Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7 Snickurtle Pie

This is peanut butter, graham cracker, caramel and chocolate all wrapped up into one pretty amazing pie! ;-) 
It is also the perfect dessert for a dinner party because you can make it ahead of time and just pull it out of the freezer to serve it! :-)
Delicious, easy, and beautiful! :-) 
What more could you ask for?
Snickurtle Pie
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs or Oreo cookie crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter
2 cups thawed whipped topping
1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided (I skipped the toasting step)
1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping + more for drizzling on top
3 to 4 tablespoons melted chocolate for topping (I used chocolate syrup)
In a mixing bowl mix together the crumbs and butter; press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. In your electric mixer’s bowl beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and peanut butter. Mix well.Toast the pecans over medium heat for 3 minutes on your stovetop – shake them frequently so they don’t burn. Add the whipped topping and half of the toasted pecans to the cream cheese mixture; blend well. On the bottom of the cookie crust spread 1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping Add the whipped topping and half of the toasted pecans to the cream cheese mixture; blend well. On the bottom of the cookie crust spread 1/4 cup of caramel ice cream topping  Spread the cream cheese mixture on top of the caramel. Freeze for 3 hours. Take out the pie and spread the rest of the pecans over the top. Melt some chocolate and drizzle it with a spoon across the entire pie. When done with the chocolate, get the caramel topping and drizzle some more. Put it back in the freezer for another 1 to 2 hours. Dig in! Keep it frozen.
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Monday, February 27, 2012

2 Crock Pot Egg Brunch Casserole

This egg casserole was a hit this weekend . . . 
and required minimal prep time, 
giving me more time to spend with friends! :-) 
Crock Pot Egg Brunch Casserole        
6-8 strips of bacon
1 onion peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 red or green pepper, seeded and chopped
1 (2 pound) bag of frozen hash browns
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
12 eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Spray crock pot with non stick cooking spray. Cook bacon til crisp, cool, then chop into 1/2 inch pieces, set aside. Saute onion, garlic and bell pepper for 5 minutes. Place 1/3 of frozen hash browns in the bottom of crock pot. Add 1/3 bacon, 1/3 onion, garlic, bell pepper mixture, and 1/3 cheese. Repeat layers ending with cheese. In a large bowl, mix eggs, milk, dill, salt and pepper. Pour over ingredients in crock pot, cover and turn on low. Cook for 8-10 hours.
A Latte with Ott, A
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Sunday, February 26, 2012

1 The Perfect Weekend!

This weekend was perfect!
I got to play with barn cats, 
 cuddle with a mop/puppy,
 see lots of foals,
 pet chicks,
 love on this gentle giant,
and feel a foal kicking in this mamma horse's belly! 
We had Meatapalooza,
beautiful sides 
amazing desserts,  
and a delicious breakfast! (Recipes coming this week! :-)
  Such a special weekend with sweet friends!
Needless to say, we are all exhausted!
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

2 Quick Skillet Steak with Onions and Mushroom

 This is such a great weeknight meal! You can serve this skillet steak on its own or pair it with a side or a salad! Either way, it is the perfect meal if you are on the go!
Quick Skillet Steak with Onions and Mushrooms
1/2 lb thin cut beef round sandwich steaks
1/2 large onion, sliced into rings
1/2 tsp olive oil
8 oz sliced mushrooms
cooking spray
garlic powder to taste
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Slice beef into thin strips. Season with salt, garlic powder and fresh pepper to taste. Heat a large skillet over high heat. When the skillet is very hot, spray with cooking spray and add half of the beef. Cook one minute, then turn steak and cook an additional 30 seconds. Set aside in a large dish.Spray the skillet again and when it gets hot add the remaining steak, cooking one minute, then turning and cooking 30 seconds more. Add remaining steak to the dish. Return skillet to heat and spray once again with cooking spray; add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook one minute, then turn and cook onions an additional 30 seconds or until onions are golden.Lower heat to medium and add 1/2 tsp olive oil to the skillet, add mushrooms, salt and pepper and lightly spray the top of the mushrooms with cooking spray. Cook 1 1/2 minutes, then turn mushrooms and cook another minute and a half. Add to dish with steak and onions and stir to combine. Serve over rice.
Skinny Taste
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Monday, February 20, 2012

0 Guest Blogging at Racing Towards Joy!

I'm blogging over at Racing Towards Joy today. . . 
but don't just look at this one post. . . 
Sarah has an amazing way with words and she has been such a blessing to me! 
Browse around, stay awhile. . . you won't regret it! ;-) 
Here is a sneak peak of what I am sharing! :-) 
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Sunday, February 19, 2012

1 Guest Post from PARKER: Date Night in the Kitchen!!!!

Today, I have a treat for you! 
My brother, Parker (who rivals my mom at being the best writer in the family), is describing the journey that led he and Emily to weekly date nights in the kitchen! :-)

I am officially a bandwagon fan. Yes, I have admitted to the worst description a fan could be described as, but ‘tis true. It is not for Tim Tebow, nor for Jeremy Lin, and not even for President Obama despite the latest surge in his approval rating…no, I’m a bandwagon fan of Elizabeth Ann’s Recipe Box. There, I have publically confessed to secretly doubting her attempts to chronicle her adventures in the kitchen. When Elizabeth says she literally started cooking when she and Nate met, there is not even a hint of exaggeration. From the early days of their marriage I had reason to hold to my case, but as the weeks passed and I continued to be the recipient of more and more of her delicious creations, my tune began to change. Two years later I am one of her biggest fans, and for those of you who know her, you can understand why. Now that I have owned up to my shame…and risked the loss of her taking me off the ‘taste test’ list, it is with a clear conscience that I write this guest blog.
                On November 13, 2010 I was married to the beautiful, Emily Frances Whitty. 
I still can remember the first time I saw her in Colorado Springs almost five years ago. Despite several hiccups, cough…rejections…cough, I finally prevailed in my attempt to win her heart. Our wedding was a wonderful celebration and one of the best days of my life. Following our honeymoon, we soon realized that several of the activities that we had enjoyed together while we were dating had begun to lose their appeal. Before we got married I had no problem going with Emily to an outlet mall or shopping center to shop with her while she slowly and carefully observed each and every item. My wife is an amazing shopper and finds the very best deal, but it doesn’t always happen in a very short time. Watching her meticulously look through racks and racks of clothes became just short of a form of torture. Moreover, my desire to check ESPN and Aggie baseball scores began to approach rocket launch status. Emily, who once enjoyed attending Double-A baseball games in Birmingham, was now done by the third inning and watching me check my phone incessantly was not helping the situation in the least. Her creative gene began to blossom and nourish itself with sewing, monogramming, decorating and gathering new ideas through magazines and Pinterest. It didn’t take long to realize that marriage is not dating with a sleepover, and our hearts were now pulled to different activities than we enjoyed together when we were dating.
                Why would it be wrong for me to scroll through ESPN scores before going to bed each night, or for Emily to want to spend a Saturday monogramming? Or for me to want to take her to an Astros game for a date night, instead of date night to shop at Highland Village? Every now and then these events were fine but the underlying issue wasn’t going away and what we realized is that we needed new hobbies that we could enjoy together. After several failed attempts to reach common ground, and meet our monthly budget goals, we finally came up with an idea that has begun to stick. For date nights at home, we started to go through our cookbooks, or Elizabeth Ann’s Recipe Box, to pick a recipe that we had never cooked before to spend the evening making a masterpiece together before sitting down to a movie on our couch. This has brought together several of our combined passions of learning, creating, achieving….and eating. We have loved the time of doing something ‘side by side’ and the joy of spending a great deal of time and effort working together before savoring a fantastic meal. 
                A wise man once said that the mystery of marriage is profound. It is profound isn’t it? Two people, coming together to live as one flesh under one roof, all the while the selfishness and sin of the other person now becomes the lens to view the selfishness and sin that is in you. Many times over the past 15 months I have felt defeated in reaching a common ground with Emily on a variety of situations and issues, including, combined hobbies. Yet, I have seen that it is in the coming together through these conflicts, by the grace of God alone, that our hearts are stirred for Him and each other. I love marriage, not because it is without conflict, but because the conflict points to our inadequacy apart of Christ, and his promise to be with us through it. I love marriage because it is not in our effort that we ultimately come back together but through grace alone. I love marriage not because our love sustains us, but because Christ sustains our love and He is ultimately our greatest treasure and hope. Becoming a great cook doesn’t happen overnight, just ask Elizabeth. Becoming a great spouse is no different, but in the desire to lose my life and love Emily sacrificially, I have seen a slow change that has produced fruit in our marriage such as creating our cooking date nights. Just ask my chef partner!
Below are several recipes that we have enjoyed over the last few weeks from The Junior League of Houston's Stop and Smell the Rosemary. 
 Herbed Baked Salmon
1 ½ pounds thickly cut fresh salmon fillet, skin intact
¾ cup mayonnaise (can use light or nonfat)
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons minced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (basil, dill, parsley, chervil, thyme, or a combination)
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly ground pepper
Cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix mayonnaise, Parmesan, green onions, herbs, bell pepper, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl. Spread over salmon to within ½ inch of edges. Spray shallow baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and warm in oven 20 minutes. Place salmon skin side down on dish (it should sizzle). Bake 20 minutes or until just flaky do not overcook. Salmon should be medium-rare to medium. Skin should be crispy and may be eaten or removed, as desired.

Asparagus in Champagne Sauce
Champagne Sauce:
1 cup champagne
5 large egg yolks
Dash tarragon vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and steamed
Champagne Sauce: Combine champagne, egg yolks, and vinegar in the top of a double boiler. Season with salt and pepper. Cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat and stir. Serve sauce immediately over asparagus.

Wild Mushroom and Onion Risotto
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 cup coarsely chopped onion
1 cup raw Italian Arborio rice
2 ¼ cups chicken broth
8 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, thinly sliced (shiitake, oyster, or cremini)
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (1/4 cup)
2 tablespoons dry white wine
Fresh parsley
Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and onion. Saute’ until tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice. Stir until opaque, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add ½ cup broth and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and continue stirring. When liquid is absorbed, add another ½ cup broth. Stir. Continue this process until all broth has been used. When rice is done, remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan and wine. Garnish with parsley and serve.       
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Saturday, February 18, 2012

1 Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean and Beef Casserole

 There really are no words for this casserole. 
It is amazing.
Rock your world.
Make your house guests stay forever.
seriously, amazing! :-)
Stacked Sweet Corn, Bean and Beef Casserole
2 ears fresh corn on the cob
8 ounces lean ground beef
7 ounces uncooked chorizo sausage (It is ok if you use more beef or Chorizo, i.e. I used a 12 oz package of Chorizo)
1 15 ounce can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 large yellow sweet pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup bottled chunky green salsa
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 8 - 9 inches flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
Sour Cream (optional)
Chopped tomatoes and cilantro (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut corn from cobs; set aside. Grease a 9-inch springform pan, large oven-going platter, or a 12-inch pizza pan; set aside.
2. In a large skillet cook beef and chorizo until brown and cooked through, breaking up any large pieces with a spatula; drain fat. Add beans to beef mixture and heat through. Cover and keep warm.
3. In another large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, sweet pepper, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally until tender, about 10 minutes. Add corn, salsa, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Place two of the tortillas in prepared pan. Top with meat mixture. Reserve 1/4 cup of cheese. Divide the remaining 1-1/4 cups of cheese in half; sprinkle one half on the meat mixture. Add another tortilla, vegetable mixture, and remaining half of cheese. Add final tortilla. Cover loosely with foil. Bake 10 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup of cheese. Bake 10 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes. Remove sides if using springform pan. Top with sour cream, tomatoes, and cilantro. Slice with a serrated knife. Makes 6 servings.
Better Home and Gardens
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Friday, February 17, 2012

0 Frijoles de Farmer's Wife

It has been cold, rainy, dark and dreary these past few days. . .
not that anyone in Texas is complaining after the drought we went through this past summer. 
We are just cuddling close to fires, puppies, and husbands and praising God for rain (and cool temperatures!)
Growing up, my dad LOVED spending rainy Saturdays "nursing" a pot beans, a chicken soup, or a big batch of stew! 
With that said, I knew he would LOVE these slow cooked pinto beans!
(Can you tell that there is a constant movement of Tupperware going back and forth between my parent's house and ours! :-)
I loved them, Nate loved them, but the biggest critic of all, my dad, loved them! :-) And that is saying something! :-)
Frijoles de Farmer's Wife
1 lb dried pinto beans
1 quart chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped up
1-2 jalepenos
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
Soak beans overnight. Put everything in the crockpot together. Add water until it's a couple of inches above the beans. Cook on high for 2 hours. Switch to low for 6-8 hours.
Alternate cooking times:
Cook on low in the crock pot for 12 hours (but add enough water so they don't dry out.)
Stovetop: boil everything and then turn to medium heat. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occassionally.
Top 'em with cheese, sour cream, or green onions. Serve with tortillas, rice, or cornbread.
The Farmer's Wife Tells All 
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

1 Bow Tie Skillet Lasagna

Nate might not be Italian but he likes Italian food (and mob shows) so much, he might as well be! :-)
This quick and easy weekday meal is delicious, hearty and perfect for two or a family of 6!
Buon appetito!!!
Bow Tie Skillet Lasagna
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. box or pkg of mini farfalle or mini bow tie pasta
24 oz jar or spaghetti sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
Parmesan cheese, if desired
In a skillet, brown the ground beef until fully cooked; drain. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. After pasta is cooked, drain. Return to pot and toss with the olive oil. Add the spaghetti sauce to the pasta and stir to coat. Next, add the cooked ground beef, seasonings, mozzarella cheese and sour cream to the pasta. Fold together and cook over low heat until cheese is melted. Serve and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired. Serves 6.
Real Mom Kitchen
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      Wednesday, February 15, 2012

      1 Huevos Rancheros

      Huevos Rancheros combine my love of Mexican food with Nate's love of breakfast! :-) 
      I made these a couple of Saturdays ago and they were incredible! :-)
        Huevos Rancheros
        1/2 tsp oil
        1/2 onion, minced
        1 medium tomato, minced
        2 tbsp chopped green chiles
        salt and pepper
        pinch cumin (optional)
        2 large eggs
        1/4 cup shredded lettuce
        1 oz shredded cheese
        2 tsp chopped cilantro
        2 corn tortillas 
        Heat oil in a small pan. Add onions and cook one minute, add tomatoes, chilies, cumin, salt and pepper and cook another few minutes. Set aside and keep warm. In another medium non-stick pan, lightly spray the tortillas with Pam on each side and heat a few minutes on both sides until tortillas gets crispy and pockets or air bubbles start to form inside. Set aside. In the same pan, lightly spray more Pam and add eggs, salt and pepper. Cover and cook until sunny-side up or to your liking. To serve, place a tortilla on each plate, top with egg, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese and cilantro.
        Servings: 2 • Serving Size: 1 egg, tortilla and sauce • Old Points: 4 pts • Points+: 5 pts
        Calories: 194.3 • Fat: 10.1 g • Protein: 12.1 g • Carb: 14.4 g • Fiber: 2.3 g • Sugar: 1.6
        Skinny Taste
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        Tuesday, February 14, 2012

        1 My Favorite Things about Nate! :-)

        When reflecting on our relationship today, I quickly jotted down 10 things I love about Nate! :-) 
        Happy Valentine's Day, y'all! :-) 
        1. When you do things "just because." I love it when you call me and leave sweet messages on my phone saying how much you love me or when you send me flowers for no reason! :-)
        2. I am daily in awe of how much you love my family! 
        3. You live out James 1:27. I will never forget when you started reading Proverbs to me over the phone the second day we had known each other! You truly are the spiritual leader in our house! :-)
        4. You are my rock Isaiah 32:2
        5. I love when we get the giggles (at in opportune moments) and cannot look at each other or else we will bust into laughter!
        6.  The type of friend you are
        7. The way you like to take the long way home on a road trip just because it is prettier. . .
        8. Being in the deer stand with you . . .
        9. How you play with the puppies EVERY SINGLE DAY when you get home. . .
        10. Your absolute and unwavering support of everything I do and the way you have more confidence in me than I do in myself. . .
        I love you! :-) 
        Thank you Jesus for Nate! :-) 
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          Monday, February 13, 2012

          1 Mr. Chewy Dog Food Delivery! :-)

          Saturday was Gus' 8th birthday!
          He, of course, was pampered throughout the weekend, got lots of treats and bones, and received many birthday rubs and cuddles!
          We love our dogs so much! But to be honest, going to the store to buy their dog food is almost a trip in and of itself. A bag of dog food takes up the entire bottom of the grocery cart which leaves little room for the rest of the things I need for the week. And then there is Petsmart or Petco. . . and Nate and I REALLY have a hard time walking in there WITHOUT walking out with another furry friend!
          All this to say, when I read Thankfully Thrifty's review of Mr Chewy's dog food delivery service, I literally raced to the website and ordered 3 bags of dog food in record timing! I would have paid more than I usually do on dog food just to have Gus and Wrigley's food delivered to my front door, but, incredibly, I saved money! The dog food is priced comparably to what you would pay at a grocery store (and less than Petsmart or Petco), you receive free shipping if you spend over 49 dollars, and right now, if you set up a scheduled delivery you will lock in free shipping for life! :-) Another thing, I LOVE about Mr. Chewy is if you have ANY questions during your time on the website, all you have to do is click on the "Questions. We are happy to help" button and you immediately chat live with a Mr Chewy representative! I chatted with Phil about how long shipping usually takes and it was a lovely experience! Mr Chewy's dog food delivery normally ARRIVES at your front door in 1-2 days! Mr Chewy offers more than 70 brands of dog and cat food as well as treats and puppy training tools! From the easy to navigate website to the customer service, Mr Chewy is a joy to work with! When our dog food arrived at our front door the Hallejuah chorus immediately started playing in my head! Believe me, I have already scheduled our next delivery!
          I did receive compensation for this review but all the words and thoughts are my own! I am OBSESSED with Mr Chewy! :-)
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          Sunday, February 12, 2012

          5 Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad

          I adore chicken salad, especially chicken salad with grapes and nuts in it!
          When I found this version, I knew I had found the perfect recipe!
          This was a lovely lunch for me and a delicious "snack" for Nate (before eating deer sausage with BBQ sauce!) :-)
          Neiman Marcus Chicken Salad
          Makes about 6 cups
          1 lb. cooked chicken breasts, cut into ½″ cubes
          1 cup mayonnaise
          1 cup thinly sliced celery
          1 cup halved purple grapes
          ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
          1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
          1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
          ½ cup whipped cream (I used Cool Whip)
          Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
          Combine chicken, mayonnaise, celery, grapes, almonds, parsley, and salt in a bowl. Add whipped cream and pepper; fold to combine.
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          Saturday, February 11, 2012

          1 Chicken Panini with Arugula, Provolone and Chipotle Mayonnaise

          Today, I am sharing one of my favorite healthy sandwiches! I normally eat one half for lunch and save the other half for the next day! These sandwiches are wonderful hot or cold! Enjoy!
          Chicken Panini with Arugula, Provolone and Chipotle Mayonnaise
          1 tbsp Hellman's light mayonnaise
          1 tsp chipotle in adobo sauce (or to taste) (I used Sriracha)
          3 oz ciabatta, sliced open
          1.75 oz (1 thin) grilled chicken cutlet
          1 slice Sargento reduced fat provolone
          0.5 oz (about 1/2 cup) baby arugula
          cooking spray
          Combine mayonnaise and chipotle pepper sauce in a small bowl. You can use any hot sauce, sriracha or chipotle tabasco would also work; season to your taste. Spread the spicy mayonnaise inside the ciabatta. Lay the provolone cheese, grilled chicken and arugula in the bread; close and lightly spray the top with cooking spray.Place on a panini press (or your George Foreman) and close until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted. Cut in half and eat immediately.
          Servings: 1 • Size: 1 panini • Old Points: 8 pts • Points+: 9 pts
          Calories: 345 • Fat: 9.8 g
          Skinny Taste
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          Thursday, February 9, 2012

          1 4 Layers of Pink Cake

          I have been so blessed this past week!
          As I have said before, my parents live down the street, Clark and Rebecca live next door, and Parker and Emily live 5 minutes away. 
          I love texting my Dad and asking him if he wants something that I am baking. . . 
          or when friends are over, calling Clark and making him wave at us from his window :-)
          or meeting Parker and Emily for coffee.
          Last night, my 90 year old grandmother, Gigi (who lives 10 minutes away), took all of the grand-kids out to eat. 
          We literally could have sat there for hours, taking, laughing and just being together!
          I am BLESSED beyond my wildest dreams to be married to Nate and to have sister in laws that are better than anything I have ever prayed for or imagined! :-)

          This cake is even more impressive in person! 
          Stay tuned this weekend for all of my Valentine's recipes in one post! :-)
          4 Layers of Pink Cake
          2 Boxes of White Cake Mix and the ingredients on the back of the box
          2 Big jars of White Icing
          Red Food Coloring 
          Mix the cake according to the directions. Divide batter in 4 bowls. Put a couple drops of food coloring in the first bowl and then add 10 more drops to each of the bowls, adjusting the color as you see fit. Bake according to the directions on the box. Let the cake cool and then assemble and ice! Happy Valentine's Day!
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          Wednesday, February 8, 2012

          1 Simple Valentine's Heart Cake Dessert for Two

          If you want to break your New Years resolution of eating healthy JUST on Valentine's Day and not have any tempting leftovers. . . 
          this dessert is for you!
          Simple Valentine’s Heart Cake Dessert For Two
          1/8 cup sugar
          1/4 cup water
          2 tsp cornstarch
          1 cup frozen raspberries
          2 Twinkies
          In a small sauce pan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch.  Whisk the water into the sugar mixture until well blended.  Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens.  Remove from heat and gently stir in raspberries. Allow the mixture to cool. Cut Twinkies in half diagonally (A sharp diagonal), starting about 1 in. down from top left to 1 in. from bottom of opposite side. For each heart, put 2 halves together on 1 serving plate. Spoon raspberry mixture on top and around hearts
          Real Mom Kitchen 
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            Tuesday, February 7, 2012

            2 Pork Chops with Apples and Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits

            Nate and I have a new FAVORITE meal after tonight. . . 
            the Pioneer Woman's Pork Chops with Apples and Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits were out of this world!
            Not only does it create a beautiful display, these pork chops and grits are the perfect Southern meal to 'wow' guests at your table! 
            Pork Chops with Apples
            6 whole Boneless Pork Chops, About 1/2-inch Thick
            2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
            2 Tablespoons Butter
            2 whole Gala Apples, Diced
            1/2 cup Dry White Wine
            2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
            3/4 cups Pure Maple Syrup
            1 dash Salt
            Freshly Ground Black Pepper
            Creamy Bacon-Cheese Grits (see below)
            Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter in melted.Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Brown them on both sides until nice and golden. Remove pork chops from the skillet and set on a separate plate.Reduce heat to medium. Add apples and stir to combine them with the oil, and butter that remains in the pan. Pour in wine and vinegar, then whisk along the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup, then add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir, then return pork chops to the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes. Serve pork chops on top of a generous helping of Creamy Cheese Grits (mashed potatoes are good, too) and spoon the apple-maple sauce over the top, allowing the liquid to drip over the grits.

            Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits 
            8 slices Regular Bacon, Cut Into 1/2-inch Pieces
            1 whole Yellow Onion, Chopped
            2 cups Grits (not quick cooking) (I used Aunt Jamima's Old Fashioned Grits)
            4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
            2 cups Water
            2 cups Heavy Cream
            1-1/2 cup Grated Cheese (Monterey Jack, Etc.)
            1 dash Cayenne, For Heat
            Salt As Needed
            Black Pepper To Taste
            In a heavy pot, cook bacon over medium heat for a couple of minutes to render fat. Add onions and cook with bacon for a few minutes, or until bacon is chewy and onions are golden brown.
            Add grits, chicken broth, and water. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover pot, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure the liquid level is okay. If grits begin to get dry, add a little more warm broth.
            After 30-40 minutes of cooking time, pour in cream. Cover pot and continue to simmer on very low heat for another 30 minutes, or until grits are done. Taste and add salt, pepper and cayenne to taste. Remove from heat and stir in grated cheese. Keep warm and serve.
            Pioneer Woman
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            Monday, February 6, 2012

            2 Melange of Cheeses and Raspberries

            I have talked before about a delightful woman I have the pleasure of working with . .  Bobbie. . .As I have said, she is Martha Stewart, Heloise, and Paula Deen all rolled up into one magnificent friend! :-)
            Bobbie shared this amazing dish in our school cookbook a couple of years ago and it was a perfect appetizer for Sunday night! :-)

             (before the Raspberry Chipotle)
             (Beautiful! ;-)
            Melange of Cheeses and Raspberries 
            8 oz shredded cheddar cheese
            8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
            1 cup good mayonnaise 
            1/4 tsp red (hot) pepper (I used Cayenne Pepper)
            1/4 tsp black pepper
            1 bunch green schallions very finely sliced
            1 c finely ground pecans
            1 jar very good raspberry preserves (I used Raspberry Chipotle Sauce)
            Line a 10 inch tart pan (I used a heart pan with Valentine's Day right around the corner) with plastic wrap. Combine the mayonnaise, red pepper and black pepper in a bowl and mix well. Add the onions, pecans and cheese, stirring until mixed. Spoon into the prepared tart pan; press firmly. Chill, covered for 8 to 10 hours. Invert onto a pretty serving plate. Spoon the preserves on top. Serve with an assortment of crackers.
            A Pinch, A Dash, and a Smidgen
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