Thursday, January 30, 2014

Orange- Mustard Glazed Pork Chops

I am always on the lookout for new recipes, especially for comfort food. Our winter has been relentless, and we have been eating a lot of comfort food, I mean a lot.  When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, we knew we had to make it. Over the holidays, we made a ham with with a similar glaze, and it was wonderful.  In fact we still had a jar of orange marmalade in the fridge.  There is just something about an orange-mustard combination with pork, that makes it a lively dish, the sweet marmalade and orange juice, with the zing of the mustard on top of thick-cut pork chops.  This dish also has Rosemary in it, and we had dried Rosemary from our herb pots last summer.

This dish is perfect for a weeknight supper or a company dinner, and comes together about 40 minutes. First the glaze ingredients are reduced to a syrupy wonder.  Then the chops are browned on the stove top and finished in the oven, topped with glaze , red onion, and Rosemary. Add a squeeze of lime juice for brightness, and that's it.  Our chops were tender, and topped with perfect balance of  tangy and sweet glaze, mmm! As you can see in the picture, I only cooked two chops, because there are just the two of us. However, I  made the full recipe of glaze and onion. I would double the glaze recipe, if I were cooking four chops, because we liked the glaze so much.  We'll be making this dish again for company.  If you have chops in the freezer, you can make this tonight.  If you don't, run out and buy some, unless you are snowed in and live in Atlanta!

 Orange-Mustard Glazed Pork Chops from Cooking Light
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 oranges)  I used Simply Orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 (6-ounce) bone-in pork loin chops (1 inch thick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1. Preheat oven to 425°

2. Combine juice, marmalade, and mustard in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until syrupy. *** I would double the glaze ingredients for four chops.

3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add to pan; cook 5 minutes or until browned. Turn pork; add rosemary and onion to pan. Pour juice mixture over pork; bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until a thermometer registers 140°. Place onion and rosemary on a platter. Return pan to medium-high heat; add lime juice. Cook 4 minutes or until liquid is syrupy. Add pork to platter; drizzle with sauce.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Flourless Peanut Butter & Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

When I saw these cookies on Kayle @The Cooking Actress's blog, the cookies called my name, and I knew that I had to make these ASAP, or at least in the coming week. These cookies have a short list of ingredients.  I had a jar of Nutella in the pantry, just begging to be used, and well, we always have a jar a peanut butter in the pantry. I didn't use the natural peanut butter, because I haven't gotten good results baking with it.  Whatever I have baked in the past with the natural PB, would just turn into a mound of crumbs. Therefore, i just used regular PB.  Of course, we have rolled oats, too, since I eat oatmeal for breakfast everyday. Besides the chewy, chocolaty cookies that are low in fat and sugar,  the best thing about these cookies to me, is that they are gluten free, no flour. 

Through a process of elimination, I have discovered that I have an intolerance to gluten. I just know that I feel better, when I eliminate gluten from my diet. Now, anytime that I feel like I need a little treat, I can have one of these cookies, and feel good about it.  I can eat regular oatmeal without any problems, but if you have bigger problems, you should use the gluten free rolled oats.  I have yet to take the leap to try the totally gluten free baking with the all of the various gluten free flours used in gluten free baking.   I know that I want to try gluten free baking soon with other flours.  Do you have any tips for successful gluten free baking?

This recipe yields about 13-16 cookies.  I tried making a few smaller ones, because I like small cookies, but even on the parchment paper lined cookie sheets, they spread together. So, if you make these, drop the cookies by a tablespoon, and the larger cookies baked better. These cookies are wonderful bites of chocolaty Nutella, chewy oatmeal, and  peanut butter in one cookie.  And they are gluten free, low in fat, and sugar. You can make these yummy cookies in about 20 minutes.  These would be perfect for your kids to make, when they want a snack.  Sometime those kiddos get impatient waiting for the cookies to be made and baked, so they can eat them, but not these.  They may even stick around to help clean up, just maybe:)  Enjoy!

Flourless Peanut Butter & Nutella Oatmeal Cookies from The Cooking Actress
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy, crunchy, ,homemade, store bought
  • 1/2 cup Nutella or other nut spread
  • 3/4 cup old fashioned/rolled oats
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large cookie sheet with cooking spray, parchment paper, or Silpat.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine the egg, brown sugar, milk, peanut butter, and Nutella until smooth.
  • Add in oats, baking soda, and salt.
  • Drop by heaping tablespoons onto prepared pan and bake 8-10 minutes, until set.
  • Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt, if desired. Cool on sheet 10-15 minutes, then move to a cooling rack. 
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Parmesan Cheese

Here in the Midwest we are having another Polar Vortex swooping in with more snow and brutally cold temps.  That means more comfort food. Meatloaf has always been comfort food for me.  One of the best things that my Mom made was meatloaf. (I was a picky eater as a kid).  Believe it or not, the first thing that my hubby and I had an argument about was how we made  meatloaf.  He made his meatloaf with bread and milk, and I had always made mine with tomato sauce and oatmeal, along with the ground meat, egg, and spices.  How do you make your meatloaf?

I made the meatloaf pictured above, which  is low sodium and low fat. Over the years, I have modified my recipe to be healthier. I used  ground turkey, egg, low sodium tomato sauce, oatmeal, and chopped onion. Then, I wanted to add a layer of chopped  mushrooms, and fresh spinach. My hubby grew up eating spinach from a can, so he never wanted fresh cooked spinach,  Now, he's converting to a fresh spinach lover, Yay!  I also used basil and, fresh herbs are better, but in the dead of winter I used the dried herbs.  The herbs, spinach and mushrooms  add so much flavor and color, and I added no salt. I accidentally didn't add all of the tomato sauce to the ground turkey mix, so I just poured the rest of the can over the top of the meatloaf, before I baked it.  We love this meatloaf which makes a wonderful dinner with green beans and a salad. My hubby takes meatloaf sandwiches for lunch, but have I have never liked meatloaf sandwiches. My Meatloaf has to be warm.

Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed with Mushroom, Spinach, and  Herbs
1 lb of ground turkey,  I used 93/7
1 egg
1 small onion, chopped
1 8 oz can low sodium tomato sauce
1/2-1 cup oatmeal, uncooked  I used rolled oats
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup fresh or frozen spinach, chopped  I used fresh spinach 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp, divided,  fresh basil, chopped or 1 tsp, dried
2 Tbsp divided, fresh oregano, chopped or 1 tsp dried

1. Combine ground turkey egg and onion in large bowl, and  1 tbsp of basil and oregano, and  mix until well combined. 
2. Add 6 oz tomato sauce until well mixed
3. Stir in oatmeal until desired consistency.
4. Pat half of meatloaf mixture into a 9 x 5 baking pan**, sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Add the layer chopped mushrooms to meatloaf in pan.
6. Layer chopped spinach on top of mushrooms. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on top of spinach.
7. Pat remaining meatloaf mix over the Parmesan cheese and pour remaining tomato sauce over the top of the meatloaf.
8. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour-1 hr 15 min, 165 degrees on the meat thermometer or until juices are clear.
9. Cool on rack for 10 min, before serving, Enjoy!

l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #102
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie


Monday, January 20, 2014

Homemade Kahlua Mini Brownie Bites

I received a bottle on homemade Kahlua from Kim@LivLife during the holidays.Thank you so much, Kim.  You are a wonderful friend. I have wanted to bake with it, but just didn't have time, until now.  That's not to say that I didn't have a little drink of the Kahlua,however, just sayin'.  It is so good, so smooth.  Back to my baking...

I'm really loving mini desserts, especially after the holidays, when we are all looking to cut calories, but still want a little sweet. I have previously made Nutella Brownie Bites, so I decided to make Kahlua Brownie Bites with the homemade Kahlua. I used my go to Fudgey Brownie Recipe, and just added some of the DIY Kahlua and melted chocolate chips. Instead of making them in my mini muffin pan, I made them in and 8x8 pan cut into squares, and then cut the squares diagonally. Then I made a Kahlua Glaze with powdered sugar and Almond milk. To finish them off, I made a Chocolate Kahlua Ganache.  These are little bites of heaven, with just the right mix of Kahlua and chocolate. Now, I'm sure that if you don't have any DIY Kahlua you could use the commercial brand with good results. These little brownie bites would be perfect finger food for your Super Bowl party.

Kahlua Mini Brownie Bites
Adapted from Better Home and Gardens
    • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 1/4 cup Kahlua
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2/3 cup brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • cooking spray .
  1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.
  2. Combine chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan; cook over medium low heat until chocolate melts, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in Kahlua and vanilla - set aside.
  3. Beat brown sugar and egg in a large bowl until well blended. Add the chocolate mixture and beat well. then add the remaining dry ingredients. Coat an 8 in square baking pan with spray and pour batter in pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan on rack. 
  6. Glaze brownies with Kahlua Glaze
  7. Spatter Chocolate Kahlua Ganache over the Kahlua Glaze on brownies. Let Ganache set,
  8. Cut brownies into 9 squares. Cut each square diagonally.  Yields 18 mini pieces.
Kahlua Glaze
3/4 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp Kahlua

Mix above ingredients until desired consistency.  Using a teaspoon, drop glaze onto cooled brownies in desired pattern.

Chocolate Kahlua Ganache
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp Kahlua

Melt chocolate chips in almond milk over low heat on stove stirring to combine or microwave in 15 sec. increments until melted.  Stir until combined.  Stir in Kahlua, until desired consistency.  Spatter Ganache over the Kahlua glaze into no particular pattern.  Use your imagination.   Cut Brownies into squares, when glaze and ganache are set.  Cut squares diagonally.  Enjoy.  Store in covered container for about one week, if you have any left.

Bailey's birthday was over the weekend, 9 years old, so I baked  her Doggie Birthday Cake with all of her favorite foods, peanut butter, banana, and appleYes, she loves apples.  Her cake had no sugar or honey, just flour, 1 egg, the above ingredients, and a little water.  She loved it, of course. She still doesn't know what to think of candles lol. You can get the recipe here. I added one half grated apple to the recipe.  Wish Bailey a Happy Birthday!


l linked up my recipe to Brandie@The Country Cook's Weekend Potluck #102
 Stop by and say Hi to Brandie


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