Friday, April 20, 2012

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

It's certainly grilling time again, so I'm ready to find new and interesting ideas to grill for dinner.  We spend most of our last Spring, Summer, and early Fall outdoors, and that means cooking outdoors as well.  Meat and veggies on the grill, pared up with a salad and bread make a perfect dinner.

1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp dry sherry
2 minced garlic cloves
4 boneless center cut pork chops

Combine all ingredients except pork chops in small bowl.

Place pork chops and marinade in gallon-size Ziploc bag.  Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.  Turn frequently.

Remove pork chops from marinade.  Heat remaining marinade in small saucepan over medium heat to simmer.

Grill chops over medium heat  12 - 15 minuets, turning once during grilling.  Keep chops 4 - 6" above flames.  Baste frequently with marinade.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Not In The Mood To Cook

It doesn't happen often, but I haven't been in a mood to cook the last couple of weeks.  I don't know if it's just a matter of too much going on in life or maybe a case of Spring Fever.  Our weather has been extraordinary lately and the urge to get outdoors is much greater than any urge to spend time in the kitchen.

Check back often to see what may be going on in the kitchen . . . I can't stay away too long.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato fans -- delight!!!  These are awesome and easy enough to make for dinner any night of the week.

2 large sweet potatoes (scrubbed, but not peeled)
2 oz cream cheese (cubed)
2 Tbsp milk
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise.  Place cut-side down in foil-lined baking dish.  Bake at 425 degrees for 35 minutes or until tender.

Scoop out center of potatoes into a bowl.  Leave 1/4" in shells.  Add cream cheese, milk, sugar, and cinnamon to sweet potatoes in bowl.  Mash until well blended.

Fill shells with potato mixture; top with nuts.  Bake 8 minutes or until potatoes are heated through and nuts are toasted.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crab Cakes - I can do that!

I LOVE crab legs and often find myself with some crab left over and need a creative way to use it up.  Heaven knows, it's too expensive and way too good to waste!  Tonight I found myself with about 1 lb of crab meat left, so I thought, "Why not try crab cakes?"  I googled crab cake recipes and combined the ingredients from several that I thought sounded good and came up with some pretty tasty cab cakes for dinner if I do say so myself. . .

1 lb crab meat - I used fresh, but I imagine you could use canned
1 1/2 cups of fresh bread crumbs
3 green onions sliced (green and white parts)
2 Tbsp Miracle Whip
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce
1 egg
 2 Tbsp Parsley flakes
2 Tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice

Combine all ingredients stirring to mix well.  Form mixture into about 6 cakes and set aside.

Prepare a dipping sauce of:
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
2 tsp sweet chili sauce (I like the Thai brand - it's pretty spicy though.)
2 tsp fresh squeezed orange juice
Salt and pepper to taste

Stir together and refrigerate until ready to serve with crab cakes.

Prepare three medium sized bowls as your breading station.
Bowl 1 = 1/2 cup flour seasoned with salt and pepper
Bowl 2 = 2 eggs beaten with 1/4 cup of water
Bowl 3 = 1 cup of dried bread crumbs and 1 cup of Panko bread crumbs seasoned with salt

Heat 1 1/2 cups of peanut oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat.

Place each crab cake in flour to coat.  Dip into the egg wash.  Coat with bread crumbs.  Place into hot oil.
Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until completely crunchy on both sides.

Serve with dipping sauce.

I have to say, these were really good for a first try!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easter Sunday Breakfast - Baked French Toast

Sunday is Easter, and chances are, if you have family from out of town, they'll be visiting.  Baked French Toast makes the perfect breakfast  if you need to feed a crowd in a hurry on Sunday morning before church.  You put this together the night before and bake it before serving the next morning.

1 loaf of French bread (16 oz) sliced into 1" slices
8 eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Dash of salt

Coat a 9 x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray or butter.  Place the bread slices in two rows in baking dish.  Combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and whisk until well blended.  Pour mixture over the bread slices and cover evenly.  Make sure slices fit nicely into the bottom of the pan.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The following morning:
Remove baking dish from refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Top the French Toast with Oat Topping (recipe below)
Bake for 40 minutes.
Serve with Maple Syrup

Oat Topping:
2 sticks of butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup Quick Oats
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.  Sprinkle topping on French Toast before baking.

This is yummy served with sausage patties for something savory to go with the sweet.