Oatmeal and Parmesan Crusted Boneless Pork Chops

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We hardly ever eat pork so while meal planning last week I decided to add it to our menu to freshen things up. This recipe reminds me of a homemade version of Shake ‘N Bake. It uses ground oatmeal instead of bread crumbs (to keep the gluten out) while keeping a crisp-ish texture. Use parchment paper to line your pan if you have it. Parchment paper absorbs the moisture from the pork, unlike foil, yielding a better texture.  If you are out of parchment paper, like I was when I made these, use foil to line your pan and then just flip the chops and broil them for a few minutes prior to serving. Doing so will eliminate any moisture that might make for a soggy bottom.  Did I really just say soggy bottom?

This recipe pairs well with most vegetable sides. Roasted carrots, mashed potatoes, cauliflower rice mash would all be great. Even a simple tossed green salad would work well. The above photo shows it with this broccoli salad, which I highly recommend. It contain bacon. I’ll just leave it at that.

Parmesan and Oatmeal Crusted Pork Chops:

  • 4 boneless pork chops
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup raw, dry, quick cook oatmeal, pulverized in the food processor until smooth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper (or foil) and coat with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl gently mix together cheese, oatmeal, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Rub each pork chop in a thin coat of olive oil. Dip each chop into the cheese mixture and press mixture onto chop so it sticks.

Place each chop in the baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until pork is cooked through. To ensure a crispy top you can put the oven on broil for 3-5 minutes, after baking. This will brown and crisp the tops of the chops.

Adapted from Just a Pinch.

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Cake Catch Up

Here are two cakes I made that I never posted. (I blocked out the names on the cakes, per usual.)

Cowgirl Boot Birthday Cake

First is a boot birthday cake for a cowgirl birthday party.  Our little cowgirl was thrilled with it! My inspiration was the cake found here on Larson Lingo blog.

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Strawberry First Birthday Cake

And here is a cake for a strawberry themed first birthday party.   I love the pink, green, and red color combo. The frosting was made with fresh berries–pretty and delicious!

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Unstuffed Cabbage

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This recipe is a weeknight standby in our house and has been for years. In fact, it was the first recipe I ever posted to this little blog seven years ago.

Check out the stats and you will see why it has survived the test of time:

  • One pot
  • Gluten free
  • Easy to make
  • Filling
  • Tasty
  • Reheats well
  • Not many ingredients

Most of Ellie Deaner’s recipes follow suit, which is why my copy of her cookbook is plastered with sticky notes. She is the weeknight dinner recipe queen in our house!

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If you are struggling getting home cooked meals on the table during the week, this is a good recipe to try. (Additionally, it is a  great one to introduce little ones to cabbage!)

Unstuffed Cabbage:

  • 1 lb. ground beef, turkey, chicken, or lamb
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup raw brown rice
  • 28 oz. jarred tomato sauce
  • 1 head of cabbage,shredded
  • 1 1/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • grated parmesan cheese

Cook the ground meat and onion in a large pot stirring occasionally until meat is no longer pink and onions are soft. Add the rice, tomato sauce, cabbage and stock. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 20-25 minutes or until rice and cabbage are cooked. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve.

Adapted from So Easy, So Delicious by Ellie Deaner.

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Roast Beef Dinner with Cauliflower Rice Mash

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While the skies are certainly brighter these days, winter does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. My kitchen is still churning out comfort food and I am trying to be OK with that. Dinners fit a few new requirements nowadays:

1) Tasty when reheated as leftovers

2) Gluten free

3) Toddler/young child approved

This was one of the meals that fit the bill–not to mention roast beef dinner has long been one of my favorite meals. The cauliflower mash is a “great find” as my mom would say. I am forever seeking vegetable sides that my little ones will gobble up and that my husband and I find satiating and delicious. This is a hearty side that pairs well with the beef–it is a similar consistency to mashed potatoes. Unlike the majority of the cauliflower mash recipes floating around the internet, this one contains rice. The rice thickens it yielding a sturdier and more filling puree.

There we have it: A perfect recipe for another cold night.

Roast Beef:

  • 2.5 lbs eye of round or top of round roast, fat trimmed off
  • cooking spray
  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Remove the roast from the fridge about one hour prior to cooking to reach room temperature.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Spray roasting pan with cooking spray.

Pierce the roast with a sharp knife creating holes about 1/2 inch deep and insert slivers of garlic in each hole. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder all over roast and place roast in pan.

Roast for 20 minutes at 500 F then reduce heat to 250 F. Roast for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes or until roast reaches your desired cooking temperature.

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Cauliflower Rice Mash:

  • 2 heads cauliflower, chopped
  • 48 oz. vegetable broth
  • 1.5 cups brown rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Combine all ingredients (except cheese) in a large pot over medium heat. When the liquid comes to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 20-30 minutes or until rice is cooked and cauliflower is tender. Mash with the back of a spoon until desired consistency is reached. Stir in cheese until melted.

Roast beef recipe adapted from Skinny Taste. Cauliflower adapted from Pinch of Yum.

Barn Birthday Cake

 

This post has been in my draft folder for a year! Not sure why it never published! Better late than never ;-)

For our little girl’s second birthday we hosted an apple picking party at a farm. I was excited for the opportunity to make a barn cake, and barn cake I made! Unfortunately, there were some structural issues and by morning the cake had already begun folding in on itself. A long car ride to the farm finished the job and by party time, the cake was a pile of frosting and fondant with a few barnyard animals poking through.

Below is the barn made using a 9 x 13 cake cut into triangles. I placed this on top of a double layer 9 x 13 cake and I think it was just too heavy. In retrospect,I think I needed a dowel to hold the barn onto the double sheet cake.

Because I spent so much time decorating the cake (cakes are truly a gift of time and love!) you might think I would be upset about serving guests a heap of smashed cake. I wasn’t really. Here’s the reason. Our little girl LOVED the cake! When she came down in the morning and saw it sitting on the table she circled it repeatedly saying, “Mommy made cake for me! Daddy, look! Daddy, look! Look at this cake! Mommy made it for me!” She delighted in poking her little fingers through the fencing to point out the different animals and sugared daisies. She was SO excited!

The above photo was taken the evening before the party. (I had full intention of capturing a gorgeous natural light photos on the day of the party but,  ah well. You win some you lose some! Sigh.)

At least the most important guest appreciated her Mama’s work! That’s really all that matters!

Barn cake!

Crash!

At least the barn yard animal backpack favors were cute!

Have you ever had a major cake fail?

Apple Tart

Remember back in the day when I used to make tarts all of the time?

Well, I was asked to make an apple dessert for Thanksgiving and I wanted to step outside of the apple pie box. I contemplated making an apple tart for Rosh Hashanah and decided on apple cake instead, so for Thanksgiving I determined it was time for a tart!

This tart was well-received. My dad actually thought it was purchased from a bakery when he saw it on the dessert table. (That is always the best compliment, isn’t it?)

This recipe follows my standard tart formula: crust + filling + fruit + glaze. It is easy to make and yields a beautiful and delicious tart. Enjoy!

Apple Tart:

Filling

  • 3 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup (50 – 100 grams) granulated white sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • Confectioners’ Sugar for browning the top of the tart.
  • 1 1/2 cups chunky apple sauce (you can definitely use home made if you prefer)

Crust

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • 1 tablespoon Water

Make the Crust

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl, combine all crust ingredients and stir with a fork until mixture is moist, like wet sand. Pour into a well-buttered 9- or 10-inch tart pan and press into an even layer, going up the sides of the tart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until crust is just starting to brown at the edges. Cool completely.

Make the filling

Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices 1/4 inch thick. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the other 2 – 4 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.

Assemble

Spoon the apple sauce into the cooled crust.

Arrange the cooked apple slices in concentric circles over the applesauce, and brush with 1 – 2 tablespoons melted butter. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. Broil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat until the edges of the apples are golden brown and crisp.

Make the Glaze

In a small saucepan, heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add the water. Use this glaze to seal the baked tart shell and to brush the top of the finished tart.
Recipe inspired from this one found here on The Joy of Baking.

Meatless Tacos (Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Filling)

While the rest of the world is honing their recipes for whipped sweet potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts, I am not. I am honing recipes that can be prepared with minimal effort and eaten during the busy holiday season when the fridge is full but there is nothing to eat.

I am always searching for the next best slow cooker recipe and this one, my friends, is a GEM. I love eating lentils but admit that I find the plain old lentil soup (while delicious) can get a tad boring. Enter: Meatless Taco Filling.

This recipe is at the top of my list because:

  • It uses the slow cooker = I don’t have to worry about dinner once I have tossed all of the ingredients and turned the dial to “on”
  • It is healthy! Three cheers for lentils (fiber, folate, + non-animal protein)
  • It is delicious! While you might not fool a diehard carnivore into thinking it is meat, it does feel just like meat on the palette and you might trick them for a few minutes. This is a fantastic recipe for vegetarians AND meat eaters.
  • Everyone loves taco night!

I am documenting this recipe immediately so that I don’t forget about it!

Meatless Tacos (Slow Cooker Lentil Taco Filling):

  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dry lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 14 ounces vegetable broth (beef or chicken broth can be substituted) plus an additional 5-6 oz.
  • 1 cup salsa
  •  14 ounce can of corn
  • your favorite taco fixings (tortilla shells, grated cheese, sour cream/Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, chopped tomatoes etc.)
Put everything in the crock pot (except for corn and taco fixings) and cook on low for 9 hours, stirring occasionally and adding broth or water as needed. When done, stir in canned corn. Use as you would a meat taco filling.

Adapted from recipe found here on Food.com.

P.S. I love Food.com!

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