22 February, 2012

Photogenic Grilled Pork Chops

If there is one thing I have learned about photography during my blogging experience it is that meat dishes do not photograph well. Veggies are bright and colorful and have great texture. Meat usually comes out looking like a big lump of darkness. Until now. Enter the grilled pork chop.

Oh yeah. Beautiful. And they were that good. Juicy and flavorful and SO SIMPLE. And a welcome change from ground beef and chicken. They even made me do the food dance.

Grilled Pork Chops
2 thin center cut pork chops*
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 pinches of salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary**

Combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt and rosemary in a bowl. Pour over pork chops and marinate for about one or two hours. Put pork chops on high heat grill (400 degrees) for about 3 minutes on each side. Remove from direct heat and let sit for about 3-5 minutes. Serve.

*Pork chops with the bone are MUCH jucier than boneless. If you use thick cut make sure to adjust cooking time to about 20 minutes. ** The rosemary was amazing but if you don't have it or don't like it replace with either basil or oregano.

09 February, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

I love bell peppers.
I love them in all colors, shapes and sizes.
(I also love the shadows in this picture which is why I super sized it.)

Peppers are so versatile and can turn a boring plate into a colorful creation. They can also serve as the main dish. I am a true sucker for any kind of stuffed pepper but rarely find recipes that I enjoy. I recently tried a recipe from Real Simple magazine that after a tiny bit of tweaking (replaced rice with quinoa and added more spices) I consider it a keeper. I think this dish makes an impressive presentation but don't be afraid to cut it open and let the goodness escape. Do not try to keep it all in tact while eating.

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers from Real Simple February 2012
(tweaked by SP)
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground beef
1 cup frozen corn
1 4.5 can chopped green chilies
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup cheese (your choice)
3 large bell peppers, halved lenghwise, ribs and seeds removed

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat and cook ground beef for a couple minutes. Add onion and cook until beef is no longer pink. Stir in corn, chilies, and spices. Remove from heat and add quinoa and 3/4 cup cheese. Stuff the beef mixture into the peppers and lay cut side up in a baking dish. Add 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil, top with remaining cheese and bake until browned. Top with sour cream (or greek yogurt), salsa and avocado.

01 February, 2012

Crunchy Chicken Salad

I love chicken salad. I don't make it often. I usually wait to stumble across it on a deli menu and then I am highly disappointed in the overly mayo, celery lacking excuse for a chicken salad being served. Oh yeah. I like mine crunchy with big chunks of chicken and only slightly moist. No offense to the chicken salad my Grandmother used to make in which you couldn't identify the chicken, there was little crunch and it was very moist. I liked that one as well but this is more of a grown up chicken salad. When I asked my husband to taste test the salad his comment was "it is good but it could use a little more mayo". Yep, if my Grandmother were still alive she would likely have agreed. And I also think she would like this man I chose to spend the rest of my life with. He definitely would have liked her chicken salad.

Crunchy Chicken Salad
-Makes 4-5 wraps or sandwiches
2 chicken breasts, poached*
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup of walnuts, chopped
2 big spoonfuls of mayo
2 big spoonfuls of Greek yogurt
1 tbsp of champagne vinegar (or white vinegar)
salt and pepper to taste

*Instead of the normal way I cook chicken for recipes I tried poaching and am in love with the results. It's so easy to do and the chicken is not dried out like it is when I put it in the oven. Also, you are left with about 4 cups of chicken broth that you can use in another recipe. It's a win/win situation for me. Give it a try! I used these instructions on Cookography to learn  how to poach a chicken breast.