Monday, November 24, 2008

Easy Apple Cider Pork Chops

This was a delicious and quick weeknight dinner! Chris said we are definitely adding these pork chops to the regular rotation. I typically don't like pork; however, I enjoyed it tonight. I didn't have any onion on hand; however, next time I will serve these with carmalized onions and maybe some apple slices. Yum!

Easy Apple Cider Pork Chops

1 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoon butter
1 clove minced garlic
3 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper
Flour, enough to coat pork chops
1 cup Apple Cider
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

Mix cornstarch and water and set aside.
Melt butter in skillet with garlic. Meanwhile, add salt and pepper to chops and coat in flour. Add chops to skillet and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
Mix together cider, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Add to skillet and heat to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes or until done.
Move chops to one side of pan (or remove from pan completely). Add cornstarch mixture to opposite side. Cook and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Serve sauce over chops.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

O-H....I-O! Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars

It's game day! The Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Michigan game might as well be considered another holiday in our house because our family rarely misses the occassion for a game time party. This year was pretty low key as my parents went to the game and Chris and I watched from home. Now..what is a day home with some great football without some really great game time snacks??

I decided to make these yummy sweet treats for dessert. It is safe to say these are the best, easiest bar cookies that I've made yet. Inspired by the recipe on the side of my Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk can and these Passion Bars from, I changed the recipe to accommodate Chris' dislike for nuts and available ingredients in the pantry.
They were almost as SWEET as our victory over Michigan! :) O-H...I-O!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 pinch of salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup peanut butter, heated to a consistency that is easy to stir (I used the microwave for 30 seconds)
2 cup semisweet chocolate chips ( 12 ounce bag)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter to form a crumbly mixture. Reserve 3/4 cups of the crumbs, and pat the rest evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter. Spread evenly over the oatmeal layer. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the peanut butter layer, then crumble the reserved crust over the top.
Bake for 25 minutes, until golden brown. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

To Grandma's house we go...with cookie sandwiches!

A visit to grandma's is LONG overdue. Chris and I have missed weekly Sunday dinners due to work schedules most of the summer and fall. At last we get to spend time with family this week! I have offered to bring a dessert. Since my mom has the chocolate chip cookie baking perfected (none better then her cookies in my opinion)....I needed to give my cookies a little something extra.
Based on the contents of my pantry (specifically the four jars of peanut butter-- an amazing grocery store deal) I came up with these mini-chocolate chip peanut butter sandwich cookies. The photo doesn't make them appear too "mini", but trust me they are. :)
Chris has been my "taste tester" this morning and he gives his stamp of approval. I can't wait to visit with my family tomorrow! (And eat these mini-cookies.)

Original Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg) chocolate chips

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded 1/2 teaspoon full onto ungreased baking sheets (I usually get 30 “full size” cookies from this recipe, but today I made 60 mini-cookies).
BAKE for 7-8 minutes (larger cookies back 9-11 minutes) or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons cream or milk
In a large bowl, beat butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in 1/2 of the confectioner's sugar. Mix in 2 tablespoon of cream. Beat in the remaining confectioners' sugar. If necessary, add a little more cream or milk until the frosting reaches a good spreading consistency.

Simply spread peanut butter frosting on one cookie and top with a second cookie. Make sure cookies are completely cooled.

*Also, it works best to leave one cookie flat on your work service so it doesn't break with the force of the knife while you spread the frosting. Push second cookie on top gently. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Garlic Chicken Veggy Pasta

On a cold, lazy Sunday nothing warms you up like a yummy bowl of pasta! At least that is my opinion. :) Dinner tonight was easy and delicious! This pasta was one of those "add a little of this...add a little more...taste right" dishes that I created with ingredients on hand.
Chris commented on how GOOD it smelled while cooking and (even better) how GREAT it tasted! I agree. This dish will definitely be added to our usual dinner rotation.

12 ounce package fusilli pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick slices
1 (10 ounce) package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
frozen sweet corn (previously cut from 2 ears of fresh corn)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dry white wine
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until al dente; drain and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute 2-3 minutes. Season chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika and add to pan with garlic. Saute for 5 to 7 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (no longer pink). Remove chicken and set aside. In the same skillet used to sauté chicken, add all vegetables. Saute 5-6 minutes or until tender. Add lemon, wine and broth and heat 2 more minutes. Add remaining butter and oil. Add reserved chicken and pasta.
Remove from heat and stir in basil, parsley and cheese. Enjoy!