Monday, November 24, 2014

Pork Schnitzel



Tender pork cutlets are quickly dredged, pan fried, and served with a creamy dill sauce. Take a break from the endless chicken dinners and put some pork chops to use! This easy family friendly one pan meal is on the table in 30 minutes or less.

Judging by the crowds at Costco this weekend, many of us are making preparations already for Turkey Day. The week of Thanksgiving (or any food centered holiday) is a rough one for meal plans. The last thing you want to do is destroy your kitchen, or stand at the stove for long periods of time, but you also don't want to eat 3 nights of take-out!

Unlike most food bloggers this week, I'm not sharing a Thanksgiving-appropriate dish. Instead, I'm sharing the perfect Thanksgiving week dinner. It's fast, uses no oven, and dirties just one pan!

This is one of my favorite pork dishes. I'm not a huge pork chop fan but this recipe is the exception. It's thin, crispy, and cooks up fast and I LOVE dill so the creamy dill sauce is like the icing on top! When I had this dish at a German restaurant in Fredericksburg, TX, it was served alongside spaetzle so I usually follow suit when we make it at home.

I originally shared this recipe over 2 years ago and it deserved a revisit!



Pork Schnitzel
4 boneless pork chops
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup panko
1 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 cups chicken stock
4 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Place the pork chops between two sheets of wax paper and pound to a 1/8 inch thickness. Trim fat from around the edges and make a cup of small slits in the center of each piece to avoid curling during cooking.

In a shallow bowl, add the flour along with some salt and pepper. In another shallow bowl, whisk together the egg and milk until frothy. In a third shallow bowl, mix together the panko and paprika. 

Dredge each pork chop in the flour mixture first, followed by the egg, and then finally the panko, pressing to make sure the panko adheres. 

Once all pieces are coated, heat vegetable oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the pork until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side. Be sure to not overcrowd the pan. Place the chops in a warm oven to keep warm.

Pour the chicken stock in the hot skillet and reduce heat to low, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. As the stock simmers, stir together the dill and sour cream in a bowl. Using a ladle, remove about 1/2 cup of the simmering stock and whisk it into the sour cream mixture. Pour the contents of the bowl into the skillet. Heat until warm and thick, about 5 minutes. 

Serve the sauce over the pork. 

Source: adapted from All Recipes 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Butternut Squash Cod Chowder



A warm, flavorful, one-pot chowder stocked full of bacon, butternut squash, and cod. Perfect for chilly nights!

Lately, the weather in Charlotte has been warmer than my home in Texas! Though that will likely change in the next couple of days, we are still much better off (or worse off, depending upon how you feel!) than other parts of the country that are already covered in snow and freezing temps. There are few things better than a roaring fire and a big bowl of soup on a cold night - especially on a day that keeps you out in the elements. I'm always on the hunt for one pot (read: easy) soup/stew/chowder recipes to get us through the cold winter months so here is one to start the season off.

This is actually the first fish based chowder recipe I'm sharing and it's a great one. Fish cooks super fast, is healthy, and a nice change from the usual chicken-beef-pork rotation many of us stick with. You could use any very firm white fish but cod works especially well alongside butternut squash.

This chowder is so substantial that when served alongside a chunk of baguette, it's a meal!


Butternut Squash Cod Chowder
8 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
1.5 cups diced butternut squash (or 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and diced)
1.5 tablespoons flour
3.5 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup clam juice
12 ounces skinless cod fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of cayenne

In a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon and set aside. 

Drain off all but 2 tablespoons bacon grease then add the celery and onion. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in the dill and cook for 1 minute. Add the squash and flour and cook, stirring, until the flour begins to brown, about 2 minutes. 

Stir in the vegetable stock and clam juice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the squash is tender, about 10-12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cod, cover, and simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the cream, cayenne, and 3/4 of the bacon, reserving 1/4 for topping. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.

Right before serving, top with a pinch of reserved bacon.

Source: adapted from Rachael Ray

Monday, November 10, 2014

Baked Broccoli & Ham Mac and Cheese



Hot pasta, diced ham, and broccoli florets are tossed in a creamy cheese sauce, topped with breadcrumbs and Parmesan, and baked to perfection. Comforting, warm, and a crowd pleaser.

Yeah, mac and cheese is where it's at. I've yet to meet someone who isn't a fan and if I did, I wouldn't want to know them long as there is something seriously wrong. Pasta. Cheese. The End.

Sometimes, you just want to eat mac and cheese for dinner. And while you think a big bowl of it is a perfectly acceptable meal, your husband does not... because there is no meat.

So you toss in ham for him. And because he insisted on meat, you throw in broccoli because you love it. And it makes it healthy.

Baked until bubbly and stuff your face worthy.

This is also perfect for those times when you need to deliver a home cooked meal to a friend!



Baked Broccoli & Ham Mac and Cheese
16 ounces pasta (your choice of shape)
1.5 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
12 ounce bag fresh broccoli florets, cut into bite sized pieces
8 ounces diced ham
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the pasta and broccoli according to the package directions for al dente. Drain well and set aside.

Coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 375.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Add the onion and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook another minute. Add the milk and chicken broth and whisk. Raise heat to 375 and bring to a boil; cook about 5 minutes or until the sauce is smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove sauce from heat and add the cheese, a handful at a time, stirring until completely melted. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Stir in the chopped ham, cooked pasta, and broccoli and mix well.

Pour into the prepared pan and top with breadcrumbs and Parmesan. Lightly spray the top with additional cooking spray.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for an additional 1-3 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown on top.

Source: adapted from Skinnytaste

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Honey Walnut Shrimp (Panda Express Copycat)



Light and crispy battered shrimp are quickly fried and then tossed in a sweet and creamy sauce with candied walnuts. Restaurant quality in minutes!

I love making restaurant copycat dishes at home... especially since our favorite local Chinese restaurant closed and we haven't found a safe alternative. Honey Walnut Shrimp is a standard dish on most Chinese restaurant menus - and a popular one at Panda Express - and it's absolutely my favorite. The batter is always light and crunchy and the sauce is addictive. Top it off with candied nuts and what could go wrong?

The key to your success in mastering the Chinese restaurant batter is rice flour. It does something magical to your batter making it adhere perfectly to the shrimp and fry up quickly and perfectly. Plus, it's naturally gluten free!

This is one of our top favorite recipes, and I can never seem to make enough. It'll be a family favorite in your house, too!

I first shared this recipe 4 years ago and it deserved an update and new photo!



Honey Walnut Shrimp
1 cup water
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup walnut (whole or pieces)
4 egg whites
2/3 cup rice flour
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed - don't pat dry
1/4 cup mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon canned sweetened condensed milk
1 cup vegetable oil, for frying

Combine the water and sugar together in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the walnuts. Boil for 2 minutes, drain, and spread walnuts out on a cookie sheet to dry.

Whip egg whites in a medium mixing bowl until foamy. Stir in the rice flour (it should be pasty in consistency). 

Heat the oil in a heavy deep skillet over medium-high heat. One hot enough to fry, dip each shrimp in the batter and then fry until golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels using a slotted spoon. 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the mayonnaise, honey, and sweetened condensed milk. Add the shrimp and gently toss in the sauce. Sprinkle the candied walnuts on top. 

Source: adapted from All Recipes 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread



The perfect banana bread! Moist, easy, delicious, and accented with a thick swirl of cinnamon sugar. Don't throw out those brown bananas - make this instead!

A few weeks ago we went on vacation. And in typical pre-vacation form, I was frantically cleaning my house, doing laundry, packing, and sorting through the fridge the night before we left.

Jason had bought 7 bananas, stored them behind a box on the counter, and promptly forgot about them. I discovered them at midnight while cleaning the kitchen. So what does anyone do when exhausted and stressed about getting it all done? They bake.

Thankfully, this is a toss-it-together-in-5-minutes baking exercise so I wasn't up all night. Since we had so many bananas, I made 2 loaves. One went with us on vacation and one was frozen. Both were perfect in every way! And, I didn't have to throw out 7 super ripe bananas on our way out of town.

You could add a powdered sugar glaze over top if you like a super sweet banana bread. I don't think it needs it :)


Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread
For the bread:
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 eggs
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (should be 1.5 cups)
1/3 cup plain or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the swirl:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon for the swirl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar and butter with a hand mixer until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well in between each. Stir in the mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix together. Don't overmix.

Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture over top. Spoon the remaining batter and smooth it out on top. 

Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 15 minutes then transfer the bread out of the pan and onto a cooling rack. 

Store in a sealed container at room temperature or wrap it well and freeze. 

Source: adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saag Paneer Enchiladas



The popular Indian spinach and cheese dish, saag paneer, transformed into enchiladas! Saag paneer is rolled in flour tortillas, topped with a yogurt based cilantro mint sauce, and baked until bubbly. This vegetarian Tex Mex-Indian mash-up is guaranteed to be a family favorite.

Saag paneer is a creamy spinach dish that uses - you guessed it - paneer cheese. Since paneer doesn't melt down, the spinach has bites of delicious cheese throughout and a creamy, rich flavor. I recently shared a recipe for homemade paneer cheese as I was fruitless in my search for it - and come to find out, it's just 2 ingredients and minutes to make!

The enchilada sauce is yogurt based (a nod to Indian cuisine) and loaded with cilantro, mint, jalapenos, and other Indian-TexMex flavors. I know, the mint sounds strange but it totally works!

Don't be intimidated by the seemingly long list of ingredients - there are duplicate ingredients used in both the filling and sauce so it's really not as many items as it appears. Plus, your food processor does most of the work!


Saag Paneer Enchiladas
For the filling:
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 10-ounce packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of liquid
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 pound paneer cheese, cut into 1/4 inch cubes

For the sauce:
2 cups cilantro
1/4 cup mint leaves
1 jalapeno, seeds and stems removed, chopped
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup buttermilk
1.5 cups plain yogurt or sour cream
salt to taste

For the enchiladas:
8-10 flour tortillas
Additional paneer cheese, for crumbling over top

In a food processor, chop the onion, garlic, and ginger. In a skillet, heat some vegetable oil over medium-low heat, add the onion mixture, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the spinach, cumin, cinnamon, cloves, cayenne, yogurt, and buttermilk. Turn the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the half and half and paneer cheese and simmer for 5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, puree the cilantro, mint, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, cumin, lemon juice, and buttermilk until smooth. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl and stir in yogurt. Add salt to taste.

Preheat the oven to 350. Wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven for 10 minutes while it's preheating. 

Lightly grease a 9x13 baking dish. Spoon 1/4 cup of filling down the center of a tortilla. Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. 

Pour the cilantro sauce over the tortillas and crumble additional paneer cheese over top. Bake uncovered for 5 minutes. 



See Aimee Cook

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