Sunday, March 18, 2012

Pork chops and Pineapple Fried Rice.

I love the Pioneer Woman's cooking blog and her cooking show on Food Network. As soon as she posted her Pork Chops with Pineapple Fried Rice recipe I knew I would have to try it.

Pork chop with pineapple fried rice.

The recipe is pretty easy to make and, as she says in her post, most of the ingredients are things you would already have on hand. We usually keep fresh pineapple for Slade so I anticipate that I will be making the fried rice portion of this recipe on a pretty regular basis.
I did a few things different. First, I didn’t use the sriracha because I wanted to be able to give Slade bites of the pork chop to try. Second, no peas. Peas are one of the very few things that my husband detests. And lastly, I didn’t grill the pineapple. Mostly out of laziness. It was pouring down rain outside, so the outdoor grill wasn’t an option, and I didn’t really want to dirty up any pans that weren’t absolutely necessary. The meal still turned out great and the leftovers were delicious too!
I also made Slade a version of pineapple fried rice since he loves pineapples so much.

Slade's plate with toddler friendly pineapple fried rice.

Toddler friendly pineapple fried rice
1 cup prepared brown rice
1-2 tbsp. chopped onion
¼ c. green peas
¼ c. diced cooked chicken
¼ c. fresh pineapple chunks, cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. canola oil
Saute onions until tender in oil over medium heat. Add in rice, chicken, peas and pineapple and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from my lucky charm (with his current favorite book).
I hope everyone has a wonderful and very green day!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Heath Bar Cake.

Sometimes you have the kind of week when you need to eat cake. Or at least I do. Hopefully I'm not the only one. And that’s exactly the kind of week I’ve been having.  Lucky for me, I made this cake on Sunday. Even more lucky for me, I actually made two of these cakes on Sunday, one for home and one to take to work for a colleague's birthday. While I won’t disclose exactly how much of these two cakes I’ve eaten over the past few days, I will say that this cake is good any time of day and pairs quite well with a cup of coffee for breakfast.
Here’s how you make it:
First, you need a german chocolate cake. I used a cake mix and made it according to the package directions, baking it in a 9x13 cake pan.
Once you take the cake from the oven, use a toothpick to poke holes all over the cake.
Next, pour a can of sweetened condensed milk over the top of the cake.
Then pour caramel ice cream topping over the top of the cake.

Doesn't that look so good?!?

Next comes the hard part. Waiting. You need to let the cake cool completely. During this time the cake will soak up all the good stuff that’s been poured over the top.
Once the cake is cool, top the cake with cool whip and heath bar pieces.
The only thing left to do now is cut a piece.

This cake is fantastic. There really isn’t more that I can say about it. Try it and you will understand.
German chocolate cake mix plus the ingredients required to make the cake.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 regular size cool whip container
Heath bar pieces
Mix the german chocolate cake according to the package directions and bake in a 9x13 cake pan according to the package directions. Once you take the cake from the oven, use a tooth pick to poke holes all over the cake. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake. Then pour the caramel ice cream topping over the cake. Let the cake cool completely. Once cool, top with cool whip and sprinkle heath bar pieces on top.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bachelor Finale: A dinner of choices.

I love the Bachelor.
As in the tv show. I started watching the Bachelor with my friend Amanda a few years ago (Jason’s season) and I’ve been hooked ever since! I love the exotic locations, amazing dates and all the drama, of course. Last night was the finale of the Ben’s season of the Bachelor and even though I’m not Ben’s biggest fan I was excited to watch.
Really what I love is a reason to turn an ordinary evening into a special event. And by special event I mean, celebrate by having a not so typical weeknight meal, wine and dessert. And since my friend Amanda has moved away, my poor husband is forced to suffer through these kind of events with me. He does protest, but at least he gets to eat good food.
Last night, we had a special Bachelor themed meal. I thought it would be fun to include choices in the meal since Ben was “choosing his future wife.” For dinner, we had a choice of grilled chicken or steak, gorgonzola smashed potatoes, choice of sugar snap peas or roasted broccoli, and a roll.
Bachelor themed dinner.
The picture does not show sugar snap peas because the picture is of my plate and I’m not a fan. Sugar snap peas are one of my husband’s favorites so they all ended up on his plate, which I failed to photograph. I would also like to note that I did not actually eat all of the food on my plate!
Heath Bar Cake.
For dessert, we had a heath bar cake. This cake is fantastic. Like I could eat the whole thing, fantastic. (Check back later this week for the recipe.) So how is the cake tied to the Bachelor theme you might be wondering? Well to many this cake goes by a different name because some think it’s better than ….. Personally, I prefer to call it the heath bar cake.  It’s a more socially acceptable name for a cake, especially a cake I like to share with others. But maybe I’m a stick in the mud. Either way, when I was thinking of what dessert to make, this one instantly came to mind.
Our evening was a success! Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Ben and Courtney’s relationship. Now to start counting down the weeks until the new season of the Bachelorette begins!

Friday, March 9, 2012


A few weeks ago, as I was planning the meals for the upcoming week, I asked my husband if anything in particular sounded good to him. His response was tacos. More specifically, crunchy shelled tacos. As I set out to find a recipe, I realized that in our six plus years together I had never made tacos. Isn’t that crazy?
I found a crockpot chicken tacos recipe from How Sweet It Is. I love anything that can be made in a crockpot. I mean, who doesn’t love having dinner ready when you come home from work?

First, I made the taco seasoning. I did this the night before. And I actually doubled it so I would have extra on hand for the next time I needed it.

The next morning, I placed the chicken in my crockpot (forgetting to use a crockpot liner!), then sprinkled in the seasoning (about 3 tbsps) and poured in the beer. I went with a light beer with lime. I actually used the whole bottle because I really hated to waste the rest (and I couldn’t drink it at 7am before I went to work). Using the whole bottle ended up being a mistake because the chicken was too juicy in the end. So don’t be like me.
Once the ingredients were in the crockpot, I put on the lid, and cooked everything on low for about 10 hours. The house smelled so wonderful when we came home from work! Then just shred the chicken in the liquid using two forks. The recipe called for cheddar cheese to be mixed in with the meat. I decided to skip that part and just added the cheese when we built our tacos. We topped our tacos with a mexican cheese mix, store bought salsa and avocado. Delicious.

I believe Taco Night will now be added to the meal rotation at our house!
Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup beer
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons pepper
taco shells
toppings: we used avocado, salsa, and cheese

In a bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, garlic, onion, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. (I doubled this part).

Place chicken in the crockpot, sprinkle on desired amount of seasoning (I used 3 tablespoons), then pour in the beer. Cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Shred the chicken using two forks and then let sit in the crockpot for another 15 minutes or so. Make your tacos and enjoy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A celebration.

After 9 long months, we finally sold our old house! We signed all of the paperwork on Friday so we celebrated with a special dinner that night.
My husband wasn’t feeling too well as allergy season has already started in the south so I kept things pretty low key. We had filet mignon, gorgonzola smashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and his favorite cheddar rolls from Fresh Market. For dessert, I had planned to make this Nutella Mousse from Crazy for Crust but my husband said that he’d rather have it some time when he would actually be able to enjoy it. Poor thing!
Celebration Dinner
For the steaks, we like to keep it simple. A little seasoned salt and a few minutes on the grill. My husband is in charge of all things grill related so he took care of those. And they turned out perfectly.
Gorgonzola Smashed Potatoes
The gorgonzola smashed potatoes are easy and delicious. These are a go to side item in our house because you can make as little or as much as you like. I like to use the bags of small potato medleys (red, gold and purple potatoes) but any small potatoes would work. First, I preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then I boil the potatoes whole. Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain and place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Using a potato masher or fork, I smash each potato individually.  Then sprinkle on salt and pepper. Next, I dot each potato with a small pad of butter and then top each with crumbled gorgonzola cheese, as much or as little as you like. My husband actually likes to add a little Italian seasoning to his potatoes but I think they are delicious just like this. Once the potatoes are covered in all the goodness, place the cookie sheet in the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is starting to melt. And don’t overlook the cheese that melts onto the pan and starts to turn a little brown. That might actually be my favorite part!
I will admit that I am completely addicted to roasted broccoli. I would eat it every single day. Seriously. In fact, I only refrain from making it every day for fear that my husband will soon be burned out on it. It’s so easy, delicious and healthy. I start with fresh broccoli florets, trimmed and ready to go, thanks to the grocery store. Toss them with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then bake on foiled lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until roasted to perfect. All I can say is don’t be fooled by the simplicity.
Now once my husband starts to feel better, we’ll try that dessert!