Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pork Loin Stuffed with Ham, Swiss and Dill Pickles

I saw this recipe a few weeks ago on television and thought;”Oh my that looks delicious”.

I had a pork loin in the freezer and all of the ingredients handy, so today a “star” was born in my kitchen!

The original recipe calls to simmer on the stove top covered. I wanted to try it out in the oven and it worked great. I also wanted a somewhat Cuban sandwich flair to my pork this weekend so added cumin and dill pickles inside of the ham and cheese rolls. The swiss held up really well. I made sure it was really cold when I rolled it. The recipe calls to cut into the roast along the width of the roast. I sliced length wise so that when slicing after it was cooked, each slice would have a taste of the ham,cheese and pickles.

The sauce absolutely made this dish. It was very savory and satisfying. I served it with rice and green peas and to “Sop” up the sauce I baked Honey Wheat bread.

The recipe:
(Adapted from Melissa d’Arabian)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (2 pound) boneless pork loin roast
4 slices deli ham
4 slices Swiss or gruyere cheese
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried thyme
8 ounces small white mushrooms, halved
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

I also added a sprinkle or two of cumin and garlic powder before browning.
Inside of each ham and cheese roll I added a few dill pickle chips.

Liberally salt and pepper the pork loin on all sides. On a sturdy work surface, slice the pork roast 4 times evenly, about 3/4 of the way down the roast.I sliced into the pork four times down the length of the loin so that each slice of pork would have a taste of the ham and cheese. Wrap each ham slice around each cheese slice and place 1 into each of the 4 cuts. Tie the roast with kitchen string, or secure the roast closed with toothpicks. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Sear the pork loin quickly so that the roast gets color, but the cheese doesn't melt. Remove the roast and set aside.
Add the carrots and onions to the pan and cook until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are softened. Add the flour and stir to mix. Deglaze with the wine, and add the roast back into the pan along with the chicken stock and thyme. Season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes.

Remove the roast from the pan once it's cooked and reduce the sauce for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over high heat, add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and then the mushrooms. Toss to coat in the oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook the mushrooms until they are golden, then add to the sauce. Whisk in the sour cream to the sauce. Slice the pork roast and serve with sauce poured on top. Garnish with parsley.

I am also linking to Sunday Suppers

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tomato Stew with Dumplings....For the "Mater" lover

There are only a few days left for National Soup Month!

I wanted an easy and quick soup and decided to prepare a tomato "stew" with dumplings. Sometimes pronounced "Maters with dumplings".

This recipe is very thrifty and not too bad for the waist. It is a tomato lovers dish!

In prior pots of Mater Dumplings, I have used fire roasted tomatoes, plain tomatoes, and salsa style tomatoes. In the past I have also added other veggies and even chicken. The possibilities are endless. The warm,spoonfuls of this soup and the bites of the fluffy dumplings are ever so comforting.

Have I mentioned how easy and quick it is to prepare?

The soup/stew will thicken as it cooks and becomes somewhat velvety after the dumplings are added.

The Recipe:

For Tomato “stew”:

2 cans of Stewed tomatoes
2 cans of Tomato Sauce
1 Onion Diced
1 tablespoon butter
Basil or Oregano to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

For Dumplings: (same recipe I use for my Chicken and Dumplings)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 cup milk

Place stewed tomatoes and tomato sauce in medium to large pot, bring to a slow simmer.
Meanwhile melt butter and sauté onions and add Basil. Oregano or any flavoring you enjoy. When onions become translucent, place into pot with simmering tomatoes and sauce.

Simmer and turn down heat so that tomatoes are at a slow simmer.

Prepare dumplings:

Blend flour, baking powder and salt then set aside.

In a microwave safe dish place 3 tsp unsalted butter and 1 cup of milk. Melt butter and heat milk. Do not over heat.

Remove from microwave and mix into dry ingredients until a dough forms and is smooth in consistency.

Allow dumpling dough to rest 10-15 minutes

With a teaspoon, gather up a mound of dumpling dough and drop into simmering stew. Continue doing so until entire top of stew is covered with floating dumplings. Place a lid tightly on pot and cook dumplings for 10 mins.

Remove lid. Flip each dumpling over with a spoon and sprinkle herb of choice, salt and pepper on top of dumplings. Place lid back on pot and cook 5 more minutes.

Do not stir the stew once dumplings have been placed. Stirring may cause the dumplings to fall apart.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Roasted Brussel Sprout Salad

I am attempting to incorporate more healthy foods into my diet. I‘m on the fence you might say. While not over doing it on the butter, I am not going to survive on oats and greens alone! I am a Southerner and Southerners enjoy cooking and eating! While everything I cook will not be diet friendly, I can always practice portion control! HaHaHa.

I wanted something crisp and refreshing for lunch today. Brussel Sprouts are in season and I had picked up some on my last trip to the grocery store. I am a huge fan of the sprout.

What to do, What to do, What to do with these Brussel sprouts? I pondered as I looked at their leafy shells and decided I did not want to boil them. I did decide to roast and throw in some other items that I had handy in the kitchen.

The Recipe:

1 lb Brussel sprouts trimmed and cut in half
½ Red Onion cut into thick slices
5 Cloves of Garlic peeled
1 cup chopped Roasted Pepper
1 slice Deli Ham sliced about 1 inch thick, browned in skillet using non stick cooking spray
Salt and Pepper to taste
Enough oil to lightly grease pan

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Place Brussel Sprouts cut side down onto a flat baking pan
Scatter onion slices among Brussel sprouts
Place garlic cloves onto pan

Place into oven and roast for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and move Brussel sprouts, onions and garlic around in pan. Trying to “Flip” all of sprouts.
Roast for another 10 minutes or so and remove from oven. Allow to cool.

While sprouts are roasting prepare vinaigrette:

1 zest of lemon
Juice from 2 lemons
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
¼ cup of honey
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

In bowl add: Zest of lemon, Lemon juice, Apple Cider Vinegar, Honey, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dijon Mustard and whisk.

Slowly, whish in olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Remove roasted sprouts from pan and place in a large mixing bowl.
Dice roasted garlic and onions and add to bowl.
Toss in browned ham, diced roasted red peppers and drizzle vinaigrette mix thoroughly.

P.S. This salad is great warm or cold!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicken Popovers

Winding down after the weekend I decided to make chicken popovers. They are quick, easy on the budget, and very much satisfying.

I used chicken that I had prepared a few weeks ago and had in the freezer. A rotisserie chicken would work great with this recipe and save time as well.

Carrots would go right along with this recipe. Really any veggie could sneak into this recipe.

The Recipe:

To Make the Popovers:

1 cup flour
¼ Teaspoon Salt
¾ cup milk
¼ cup cold chicken broth
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Generously grease muffin pan or a popover pan. Place into preheating oven to preheat. Combine flour, salt, milk, broth and eggs in a food processor or a blender. Mix until smooth.

Spoon mixture into preheated pan, about two thirds full.
Bake 40 or so minutes. Popovers should be brown, puffed and firm to touch.
Remove from oven and cool.

To make the filling:

4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons butter (for sautéing mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic
1/3 cup flour
¼ teaspoon ground thyme
Dash or two of pepper
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup evaporated milk
½ pound mushrooms, quartered and sauteed in 2 Tablespoons of butter browned
½ bell pepper diced and sauteed with mushrooms
2 cloves garlic minced and cooked with mushrooms and bell pepper.
1 cup frozen peas
½ small jar of pimentos
3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
Salt to taste

Saute mushrooms, bell pepper, and garlic in two tablespoons of butter until mushrooms turn a nice golden brown. Set aside.

In a large saucepan melt 4 tablespoons of butter, whisk in flour, thyme, and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring a few minutes, careful not to brown.

Slowly add and whisk in chicken broth, evaporated milk.
Continue cooking until mixture becomes thick, about 5 minutes.

Add mushroom mixture, chicken, pimentos and frozen peas and continue to cook and stir for 5 minutes.

Split popovers open and fill with the chicken filling and serve.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

BBQ PORK AND SLAW - Lazy Day Cooking

We STILL have snow and ice here in Georgia! I think snow is beautiful when it falls from the sky and is gorgeous the first day it lays and decorates the landscape. However, 4 days later it isn’t looking so pretty!

Snow always makes me want to cuddle up and do absolutely nothing. Alas, the boys have to eat and that ruins my lazy snow day. I love to cook. However, that warm quilt and soft sofa called out to me and won on this cold, snowy day.

I walked into the kitchen with memories of my warm quilt on the sofa and missed it instantly. So I searched the freezer and fridge and thought; It’s a lazy snow day and It’s going to be a lazy cooking day!

Deciding on a BBQ Pork Roast prepared in my slow cooker; I searched for the makings of slaw and began to prepare dinner, HOURS in advance. It only took a few minutes to mix, rub, cut, dice and stir and I turned off the kitchen light and returned to my sofa and quilt.

Hours later, on went the kitchen light and with a few minutes of preparation dinner was ready.

The Recipe:

Pork Roast rinsed
1 large onion cut into thick slices
3-4 Cloves of garlic minced
BBQ Sauce

The Rub:
2 Tsp. Cumin
2 Tsp. Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Onion Powder
2 Tsp Chili Powder
2 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

Place thick slices of onion into bottom of slow cooker and turn heat on high.

Mix spices for rub and apply generously over entire pork roast.

Place roast into cooker and cover. Cook on high for 4-6 hours and low for 8-10.

At the last hour of cooking I throw in the garlic and sometimes add more red pepper flakes.

When finished, remove from cooker, allow to cool and “tear” meat. It will be juicy and falling apart. I also strain the cooking juices and throw the onion into the meat as well.

Add BBQ sauce. Just enough for your personal taste. I like a very “wet” BBQ. (This was a quickie recipe, so I used bottled sauce.)

Southern Cole Slaw:

1 Head of Cabbage (Small for a few folks, A large head of cabbage if you feed a large group of males like I usually do).

1 Bell Pepper diced
1 Onion diced
2 Tablespoons Celery Seed
1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar or plain white vinegar
½ Cup Sugar (I like my slaw tangy, can add more sugar if you prefer “sweet slaw”)
1 Tablespoon of Oil
2 Tablespoons of Salt (less salt if you use less cabbage)
½ Tablespoon of Black Pepper
½ Cup of Mayonnaise - (All depends on how creamy one likes their slaw)

Mix all ingredients together and chill for a few hours or overnight in the fridge.

Load BBQ pork onto a bun, or bread of choice. We prefer wheat bread. With bread you have more “acreage” to cover.
I always top my BBQ with the slaw. It’s very yummy that way.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Country Cabbage Soup

While waiting for the snow to visit me here in Georgia once again this winter; I thought I would prepare a warm, hearty soup to get through the snow, sleet and ice that will visit me down south this week.

Soup, is hot, aromatic and filling. Soup makes you feel good even when you are not stuffy and ailing from a cold. . Soup makes your soul feel warm and comforted.

I had a lonely head of cabbage occupying space in my fridge and decided I would give it some company with a few of it’s veggie friends, herbs, spices and smoked sausage and prepare a cabbage soup.

Cabbage soup is a family favorite, and each time I prepare it. I make a huge batch.

As if I needed another reason to prepare soup today; January is National Soup and National soup swap month!

Other Celebrations for Soup are:

February 4: Homemade Soup Day
2nd Week In November: Split Soup Week

Here are a few interesting soup facts that I found

Soup can be dated back to about 6000 B.C. and was first made of hippopotamus. 

Boiling was not a common cooking technique until the invention of waterproof containers (which probably came in the form of pouches made of clay or animal skin) about 9,000 years ago.

History also tells us that soup was first known as "sop,"  which was a piece of bread served with some type of liquid. (broth) People use to pour sop over a piece of bread or over broken off chunks of bread in a platter allowing it to soak up all the broth and then they would eat it.  As time went by sop was placed in deeper bowls and the liquid became the focal point instead of the bread as it once was. "Sop" soon became "Soup"  and the bread was then dipped in soup or thick stew.  In modern day the word sop is a definition of sopping up food.  Gruel is a fine example of sop which also goes back a long way in our History.

Another site that has fun facts about soup:

The Recipe:

One large head of cabbage sliced
6 carrots peeled and chopped into chunks
6 potatoes, scrubbed and “chunked”
3 cans stewed tomatoes
2 bell peppers
1 large onion sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1lb smoked sausage (I used spicy andouille)
1 ½ teaspoon celery seed
1 ½ teaspoon thyme
1 ½ teaspoon onion powder
1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
4 quarts chicken stock (this is for a HUGE batch, can easily be halved)
Salt and pepper to taste

Warm chicken stock in stock pan. Pour canned tomatoes into stock and bring to a slow simmer. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes or so.

Add potatoes, carrots, celery seed, thyme, onion and garlic powders, paprika, Continue to simmer slowly.

In skillet, melt butter and sauté sausage, bell peppers and onions until onions are clear, throw in minced garlic the last two minutes. Stir and add these to the simmering soup.

Bring back to a good simmer and add cabbage pushing the cabbage down into the soup with spoon.

Add apple cider vinegar, sugar and caraway seeds. Stir and cover with a lid and turn heat down to simmer long and slow until vegetables are fork tender.

Remove from heat and enjoy.

P.S. This soup is always at its best the next day.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Horseradish and Garlic "tater" cakes.

Ever contemplated what to do with your potatoes?

I cooked a juicy and tender roast and had planned on preparing mashed potatoes as the roast's sidekick. As I washed, peeled and cubed, I decided that the potatoes deserved an uplifting so that the yummy roast would not overshadow the simple potatoes greatness!

I decided to use horseradish and garlic to give the potatoes the desired kick. Horseradish is great with beef.

Now that the taste was decided, did I want to leave my potatoes simply mashed? My eyes darted around the kitchen surveying the different tools and gadgets only found in one's kitchen and fell upon my muffin pan. Ahhh Haaa! I wasn't conjuring up visions of sweet cupcakes or marvelous muffins, in my minds eye I saw "tater cakes".

My simple, yet delicious potatoes evolved into a creamy, garlicky, melt in your mouth dish that ended with a slight kick of horseradish.

I thought they were kind of cute too!

The recipe:

6-8 potatoes
5-6 cups stock (enough to cover potatoes)
4 garlic cloves
1 cup heavy cream or milk
About 4 tablespoons peeled and grated horseradish (also may use prepared horseradish)
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
4 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
non stick cooking spray
Parsley for prettiness

wash potatoes, peel, cube and rinse.
Place into pot. Cover with stock, season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a good boil and cook until fork tender.

While potatoes cook:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare horseradish- add grated horseradish to processor or chopper with a few drops of water and pulse until creamy, add more water if needed.

Mince garlic

When potatoes are fork tender drain.

Add cream, butter,horseradish,garlic,bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste.

Mash until nearly smooth, a few bumps are okay. Can also use mixer to cream as well.

Spray muffin pan enthusiastically with non stick spray and spoon in potato mixture into each cup, filling completely or 1/2 full depending on how high you would like your tater cake.

Bake for 30 minutes and the last 5 minutes or so I turn the oven on to a low broil to crisp up the top of the cakes. Just peek often at the cakes.

Remove from oven allow to stand a few minutes and gently "dump" cakes out.

The tater cakes were delish. After eating the cakes, I decided next time I may
add chives,maybe cheese. The possibilities with the potato are endless!

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