Friday, August 30, 2013

Pepper Lime Pork Chops

Clearly we like citrusified meats around here. A splash of fresh citrus juice and a bit of zest really does add a brightness to the flavor of pork and chicken that makes something fast, easy, and healthy taste more like something fancy from a restaurant.

This would work equally well with lemon instead of lime (or a mixture; you could use lime zest and juice and lemon-pepper seasoning, or a mixture of lemon and lime zests/juices). It would also work on chicken breasts instead of pork chops.

The chops are dredged in flour which gives them a bit of a fried texture and flavor (and some nice crisp, especially when reheated on the stove), but you can always leave out the flour and still have a tasty rub for your meat.

Pepper Lime Pork Chops

Dairy Free

In a shallow bowl, combine zest of 1 lime, 1 Tablespoon dry mustard, 1/2 Tablespoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 2 Tablespoons flour.

Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in a skillet large enough for your pork chops over medium-high heat.

Dredge 2-4 pork chops in flour mixture. Add to hot skillet. Cook 3-5 minutes on one side.

Continue to cook pork chops 3-5 minutes per side until almost done. Just before the last time you think you will need to flip the chops, add juice of 1 lime and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce to pan.

Flip pork chops and finish cooking in juice. Be sure to scrape up the tasty brown bits for your sauce!

Serve, pouring extra sauce over.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Lemon-Parsley Chicken

T-Rex really liked this chicken. Of course, he seems to like most chicken, so perhaps that's not quite the endorsement it could be.

The DDH and I liked it, too, though, so there's that. ;-)

As written, this makes very lemony and kind of sour chicken. If you like less lemon, cut back on the juice and/or omit the zest from the rub.

You can also make this chicken on the grill; remember to preheat your grill before you begin chopping and mixing the rub so it will be hot when you're ready to cook.

Lemon-Parsley Chicken
Adapted from Cooking Light September 2013

Gluten Free
Grain Free
Dairy Free

Combine 2 Tablespoons (approximately) minced fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons lemon zest (about the zest of one lemon), 4 garlic cloves, pressed, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a small bone.

Sprinkle mixture on 2 large or 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts. Rub into the chicken and let stand ten minutes.

Heat a skillet large enough to hold the chicken in one layer on medium high heat.

Add the chicken and cook on medium high for three minutes on each side.

Turn the heat down to medium low and continue to cook chicken five minutes per side until done. This will vary greatly depending on how thick your chicken breasts are. Thin ones might have been done after the initial six minutes; thicker ones will take closer to thirty minutes.

While chicken cooks, combine juice of one lemon, an equal amount of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. (The juice of a lemon is usually 2-3 Tablespoons, so if you don't want to measure, use 2 Tablespoons oil for a smaller lemon and 3 Tablespoons for a larger lemon.) Whisk until emulsified.

When chicken is done, pour dressing over and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly.


Friday, August 23, 2013

White Bean Tacos

So, I have a confession to make.

About a month ago, a storm knocked out power to our house for almost forty-eight hours. When it became clear that the power wasn't coming back any time soon, I packed the meat into coolers with ice and took them to my in-laws' house, where at least they would be in the air conditioning (she only has the one side-by-side freezer and it's so packed I can barely fit a bottle of milk in there for when she watches T-Rex, so our food clearly wasn't going to fit in the actual freezer).

Luckily everything still seemed pretty frozen by the time our power came back and we could get it back to our freezer, but for various logistical reasons, the DDH took the meat back on his way to work. And since he was in a rush, he just piled everything, still wet from the ice in the cooler, into the freezer in no particular order.

This was about a month ago, and I still haven't managed to go out and reorganize the thing. Every time I need some meat or chicken broth or whatever, I have to pry it apart since everything is frozen together in big chunks. Sometimes the plastic rips and then I have to use up two things of meat. The freezer itself has big weird chunks of ice in it, because it's old and not frost free and all the frost melted and then refroze, sometimes around the meat that was put back in.

It's a mess. And so, honestly, I've kind of been avoiding cooking meals with meat in them, because it's such a project to find what I want and pry it out.

Hence these white bean tacos. They are actually quite delicious and DDH approved, but I'll be doubling the recipe next time since this only made enough for five or six tacos and we needed at least eight to cover dinner and lunch the next day.

You can also include some wilted spinach with the beans if you have those lying around.

A Note on Salt: I used dried beans that I had previously cooked and frozen, which are not salted. I wrote 1 teaspoon in the recipe but I think I might have used closer to two. If you are using canned beans, you may wish to start with less salt and add more to taste, since even rinsed, canned beans are more salty than dried.

White Bean Tacos

Gluten free (with corn tortillas)
Dairy free
Vegetarian (depending on tortillas) 
Vegan (depending on tortillas)

Heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat.

Add 1 onion, vertically sliced, and saute five minutes or until soft and lightly browned. Add 4 cloves garlic, minced and saute thirty seconds.

Add 2 cups white beans (1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed) (cannellini are perfect), 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir. Cook two minutes or until beans are thoroughly heated. Feel free to let it simmer longer while you prepare the salsa, especially if there's still some liquid from the beans. Just be sure to turn the heat to low and stir occasionally so the beans don't burn.

In a small bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups chopped tomato, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 jalapeno, sliced, and 1 Tablespoon lime juice. You can add either fresh cilantro here or two teaspoons dried cilantro to the beans.

Warm flour or corn tortillas. You can do this by covering them with a damp paper towel and microwaving for about thirty seconds, or, if you prefer them crispy and delicious (my preferred method), heat in a dry skillet for two minutes or so on each side (you'll have to check to make sure they brown and don't burn). This is how I prep tortillas for just about everything I make and I much prefer it to the microwave method, but since you have to do it one at a time it does take longer if you're cooking for a crowd.

Fill each taco with bean mixture. Grate cheese (we usually use Colby-Jack) onto each serving, then top with a spoonful or two of salsa.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Cabbage and Tomato Soup

Soups are a winter standby meal. There's not much easier than chopping up some vegetables and meat and tossing them in a pot, and hot soup makes a comforting meal on a cold winter's day.

I don't usually make as many soups in the summer (neither the DDH nor I are fans of chilled soups), but I did yesterday, and I realized something that probably should have been obvious: just as with all other preparations of vegetables, soups taste completely different when made with summer-fresh produce than with winter-stored or canned stuffs.

I guess I thought that when you're boiling the heck out of something, it doesn't much matter how fresh it is. And that's true, in that a flavorful broth can make less-than-stellar produce still taste pretty darn good.

But soup made with fresh produce? Tastes even better. Or at least different.

This soup would be vegetarian with vegetable broth instead of chicken, but would also benefit from some chicken, or some sausage, browned and thrown in at the end. The DDH went for seconds even without meat, so it's plenty tasty and fairly hearty without it.

I used fresh tomatoes (the real source of the flavor difference--there's nothing like a garden fresh tomato no matter how it's prepared, but potatoes and cooked cabbage, I think, are pretty much the same always. Though actually the potatoes really had a nice flavor in this, too. Anyway.), but in the winter would usually use a can or two of diced tomatoes, so feel free to substitute. I used two big and several small tomatoes; I'm guessing it ran about a half pound or so.

As with most vegetable soups, you can switch around the vegetables easily. Add some carrots or parsnip or green beans or whatever you have lying around.

Cabbage and Tomato Soup

 Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Vegetarian (with vegetable broth)
Vegan (with vegetable broth)

Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a large pot on medium high heat.

Add 1 onion, chopped and 1 small head of cabbage, cored and thinly sliced. I forgot to add any garlic because T-Rex was trying to pour the dog's water bowl out all over the kitchen again, but you really should include 3 cloves garlic.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes or until onion is soft and cabbage is getting there.

Add 1/2 pound tomatoes, diced, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 4 cups chicken broth, and enough water to finish covering the vegetables, if necessary.

Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until potatoes and cabbage are tender.



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