Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Teachin' Ya Tuesdays - Meat Cuts

I have had several people ask me about how to choose the best roast for their holiday "Roast Beast" needs.

Well, here are two websites that can be very helpful in selection and preparation of different cuts of meat. Both are from industry groups, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but in this case it helps to get good explanations of what to look for and how to get the most out of each different cut.
Pork - Selection and Preparation
Beef - Selection and Preparation
And what am I roasting for Christmas dinner? Don't know - there are some good sales on different cuts this week - but I am actually considering cheating and grabbing something pre-made at Whole Foods for The Hub and I to enjoy on Christmas night. (I am cooking up a storm for Christmas day brunch though!) Christmas Eve will be mexican food, I think.
Happy Roasting, whatever you choose!

Tasty and Quick Chicken Tenders

All of the hustle and bustle of the holiday season has Keri a little pooped out, to be honest. Last night I knew I had chicken tenders thawed in the fridge, so I pulled them out and let them marinade in some Ken's Northern Italian Lite dressing while I shrugged off the uniform of the day and slid on swishy pants and a cozy sweatshirt. (Ok, and maybe made a nice big dirty martini for The Hub and myself too.)
Then I wrapped each tender in a half a piece of prosciutto (cut lengthwise) and baked on a rack at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

On to the plate it went with a mix of medium diced potato and broccoli, steamed in the microwave with a pat of Olivio and generously sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cookie Exchange Cheese Dip

I've had a few ladies who attended ask me how I made the crock-pot cheese dip that I brought to the cookie exchange. It is almost as sadly simple as the cookies I took, and not from a dip recipe or anything. I knew I wanted to do something different than the (always delicious, btw) Ro*tel/cheese type dip with tortilla chips (mostly because I thought it would be done by others, and it was.. it was actually a very cheesy CE, much to my extreme delight!)
So I whipped up a double batch of this cheese sauce and poured it into the crock pot. Then I added:
-1 bunch scallions, white and green sections, diced
-2 diced Roma tomatoes
-1 Tablespoon of prepared refrigerated horseradish

I stirred it all up and let it stay nice and warm in the crock pot, and served with Triscuts. My inspiration was all those delicious cheese balls and spreads you find around the holidays, with port or horseradish or other wonderful things mixed in - they always call for a hearty cracker, and they ALWAYS call for Keri to have another shmear on said crackers.

Anyway, the dip turned out well, and held really well in the crock pot for the hours of the party.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cookie Exchange ..

Behold my mad cookie prowess!!
Ok, so not really. Not at all. Here is my magic recipe for these:

1. Proceed to supermarket of your choice.
2. Purchase Pilsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough log, Betty Croker Vanilla Frosting, 1 package candy canes and pre-heat oven
3. roll dough into tiny balls (heh heh.. Keri's tiny balls) and bake as directed on package.
4. While those bake, unwrap the candy canes, put them in a zip-loc, and smack the crap out of them with the flat side of your meat mallet
5. frost cookies in sloppy manner and sprinkle on smashed candy canes..

Ahhh, Baking With Keri.. so fancy and complicated. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prosciutto-wrapped Chicken Breasts with Sauteed Chard

The recipe for this chicken came from Real Simple Magazine. I doctored it a little bit, but I am sure it would be fabulous if the recipe was followed exactly as well.

So I laid the prosciutto out on the cutting board and sprinkled with dried Oregano, as the recipe said (ok, so I didn't really measure - you know me):
And I wrapped it around a b/s chicken breast:
I heated the oil in the pan, but went ahead had just used pre-minced garlic, being careful not to let it burn in the oil:
Everybody in to the pool:
and flipped as soon as bottom got some color:
Again, I differ from the recipe in all the usual places - I just browned each side of the chicken and then put it on a sprayed broiler pan and finished at 400 degrees (about 15 minutes). I almost always finish things off in the oven:Meanwhile, back at the pan, something familiar was happening with Olivio added to the pan drippings:and and equal amount of flour (if you don't know where I am going with this by now, I don't know what to say - I am getting very predictable lately):
EXCEPT, check this out - I am adding 1/3 cup Vermouth to that Roux and stirring like heck to blend!

And THEN I added 3/4 cup milk and made with the stirring again, over high heat, until it thickened:

and finally, off the heat I added in 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese (my favorite!) and stirred it until it melted in:Then I packed all of that up along with a bag of Chard (stems removed, torn into pieces) and some roasted baby Yukon Gold Potatoes, and away I went for a field trip version of the No Boys Allowed Supper Club (NBASC) - seen here with Harper (hanging on the table), her mommy Terresa, and the lovely hostess Kristin:

The Chard got sauteed in a hot skillet with a clove of minced garlic until it wilted (like 5 minutes) and everything got warmed through and then, Tah-daa! On to the plate so we could dig in - as seen at the top of the post. Yum!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Chicken Fingers, and proof that I OWN the Roux!

Oh look, Keri breaded stuff to put in the oven again - what a huge shock. NOT! Anyway, I did indeed bread up some chicken breast tenders so that The Hub could indulge in some Chicken Fingers and we could have a quick and easy dinner. I did it using the same breading method I did here except I just used plain milk for the wet dip, and I seasoned the crumbs with a generous amount of Cayenne pepper, a bit of Garlic Powder and Salt and nothing else. Then on to the roasting rack they went and into the 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes: (actually it was more like 17 minutes, just to be exact.)
Meanwhile, I had some leftover chopped Cauliflower, and to it I added some Broccoli florets (The Hub only likes the "tree looking" part. Serious.)
Into a microwave-safe covered dish these all went, along with a teaspoon of water. After I finished making the cheese sauce and about 5 minutes before I was ready to serve dinner, they got microwaved for 3 minutes, stirred, and microwaved another minute - then I just kept them closed so the steam kept at 'em until I was ready to put them on the plate.
And because The Hub isn't hugely keen on veggies in large amounts, and (let's be honest here) because I can, I whipped up a quick little sauce for the veggies. I melted two teaspoons of "won't hurt your Hub's cholesterol" Olivio Spread in a sauce pan:
And added two heaping teaspoons of flour to the melted spread, whisking it together:
except that I am so money at making a Roux now that I don't need a fancy whisk - I just used a fork, yo:
Then in went a cup of skim milk that had been warmed in the microwave for a minute and it cooked over high heat while I kept up with the fork/whisking until it reached "nape" consistency - it's French, so you pronounce that last "e" - meaning it will coat the back of a spoon and not slide off, and when you draw a line through it, that line won't close back up, like this:
Then off the heat I added in 3/4 cup shredded 2% cheddar cheese:
... and stirred it :
.. until it was smooth liquid cheese perfection:
This really takes no time at all now people.. It is almost a crime how easily it comes to me, considering how I struggled with it in school... Poor 19 year old Keri with her broke-ass Roux... and underage, so she couldn't even drink away her failures. At least not in public. BUT I DIGRESS!
So the Chicken is done, crispy and yummy out of the oven after 17 minutes:
Nothing left to do now but get it all on a plate while it is good and hot, complete a cheesy drizzle of deliciousness for those perfectly steamed veggies, as seen on my plate at the beginning of the post.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Teachin Ya Tuesdays -Cooking With Keri 101

It's a new feature here on ED&BK, "Teachin' Ya Tuesdays" will be dedicated to helpful little lessons that you can use in the kitchen. The first one is a whopper - a rundown of my first crack at playing teacher for a cooking class! (STOP LAUGHING!)
Last night was Cooking With Keri, 101, at The TreeHouse, and here I am with my fabulous students (minus lovely Mic, who graciously played photographer):
I am the first to admit that my outline was, um, a little lofty for one class, so I am going to include the outline here and expand on a few things, as well as fill in the blanks on things we didn't really talk about.

The Outline (as best as I could format it I will keep working on it):

Cooking with Keri
Cooking 101

1. Meis en Place
i. Onions, Shallots, and other things that make you cry (don’t forget that we kept the root end on the onion for easier chopping)
1. Garlic, and why I don’t even bother!
ii. Fancy French tomatoes!
iii. Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin – round veggies
iv. Size matters – cooking times
v. Chehper Chicken – creating pockets and butterflying
B. What else?
i. Ingredient measuring and prep
ii. Seasoning – you need more than you think (we didn’t really touch on this , but seasoning usually requires being more heavy handed then you think – also, preseasoning can be an important way to add flavor)
iii. Timing is everything – have a timeline (and plan to hold ) (refer to the sauces sheet – you can hold things warm in a low – 200 degrees or so – oven when needed, or tent with foil. Also, chop things an appropriate size to keep cooking times close so things come out at the same time)
iv. What’s your problem!? (No really – what prep questions do you have?)
2. Easy Cooking Techniques
A. Saute
i. That brown stuff is flavor! (now this one we did – remember that baking soda sprinkled in your flour can help things brown, and I would aim for a bit more color than we went for when cooking our chicken. See this chicken post for an example)
ii. That black stuff is NOT! (oven finishing – it’s your friend) (this is why I finish food in the oven, so it doesn’t burn on the outside while staying undercooked on the inside!)
B. Grilling – my dirty little secret (Grilling makes everything taste better.. we seriously grill frozen pizza around our house!)
i. (see “size matters” – it really does here!)
C. Oven frying
D. Roasting
– the better one pot meal (this is what we did with the veggies that we put the chicken on top of)
i. Breading method (remember I said that when I do bread, sometimes I don't bother with a wet step, which I do use in this post for my stuffed pork chops)
E. Moist cooking methods
i. The crock pot is a penny pincher’s dream (we didn’t get to this at all, but the crock pot is my favorite moist cooking method.. another class, perhaps..)
ii. Steaming veggies (I do it in a covered glass container with a tablespoon of water (at most) in the microwave)
3. Sauces
A. Thickening – the Roux/Slurry debate (this is the part where Keri confesses to having snuck cornstarch in to thicken things during culinary school before her rouxs would work) – bottom line, use what works for you.
i. For a Corn Starch slurry, use equal parts CS and COLD water, blend together and add to HOT (I like it to be boiling) liquid you wish to thicken, a little at a time, whisking and checking for consistency
ii. For a Roux, use equal parts melted or liquid fat and flour, and remember to “cook out” the roux for a few minutes at least (if you want a “blonde” or “light” roux) to get rid of the floury flavor. – then add warm or hot liquid (cold is MUCH harder to incorporate), one ladleful at a time at first, to the roux pan and whisk, adding until all liquid is mixed in, and then heat to finish thickening. You need about 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon fat to thicken 1 and ¼ cup liquid.
B. The pan sauce (I told you that brown stuff was flavor!)
i. Deglazing – choose your liquid wisely (I used Vermouth to deglaze our chicken pan in class, and then reduced it and added salt and pepper. Some other ideas were included in the sauce ideas handout )
1. A mention of “tomato product” some cooks like to deglaze with “tomato product” when cooking with dark meats (beef, game meats, etc) – this could be a tablespoon of tomato paste and a bit of water or broth, or even tomato juice mixed with broth. The acidity can add a nice complexity to the finished sauce, making it rich and deep in the background.
2. What else do I do?
a. Add ins – making it your own (herbs, in any form, are your friend.. play around with them or try the suggestions on the sauces handout)
b. Finishing, texture, seasoning (don’t forget to taste and correct seasoning!!) If a sauce looks dull in appearance or not complex enough in flavor, finish by swirling in a pat of butter (or veggie spread product if you prefer) or good olive oil off of the heat – it will add sheen and depth to your sauce.
C. Cream sauces
i. The magic of liquid cheese (what more is there, really?) You were there, you saw the magic. I can make liquid cheese where none existed before.
3. Make it look pretty
A. Presentation – clean edges, dirty mind; pile it up; saucy plate = pretty meal, etc. Little things can make a big difference – we eat with our eyes first, so consider presentation. It can be little things, like making a small pool of your sauce on the plate and placing your protein on top of that, or piling your starch in the center of the plate, placing veggies around, and crowning the whole thing with your protein and a drizzle of sauce. Don’t just plop it on the plate, get creative! And before you present your creation, for goodness sakes wipe any crumbs, sauce drips, etc, off from around the edges of the plate!

Thus endth the Outline.

(and begineth the Sauces Handout)

Pan Sauce Possibilities:
Chicken/Fish/Light Sauces
Vermouth Citrus – remove protein and hold warm, add ½ minced shallot to pan and saute until translucent; deglaze pan (off heat) with ½ cup Vermouth, add the zest and juice of one half lemon or Orange, reduce to desired consistency over med-high heat, taste and season. Return Protein to pan and turn to coat in sauce
Dijon Lemon – remove protein from pan and hold warm, deglaze pan with juice of 1 lemon; stir in ½ teaspoon Dijon and 1 teaspoon dried dill. Heat through and drizzle over protein
Keri’s Cheatin’ Sauce Supreme- remove protein from pan and hold warm, add 1 tablespoon flour and butter/fat as needed until fat in pan is equal to flour, cook roux 2-3 minutes,; deglaze pan with ¾ cup milk (this will incorporate easily if you have heated it prior to adding – if not at least make sure it isn’t straight out of the fridge) and stir over heat until sauce thickens – season to taste. Also tasty with some sauteed mushrooms sliced into sauce. Serve over protein.

Beef/ Lamb/Dark Sauces
Keri’s Cheatin’ Sauce Madeira – remove protein from pan and hold warm, deglaze pan with ¾ cup water or beef broth/stock over high heat. Reduce liquid by half, then add 2-4 ounces Madeira and allow to reduce to desired consistency. Stir in 1 tablespoon cold butter and adjust seasoning before returning protein to pan or spooning sauce over protein.
Mushroom Sauce – remove protein from pan and hold warm. Add to pan 1 cup of sliced mushrooms and 1 diced shallot. Cook until mushrooms release liquid (scraping bits off bottom of pan as you go) and shallot is translucent. Add to pan 1 cup beef broth or red wine THAT YOU ENJOY (the flavor will concentrate) along with ½ teaspoon dried Thyme, and reduce over med-high heat to desired consistency – thicken with a slurry of equal parts corn starch and cold water if desired. Spoon sauce and mushrooms over protein.
Keri’s Cheatin' Sauce Chasseur – A variation on the Mushroom sauce but a bit more complex. Remove beef (really best to do this one with beef) from pan and hold warm. Cook out 1 tablespoon tomato paste in pan for 1-2 minutes, then add 1 diced shallot, 1 cup sliced mushrooms, ½ clove minced garlic, 1 cup beef broth, 1/8 cup white wine, 1/8 cup brandy, ½ teaspoon dried Parsley, and ¼ teaspoon dried Tarragon and reduce to 1/2-1/3 original volume (desired consistency.) Finish sauce with 1-2 teaspoons of butter and salt and pepper to taste. This is a perfect WOW sauce to serve with a roast (brown the roast before cooking in oven or crockpot and use browning pan to make sauce – it can be held and reheated, add butter just before serving)

Béchamel Sauce and Varieties
Basic Béchamel - Heat (but don’t boil) 1 Quart milk and hold hot
In 2 quart stock pan melt 6 teaspoons butter
Add 6 teaspoons flour and whisk until combined with butter and cook 2-4 minutes until Roux starts to turn slightly tan, then add hot milk 1 cup at a time and whisk until combined – whisk over heat until sauce thickens.
Keri’s Beloved Cheese sauce - Stir 4-6 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese and dash of Louisiana hot sauce into prepared Béchamel off of heat – serve over anything, and EVERYTHING.
Mornay Sauce -
Stir 1-2 cups of grated Gruyere cheese and 1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg into prepared Béchamel off of heat. (This classic French sauce is AMAZING for making a grown up Mac and cheese)
Mustard Sauce -Stir 2-3 teaspoons of prepared mustard (which ever you like) in to prepared Béchamel sauce off heat – add dill or thyme if desired.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Stolen Moment: It's a blog-aversary giveaway!

Ellie over at Vintage Victuals is putting love, care, and occasionally a new spin, into her favorite cherished family recipes - as well as sharing some new ones with her readers too. She is celebrating her "blog-aversary" with a great giveaway too. So check out her blog and prepare to be inspired!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Herb rubbed pork chops and "twice baked" potatoes

I love everything about twice baked potatoes. Everything EXCEPT the process of actually making them. All that scraping and refilling of the potato-y centers, it is just too much for me.
So I cheated last night and boiled 2 medium diced potatoes until they were just tender and flaky, then drained and smashed in the hot pot with a fork until they were smashed, but not totally smooth. Then I added two tablespoons of light sour cream, 1/4 cup 2% milk shredded cheddar, 1 tablespoon of Olivio spread, and 1/4 cup fat free milk. I stirred the ingredients together and divided into two medium ramekins, sprinkling 1/2 an additional tablespoon of the cheddar
over each of the ramekins and adding some diced scallions to mine (no onions for The Hub.)
I placed the potatoes under the broiler just long enough to make the cheese on top slightly brown and crusty.
This got served along side boneless loin pork chops, which I pulled out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking and rubbed each side with this rub:
1 teaspoon oil mixed with 1 tablespoon cumin, 1/2 tablespoon thyme, 1/2 tablespoon parsley flakes, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper (mixed until it forms a paste and divided between two thin chops)
I let that sit while I tended to the boiling potatoes, and then cooked the chops off for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven on a flat roasting rack.
The chops sat loosely covered with foil letting the juices redistribute while I broiled the potatoes before serving.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seasoned petite sirloin with steamed basil veggies

Ahhhh, beef. It's what's for dinner. A few weeks ago Albertsons had petite sirloin steak packages buy 1 get 2 free, so I have a fair amount in the freezer at the moment. Here I have cut one steak in half and rubbed the juice of one lime, along with a generous sprinkling of garlic powder and parsley flakes into all sides of the pieces:
I left that to marinade on the counter for about 30 minutes while I changed out of my office attire and prepped the veggies. Using a peeler, I made ribbons out of two small zucchinis:
Then I added in a couple handfuls of frozen corn (The Hub LOVES corn, but not so much Zuchini, so this is my way of getting him to eat the squash - I mix it together,) a palmful (about a Tablespoon) of freeze-dried basil, and a teaspoon of Olivo (good for your cholesterol butter substitute):
I set the veggies aside while I seared the steaks in a hot skillet on each side (in picture below,) and then transferred them to a 450 degree oven to finish cooking (The Hub's to medium rare, and mine to rare, respectively.)
While the steaks finish in the oven, I deglazed the pan I seared them in with 1/3 cup Vermouth:
I let this liquid reduce by half over medium heat and then swirled in a teaspoon of Olivo.
When the steaks were done cooking, I let them rest while I cooked the veggies in the microwave, covered for 2 minutes. The steaks got a drizzle of the pan sauce before hitting the table. Mmmm. Red Meat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Asian flavor inspired pork salad

Yesterday morning I took 3 of the scrawniest little boneless pork loin chops I had ever seen and tossed them into a zip-top bag. (Seriously, they came in a family pack with normal-sized chops, but they snuck some real runts in there!)
To the bag I added 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
I smooshed everything around in the closed baggie, mixing it together and distributing it evenly around the chops. Then I set it in a baking dish in the fridge and went off to work.

When I got home I cranked the broiler on high and let it heat up, put the chops on a cooking-spray coated flat rack in a baking pan, put the pan in the oven and switched the temp from broil hi to 450, and cooked them in that nice hot oven for about 20 minutes. they were crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and they had amazing flavor!

As they cooked I tossed together a simple salad with lettuce, carrots, and green peppers, giving the whole thing a shake with Newman's Own Lighten Up Sesame Ginger Dressing.

I cut the chops into bite-sized pieces so I could pile the pork on top of the salad. The Hub said the pork was really good, and then actually asked me "what did you do to make the pork so good?"

Good and Good For You, my friend...
Good AND Good For You.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quick and Lighter Roasted Chicken and Veggies

I feel compelled to tell you that my first final EVER in culinary school (before I added "drop out" to those words, natch) was roast chicken.
We drew our final meals out of a hat, and I got super lucky. What could be easier than Roast Chicken, right? It is still one of my favorite easy "wow" meals to make for guests.

I got a B. Some day I will tell you the story of why, but now is not that time.
Roasting a whole chicken is easy peasey and perfect for a family or a dinner party, but kind of "too much" for just me and The Hub on a Sunday evening, so I improvise a smaller version using b/s chicken breast and veggies (in this case I used just ONE of those freakishly giant chicken breasts I had in the freezer - but two normal sized b/s breasts would be great.)
To start, I mix 1/2 teaspoon Thyme, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt into 1/4 cup flour and 2 teaspoons corn starch (corn starch really REALLY helps things get good color in the pan, trust me):
Then I coat the chicken breast, which I have cut into chunks that are two or three bites each, in the mixture:
I heat a NON COATED (non-stick pans just don't brown as well, sorry) pan coated in cooking spray over medium heat on the stove until I can feel the heat when I hold my hand open about 1/2 inch over the pan's cooking surface, and I brown all sides of the chicken giving it plenty of room for each piece - do two batches if needed:
I just brown each side, I don't cook through. Then I lay the chicken on top of some small diced potatoes and carrots sprayed with cooking spray in a roasting pan, and pop them into the oven to cook at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the veggies reach desired tenderness (the chicken holds moisture since you browned it, locking in the juices, so you are ok to do this.

While that is cooking, I drain the fat out of the pan I browned the chicken in, add 1 tablespoon of Olivo (since The Hub has that high cholesterol situation) and melt it down... then I add 1 tablespoon (same amount as the fat, or fake fat in this case, notice the proportion for a roux folks,) of flour to the melted Olivo and whisk it together to form a sort of Roux (because I can now, m'kay?)
It looks a little different than a normal Roux, shiny and almost broken like this:
It is ok, it will still work. Cook that out for 2 minutes or so over medium heat stirring it so it loses the weird flour flavor and starts to loosen the pan crud left from the chicken and then pour in 1 cup liquid (I used water mixed with just a scant 1/8 teaspoon of chicken bullion sprinkles) into the pan and really scrape with a metal utensil to lift the chicken bits and incorporate the Roux.. stir and stir over the heat until it looks like this:

Then, if you are my family, you are done... if you are married to a picky guy like The Hub, strain to take out the bits that came up from the pan, like this:
Then, when the veggies are tender, pull everything out of the oven:
Assemble on a plate by making a pile of the veggies, placing some chicken pieces on top, and ladling the pan gravy over the top of the chicken so it drips down onto the veggies, like the pic at the top of the post. Oh. Yeah.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Chop 2 cooked chicken breasts into small pieces. Add 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese shreds, 1/2 block of neufchatel cheese (softened) and 1/2 can of Enchilada sauce. Stir ingredients together and add 1/4 teaspoon-1 teaspoon adobo paste (optional, for spicy heat) to mixture and spread into two burrito-sized whole grain tortillas, roll around filling and place in baking dish. Pour remaining Enchilada sauce over burritos and sprinkle with 1/4 cup reduced fat cheddar cheese shreds and bake in 350 degree oven until sauce and cheese bubble.

mmmm.. creamy but spicy. So good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Last Days of Gourmet

Back when the term "Drop out" was not yet associated with my Culinary School experience, and I was just a lowly culinary student toiling away in the kitchen, I loved Gourmet Magazine with a passion. The day it arrived in the mailbox of my sketchy little studio apartment was like a mini version of Christmas each month.

Alas, Gourmet is no more.
Here, one member of the Gourmet team says good-bye to the spaces and the people that have become his home during 8 years of work at the Magazine.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Giveaway on DiD!

Cooking is great, but sometimes we need a night off, eh? Checkout the Weekender post over at Deals In Denver this week to enter for a chance to win a GC to fabulous LaLa's Pizzeria and Wine Bar, and leave the (very delicious) cooking to someone else.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Laughing Cow Pork Chops

The Hub loves good old "meat and potatoes" type dishes.
Ya know what, actually, I do too. A LOT.
So this whole "high cholesterol" situation for him, coupled with my desire to maintain a reasonable weight and and diet that is at least "more-healthy-than-not" means that I have to get a little creative to keep us happy AND healthy at dinnertime.
Behold, the lighter stuffed pork chop.

I start with fairly thin (and regularly on sale for a great price) boneless pork loin chops:
Using a sharp, thin knife, I create a pocket in the center of the chop. Holding it flat with your hand and carefully slicing deeper and deeper into the chop, working slowly out to (but not breaking through) the edges of the chop:
Pretty, eh?

Then, I use one wedge of Laughing Cow Light spreadable cheese for each chop, and spread it around, covering the entire pocket:

Mies en Place Moment, I mix one egg white with two tablespoons of skim milk and a generous dash of Tabasco (ok, for us, a few generous dashes... you choose for yourself.)

Also, 1-1 and 1/2 cups of bread crumbs (I made these using the ends of whole grain loaves we have had over the past weeks - I stored the ends in the freezer until I built up a nice stash and then dried them in the oven and pulsed them in my beloved Food Processor,) with 1 teaspoon of Beau Monde seasoning, 1 teaspoon of Thyme, and 3/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper:

Then each chop gets dipped in the wet mixture, and the excess shaken off:

Then Coated in the dry mixture, patting the crumbs in to ensure a nice coating. First one side:

Then the other side:

Then both chops hunker down on a cooking-spray coated flat roasting rack, which lets the air flow all the way around each chop to create a crispy crust, and they cook for 25-30 minutes in a 400 degree oven:

Let them rest a few minutes on the rack when they come out of the oven and then plate them up! The center will be all ooooey-goooey, the outside crispy, and the meat nice and moist. Yum!

We enjoyed ours with some mashed potatoes with extra lean turkey bacon and 2% cheddar mixed in. The crunchy coating and cheesy centers mean that The Hub pays no mind to me using the thin chops (portion control, anyone?) Laughing Cow Light has only 35 calories a wedge, and is so creamy to begin with that you don't have to worry about it melting funky like some low cal cheese products. Finally, using the flat roasting rack allows the chops to get crispy, almost like a fried chop, but without all the grease - if the chops aren't getting the brown color you would like while baking, a LIGHT spray with cooking spray can help.

Now THAT is meat and potatoes done right!