sauce and garlic powder. Remove 1/4 cup for basting and refrigerate. Add pork chops to the remaining marinade; turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight, turning once.
Drain and discard marinade from chops. Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 4 minutes. Turn; baste with reserved marinade. Grill 4-7 minutes longer or until juices run clear.
Yield: 6 servings.

The recipe was changed to just two servings.  This was delicious!  Proof positive that sweet and pork go super well together.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage

I realize this one is no one's idea of diet or healthy eating, but since yesterday was my hubby's birthday, I made an exception for his favorite meal.  I tried to purchase the smallest corned beef I could find, but it was still 5 lbs. The leftovers will be used for his lunch today as hash or a sandwich.  I haven't a clu where I got the recipe, This is just how I learned to make it:

1 Corned beef
4 medium potatoes
4 carrots, peeled
1/2 head of one cabbage

Scrub the potatoes and carrots and cut the potatoes into quarters and the carrots into 2 inch slices.  Place the potatoes and carrots on the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.  At this time you can also take the outer leaves from the cabbage and place those in the slow cooker, or cook them separately. ( I usually cook them separately in a 2 quart, microwave safe casserole dish with about a 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes on high until the cabbage is still green but tender).
Remove the corned beef from wrapper and set aside the small baggie of spices.  Place the corned beef fat side up over the vegetables in the cooker.  Pour enough water into the cooker to cover the beef.  Sprinkle the spices over the top.  Place on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
OK, so I confess...I LOVE THIS MEAL!  Buttery cabbage and fatty corned beef is just delicious.  I shall continue to behave, but this was an awesome little splurge.  I now must ride by bike across the island to visit my folks instead of driving.  Must work this one off!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Grilled Mahi-Mahi Sandwiches with Pasta Salad

So we've had a long, exhausting week and since the weather was gorgeous, bordering on hot (84 degrees), we thought we'd have a Florida cookout night.  We went over to my folks where my hubby grilled Mahi steaks for dinner.  The recipe tonight was for 5-6, but can easily be adapted back down to two.  This recipe lies less on steps and a lot more on availability of very fresh seafood.

Mahi Sandwiches:
Fresh Mahi steak, 6oz steak for each sandwich
Fish marinade of choice (we used Grills Seafood Restaurant Tuna Marinade)
Kaiser rolls

About an hour before grilling, place steaks in a sealed container such as a tupperware container.  Put enough marinade in to cover the steaks. Seal and chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour. Turn container over and let rest in fridge for last 1/2 hour.

Cover rack of grill with aluminum foil and spray foil with non stick cooking spray.  Heat grill to medium.  Place steaks on grill and cook for about 7 minutes each side depending on thickness of steaks.  After turning, brush more marinade on steaks.  Remove steaks from grill and toast kaiser rolls.

Serve with aioli **, lettuce and tomato.

**For aioli : combine 1/4 C mayo with 1 Tbsp of chosen marinade.

Pasta Salad:

-8 oz pkg seashell or elbow macaroni
-1/2 can tuna, drained
-Miracle Whip or Mayo
-1 tsp mustard
-Salt & Pepper
-Shredded lettuce, 1/4 head
-1 tomato, diced
-1 tsp sweet relish
Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain. Add tuna, mustard, relish and salt and pepper to taste. Add Mayo to moisten.  Fold in lettuce and tomato.  
Chill and serve.
There was no way to go wrong with this one! Hubby got the Mahi-Mahi fresh caught, never frozen just this afternoon.  The dinner was very, very yummy and just perfect for sitting out on the patio with a small breeze.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chicken Liver Stroganoff

Today I was in the mood for something comforting and filling.  I don't have a whole lot of food left and I don't get anymore food until the Saturday delivery, so dinner will be made with what I have left in the freezer and pantry.  I had some chicken livers left in the freezer as well as a little bit of flank steak.  So I used this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Cooking for Two circa 1982, page 54:

2 slices bacon
3/4 C sliced, fresh mushrooms
1/4 C chopped onion
8 oz chicken livers, cut-up
1/4 tsp instant chicken bouillon granules
1/4 C hot water
1/2 C dairy sour cream
1 Tbl flour
2 Tbl dry sherry
Hot cooked noodles
Snipped Parsley

In an 8-inch skillet cook bacon til crisp.  Remove bacon and drain on paper towels, reserving 1 Tbl drippings in skillet.  Crumble the bacon and set aside.

Cook the sliced mushrooms and chopped onion in the reserved drippings until tender but not brown.  Add the chicken livers; cook 5 to 6 minutes or just til slightly pink in the center.

In a small mixing bowl dissolve bouillon in hot water.  Stir together sour cream and flour in another bowl.  Gradually stir in some of the bouillon mixture into the sour cream mixture.  Return all to the mixing bowl.  Stir in the sherry.

Add the sour cream mixture to the liver mixture in the skillet.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Cook and stir for 1 minute more.  Serve the liver mixture over hot cooked noodles; garnish with the crumbled bacon.  Sprinkle with the snipped parsley, if desired.  Makes 2 servings.
Substitutions: We only had about 4 ounces of liver and 4 ounces of beef so we used both instead of just liver.  The bacon was turkey bacon and instead of parsley, we used green onions.  This was served with a side of buttered broccoli.  YUMMY-YUMMY-YUMMY!

For a thrown together meal on a work night, this was pretty quick and comforting. I would like to have this one again relatively soon.