February 23, 2009

Italian Style Pork Chops

This is a crock-pot meal that takes a little more effort that just throwing everything in and turning it on, but it is definitely worth it. Here's what you'll need:

6 lean pork chops, 1 inch thick
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Cup flour
1 Tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
8oz sliced mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, minced
26oz can/jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 Cup dry red wine or dry sherry
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 Cups Mozzarella cheese

I know it looks like a lot of ingredients, but a lot of those are spices, don't be intimidated!
Wash pork chops and pat dry with paper towels. Trim any excess fat from chops. Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Mix flour, salt, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese in a shallow dish. Coat the pork chops with the flour mixture and lightly brown on both sides in the heated oil (the pork chops should not be completely cooked); drain the chops on paper towels. Place the mushrooms, onions and garlic in the bottom of the crock pot; add the chops to the top of the veggies. In a large mixing bowl combine spaghetti sauce, wine or sherry, lemon juice and spices (minus the bay leaves). Pour over the pork chops, add the bay leaves to the top. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Thirty minutes before the cooking time is up remove the bay leaves and add the Mozzarella cheese. Serve with your favorite pasta and bread to soak up the yummy sauce!

February 13, 2009

A Gourmet Dinner at home

In honor of tomorrow being Valentines day I thought I would share some quick and fairly easy recipes for a gourmet dinner at home. I'll start out with Roasted Asparagus, then move on to Potatoes Gratin and finish if off with Ribs. Here's what you'll need:

1 lb. asparagus, depending on how much you'll eat
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take on piece of the asparagus and hold it on both ends then bend it until it breaks. Use that piece of asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the ends off. Place the asparagus stalks on a baking sheet and lightly drizzle with EVOO. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Stick in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.

For the Potatoes Gratin here's what you'll need:

3-4 medium potatoes
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk
8oz Cheddar cheese, give or take
black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8 (or whatever you have) casserole dish and set aside. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes and cheese very thin. Begin by layering the potatoes in the bottom of the dish, 2-3 potatoes deep, salt and pepper the potatoes then place a layer of cheese. Repeat layering until you've used all the ingredients. Mix cream of mushroom soup and milk and pour over the top of the dish. Place in oven and cook for 90 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.

Here's a rub recipe for the ribs:

1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup paprika
1/3 Cup garlic salt
2 Tbsp onion salt
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp cumin

Mix all ingredients well and store in an airtight container.
This rub can be used on all kinds of meats. I have used it on ribs and brisket, I think it would also be great on chicken. Just massage the rub into whatever meat you are using and cook as usual.
Ribs need to be grilled about an hour, turning every 10 minutes, on low. Baby back pork ribs are my personal favorite.