Recent Recipes

Porcupine Meatballs

Comments (0) | Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This is not my recipe. Nor is it one that I've found in one of my beloved cooking magazines or books. To me, this is comfort food. We had these at LEAST once a month growing up and by the time I was in middle school, my mom had taught me how to whip up a batch. But somewhere in those years between leaving for college, getting married and developing my passion for cooking, these became a distant memory and I was on to newer, more exciting recipes. I may have made them once or twice but it wasn't until a few weeks ago as I contemplated something "cheap" to make for dinner that I fondly remembered this recipe. I even went as far as posting on my sister's facebook page:

"I'm making porcupine meatballs for dinner tonight... doesn't that remind you of our childhood? :)" to which my little brother replied "Porcupine meatballs! Oh man, the memories. You should have egg noodles and gravy with them..." and my sister seconded with " I want porcupine meatballs!!! That does sound so good, just the way Joey said. :) Mmmmmmm I can taste them now."

It warmed my heart to know the memory was still alive...

Porcupine Meatballs (courtesy of Rice-a-Roni)

1 (6.8-oz.) package beef flavored Rice-a-Roni
1 lb. lean ground beef or ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or cooking spray
2 1/2 cups water
Hot cooked egg noodles

Combine rice mix, ground beef and egg. Shape into twenty 1 1/4-inch meatballs. In a large skillet in vegetable oil or cooking spray over medium-high heat, brown meatballs on all sides; drain.

Slowly stir in water and special seasonings. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low; simmer 25 minutes or until meatballs are cooked. Remove meatballs with a slotted spoon to a bowl and keep warm. Mix 1 Tbsp. cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and pour into remaining water/seasoning mix in skillet. Bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.

Serve meatballs on top of egg noodles and top with gravy.

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Cafe Mocha Mini Muffins

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These cute and delicious little muffins were so incredibly easy to make. So easy and quick, in fact, that I decided to whip them up one night while Joe was putting the kids in bed. I managed to mix the batter, bake them, clean up the mess and had them cooling on a rack by the time Joe bathed the kids, read them a story and came downstairs. THAT easy :) Not too bad on the taste buds either...

Cafe Mocha Mini Muffins

2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
3 Tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided

In a small bowl, dissolve coffee granules in water. Stir in oats; set aside. In a small bowl, cream butter and sugars. Beat in egg yolk, vanilla and oat mixture. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to oat mixture until moistened. Stir in 1/3 cup chocolate chips.

Coat mini muffin cups with cooking spray or use paper liners; fill three-fourths full with batter. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire rack to cool completely.

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Bourbon-Brown Sugar Salmon

Comments (0) | Thursday, January 12, 2012

Bourbon-Brown Sugar Salmon with Onion Sauce

In flipping through my aforementioned cookbook I ran across this amazing sounding recipe and realized it had been quite some time since I made salmon for dinner. I love to experiment with this particular fish. Try new flavors, otherwise it can get boring. But I can say with certainty that this one will get used again and again. The sweetness of the glaze with the crunchiness of the topping and the flavors of the sauce were truly amazing! I was only slightly skeptical when Brendan asked that morning what we were having for dinner and I told him salmon to which he replied "Salmon?! I LOVE Salmon!!" with over-the-top enthusiasm. But when he and his sister both ate every last bite I knew I had a winner. It doesn't require my children actually eating my dishes to feel like an accomplished cook... but it sure as heck helps :)

*the only alteration to the original recipe was that I found some smaller salmon fillets marked down for quick sale and opted to buy those instead of one large fillet. I purchased three small filets that added up to about 2 1/2 lbs and they worked out just fine... I served it with roasted potatoes and steamed asparagus*

Easy Roasted Potatoes: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub, dry and dice 4 medium-sized russet potatoes. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place diced potatoes on pan. Sprinkle with desired amount of Lawry's Season Salt (no need for any oil, they get crispier this way!) Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes "stirring" occasionally with a spatula until browned and slightly crisp. DELICIOUS!!

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Pan-Grilled Chicken with Cranberry Salsa

Comments (0) | Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I know I've been slacking on the new recipes so far but it's not for lack of trying them. It's for lack of finding GOOD ones. I mean, I could share the bad ones and the "OK" ones with you. But what's the point in that? My advice would be not to try them and you probably wouldn't... so I save the posts for the outstanding :)

You're welcome...

Here is this wonderfully delicious recipe from... none other than Cooking Light :) I grabbed one of my books and planned the week's meals from that one single book. So far so good... here's the first of several wonderful recipes so far.

My husband loves the combination of turkey and cranberries. Not just at Thanksgiving, although it's his favorite part of the meal. He passes up the gravy and goes straight for the cranberries to top his turkey. A habit that I found strangely sweet (no pun intended) when I first met him. When we were in college and I worked at the food court he would come and order a turkey and cranberry sandwich. It wasn't until I tried one myself (I had a crush on the guy, I had to at least pretend I liked the same things) that I realized he was on to something good. It's the reason I knew he'd love this meal. And when Brendan exclaimed "Aubrey, if you eat the chicken with the yummy sauce then it's REALLY good!!" and cleaned his plate, I knew I found a hit.

*I served it with a fresh green salad and a pasta side dish*

A few alterations to the original recipe: I could not find "cranberry-orange sauce" so I substituted a can of whole-berry cranberry sauce and added one peeled and chopped orange (a can of drained and chopped mandarin orange sections also would have worked.) I also left out the pickled jalapenos... I wanted my kids to love it :) And in a last minute realization that I had forgotten the cream cheese, I used sour cream instead and it turned out just fine.

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Pork Chops with Country Sauce

Comments (0) | Monday, January 2, 2012

So I changed the name of the original recipe. When I ran across this recipe in one of my beloved Cooking Light cookbooks I was intrigued. Pork Chops with Country Gravy? Sounds DELICIOUS! However, as my meal preparation progressed, I realized this would look nothing like I had imagined "country gravy" to look. More like a sauce, nothing like a gravy, I served this dinner with a slight sense of failure. It hadn't turned out the way it was supposed to and I followed the directions exactly! But such is the life of an adventurous cook... you sometimes end up eating your mistakes and failures....

Except that this wasn't. A mistake or a failure that is. It was something much better than I had even imagined. Maybe it was a combination of the braised chop atop warm mashed potatoes covered in this strange new "sauce." But all I could think was "WHOA!" And 4 cleaned plates backed it up as a "keeper" and maybe even a new favorite...

Pork Chops Braised with Country Sauce

4 boneless pork loin chops
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk (I used nonfat because it's what we have in our fridge)
1 teaspoon butter

Trim fat from pork. Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large resealable bag. Add pork; seal bag and shake to coat pork with flour mixture. Remove pork from bag, reserving remaining flour mixture. place reserved flour mixture in a small bowl. Gradually add 3/4 cup milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 5 minutes on each side or until browned. Add milk mixture; cover, reduce heat to low and cook 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn pork. Stir in 3/4 cup milk; cover and cook an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover skillet and cook pork 15 minutes or until sauce is reduced to 2/3 cup. Serve pork chops atop mashed potatoes. Spoon sauce over pork.

YUMM!! *courtesy of Cooking Light*

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