Monday, September 26, 2011

Crock Pot Chili Pork Chops

I found this recipe on yesterday.  I made it on a whim because it got really great reviews from quite a few people.  Also, it looked easy to make.  I am very interested in easy recipes right now because I am back working temporarily.  It is only a three days a week job but there is enough work for full-time.  Especially since I am learning how to do everything from scratch.  My niece L gave us a bunch of pork chops (bone-in) from a pig they bought.  They don't particularly like pork chops but I figured I would try different recipes that she and my nephew might like, too.  This one is very easy and it smells great. I haven't eaten it yet but I expect it to be delicious!  The recipe says it makes 3 portions.  I will have to see about that.

Crock Pot Chili Pork Chops
Photo by Chef shapeweaver ©


1/2 cup chopped onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 -3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon chili powder
5 -6 pork chops (bone in preferred)
salt and pepper


  1. Cook onions in oil until lightly brown.
  2. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, water, ketchup and salt and pepper.
  3. Cover and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes.
  4. Arrange pork chops in crock pot, pour sauce over the chops.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW HEAT for 6-7 hours.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cherry Burgers with Cherry Ketchup

This is another recipe from that I waited too long to make.  I had bought, pitted and frozen a bunch of cherries at the beginning of the summer but I wasn't ready to make these until last night.  The cherries added some moisture to the burgers and gave the meat a delicate flavor of cherry.  After making them once, I would recommend putting the dried cherries into your food processor to chop them.  I had a hard time trying to chop them by hand.  It was surprising to me that the recipe did not require any egg but the burgers did not fall apart even without it.  I did slightly change the recipe.  I used Panko breadcrumbs instead of the whole wheat breadcrumbs called for in the recipe because I had a box in my pantry.

I think you will really like the cherry ketchup.  I don't know about you but I had never thought about ketchup as anything but the good old tomato ketchup that is available at the grocery store.  This cherry ketchup has a really different flavor.  There is plenty left over to try with other things.  I served the burgers with sweet potato waffle fries.

Cherry Burgers

  • 12 ounces lean ground beef

  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, finely chopped

  • 1/2 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs, (or Panko breadcrumbs)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

  • 4 whole-wheat English muffins, split

  • 4 lettuce leaves

  • 1/4 cup Cherry Ketchup, (recipe follows)

  • Preparation
    1. Preheat grill to medium (see Broiler Variation).
    2. Place beef in a large bowl and gently mix in cherries, breadcrumbs, garlic, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper until combined. Divide into 4 equal portions and form into 1/2-inch-thick patties. Make a slight impression in the center of each. (This is so the patties cook evenly and don’t puff up.)
    3. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the patties until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, 5 to 6 minutes per side.
    4. Toast English muffins. Drain the onions. Assemble the burgers on the English muffins with onion slices, lettuce and about 1 tablespoon Cherry Ketchup each. Broiler variation: Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray. Broil patties 3 to 4 inches from the heat source until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers 160°F, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

    Cherry Ketchup
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries
    • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Combine pitted cherries, dried cherries, vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, ginger, allspice, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Transfer to a blender. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel. Holding lid securely in place, blend until smooth. (Use caution when blending hot liquids.) Transfer the ketchup to a small bowl.

    Tips & Notes
    • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011

    Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce

    This recipe is from the EatingWell website.  It was originally from the May/June issue of EatingWell Magazine.  I bought all the ingredients for this recipe back in June.  I peeled, pitted and chopped the apricots then threw them in the freezer.  I don't know why I waited so long to make this recipe but I'm glad I finally did.  It is really tasty.  I made Alton Brown's glazed carrots and a bag of white corn to go along with the chicken.  I think the recommendation on the EatingWell website to make this recipe with quinoa or brown rice and sauteed spinach would be really good, too.  Unfortunately, my husband did not care for the quinoa I made yesterday so I wasn't about to make it again today.  My son does like quinoa so I will definitely be making it again at some point.  I want to try the red quinoa which I have heard is even better than the regular type.  It is harder to find but I hear that Wegman's carries it.  Maybe the hubster will like the red quinoa better.  I can only hope!

    Seared Chicken with Apricot Sauce
    4 servings
    30 minutes
    • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and tenders removed
    • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon canola oil
    • 3/4 cup dry white wine
    • 1 medium shallot, minced
    • 4 fresh apricots, pitted and chopped
    • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
    • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon , or 1/2 teaspoon dried

  • Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin, meat mallet or heavy skillet until flattened to an even thickness, about 1/2 inch. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off excess. (Discard any leftover flour.)

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until browned and no longer pink in the center, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover and keep warm. (If necessary, cook the chicken in two batches with an additional 1 tablespoon oil.)

  • Off the heat, add wine and shallot to the pan. Return to medium heat and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until slightly reduced, about 3 minutes. Add apricots and cook until the fruit begins to break down, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in preserves, tarragon and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Return the chicken to the pan and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve the chicken with the sauce.

  • Glazed Carrots
    Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2005

    1 pound carrots, approximately 7 medium, peeled and cut on the bias 1/4 inch thick
    1 ounce (2 teaspoons) unsalted butter
    heavy pinch kosher salt
    1 cup good-quality ginger ale
    1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

    In a 12-inch saute pan over medium heat, combine the carrots, butter, salt and ginger ale.  Cover and bring to a simmer.  Once simmering, remove the lid, stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cover again and cook for 5 minutes.  Remove the lid, add the chili powder and increase the heat to high.  Cook, tossing occasionally, until the ginger ale is reduced to a glaze, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.  Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley.  Serve immediately.


    Saturday, September 10, 2011

    Blueberry Balsamic Pork Chops

    I know that some of you don't like blueberries but I have a bunch of them still in my freezer. I also have several "bone-in" pork chops.  So I decided to make this recipe for dinner.  I know that the recipe recommends using boneless pork chops but I just cooked the bone-in ones a bit longer than suggested.  It worked out great!  Try this recipe.  I made it with Giada's Herbed Quinoa recipe that I got from Food Network's website.  I also served some zucchini but any side vegetable that you like is fine.  My son approved of the pork, the quinoa and the zucchini!

    Serves 4

    4 boneless center loin pork chops
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    2 cloves minced garlic
    Salt and pepper to season
    ½ cup white wine or chicken stock
    ½ tsp thyme
    ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
    1 tbsp brown sugar
    3 tablespoons lemon juice
    ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese
    3 tablespoons butter

    Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Pan fry the pork chops in the olive oil and garlic until completely cooked about 4-5 minutes per side. Hold the pork chops in a warm oven. 

    Put the blueberries, balsamic vinegar, wine (or stock), thyme, nutmeg and brown sugar in a non-reactive pan.  Bring the sauce to a boil.  Simmer to reduce the volume of the sauce by half. Add the lemon juice and butter and simmer for an additional minute or so until the sauce slightly thickens.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon the sauce over the cooked pork chops.  Sprinkle each pork chop with Blue Cheese.  


    Friday, September 2, 2011

    Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant

    After making this Moussaka I have a new appreciation for Greek diners and Greek moms.  They do not have it easy.  This is one of my favorite Greek dishes but I will probably order it out more often now that I know how hard it is to make.  Moussaka is a casserole made by layering eggplant with a spiced meat filling then topping it off with a creamy bechamel sauce that is baked to golden perfection.  This recipe is a traditional rendition but you can layer in zucchini or any other vegetables that you prefer.  

    Moussaka is perhaps the most widely recognized of all Greek dishes and was made famous by the legendary Greek chef, Nicholas Tselementes.  He must have been quite a chef or he had lots of help.  

    While it can be time consuming to prepare, I think you will find that once complete it is a very worthwhile endeavor.

    Moussaka - Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant

    Prep Time: 2 hours
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes

    3-4 eggplants, about 4 lbs. total
    1 lb. potatoes
    1-1/2 lbs. ground beef (or lamb)
    2 large onions, finely diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 cup red wine
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. ground allspice
    1 cup tomato puree (or crushed tomatoes)
    2 tbsp. tomato paste
    1 tsp. sugar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    2 cups plain breadcrumbs
    8 egg whites, lightly beaten (reserve yolks for bechamel)
    1 cup grated Kefalotyri or Parmesan cheese

    Bechamel Sauce:
    1 cup salted butter (2 sticks)
    1 cup flour
    4 cups milk, warmed
    8 egg yolks, lightly beaten
    Pinch of ground nutmeg

    Prep the Vegetables:
    Using a sharp peeler, partially peel the eggplants, leaving strips of peel about 1 inch wide around the eggplant. Slice the eggplant in to 1/2 inch slices. Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally. Cover them with an inverted plate that is weighted down by a heavy can or jar. Place the colander in the sink so that excess moisture can be drawn out. They will need to sit for at least 15-20 minutes, preferably an hour. The salt also helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant.

    Peel the potatoes and boil them whole until they are just done. They should not get too soft, just cooked enough so that they no longer crunch. Drain, cool and slice them in 1/4 inch slices. Set aside.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Add a splash of water to the egg whites and beat them lightly with a fork. Add breadcrumbs to a flat plate.

    Rinse the eggplant slices and dry with paper towels. Dip the eggplant slices in the beaten egg whites and then dredge them in the breadcrumbs, coating both sides. Place breaded eggplant slices on baking sheets and bake at 400 degrees for 1/2 an hour, turning them over once during cooking.

    When eggplant is finished cooking, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

    Make the Meat Filling:
    In a large sauté pan, brown the ground beef (or lamb) until the pink color disappears. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

    Add wine to pan and allow it to simmer and reduce a bit before adding cinnamon, allspice, parsley, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and sugar. Allow the sauce to simmer uncovered for approximately 15 minutes so that excess liquid can evaporate. It should be a drier, chunkier, tomato sauce.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Make the Béchamel Sauce:
    Melt butter over low heat. Using a whisk, add flour to melted butter whisking continuously to make a smooth paste. Allow the flour to cook for a minute but do not allow it to brown.
    Add warmed milk to mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.

    Simmer over low heat until it thickens a bit but does not boil.

    Remove from heat, and stir in beaten egg yolks and pinch of nutmeg. Return to heat and stir until sauce thickens.

    Assemble the Moussaka:
    Lightly grease a large deep baking pan (lasagna pan). Sprinkle the bottom of pan with breadcrumbs. Leaving a 1/4 inch space around the edges of the pan, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom. Top with a layer of eggplant slices.

    Add meat sauce on top of eggplant layer and sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese. Top with another layer of eggplant slices and sprinkle once again with 1/4 of the grated cheese.

    Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smooth the béchamel on top with a spatula and sprinkle with remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until béchamel sauce is a nice golden brown color. Allow to cool for 15 – 20 minutes before slicing and serving.

    You can make this dish ahead up until the béchamel sauce and refrigerate. Make the béchamel sauce right before you intend to bake it.