Marinated Spicy Pork Chops

Tonight for dinner we had Marinated Spicy Pork Chops with baked potatoes, steamed green beans, salad and toasted GF French Rolls with butter from Trader Joe’s. YUM! The pork chops came out wonderfully on the grill. Boy, I am going to miss grilling come winter time! The GF French Rolls from Trader Joe’s weren’t bad. They were horrible room temperature, but heated up in the toaster oven at 350 for 5-8 minutes and then toasted in the toaster oven for a few minutes to brown up, they were pretty good. Not a ton of flavor, but good with butter and with a meal. I can’t see eating these alone, but maybe as a base for a tuna melt, PB & J or something with a lot of flavor. Texture is not bad. Price was under $4. I think they were $3.49 for 4. I split one with Jon.

A picture of the chops:

I used boneless pork loin chops that I had Aaron cut from a boneless pork loin a few weeks back. I have used bone-in chops for this recipe before, though I think I prefer the boneless…they were definitely more tender.

Marinated Spicy Pork Chops**Recipe found on allrecipes.com

3/4 cup soy sauce (La Choy is GF; note ~ you want to use low-sodium here or it will be too salty)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili sauce (I use just under a TBSP of chili powder b/c I didn’t have any sauce)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 center cut pork chops

1. Whisk together in a bowl the first 5 ingredients. Pour over pork chops and place in fridge to marinate for a minimum of 6 hours, even overnight if you want.

2. Heat up grill and grill for about 6-10 minutes per side, depending on thickness of chop. (as you see in my pic, I cut open my chops to make sure they were done :) ).

3. Serve! Simple, easy & yummy!!

Mooooommmmm…come on….not the broccoli slaw!!!!

This is the phrase I hear from my son, Jon, yesterday morning after packing his lunch for school. Every morning he comes down from showering, asks me to make him breakfast and what I packed him for lunch. Usually it is the same type of thing….sandwich on GF bread, chips, applesauce, yogurt, drink, dessert (if I have made treats lately). Well yesterday I gave him the rest of the broccoli slaw that we had with dinner the other night. He really liked it and even mentioned how much the dressing tasted like his favorite dressing that I buy for him from a local restaurant. What he didn’t mention that he was only going to like this dish at home, not at school. Apparently now in addition to his gluten-free food restrictions there are also “coolness factor” restrictions. I guess it is bad enough that he has to bring his lunch to school when 97% of the kids buy, but then to show up with broccoli slaw, well, that is just SO UN-COOL! Now, when I pack his lunch in the AM, I normally aim for nutritionally balanced, not “coolness factor” balanced. This is where I have been getting it wrong. He tried to throw the slaw back into the fridge; I put it back in his lunch box. The container came home empty…anyone want to place bets on whether or not he actually ate it? My guess would be that once it showed up in plain view in his lunch box, he might as well have eaten it. Throwing it out at that point would have only served one purpose, to make me mad (and if I don’t know, how can I be mad?). Going hungry, or partially hungry is probably an option a 12-year old boy would choose over eating the broccoli slaw. So I brought this up to Aaron, who looked at me like I had 2 heads when I told him that I packed the broccoli slaw for Jon, and he couldn’t believe that I would pack it for him for school. He went on to say that I was calling attention to his already “different” needs, saying that it is bad enough he has to pack every day to eat safely, but then I had to throw in the good ole broccoli slaw on top of it. Okay, maybe the broccoli slaw was taking it a little too far. Who can blame a Mom for wanting to make sure her kids eat healthy? Apparently we will be sticking to applesauce or grapes for lunch and extra fruits & veggies at home for snacks and meals to make up for what he is missing at lunch. I do pack Lara Bars (they count as a fruit!), but he doesn’t always have room for one after his sandwich and other stuff. I make sure he has one every day in case he gets hungry, if he eats it, I replace it, if not it just stays in the lunchbox.

So, tomorrow, do I pack the roasted brussel sprouts or spinach salad for Jon for lunch? LOL! Just kidding.

Mexican Pizzas & Rice

Mexican Pizzas are a quick go-to dinner for me. I end up making these on nights when we have lots going on…meetings at school, hockey practice, swimming lessons, etc. I can get these ready in a matter of 30 minutes or less (not counting the rice, you can make this earlier and reheat). I usually prefer to use ground turkey for the meat, but occasionally will use ground beef if the ground turkey isn’t on sale. The rice is based on a recipe that my Mom used to make when I was a child. I have modified it a bit for us b/c my stomach can’t tolerate onions.

Mexican Rice

1 cup brown basmati or jasmine rice
2-3 tsp EVOO
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion (I omit this b/c I can’t eat them)
1 large tomato
chicken broth
cumin
chili powder
red hot
salt
pepper

1. Drop tomato into boiling water for 60 seconds. Remove tomato from water and then remove the skin. Careful not to burn yourself as I have done too many times when I am in a hurry. ;)
2. Chop tomato, peel garlic, chop onion and place all ingredients in a food processor/blender. Puree until everything is liquid. Add cumin (about 1 tsp), chili powder (1/2 – 1 tsp), red hot (I like a lot, but use your own judgement), S & P. Blend.
3. Place EVOO and rice in a 2 qt. sauce pan and warm over med to med-high heat. Brown rice, but don’t burn it.
4. Dump tomato mixture into a glass measuring cup and then add chicken broth to equal 2 cups of liquid. Dump your 2 cups of liquid into the rice; stir and bring to a boil.
5. Stir and reduce heat to simmer for 40-50 minutes, depending on what kind of rice you are using.
6. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork & serve.

You can either now serve this or put away in the fridge and then reheat for dinner.

Mexican Pizzas

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
Packet of Taco Seasoning (I use the bulk Ortega)
1-2 cans of refried beans (I used La Preferida)
Tostada shells (I use Ortega)
Cheddar Cheese
Lettuce
Tomato
Taco Sauce
Salsa
Sour Cream
Any other toppings you would like

1. Brown ground meat in a pan. Add taco seasoning.
2. Preheat oven to 350.
3. Warm beans in a pan on the stove or in micro.
4. Heat tostadas on a cookie sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until hot.
5. Top shells with beans, meat & cheese.
6. Return to oven until cheese is all melted and bubbly.
7. Top with favorite toppings and serve!

Here are some pictures of our meal. Jon likes to drown his in taco sauce (Ortega Mild). I prefer to top mine with lettuce & tomato and Frank’s Red Hot). **Seems Jon added some extra beans to his plate as well. ;)

This is one of the kids favorite meals and is super easy to make.

Menu Plan ~ August 31, 2008 ~ September 6, 2008

This past week we were pretty good and only abandoned my menu plan and went out to eat 1 night and that was last night for sushi. YUM!! It was a great dinner. We went to Molly Woo’s again. The food took forever to come out, so the manager came over with a couple of bowls of soup, one wonton, one miso something or other. I thanked him and let him know that while I appreciated the token of appreciation for our patience, we could not eat the soup because we had to eat gluten-free. He said “Oh, you have Celiac, okay.” First, I was shocked that he put 2 & 2 together; I had just said “gluten-free” and he said “Celiac”. Then he offered to buy us dessert on the house. Again, I said I didn’t think there was anything we could have. He suggested the lemon sorbet, I suggested that they could buy me a glass of Pinot Noir and call it even. ;) It was a nice dinner.

So this week’s menu. Nothing too complicated this week. I have a busy week watching kids (2 others, age 13 months and 17 months, in addition to my own). I am starting to pull out some of my fall cooking recipes & dinner plans now that we are going into September. Time to start making pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie….can you tell I love pumpkin??? The baking extravaganza will begin over the next few weeks. I will make sure to share recipes. On to the menu for this week:

Sunday ~ Homemade pizza (see below for recipe/method I use) and broccoli slaw (see recipe below). Take home Cold Stone quarts (Peanut Butter Perfection and Shock-A-Cone (not GF)).

Monday ~ Breakfast for dinner ~ omelets & scrambled eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, toast (Pamela’s bread) & fresh fruit

Tuesday ~ Chicken Tenders (from last week that got bumped), sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli

Wednesday ~ Cheeseburger In Paradise after ice skating lessons.

Thursday ~ Marinated Spicy Pork Chops (recipe & pics to follow later in the week), steamed brown rice and green beans.

Friday ~ Crockpot Pot Roast with potatoes & carrots (a fall favorite).

Saturday ~ Burgers on the grill topped with cheese on lettuce buns, baked potatoes & salad.

Here is what I do for my pizza. I follow the recipe on the side of Pamela’s Wheat Free Bread Mix for the pizza crust. I add in basil & oregano to the dough. I dust the pans with cornmeal. After the dough rises for an hour, I brush with EVOO and bake for 10 minutes. Then I top with Prego 3 Cheese Marinara Sauce, mozzerella, Hormel Turkey Pepperoni. I topped mine with some veggies too…tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms. Sometimes I will add zucchini or peppers too. I then baked for another 15-20 minutes. YUM!!! The kids raved about it!! Here are some pics:

Before of the pepperoni & veggie:

Before of the cheese:

After of the pepperoni & veggie:

After of the cheese:

Here is my plate, with the broccoli slaw (recipe to follow):

Broccoli Slaw

1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw (found in produce section)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I use Helman’s Canola, it is half the fat & calories of normal mayo)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 TBSP white vinegar

Mix all ingedients together and then chill for an hour or so before serving. The kids loved this!! I expected them to complain and reject it immediately, but they didn’t. Must have been the sugar in the dressing!

Just wanted to throw in a “Thank you” to Cheryl at GF Goodness for hosting this week’s menu swap. Lots of great ideas using peppers this week! The cashew cake looks especially yummy!

Gluten-Free Heaven

If you ask someone who follows a gluten-free diet what their definition of gluten-free heaven is, you are likely to get a response that involves a bread/bakery product of some sort. My idea of gluten-free heaven is a bagel like the ones I remember from my pre-gluten-free days. Like the ones you get from Panera Bread…the harder outside “skin” and soft, chewy inside. If you have ever eaten a gluten-free bagel, you know that they are no where close to the “real” thing. I though I had found a pretty good bagel in the Kinnikinnick frozen bagels. They weren’t the “real” thing, but they passed b/c I didn’t really have much other choice. I used them mostly for tuna melts, open-faced. Then all of a sudden I couldn’t find them anymore and I had heard there were production issues. When they reappeared in stores, they had changed…the taste & texture was different and it wasn’t for the better. I was very disappointed. So, I remembered seeing a recipe for bagels on my trusty Pamela’s Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix bag. It didn’t look too difficult, so I decided to give it a try. I made a few modifications, added brushed egg white to the tops of the bagels after boiling and before baking and I sprinkled sea salt on a few after the egg whites. I was hoping for a hot soft pretzel effect. I can’t even begin to tell you how fantastic these turned out. My bagel was like a big, round hot soft pretzel bagel. I had tears in my eyes. OMG…..BAGELS!!!!! This is what has been missing since I went GF. The taste, the texture. Oh. My. God. I can’t believe that I only ate one. I let the rest cool and then I froze them so that all of their yumminess would be preserved. Now, the dough is a little sticky. I had to oil my hands to shape the dough, but a few minutes of messy hands is SO worth it for the end result.

Before boiling/baking:

After coming out of the oven:

Made into a sandwich with turkey, swiss, dijon mustard & lettuce:


Bagels
*Recipe courtesy of Pamela’s Wheat-Free Bread Mix Bag

1 bag Pamela’s Bread Mix
1 yeast packet (enclosed)
1 1/3 cups warm water
1/4 cup oil

Yield: Approximately 7 bagels

1. Combine dry mix, yeast packet, oil & water. (no eggs are used).
2. Mix on medium for 3 minutes.
3. Use 1/2 cup dough for each bagel. Oil hands and place on a greased baking sheet in the form of a bagel (don’t worry about the hole now, we will get to that later).
4. Let dough rise for 1 hour, then poke hole in the center of each bagel. (I took a wooden spoon and sprayed the handle with Pam and then used that to poke my holes).
5. In boiling water, boil bagels for 25 seconds.
6. Remove with slotted spoon and place on greased baking sheet. Brush with egg whites and top with sea salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, etc if you choose.
7. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 20 -25 minutes. (I baked for 23 minutes).

ENJOY!!!! Truly, gluten-free heaven.

Oh, and another bonus recipe. The dish pictured with my sandwich is an eggplant parmesan of sorts. I had some tomatoes that I needed to use, so I made a simple marinara and then made this recipe:

Easy Eggplant Parmesan

1 medium eggplant
1 medium zucchini
Mozzerella Cheese
Paremsan Cheese
Marinara Sauce (I used homemade today, but have used Prego 3 Cheese in the past)

1. Preheat oven to 400.
2. Slice eggplant & zuccini.
3. Spread sauce in the bottom of a glass pyrex dish. Start to layer eggplant & zucchini and cheeses with sauce. Repeat until ingredients are gone.
4. Bake at least 30 minutes. Test the eggplant with a fork, it should be soft. Broil for a couple minutes to brown up the top.

**I have seen a variation of this recipe with ricotta cheese too. That would make it more a meal, suitable for vegetarians.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I know that lots of people will proably cringe while reading this post or just scroll right on past it. That is fine. I think that with brussel sprouts, you either love them or hate them. There really is no in between. As with a lot of vegetables in this house, I am the only one who will eat them. I usually just steam them and then add S & P. Well, I picked up some fresh brussels the other day and decided to roast them. I cut off the stems, cut in half, tossed in about 1TBSP EVOO and S & P, then spread on a cookie sheet and baked at 375 for about 30 – 40 minutes. Most recipes I looked at online suggested a little bit of a higher temp at 400 for about 30 minutes, but I was also cooking our salmon at the same time and like to cook that at 375. These turned out phenomenal! I really wish that I could have coerced some of the stubborn members of my family to try these. They were the perfect compliment to steamed brown rice and salmon. I always add Frank’s Red Hot to my rice. I love that stuff!!

Oh, and for the curious, my salmon is made like this:

2-3 pieces of salmon, 4-6 ounces each
Dill
Garlic Pepper
Paprika
Salt
Pepper
Lemon Juice

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Sprinkle salmon with spices and splash of lemon juice.
3. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
4. Check salmon to make sure that it is almost done. Turn oven to broil and broil for 2 minutes.

Very simple and very good. You could add butter to the salmon before you cook it. We used to, but I removed it b/c you really don’t need it. The salmon is wonderful without it.

Baked Yams with Lime & Honey

There is nothing I like more than finding a recipe that is naturally gluten-free without having to modify it. Not that it is difficult to modify all recipes to make them gluten-free, but I find it almost comforting to not have to worry about it. Today was the night that I had filet mignon on the menu. I had planned on sweet potatoes, but couldn’t find them at the store. I did find yams, though. I know that now that they are interchangeable, but I didn’t earlier today. See, it really is true that you learn something new every day. ;) So I began to search the net for a recipe for baked yams of some sort. I came across this amazing recipe on Food Network.com.

Baked Yams with Lime and Honey Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Magazine

3 large yams (about 4 pounds) ~ I used 2 large
1/2 cup water
6 tablespoons honey ~ I used 4 Tbsp
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature ~ I used 2 Tbsp
Juice of 4 limes ~ I used 3 small limes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt ~ I used 3/4 tsp
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper ~ I used 1/4 tsp
Sour cream, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Wash the yams and place in a baking dish with the water. Bake until the potatoes are soft and the skins puffy, about 1 1/2 hours. Set aside to cool slightly (leave the oven on).
Peel the yams and place in a medium baking dish. Add the honey, butter, lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir and mash well with a potato masher. Cover with aluminum foil and return to the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until heated through. Sprinkle the top with sour cream and serve hot.

Here is a picture of it straight out of the oven:

And my plate with filet mignon and green beans:

Now, onto the fun gluten-free beverage…..a Red Bridge beer!! I was never a huge beer drinker before, but tell me I can’t have one and boy, I really want one! LOL! I do like an ice cold beer every now and then, and tonight was “now”. ;)

Oh and I can’t forget my plate full of tomato slices. :) I have them coming out my ears, you know, so no meal is complete without them for now.

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