Monday, December 26, 2011

Ham Stock

One of my favorite parts about having a ham for the holidays isn't the ham itself, but using the bone for stock. Ham stock is very rich and flavorful, and adds a smokey-salty element to soups, stews, and other recipes. It's perfect for soups like:

Kale and Potato
Black Bean

Carve off as much meat from the ham bone as possible. Put the bone in a large stock pot with:
1 onion, rough chopped
1 stalk celery, rough chopped with leafy tops if available
1 carrot, rough chopped
10 peppercorns
2 bay leafs
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp pickling spice

Bring to a boil and reduce to low heat. Let simmer about 8 hours until the bone is clean. Pour through a strainer lined with paper towels and refrigerate. Once cooled, skim off any fat that collects on the top. Freeze or use immediately for soup.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick Christmasy Pasta

I whipped this up for my family on short notice and hardly ANY effort. Its a meal you can feel good about with healthy carbs, lean meat, and some veggies. Start to finish, it was done in less than 30 minutes.
1-1 1/2 lbs seasoned chicken breast (I use MDP's Seasoning before I freeze)
3 bell peppers
1 TBSP olive oil
salt and pepper
8-10 oz dried pasta (shown is a mix of vermicelli and angel hair leftovers)
2 TBSP jarred pesto sauce
1/2 cup half and half, milk, or cream
shredded/shaved Parmesan

Preheat grill and cook chicken until slightly charred and cooked through.

Slice peppers into strips and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Pour onto roasting pan and broil about 10-15 minutes, turning once they get charred spots.

Prepare pasta according to package directions. I used my awesome Tupperware Microwave Pasta Maker, which took about 9 minutes for al dente and was done in this one device (less dishes!!!).

In a small saucepan, heat pesto sauce and milk or cream until it just starts to bubble, stirring frequently.

In the bowl you tossed peppers in, toss pasta, peppers, and pesto sauce. Slice chicken and arrange over pasta sprinkled with grated Parmesan and red pepper flakes if you like it spicy.

** Just as a side note, roasted peppers are great in all kinds of dishes and snacks. You may want to make double and save some for later **

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick Stuffed Pork Chop Casserole

This is one of my family's favorite way to have pork chops and so easy that you (or your teen) can whip it up in no time.

1 pound boneless pork chops (I prefer extra-thin sliced for this)
1 can cream of mushroom or celery
1/4 cup milk
1 box instant stuffing mix (like Stove-Top)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a glass baking dish with cooking spray and lay chops on the bottom. Do not overlap.

Mix milk and cream soup and pour over chops. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Spread over the chops and soup.

Bake about 40 minutes-1 hour (depending on how thick the chops are). Soup should bubble while cooking and stuffing should be crunchy on top when casserole is done.

Serve along with steamed veggies or salads.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Egg and Tortilla Bake

8 corn tortillas, cut in half and then into strips (the opposite way)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups shredded cheddar or Colby jack cheese
12 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 TBSP taco sauce
1 packet ranch seasoning
dash hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 13X8" glass baking dish with cooking spray and spread tortillas  strips across the bottom. Layer chopped onion, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, milk, taco sauce, ranch seasoning and hot sauce. Pour egg mixture over the pan and bake for 40 minutes until the top is browned and set in the middle.

Set with sour cream, hot sauce, and/or jalapeno rings.