22 January 2013

Menu Tuesday

Yesterday I enjoyed my first time EVER having MLK Day as a work holiday.  It was glorious.  I laid in bed until 10. I did absolutely nothing.  I had wine before 3 o'clock. All good things.

Last week's menu items were, for the most part, kind of blah.  Nothing bad per se, but only one recipe I would ever make again.  

I was excited for this one because who doesn't love tomato basil parmesan soup?! But it was a HUGE disappointment.  It tasted fine.  But the carrots and celery really took away from the taste of the tomatoes.  It tasted less like tomato soup than it did a soup that might have had some tomatoes in it.  And I went against my instinct and added all the fresh basil to the crockpot at the beginning of the cook time. Huge mistake. You would've never know there was basil in this soup because it was cooked to death.  I'll stick with Jenny's recipe for tomato basil soup, thanks.

Crock Pot Picadillo {Skinnytaste}
Again, a recipe I had high hopes for and ended up being totally underwhelmed.  I can get behind any dish that involves a slow cooker and olives and from Gina's description, I was expecting this to be super flavorful.  Nope. Kinda tasted like bland Sloppy Joe's.  I am planning to try the follow-up recipe she posted for picadillo stuffed peppers.  I figure we have the leftovers anyways and with enough melted cheese on top, anything is salvageable. Right?

I went through a weird phase last week when I really did not feel like cooking anything.  So I just had Campbell's Chicken and Stars soup.  Not all that great to eat if you're not 3 years old or sick, but I was feeling lazy so it worked.

Oven Chicken Risotto {Southern Living March 2010}
And yet another recipe that I wanted to love and didn't.  The chicken was gilding the lily; it really wasn't necessary.  I LOVED the oven method.  I adore risotto, but weeknights are not the time for me to stand over the stove stirring for a half-hour.  My plan for the future is to use this oven technique to cook the rice, and use it in this Cooking Light recipe that is AMAZING AND THE BEST RISOTTO EVER.  

This was basically like butternut squash flavored water.  When I think butternut squash soup, I think thick and rich and flavorful.  This was thin and watery and bland.  My quest for the perfect butternut squash soup recipe continues.  Do you have a good one?

Clean out the fridge frittata!  I just threw in what we had and needed to get rid of {in this case, broccoli, a red pepper, and some feta cheese}, added in 4 eggs and a splash of milk, and baked it for 40ish minutes.

Cider-Glazed Pork Chops with Creamy Cheese Grits {Foodie Wife and Southern Living January 2006} 
Our one bright spot in last week's horrific line-up.  This was a winner!  The cheese grits recipe is the one I use for any dish that calls for cheese grits.  It's the BEST.  And I'm a girl who knows grits.

My only caveat to this meal is that I found the directions in Foodie Wife's recipe for the chops to be kind of confusing.  Here's how I interpreted them:

  • ½ cup distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops , 5 to 7 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Combine all glaze ingredients in medium bowl; mix thoroughly and set aside.
2. Trim the chops by slashing through the fat and silver skin with sharp knife, making 2 cuts about 2 inches apart in each chop {do not cut into meat of chops}. Pat chops dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until smoking. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn chops and cook 1-2 minutes longer; transfer chops to plate and pour off any oil in skillet. 
4. Add the glaze mixture, the chops, and any accumulated juices to the skillet.  Cook over medium heat until center of chops registers 140 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; transfer chops to clean platter, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. The ideal temperature should be 155F once the meat has rested, as it continues to cook.
5. Simmer the glaze mixture, whisking constantly, until glaze is thick and color of dark caramel {heatproof spatula should leave wide trail when dragged through glaze}, 2 to 6 minutes.
6. Return chops to skillet; turn to coat both sides with glaze. Transfer chops back to platter, browned side up, and spread remaining glaze over chops. Serve immediately.

Clear as mud, right?  

Bon appétit! 


KatiePerk said...

Bummer. I like that tomato parmesan soup!! I make it a lot. I also have made the cider glazed chops!

Baltimore Prep said...

I have yet to find a great butternut squash soup recipe so please share when you find the magic combination!

Lobster Meets Peach said...

Cheese grits just make everything better!!!

Sara said...

The tomato basil parm soup looks delish! I'll have to try that recipe especially since its so cold outside!

Catherine said...

When my fiance and I went to DC we had the best pork chops and grits and I've been looking for a comparable recipe - I think you've been the answer to my prayers! Thanks!

The enchanted home said...

I am sooo hungry now! That salad for lunch did not cut it. I have to try that tomato soup....love that and its one of my family faves! Thanks....

Jenna said...

Sad you struck out this week - glad you found a bright spot though! And got to have wine before 3:00 - definitely a win!