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Monday, December 19, 2011

Orange Apricot Pork Chops in the Crock

So delicious and kid friendly. Incredibly simple too, you have to try it. The recipe says to cook on low for 8 hours in the crock but our chops were falling apart after only 7 hours. We served it over brown rice with lima beans. You HAVE to pour the extra juice from the crock over the rice & pork - it will rock your world! Can't wait to have this again & again.


5-6 pork chops
1 cup apricot preserves (or apricot jam)
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges (and juice!)

Put your chops in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle the poultry seasoning over the top of them. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the mandarin oranges and stir well. Spoon evenly on top of the pork chops. Pour the entire can (and juice) of the mandarin oranges over all of it. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. Serve over rice to soak up that yummy juice! Enjoy.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Baked Chicken Parmesan

I have died and gone to Italy. No, really. OK, not really - I'm sitting in my kitchen in PA but it smells like what I would think Italy smells like. Enough of that, let's discuss this dish. This was too easy to taste as good as it did. I was skeptical about using croutons to replace the breading on the chicken but they were amazing. They were so crunchy on the top but soaked up the marinara sauce on the bottom to create the most melt in your mouth flavor. Really, the chicken didn't even have to be in this dish. Cheese, marinara and croutons - you've got yourself a winner. Also, I threw it together in under 10 minutes!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
hot red pepper flakes, to taste  (optional)
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups marinara sauce
1/4 cup chopped basil
8 oz mozzarella, shredded
4 oz Parmesan, grated
1 (5-oz) package garlic croutons (I used Texas Toast brand Garlic & Butter)


Preheat oven to 350. Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a 9x13 dish. Smoosh around the crushed garlic. If using them, sprinkle the red pepper flakes on top of the garlic and olive oil.

Place chicken on top. Then marinara sauce. Then basil.

Sprinkle 4oz of mozzarella cheese and 2 oz of Parmesan on top of the marinara. Top with croutons and sprinkle the remaining cheeses on top.

Bake for about 30 minutes - depending on the thickness of your chicken.

Serve over a bed of spaghetti.

recipe comes from Chef John at Food Wishes

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spicy Hawaiian Turkey Burgers

I am a pretty awesome burger maker, if I do say so myself. These burgers were by far the best I have EVER made. Rich and I refused to put them down after we took our first bite. Seriously, they are THAT good. I made a teriyaki glaze to use as a spread and the combined spicy, sweet and tangy flavors were out of this world!


1 pound ground turkey - makes 4 - 6 med/large burgers
1 can crushed pineapple, 2 TBSP in burgers and the rest for topping
Pepper jack cheese slices
whole wheat hamburger buns
1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

Combine the ground turkey, soy sauce, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, 2 TBSP crushed pineapple and garlic. Lightly mix with your hands and divide into 4 to 6 even patties. Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle. Refrigerate about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the Teriyaki Glaze:

1/4 c. unsweetened pineapple juice
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. red cooking wine
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. garlic powder

In a small saucepan combine pineapple juice, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch, ginger root, and garlic. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Cook burgers on grill. Top with pepper jack cheese slices and crushed pineapple. Spread teriyaki glaze on hamburger buns. Serve warm with your favorite side dish.

recipe adapted from here

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pepperoni Pizza Monkey Bread

I am having a blast making new pizza recipes to bring a little pizazz to our mundane Friday night pizza nights. A few weeks ago I made this pizza monkey bread and we all loved it! I used my homemade whole wheat pizza dough and it turned out delicious! I will say that it was very time consuming but it's a mindless task and drinking a glass of wine helps the time go by faster.

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 Tbsp butter
2 lbs pizza dough
6 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into small cubes (you'll need ~48 pieces)
48 slices of Turkey pepperoni (from 1 package)
2-3 cups pizza sauce, warmed, for serving

Heat garlic and butter over medium heat just until the garlic begins to brown. Remove from heat and let sit.
Lightly brush the inside of a bundt pan (or other oven-safe dish) with garlic butter.
Pull off large marble-sized balls of dough and flatten (~2/3 of an ounce, a kitchen scale makes this very easy). Top with a slice of pepperoni and a cube of mozzarella.
Wrap the dough around the pepperoni and cheese, pinching well to seal.
Very lightly brush the pizza ball with garlic butter and place into the bundt pan (I dabbed the pizza balls on a butter-dipped silicon brush to keep butter use low - there will be 1+ Tbsp leftover - and my hands butter free. Buttery hands make it hard to get the pizza balls to seal).
Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Cover and let sit for 30 minutes, while preheating the oven to 400.
Bake for ~35 minutes, until the top is very brown.
Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.
Turn out onto a platter and serve with warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride

Broccoli Cheese Soup

I absolutely love Panera Bread's Broccoli Cheese soup but we don't have a Panera here, so I found a knock-off recipe. I have to say, if I had an authentic bowl and a bowl of the impostor side by side I wouldn't be able to tell one from the other. The prep time is very long so I wouldn't recommend tackling this on a weeknight. We served ours with homemade bread bowls, yum!


1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup carrot, julienned
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper


Sauté onion in butter. Set aside.

Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and add the half & half.

Add the chicken stock. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat 20-25 minutes.

Add salt and pepper. Can be puréed in a blender but I don't. Return to heat and add cheese. Stir in nutmeg.

recipe from

Sesame Noodles

Holy Chinese take-out impostor! I made these noodles to go with Bourbon Chicken and they were the perfect compliment. My whole plate tasted like something you could order from an authentic Chinese restaurant. Even the kids ate everything on their whole plate!


1 box thin whole wheat noodles
1/4 cup Low-sodium Soy Sauce
2 TBSP Sugar
4 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 TBSP Rice Vinegar
2 TBSP Pure Sesame Oil
4 TBSP Canola Oil
4 TBSP hot water, reserved from noodle water

4 whole Green Onions, Sliced Thin

We like to add a light drizzle of Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce at the table for some spice. Red Pepper Flakes are awesome, too.

Preparation Instructions:

Cook noodles according to package directions.
Whisk all liquid ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour sauce over warm noodles and toss to coat, use starch water to increase sauce.
Sprinkle with green onions and toss.

recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman