Sunday, February 28, 2016

Teriyaki Pork Chops and Pineapple Rice (one pot)

Teriyaki marinated and glazed lean pork chops are browned then nestled in pineapple rice. This delicious Asian twist is done in just one pot and in record time!

So, did y'all watch Fuller House this weekend? When I think of my childhood, Full House was always playing a starring role! My dad used to complain when we sat down to watch it because it was so cheesy but we kids loved it! I was super excited to see the Netflix reboot and just hoped it would live up to hype. I'm sure the critics hate it but it was cheesy, nostalgic, and I loved every second.

Yup, I finished the entire thing on Friday. The benefit of having Fridays off!

Sometimes I start binging on a show and the last thing I want to do is get off the couch to make dinner. Like that segway into this recipe? Ha!

But seriously, weeknight friendly one pot dishes are the most used in this house - either due to my bingewatching or just a long workday. Some one pot recipes end up being bland but not this one! The homemade teriyaki sauce and pineapple juice make it both sweet and savory and using lean pork chops (as opposed to the ever present chicken breasts) is a great change!

Note: Wondering why I have more than 4 pieces of pork pictured? I trimmed my chops into small pieces, which meant adding them to the rice later as they cooked faster. 

Teriyaki Pork Chops & Pineapple Rice
4 boneless pork chops
1.5 cups long grain white rice
1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
olive oil

For the teriyaki sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons cornstarch

In a small bowl, whisk together the teriyaki sauce ingredients. Pour 1/3 cup of the sauce + 1 tablespoon olive oil to a freezer bag. Add the pork, refrigerate, and let marinate for at least an hour (up to 8 hours). Place the remaining teriyaki sauce in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

When ready to cook, strain the pineapple, separating the juice and the crushed pineapple. Pour the juice in a measuring cup and add water until there is 3.5 cups liquid total. Set that and the crushed pineapple aside.

In a large nonstick skillet, turn the heat to medium and add the refrigerated teriyaki sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and stir constantly until the sauce is slightly thickened. Remove back to the original bowl and set aside.

With a paper towel, quickly wipe out the skillet and then heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over high heat. Using tongs, pull each piece of pork from the marinade and let excess drip back into the bag. Add the pork to the skillet and cook around 3 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned. It will not be cooked through all the way. Remove to a plate.

Wipe out skillet again and add 1 tablespoon olive oil and reserved pineapple/water mix. Bring to a simmer and stir in reserved crushed pineapple and rice. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and cook for 12 minutes. Stir rice and nestle browned pork chops on top. Brush each piece of pork with the reserved teriyaki sauce. Cover and continue to cook for an additional 8-12 minutes, or until the rice and pork is cooked through.

Brush pork with additional teriyaki sauce and season rice with salt and pepper before serving.

Source: adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ham and Spinach Oven Risotto

Love risotto but hate babysitting a pot? This baked risotto is for you! Mostly hands off cooking can still result in the creamy texture we all love. This version uses ham, spinach, and lots of cheese to make it an easy, one dish meal!

I call this recipe my "oh crud" recipe. When I realize I forgot to thaw the chicken for dinner, I know I can toss this dish together in minutes using stuff I find on hand. Don't you love having those recipes in your back pocket? I originally was passed this recipe from a friend and it's one of our favorites! It's creamy, cheesy, and loaded with deliciousness.

The thing is, the ham and spinach can easily be swapped for other stuff. So could the cheese! I've used shredded rotisserie chicken, crumbled bacon, blanched asparagus, and a host of other things I find shoved in my fridge. It all comes out beautifully! That's what makes this recipe so amazing - it's versatile! Ham, spinach, and mozzarella happen to be our favorite combination but you could try any variety of things.

Ham & Spinach Oven Risotto
2 tbsp butter
2.5 cups chicken broth
1 cup Arborio rice 
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups cooked ham, diced (I love using leftover honeybaked ham!)
8 oz shredded mozzarella
2 cups baby spinach

Preheat oven to 400. 

Place the butter in a 9x13 pan and bake 5 minutes or until melted. Remove from oven and stir in broth, rice, garlic, and salt. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes.

Remove from oven, fluff with fork, and stir in diced ham, mozzarella, and spinach. Return to oven for 5-10 minutes to warm through.

Serve hot.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lemony Spinach and Artichoke Baked Ziti

If you like spinach & artichoke dip, you'll love it transformed into pasta! Cheesy, creamy, and with 2 green veggies, it totally counts as health food :)

I'm back with yet another pasta dish! I just can't get enough of them - which is probably why I'm no skinny minnie. In this house, we're all about 1 dish meals. Saves on dishes, saves on time, and it's easy to eat sitting in front of the TV. Pasta typically fits the bill, unfortunately (or fortunately for my taste buds!).This was delicious, slightly sinful, and easy enough for a weeknight!

My cast-iron skillet was once again my go-to pan. Using an oven safe skillet will make this recipe super simple and cut down on the dishes. If you don't already own a cast iron pan (or 3), you should. They are cheap, easy to clean, and are a breeze to cook with. I'm up to 8 now and my old Calphalon pans have slowly been pushed to the back of the cabinet. Cast iron is not just for campfires!

Lemony Spinach & Artichoke Baked Ziti
1 lb rigatoni
1 (5 oz) bag baby spinach
For the filling:
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 lb frozen artichoke hearts
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp kosher salt
black pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
4 tbsp butter
¼ cup all purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
½ cup ricotta
2 tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
black pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 350. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the rigatoni according to package directions, adding the baby spinach to the pot in the last minute of cooking. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, for the filling, melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed oven safe skillet (like cast iron) over medium heat and cook until it turns amber. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil, followed by the onion, and cook until the onion starts to caramelize, about 7 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and cook until they are warmed through and softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the artichoke mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add the grated cheese, egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to the food processor bowl and pulse until combined, but still coarse. Set aside.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the milk, a little bit at a time, until it is all added and has reached a batterlike consistency. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, whisking constantly. Whisk in the ricotta, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Season to taste with more lemon juice and/or salt.

In the oven safe skillet you used for the filling, gently mix together the drained pasta and spinach, artichoke filling, and sauce. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 minutes. 

Source: adapted from Eats Well With Others

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Chicken Enchilada Soup (30 minute!)

Who doesn't love chicken enchilada soup?! This version is thick, creamy, and loaded with cheese and chicken. Bonus? It's done in 30 minutes! Yes, you CAN make a deeply flavorful soup without it simmering all day.

Some enchilada soup is thin - this crockpot version I've shared before is broth-y. Delicious, but not thick. I personally love it both ways but there is something comforting when you're inhaling a big bowl of thick soup. Sorta like you don't need anything else to make it a meal, you know?

The key to thickening this soup is masa harina, a Mexican flour typically used to make corn tortillas. The flavor works better than all-purpose flour and it thickens beautifully. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle of any major grocery store.

Thanks to a store bought rotisserie chicken, and some canned veggies, you can have this soup ready to go in just 30 minutes!

{30 minute} Chicken Enchilada Soup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup masa harina
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (from a rotisserie chicken)
2 (10-ounce) cans red enchilada sauce
1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14-ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes (with their juices)
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles (mild if you don't want spicy)
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
salt, to taste
optional toppings: sliced avocado, additional grated cheese, sour cream, chopped cilantro, etc.

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until translucent and softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Stir in the masa harina and cook another minute.

Pour in half the chicken stock and stir until completely combined, Add the remaining stock, chicken, enchilada sauce, black beans, tomatoes, green chiles, corn, and cumin. Stir occasionally until the soup comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 3 minutes, stirring often to avoid sticking. Stir in the cheese, a little at a time, until melted and smooth. Taste and add salt if needed.

Serve with optional toppings.  

Source: slightly adapted from Gimme Some Oven

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Carbonara with Seared Scallops

Just in time for Valentine's Day! Make this restaurant quality dish at home in minutes (and a whole lot cheaper!).

Let's be real. There are few things less drool worthy than a big bowl of pasta carbonara. Pasta is tossed with copious amounts of crispy bacon bits and coated in a sinful cream sauce. Since my husband believes meat is a must, I paired mine with seared scallops - making it the ultimate weeknight splurge!

Man, I love scallops. And pasta. And cream. And cheese.

This would be an easy (and impressive!) Valentine's Day dinner to whip up this weekend. Or just a "I barely survived the workday and need a bowl of pasta" dinner. Not that I ever have those nights.

I use a pound of bacon because, well, bacon, but feel free to cut back if you're not as fanatical about it as I evidently am. 

Carbonara with Seared Scallops
1 lb spaghetti
1 lb thick cut bacon, diced into small pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 lb sea scallops, beard removed and patted very dry
1 tablespoon butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, reserving a cup of pasta water, and return the pasta to the pot. Put the lid back on to help keep it warm.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan or cast iron skillet, fry the bacon pieces until crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and return to the stove.

Add the vegetable oil to the pan and bring to a high heat. Salt and pepper both sides of each scallop. Once the oil is shimmering, add the scallops to the pan, making sure they are not touching. Let cook for 2 minutes or until there is a nice deep sear on one side. Carefully flip and add the butter to the pan. Cook another 90 seconds or so, spooning the melted butter over top of each scallop to help them finish cooking.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, Parmesan, cream, and lots of salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle the mixture into the pot of hot drained pasta, mixing well with tongs. Add the crispy bacon, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add small amounts of the reserved pasta water, if needed, to thin it out.

Top each serving with 3-4 scallops nestled on top. Serve immediately.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Warm Lemon Pudding Cake

The perfect mix of pudding and cake - served hot! The lemon fan in your house will LOVE this easy dessert!

My husband is a huge lemon fan so I'm always on the hunt for new lemon flavored desserts to try. A friend passed this one on and we've been making it for years! We especially love it during the winter months when a warm dessert is even more appealing. Yeah, it's not the most photogenic dessert but I promise it's absolutely delicious.

This dessert is easy thanks to some store-bought helpers, such as boxed cake mix and packaged lemon pudding mix. Pair those items with some pantry/fridge staples and you can quickly whip it up. It makes an entire 9x13 pan and is very rich so a little goes a long way. This is perfect for potlucks, family gatherings, or company!

Warm Lemon Pudding Cake
1 (15.25 ounce) box yellow cake mix + ingredients needed for cake
2 (1 ounce) boxes instant lemon pudding mix
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup water
2 cups cold milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish.

Prepare cake mix as directed on package and pour the batter into the reserved baking dish.

Pour the milk and water into large bowl. Add the dry pudding mixes and sugar and whisk 2 minutes or until well blended. Pour over the cake batter and gently swirl with a fork mix together a bit.

Place the pan on a rimmed cookie sheet to catch drippings and bake 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Spoon into serving dishes and serve warm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Spicy Thai Steak Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls

The perfect meal in a bowl! Creamy coconut-curry noodles are topped with carrots, cabbage, and thinly sliced steak. Start to finish, you can be enjoying this dish in 30 minutes!

I am a noodle addict! When I menu plan, the noodle based dishes are always the ones I'm most drawn to (unfortunately!). Who doesn't love a carb based meal? Noodles don't always have to be used in Italian based meals; they are also delicious in Thai dishes! This noodle bowl is not at all authentic, but it sure is tasty!

The noodles are coated with a gorgeous curry-coconut sauce (that I could eat just on it's own!) but then you throw in some matchstick carrots, crunchy cabbage, and thinly sliced steak. Have some spare veggies sitting around the produce drawer? Throw them in too! Cut them into bite size pieces and stir fry alongside the carrots until your desired doneness.

Spicy Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Bowls
For the sauce:
1 tablespoon oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon grated or minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

For the bowls:
8 ounce package lo mein noodles
1 tablespoon oil
3/4 lb sirloin steak, thinly sliced into 3 inch pieces
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
10 ounce bag thinly sliced cabbage (cole slaw mix)
2 green onions, thinly sliced

First, soak the noodles in a bowl of hot water for 25 minutes. Drain and rinse.

While the noodles soak, heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the shallots and ginger and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, sugar, chili garlic sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Simmer 15 minutes - it should thicken a bit.

While the sauce simmers, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a wok over high heat. Add the steak and cook on each side about 1 minute. Remove and set aside. Add the carrots and cook about 2 minutes. Add the drained noodles to the carrots and stir fry about a minute. 

Add the noodles/carrots to the Dutch oven and, using tongs, gently mix util the noodles are coated well. Add the steak and allow to heat through. 

Top each bowl with a scoop of cabbage and green onions. 

Source: sauce recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum

Monday, February 1, 2016

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

A Texas staple! This Tex Mex comfort food favorite is loaded with chicken, tortillas, spicy tomatoes, and loads of cheese. A cream soup-free version that is easy to whip up!

Not long ago, I realized that I was completely missing a Texas favorite in my recipe index - King Ranch Chicken Casserole! This casserole is a favorite of most Texans, though it's typically made with cream soup, which I avoid. Making it from scratch is still super easy and tastier, in my opinion.

If you've never had it, think of it as similar to chicken enchilada casserole. Layers of corn tortillas, chicken, and tomatoes are baked together in a creamy cheese sauce. The spice is very mild; if you like spicy, toss in a can of chopped green chiles along with your Rotel tomatoes.

King Ranch Chicken Casserole
15 corn tortillas
1 tablespoon butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 jalapenos, stemmed, seeded, and minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin'
5 tablespoons flour
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chicken broth
1.5 pounds boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4.5 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oven to 450. Spread the tortillas on 2 baking sheets, not overlapping, and coat both sides with cooking spray. Bake until slightly crisp and browned, about 12 minutes. Cool slightly and then break into bite sized pieces. Repeat, if needed, until all 15 tortillas are baked. Put aside 3 tortillas worth of pieces for the topping.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions, jalapenos, and cumin and cook until lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the Rotel tomatoes (and their juices) and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the cream and broth, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cubed chicken and cook until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. The chicken should be slightly underdone.

Remove from heat and stir in 3.5 cups of the cheese and cilantro until the cheese has melted.

In a 9x13 pan, scatter half of the tortilla pieces on the bottom. Spoon half of the filling over top. Scatter the other half of the tortillas pieces over top of the filling layer and then spoon the rest of the filling over top. 

Place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until bubbling, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle the reserved 3 tortillas worth of pieces over top followed by the remaining 1 cup of cheese. Return to the oven and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before serving.

See Aimee Cook

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