Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker

Slow cookers aren't just for meals made on cold winter days. They are useful in the summer months, too. So take out your slow cooker, dust it off, and make this yummy pork chop meal. It is quick to assemble and easy to clean up. D and B (my boys) really like pork chops. I am not a huge fan of them but I will cook them on occasion. The problem with most of the pork you can buy these days is that it is extremely lean. O.K. maybe that isn't too much of a problem. But the way I see it, the pork gets very dry, really quickly. In my opinion, the best way to make pork is either in the oven or in a slow cooker. As you probably know, slow cookers are much easier to use and clean than most ovens. Also, in the summer you don't necessarily want to heat up your whole house by using the oven (at least I don't). I did some searching on the internet for a tasty pork chop recipe. I found one but it had inconsistent reviews. Most folks said it was good but salty. Some said it was terrible. The ingredients for that recipe included both ketchup and soy sauce. This didn't sound very good to me so I changed up the recipe for my family. Please be sure to cook this recipe for only 6 hours on low setting. It isn't one of those recipes you can leave in the crock pot all day. Here is the recipe I came up with. I hope you will like it!

Pork Chops for the Slow Cooker

6 boneless pork chops

1/2 cup brown sugar or honey

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium)

1/4 cup canned peaches mashed (and juice)

2 cloves garlic, crushed


1. Place pork chops into the slow cooker. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over the pork chops.

2. Cook on low setting for 6 hours, or until internal temperature of pork has reached 160 degrees F (70 degrees C).

Serve with rice - we like jasmine rice - and a veggie. I like to serve it with green beans. Yum!

My family had this to say about the recipe: my son D said it could have been a bit sweeter. I thought it could have used a little red pepper for some heat and my hubby B agreed.

The Creative Cook

Friday, May 30, 2008

Flashback - 70's !!

Last week, D and I got into our "Wayback" Machine and time traveled back to the 70's. We made tie dye shirts. D liked his so much that he says I should quit my job and become a professional tie-dyer. I told him that there isn't much call for that job these days.

We did some "string art" which was what got us into this 70's mood. We saw a project in one of the Family Fun magazines for string art. I'm not very crafty so I went to Michael's Crafts and bought a string art kit. It was pretty easy. Here is a picture of D's creation. It isn't quite finished.

Believe it or not, I made some Blueberry Granola. The recipe came from the Slash Food website. Definitely check out the site and read the funny story behind this recipe. It is worth the read. I made a few changes to the recipe. It is tasty.

Blueberry Granola

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup peanuts or toasted almonds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut (I used unsweetened, but you can go for the sweetened kind if you'd like)

1/4 cup toasted wheat germ (optional)

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried fruit (I used blueberries but you could use apricots or craisins or even dried apple)

scant 1/4 cup cooking oil (not olive)

1/2 cup honey

Mix the oat, nuts and grains in a large bowl. Measure oil into the measuring cup and swirl it around before pouring into bowl. Then measure out the honey in the same, unwashed cup. The oil will help the honey exit the cup. Toss everything together until evenly coated and then pour out into a baking pan. I use a large roasting pan, as it keeps everything contained. A cookie sheet with a lip also works, but you have to stir it slightly more carefully if you use that. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, turning it with a spatula every ten minutes or so. You want everything to be an even golden brown. When it is finished cooking, returned the baked granola to the mixing bowl, add the raisins and fruit and stir to combine. Stir gently several times as it cools, so that it doesn't clump together too much.

I never ate granola in the 70's, I never owned a tie-dyed shirt back then either. I did do my share of "string art" and made a few of those crazy yarn octopus (octopi?) (remember those). I wanted to share a little bit of the 70's with my son. We both enjoyed ourselves immensely.