Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grape Tomato and Balsamic Pork Chops

Here’s a quick and easy recipe I whipped up last night for supper.  It was one of those nights when I stood in front of the fridge and stared blankly wondering what on earth I was going to make for supper.  Well let’s face it those days are quite frequent in my world.  Meal planning or even planning a day ahead is not my forte.  Seriously I can come home and start supper with one thing in mind and by the time it’s done I’ve gone in a completely different direction. I also didn’t want to dirty 568 dishes in the process of making supper. So this dish was perfect.  Just a few simple ingredients, one pan and a little time. 
Since I was just winging it these measurements are estimates so feel free to adjust it to your taste.

Grape Tomato and Balsamic Pork Chops
  • 3 lbs bone in pork chops
  • 4 – 5 large garlic cloves thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 package of grape tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2/3 cup red wine
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp chicken broth or water
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • EVOO
  • sea salt and pepper
Sprinkle the chops with salt and pepper and bring to room temperature. Preheat your skillet once hot add oil and sauté chops till brown on both sides.  Remove from pan and cover loosely with foil while preparing the sauce.  If necessary add a little more oil to the pan.  Add onions to the pan and sauté for a few minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for a few more minutes.  Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, balsamic, wine, broth, oregano, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer until tomatoes are soft and start to pop. Return chops to pan.  Cover and simmer till chops are cooked through.
I just wanted salad to go with mine so I had some Organic Field Greens with Herbs in the fridge.  There was ample sauce in the pan so I just topped the greens with a pork chop and some sauce then drizzled with some additional balsamic over top. 

I usually pick up the cherry tomatoes when they are on sale or in the discounted produce section then just throw the whole package in the freezer.  You can’t use them for salads but they are perfect for a tomato sauce or any dish that calls for tomatoes.  You don’t have to thaw them just pop them in right out of the freezer.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Salt Baked Potatoes and Roasted Veggies


I know you’ve all been anxiously waiting, constantly checking the blog for these recipes to complete the Braised Lamb Shank dinner…well a girl can dream right.

You’re probably thinking I don’t need a recipe for roasted veggies, but there is a little twist in this recipe that makes them, at least in my opinion, the best roasted veggies. 

Roasted Veggies

  • 6 carrots
  • 6 parsnips
  • 1/2 bulb garlic
  • fresh rosemary to taste
  • sea salt, fresh ground black pepper
  • EVOO

Preheat oven to 450

Peel veggies and slice lengthways if they are larger in size.  Break apart garlic into cloves leaving the peel on. Slightly crush with the palm of your hand. Remove the rosemary from the woody stalks.

Put your veggies into a large stock pot of boiling salted water. Boil till just tender but not cooked all the way through (5-7 mins depending on the size of your veggies).  Drain in colander and let sit for a few minutes until they are dry.  If you don’t want to wait you could always dry them off with some paper towel.  Just don’t be to rough with them, you want them to stay whole.  While they are drying add garlic, rosemary and EVOO to a baking pan add the dry potatoes, salt and pepper and toss them around.  Put in preheated oven and bake till golden and slightly crispy.

Unfortunately I didn’t take individual pictures of the veggies but I think you get the idea.


Salt Baked Potatoes with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Butter

  • 4 or 5 potatoes (preferably thick skinned)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 cups large grain sea salt
  • fresh rosemary
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • EVOO
  • 4 TBSP softened butter

Preheat oven to 450

Pour salt into baking dish.  Wash potatoes and dry.  Nestle potatoes in salt. Cut the top off the garlic and place in the salt as well as 2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about and hour and 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush the potatoes with EVOO.  Return to oven uncovered and bake and additional 15 minutes until cooked through and skins are crispy. 

Before returning potatoes to the oven remove the garlic.  Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the softened butter.  Add chopped fresh rosemary to taste.  Stir till combined.

Remove potatoes from oven.  Scrape and salt off that is stuck to the bottom of the potatoes, slice and top with some of the yummy garlic butter.

I’m sure your thinking the same thing I did, that all this salt will make the potatoes super salty…trust me they won’t taste salty.






~ Jackie

Monday, January 21, 2013

Braised Lamb Shanks

Hello out there.... Happy New Year!  I know I'm a little late but better late then never as they say.  I can't believe we're almost at the end of January.  It seems like just yesterday I was running around trying to get that last minute Christmas gift and feasting on turkey dinners.

I've been meaning to post about this delicious supper for about a month now but time just got away from me.  I made this special dinner just before Christmas and it was AMAZING if I do say so myself.  Hubby loved it too, even the veggies.  

I don't know why but I have never eaten lamb.  I've always wanted to try it but just never found the right recipe.  If you've never tried lamb or lamb shanks I urge you to give this recipe a try.

Amarone(ish) Braised Lamb Shanks

If you're like me and can't afford a $80-$100 bottle of wine you can skip the Amarone and use Ripasso Valpolicella.  It's a great red and for under $20.00, much more cost effective.

2 - 3 Tbsp olive oil
4 large lamb shanks
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, diced
8 garlic cloves thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
2 large sprigs of rosemary
1 can (5 1/2 ounce) tomato paste
1/2 bottle Ripasso/ Amarone or other full flavour red wine *
1/2 package of low sodium / no salt added chicken broth *
Sea Salt and |lots of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 300

Put olive oil into a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot (I used my cast iron pot), and heat over medium high heat. Add the shanks and brown them thoroughly, turning once or twice until they are caramelized on all sides.  Transfer to a plate.

Add onions, carrots, and garlic to the pot and saute until the veggies are soft and lightly brown.  About 5 - 10 minutes.  Add bay leaves and rosemary.  Spoon in the tomato paste and stir till the tomato paste is warmed through to help bring out the flavour.  Add the wine and broth stir then put shanks on top of .  Bring to a boil, cover tightly and move to the oven.  Braise until meat is tender, approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours.

When the meat is cooked move the shanks to a platter, cover with foil to keep them warm while you finish the sauce.  Put you pot over medium-high heat and boil until the braising liquid reduces to a sauce like consistency (about 5 mins).  Stir in the parsley and pour the sauce over the shanks. 

*Note - This originally called for a whole bottle of wine but I thought that was a little too much so I used 1/2 bottle and 1/2 a package of broth.  Of course your own broth/stock would be a much better choice but that's not something I always have on hand.

You really must give this a try.  If you don't want to use lamb I'm sure beef would work just as well in this recipe.  I would swap beef stock for the chicken if using beef.

I'll try to post the recipes for the roasted veggies and salt roasted potatoes later this week so be sure to check back.

~ Jackie