Hungarian Red Potato Goulash

  This isn’t my mother’s goulash.  It doesn’t have hamburger, or noodles, or even tomatoes.  I don’t cover it in cheese.  In fact, the two recipes have almost nothing in common…except they’re both pretty dang delicious.

Olive oil
14 oz smoked sausage, sliced
2 Tbsp butter
2 onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt to taste
¾ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp paprika
10 medium red skin potatoes, sliced
1 ½ c chicken stock
1 Tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  Start by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Once the oil is hot, add your sausage and cook them until they are nicely browned.  Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Add your butter to the pan and allow to melt.  Add your onions and allow them to caramelize for around 6 minutes before adding your garlic, salt, black pepper and paprika.  Saute for one minute.
Toss your potatoes into the pan and stir everything to combine it before adding your chicken stock.  Cover the pan with a lid, leaving enough space for steam to escape and simmer for around 15 minutes.  Remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Return the sausage to the pan and allow to reheat.  Garnish with parsley and serve hot.
  This recipe was a hit with everybody.  G wound up dipping most of his in ketchup, but seeing as he “really liked the hot dogs” that way, I’m not about to argue.  It was a simple, hearty meal and made for great leftovers the next day, so I definitely expect to put it on the menu again this winter!

Dromskinka (Swedish Dream Ham)

  More ham!  …seriously folks, with only 2 adults and a 3 year old eating, a single ham will feed you for a full week at every meal if you can stand it.  Today we’re doing a little bit of dietary cultural tourism.

12 (1/4 inch thick) ham slices
 1 c port wine
 3/4 c heavy cream
 1 tsp curry powder
 1/4 c tomato puree
 1 Tbsp butter
  Start by placing your ham in a shallow dish and pouring your port over it.  Allow it to marinate overnight in the fridge.  …ok, now if you don’t have time for that, put everything in a vacuum sealing bag and suck the air out of it.  We’re terrible at remembering to marinate things so we typically wind up marinading with vacuums.  Better living through science ladies and gentlemen.
  Once your ham is good and wine soaked, start your oven preheating to 425 degrees.
  Remove your pork from your port, pouring the port into a bowl.  Roll the slices of ham lengthwise and sandwich them into a baking dish side by side.  Mix your cream, curry and tomato puree into the bowl with the port.  Pour the mixture over the slices of ham, covering them evenly.  Dot the top of each slice with butter.
  Bake everything, uncovered, for around 45 minutes until the tops of the slices begin to brown.
  Now, I haven’t got a drop of Swedish blood in my body, but this recipe gets a big ol’ Muppet’s Swedish Chef “YAH!” from me.  I expected it to be good, I did not expect it to be anywhere near as good as it was.
  Everybody loved this.  Even if G did refuse to call it anything but chicken.  We pick our battles.

Apple, Cheddar and Ham Quiche (with Gluten Free Crust)

  We’re attempting to clean out our pantry.  We have a bad habit of stockpiling food like the apocalypse is going to happen tomorrow and then never getting to it before it expires.  We’re also trying to clean out the freezer.  This is another one of those ham recipes I mentioned.  We’re also trying to keep wheat products to a dull roar because I’ve been noticing that more wheat seems to equal more acne (though, of course, it could just be coincidentally lining up with my crazed post-pregnancy, still-nursing hormones).

  How convenient that we had a ton of instant polenta in the cupboard and my Mr. had a plan for using it to make crust then, huh?  Two birds with one delicious stone folks.

6 Tbsp instant polenta
1.5 c water

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large apple, cored and cut into 3/4″ chunks
1/4 lb baked ham, roughly chopped
pinch of cinnamon
3 large eggs
1/2 c sour cream
3/4 c milk
1 tsp sea salt
4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp sage leaves, chopped

  To create the crust, mix your polenta and water together on the stove top.  The polenta should include directions on how to do this.  It will take about 5 minutes for instant polenta.  Once it is combined and heated, grease a pie plate and press the prepared polenta into it.  Bake the crust for 16-20 minutes at 425 degrees on a middle rack in your oven.

  Meanwhile, melt your butter in a medium sized skillet and saute your shallots.  Cook them for around 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.  Add your apple to the pan, cover and cook for a few moments over medium low heat until the apples just begin to soften.  They will further soften in the oven, so don’t cook them for any longer!  Add your ham and cinnamon and stir to combine.

  In a bowl, combine your eggs, sage, sour cream, milk and salt and whisk. 

  Lower your oven temperature to 325 once the crust has been removed.

  Spoon your cooked apple mixture into your crust, top with cheese and pour your egg mixture over everything.

  Bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.

  So I’ve kind of got 2 reviews to do on this one…the crust alone and the quiche.  Good news, both were awesome!  I’ve always preferred fritattas to quiches, because I wasn’t ever a huge fan of the crust (I know, I know…something wrong with me…) but I love this.  As for the quiche, this recipe is wonderful as well.  It didn’t use up much of our ham, but it was a great use for that small amount.  The original recipe warns to not give in to the temptation to swap it out for bacon.  I know that sounds blasphemous, but the concern is that the bacon flavor will completely overwhelm the taste of the apples.  The ham works perfectly.  It’s a nice counterpoint to the apple’s sweetness without blasting everything with its flavor.  G liked it, we liked it.  It’s a keeper.

Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin

  I don’t have a clever intro for today’s recipe…lets just take a look at this pretty, pretty dinner.
4 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 c water
  Start by setting your oven to preheat to 375 degrees.  Use an ovenproof pot to melt your honey and butter together over medium heat.  Season your pork with Cajun seasoning and pepper and brown it on each side for 5 minutes in the honey butter mixture.
  Place your pot into the oven and cook it (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes.  Check your pork to be certain it has reached a safe 145 degrees internally and remove it to a plate (cover it to keep it warm).  Add your water to the pot and return it to the stovetop over medium heat, stirring it to pick up the sauce on the bottom.  Allow to simmer for around 5 minutes and then serve over the sliced pork.
  I love a good, sweet-sauced pork dish and this one is no exception.  The pork stayed nice and juicy and was generally just delicious.  A fairly quick, easy meal and one I think we’ll be making again!

Smoked Sausage, Pepper and Zucchini Foil Packs

  I’m a sucker for foil pouch meals.  Ever since I was a little girl in the Girl Scouts having hobo stew over the campfire, anything cooked wrapped in foil just has an extra bit of appeal to me.  Plus, (and lets be honest here, this is the big reason) foil packs are extremely low maintenance cooking.  Low active-cooking time and no dishes afterwards?  Sign me up!
  Here’s what we’re making:
  Normally I would, of course, give you the source of the recipe.  This one however, I just kind of took inspiration from about 8 different places and changed everything…so…here we go!
Here’s what you need:
14 oz smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces*
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 large, yellow onion, chopped
2 medium zucchini, sliced
~3 Tbsp olive oil
garlic salt and pepper to taste
*This makes a fairly veggie heavy meal.  If your family is carnivorous add more sausage.
  Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees.  If you’re a slow chopper like me, it should be ready to go by the time your veggies are prepared.  Once it’s sliced, place everything into a large bowl, top with olive oil and mix to coat and distribute the spices.  When everything is combined, divide your mixture into foil packages, crimping the edges shut to seal everything inside.  Cook the packs for 30-40 minutes, depending on how soft you want your vegetables.  Remove the packs from the oven and carefully open them, keeping a hot pad between the opening and your hand to deflect steam.  Allow to cool a few moments before serving.
  I cooked ours for 30 minutes.  I think next time I might do a few minutes more.  We like our veggies to still be a little crunchy, but I could have done with just a touch softer.  This is a nice, simple meal and a great way to get a whole bunch of veggies on your plate without much work.  G, of course, belly-ached about the veggies, but picked the sausage out of his portion.  His reaction to food isn’t much to be trusted as a gauge of anything anymore though…I swear that if I gave him ice cream for dinner he’d complain it was the wrong flavor.  3 and a half!  Best age ever!  *grumbles*

Breakfast Chili (Paleo)

  Wake up everybody, it’s time for chili!  …or, uhm, if you’re like me, sleep in and have this for dinner.
1 lb ground beef (or breakfast sausage)
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 c beef stock
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & diced small
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp hot sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 lb bacon, chopped
1/4 avocado (per serving)
  Start by heating a large pot on your oven to brown your meat and onions.  Cook them until both are cooked through before adding your tomatoes, sweet potatoes, stock and all of your spices.  Allow everything to simmer for around 30 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are cooked and soft.
  In a separate pan, cook your bacon and set it aside.  Slice your avocados and set them aside as well.
  Serve by scooping chili into a bowl and topping with avocado and bacon crumbles.
  Yowch our version turned out spicy!  We had some hot Italian sausage in our freezer that we put to work in this recipe and it was too much…you couldn’t eat it without a bite of avocado on each spoonful…G couldn’t eat it at all.  It was delicious, but it hurt.  I loved the avocado on top…we’ll definitely be doing this again…next time with less heat!

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops

  I’ve started making notes to myself about recipes if I think they may sit for a little before they get written up…if I make several new recipes in a week for instance.  Today’s recipe’s note was simply “SO GOOD”.

4 thick boneless pork chops 
1 sweet apple, thinly sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
¼ c white wine
5 Tbsp coconut oil, divided
cinnamon, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
  Start by rubbing your cinnamon, salt and pepper onto the pork chop.  Heat 4 Tbsp of your coconut oil into a large skillet and melt it over medium heat.  Add your thinly sliced apples and shallots and cook them for around 5 minutes.  Remove them from the pan and set them aside before adding the rest of the coconut oil to the pan.  Add your pork chops to the pan and resist the urge to scoot them around.  Let them sear for 2 minutes on each side.  Add your wine to the pan and bring it to a boil to cook the alcohol off.  Return the apples and shallots, put a cover on everything and cook it over medium heat for around 7 minutes (until your pork chops reach a safe temperature of 145).
  This was ridiculously good.  We served it with pears and brie cheese and I did a little happy dance in my chair while I ate.  The leftover chop was incredible the next day too.  Pork can be a little challenging sometimes, but this recipe is definitely a winner!

Alfredo and Mushroom Pork chops

  We’ve got pork chops, mushrooms and a creamy sauce…lets get cooking!
6 pork chops 
~3 Tbsp butter, divided 
1 tsp garlic powder, about 
Salt and pepper, to taste 
8 oz mushrooms, sliced 
16 oz jar Alfredo sauce 
2 oz parmesan cheese 
1/2 tsp thyme
  Heat about a Tbsp of the butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Season your chops with garlic powder, salt and pepper and cook them until they are brown on both sides, adding butter as needed. Place in a 9×13″ baking dish.  Add more butter to the pan and sauté the mushrooms until almost tender before dumping them over the pork chops. Pour the alfredo sauce into the skillet and stir to blend the browned bits from the pan with the sauce. Add your parmesan and allow it to melt before pouring it over the chops. Sprinkle with thyme. Cover everything with foil and bake at 300º for 1 hour. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.
  This was good…buuuuut, I’m not sure it’s different enough from my pork casserole to warrant the extra work to me.  It looks a lot fancier with the whole mushrooms and the thyme, but the flavor is exceptionally similar.  I also prefer that the sauce gets really thick with pork casserole, where this stayed surprisingly runny.  I’m sure that this is probably better for us, since it has fresh mushrooms and herbs in it, but, eh, I’m lazy.  Sorry health, you’re getting thrown under the bus this time.

Mexican Omelette/Egg Quesadillas

  Semantics are everything to a 3 year old.  To G, I am “Mommy”.  Not “Mama”, and god forbid you call me “Mom”.  When my Mr. told him we were having omelettes for dinner he lost it.  He did not want an omelette.  So, thinking fast on his feet, the Mr asked, “ok, would you rather we have egg quesadillas?”  “Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!”
  So egg quesadillas it was.
  Here’s what you need:
1/2 lb fresh chorizo, casing removed
1 onion, diced
1 poblano pepper, chopped
1 small sweet potato, finely chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
~8 eggs (2 per omelette)
avocado slices (optional)
  Looking at the original recipe, the Mr. decided that the amount of filling was going to be way too much, so it got cut in half.  Frittata wasn’t going to make a particularly convincing “egg quesadilla”, and it would take longer, so we went a true omelette route.  We had more than enough filling even with the amounts halved.
  Start by cooking all of your filling ingredients.  Place your chorizo sausage into a saute pan over medium heat and cook until browned and crumbled.  Add your vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes until everything is soft.  Set aside.
  In a bowl, beat your eggs together like you are going to be making scrambled eggs.  Pour the mixture into a nonstick pan over medium low heat and allow to cook until the edges begin to firm.  If you haven’t made omelettes before, here’s a link to a basic breakdown of how to do it.  We didn’t add any milk or butter to ours, but I can’t imagine it’d hurt anything.  Add your filling and finish cooking.  Serve warm with avocado slices on the side.
  These were a big hit with G.  He asked for egg quesadillas for dinner for several nights afterwards (and was always disappointed we were having something else…poor kid).  The Mr. and I liked them, but I have to say that I felt like they were missing something.  I’m pretty sure the something I was missing was cheese.  I wanted blue cheese, but I think cheddar would be fabulous too.
  A quick and easy dinner.  I expect “egg quesadillas” will be finding themselves on the menu regularly in the future.