Monday, May 23, 2011

Skillet Pork Chops

Here is a family favorite...easy and pretty filling. This recipe comes from my mom. It is kind of a comfort food. Skillet Pork Chops. I am sure you could do something similar with chicken. We just have so many chicken recipes that if I can get a recipe for something different, I use it. Plus, I have always just eaten this with pork chops.

Skillet Pork Chops
4 pork chops (I use six, and I do use the thin breakfast kind because they cook faster)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp flour (I double up since I am using more pork chops...)
1/4 tsp sage (I do 1/2)
1/4 tsp thyme (I do 1/2)
1 can cream of mushroom soup (I use light)
1/2 cup water (I just fill the soup can with water)

Rinse the pork chops. You are supposed to use the whole pork chop but about a year or two ago, my husband started cutting them up into "nugget size" or chunks. We just do it all of the time now.

Combine the flour, sage, and thyme and coat the pork chops with the mixture. I just throw it all in a gallon ziplock and shake away. This will NOT be a thick coat.

Brown the pork chops in a skillet in the oil. When both sides are brown, add the soup and water. (My original recipe calls for moving the pork to the side and adding the soup in the middle but I have no room to move the chops. I just pour it all together). Stir together.

Cover the skillet. (Oops, forgot to do that tonight :)

Simmer until tender.

Very good served over rice.

We had it with mashed potatoes (a microwave kind was all I could manage), salad, and bread. I usually do black eye peas too but we were out. But my son out of the blue said, "This would taste so good with rice..." And I don't think he had read the recipe.

Anyway, that is all there is to it. It takes less than thirty minutes which is my criteria for "quick". And it involves few steps, thus "easy". And it makes my tummy happy, so I say "delicious".



Saturday, May 21, 2011

Chocolate Chip Muffins

Lauren was in a cooking mood this morning. She likes pumpkin muffins and always eats them but she gets tired of them I think. Plus she has a major sweet tooth. She has been wanting to make chocolate chip muffins for quite a while; she had some at my parents' house one time. Today I found the recipe (no easy task) and found almost all of the ingredients. The only one we didn't chocolate chips. We did have some mini semi-sweet chocolate chips and then some regular size semi-sweet chocolate chips. We decided to use those.

Technically, Lauren made these. I was just there to answer questions, help a little with the stirring, and double check her measurements. Very kid friendly recipe courtesy of my mom.

Here it is...

Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I only had a canola oil worked fine)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Place liners in 12 medium muffin cups. We decided to do mini muffins, so we did that instead.

Beat egg. Stir in milk and oil.

Mix in remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips. Stir until the flour is moistened. The batter will be lumpy and fairly thick.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 cups full. In our case, we used my favorite cookie scooper tool and dropped the dough in the mini-cups, one "scoop" a cup.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until gold brown.


Maybe not the healthiest but I suppose there are a lot less healthy things I could make!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Eggs and Cheese

Yet another simple dinner. Nothing fancy. Nothing extravagant. Not necessarily a meal for guests. But sometimes when we have just had chicken (the chicken crescent pockets), beef (mostaccioli), and pork (pork tenderloin), we need something different, something light. That and it is a busy time of year. I have to go with simple this time of year.

So tonight's dinner? Eggs and cheese? It is just basically a big omelet. Three ingredients. We usually have toast, bacon, and fruit for side dishes.

It works. :)

Here is the recipe:
Eggs and Cheese

6 slices of American cheese (or 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese)...tonight I decided to use slices of sharp cheddar since I prefer it over American
8 eggs
1 cup milk


Grease a pie pan (I use a glass dish, sprayed with cooking spray).

Line the pie pan with slices of cheese.

Beat the eggs and milk. I just do it in a big measuring glass so then I can pour it. Pour into pie plate.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350.

I check to see if it is golden on top and jiggle the pan. As long as the middle is firm, it is done. :)

Like I said, nothing fancy, but it is a nice change of pace. Besides, I never seem to go wrong with "breakfast for dinner".


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chicken Crescent Pockets

It is not the fanciest meal in the world. Nor a BIG meal by any means. But it is easy to make, cheap to shop for, and all but one of my kids will eat it. So it is a good meal for when Dad is out of town. It feeds us all and doesn't take much time. :) Plus, I really like them. I could eat the whole pan...

This recipe came via our family cookbook (on my mom's side) from my cousin and his wife who live up north.

Are you ready? This really is easy.

Chicken Crescent Pockets (my children call them Hot Pockets)

1 can chicken breast (found by the tuna which can also be used)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use the light)
2 Tbsp Ranch dressing (again, I use light)
1 can of crescent rolls (light again)

Mix the chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and Ranch dressing in a bowl.

Unroll crescent rolls and pinch seams together to form rectangles rather than triangles. Cut each rectangle in half (there should be eight all together) to make squares. Drop a spoonful of the chicken mixture in the middle of each square. Pull the corners in, pinching any seams, to form a "pocket" with the chicken inside. Place on a baking sheet and poke the tops of the rolls.

Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Yes, that is it unless you want to add celery, onions, olives, etc. We just eat it as is.. Yum!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

During Teacher Appreciation Week, a sweet parent and friend named Courtney (also a teacher in our district) brought a sweet dessert for the teacher's lounge. I usually try to not sample food in the lounge because of the whole trying not to gain weight thing. But this chocolate sensation just looked too irresistible. So I took a little bit. Then a bit more. And I was in love. It was like a brownie with pudding in the middle. We sat around the lounge trying to guess the ingredients.

I saw Courtney later and told her how wonderful it was. She then told me what was in it...things I never would have imagined. Yummy things. Fattening things. Things that make my heart go pitter patter.

I decided right then and there I would NOT make this unless there would be other people to partake of it.

Tonight finally came...our church life group. A perfect time to try it out. And it was eaten. But darn it, I have some laugh which doesn't bode well for my waist.

Anyway, here is the recipe. Thanks, Courtney!

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake

For the Crust:
1 devils food cake mix
1 stick of butter- melted
1 egg

For the Filling:
1 8 oz cream cheese
1 small jar of Nutella
1 stick of butter- melted
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Blend cake mix, butter and egg together. Mixture should form thick dough. Press dough into bottom of greased 9x13 pan.

Using a mixer, blend cream cheese and Nutella until smooth. Blend in eggs, one at a time. Add butter and vanilla and mix until well blended. Gradually mix in powdered sugar, then pour filling into crust.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, center should remain gooey.


Friday, May 13, 2011

Cream Cheese Chicken

Amy, a mother of one of my former students, recently sent me a crockpot chicken recipe via Facebook. As soon as I saw cream cheese was involved, I knew we had to have it. That and it sounded really easy. I need easy, especially this time of year!

So earlier this week, I picked up the ingredients (very few, my favorite kind) and decided yesterday would be the perfect time to make it. I typically run home at lunch to make crockpot meals because my crockpot cooks faster than I want it to. But I had a meeting scheduled during my planning time, so I decided to throw it in and set it on low and hope for the best before I left for school. As soon as I walked in the house that afternoon, I knew it would be yummy. It was cooked thoroughly, so I set it at warm and we ate a bit earlier. It was a hit and will become a regular meal around here. Thank you so much, Mrs. G., for this!

Here is the recipe...
Cream Cheese Chicken

2 lbs of chicken breasts (Honestly, I used the 2.5 bag of frozen chicken breasts...I actually threw it in the crockpot frozen.)
1 8-oz package of cream cheese (I used a block of the "light")
1 can Cream of Chicken soup (I used 2 just because I knew my crockpot cooked quicker and wanted enough in the pot that it wouldn't burn...I use low fat on this too)
1/2 stick butter (Mrs. G said she used a 1/2 cup milk instead, so I did too just to keep calories down)
1 envelope Italian dressing mix (the little packet of dry mix)

Throw it all in the crockpot in the morning and cook on low all day. Serve over rice.

All I can say is yum. I think I could just eat the sauce by itself and be happy though it is good with chicken too. :)

There is actually a much more complicated recipe that was the original recipe, but Mrs. G shared that she actually just throws it in the crockpot in the morning. Much easier. I am all for ease.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Bag O' Popcorn

Tonight, Mark is with the youngest two at a ballgame. Lauren is at a school function. That leaves me with the oldest child. He asked if we could have a popcorn and movie night. I whipped up a strawberry smoothie for me; he wanted a strawberry banana smoothie so I just threw in a banana at the end for him.

Then the popcorn. I am not big on microwave popcorn. I just haven't found one that I love. Honestly my favorite (other than at the movie theater) is air popped. And I do have an air popper. But since it was just the two of us, I decided to do something a friend had suggested a while ago on Facebook. We have done this once but it has been a while. I would love to give credit for this but after doing a google search, there are SO many variations out there, I can't give credit to one.

This is what I can always google and find a lot more ways to do it (like using oil).

Take 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels.

Place in a brown lunch bag.

The original "recipe" says to fold the top down and staple it shut. I cannot bring myself to do this since it is going in the microwave. I tape it instead.

Cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, though time may vary according to microwave.
Voila! A "bag" of popcorn.

I melted a little butter and threw in some kosher salt. We then each had our own "bag" of popcorn.

The movie part didn't pan out for me. I tried to get him to go for The Outsiders, but he chose an old football game DVD instead...

Happy cooking!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

Once again, not the best picture, nor my prettiest job frosting. But I was trying to do a million things at once. Maybe not a million, but a thousand at least...

I honestly don't know the name of this. We just always call it chocolate eclair. I first tasted it at a dinner with my former assistant principal, then later sought the recipe on the web. It is a good dessert to take to get togethers because it can be made ahead of time, is easy, and requires few ingredients. All positives in my book!

Graham crackers (I just buy a box of the cheap kind, regular not cinnamon)
2 packages (approx. 3 oz) of INSTANT vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 container (8 oz) Cool Whip (or similar version), thawed
1 can chocolate frosting

Line the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan with graham crackers.

In a large bowl, combine the pudding mix and milk. Stir well. (I use a whisk) Stir in Cool Whip.

Spread half of the mixture over the graham cracker layer.

Top with another layer of graham crackers.

Pour remaining mixture over graham cracker layer.

Top with a final layer of graham crackers.

Spread the frosting over the the top layer of graham crackers.

Refrigerate until serving.

Yes, that is it. Easy Peasy.

And just because I worked so hard (ahem, ahem), I get to lick the frosting spreader.


Happy cooking!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Oriental Salad

Almost every time we have a potluck at school, someone brings this salad and it is done in no time. I kept meaning to ask around at school how to make it but never thought about that when I was actually AT school. :) So one day I was in the mood for it, I pulled out my handy dandy family cookbook, opened it up, and...ta-da...there it was. Actually, not once but twice. I ended up using my grandmother's recipe which was just like one of my co-worker's recipe with one minor change via the co-worker...

1 bag of coleslaw (my recipe says tri-color, I just used the most colorful coleslaw mix I could find...
2 packages of Ramen noodles, Oriental or beef (my co-worker uses beef)
1 package of sunflower seeds...already shelled of course :)
1 package of slivered almonds
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar

Crush the Ramen noodles. I put them in a plastic bag and used a meat tenderizer. Do NOT use the seasoning packets yet.

Mix the slaw, Ramen noodles, almonds, and sunflower seeds in a large bowl.

Mix the oil, vinegar, sugar, and Ramen flavor packets in a large measuring cup or a bowl. Refrigerate overnight.

Pour the dressing over the slaw mixture just before serving.

Forgive the picture above. I didn't take the picture right away. No matter how it looks, I will say, it was good stuff!