Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Grilled Pork Loin Chops

If you are trying to earn a cool nickname try serving this winning dish to your friends and maybe you will be known as "Pork Chop".  Even though it didn't work out for Costanza, it might turn out better for you.  Just make sure you don't serve them with a side of string beans or a bowl of beanie wienies.  That could backfire.

Grilled Loin Chop w/Steamed Broccoli and Sauted Spinach
Pork loin chops (To save a few bucks, buy a pork loin on sale and slice it into 3/4" chops yourself)
I have saved some dough by purchasing the entire pork loin from Sams Club which is generally about 2 to 3 feet long.  I then divide it into thirds.  One third I will make a pork loin roast, the other some sort of stuffed loin, and the last third I slice into chops.

I like to slice these loin chops thick so that they will remain juicy after cooking.  The cooking process should aid at keeping the chops moist.

Season the chops with Salt, pepper, garlic powder, red pepper or your favorite blend of spices.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a tablespoon of oil in your cast iron pan on high heat.  Let the pan get hot then add the chops.  The goal is to sear the chops.  Let the chop sear for 1 minute, then flip and sear the other side for 1 minute.  Pull the pan off the heat and place directly into the oven for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through.

If you like saving money and cooking healty, check out this blog, cheaphealthygood.  It has become one of my favorites for saving some bills, paper, bacon, honk, roll, sawbucks, moolah, rock, benji's, chedda, C-notes, scratch, bread, smackeroos, or samolians.  I will take on the smug e-surance guy anyday!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Jazzed Up" Spinach Egg Breakfast

One of the staples of a low carb breakfast is eggs, but do you find yourself getting tired of eggs from your head to your legs? Want something besides a rEGGular breakfast? Starting to wish Humpty didn't get put back together again?

Okay, enough yolking around already.  This is a quick morning breakfast that will help jazz up those eggs a bit.  Maybe it's not "New Orleans" jazzed up, but it definatly has more Jazz than there is in Utah.

Jazzed Up Spinach Egg Breakfast
6 Eggs Beaten
1 Cup Ham Diced (or breakfast meat of choice)
1 Pkg Frozen Cut Leaf Spinach (or fresh spinach if you have some handy)
1/2 Onion Diced
Shredded Cheese

Saute onion in a frying pan with a little butter.  Add ham and spinach.  When spinach is thawed completely and cooked through, add the eggs and stir until cooked.  Top with cheese and serve with optional salsa.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Skillet

As far as food is concerned, usually if it looks good, then it tastes good as well...Right?

I have to admit that this dish does not quite follow those guidelines and is more of an "ugly duckling" dish.  It tastes amazing (and meets low carb guidelines) but does not come out to be the most appealing dish.  I have learned a valuable lesson; It is not fair to judge dishes solely on looks.  Sometimes you have to be willing to accept them however they look and no matter what political party they choose....well that is, unless they don't taste good or become too liberal.  Then it is ok to judge away.

Warning, it may be fun to make up some interesting (aka gross) names to describe how this dish looks, but I would recommend keeping them to yourself.  My wife wasn't very thrilled and did not get the childish humor in something I was trying to serve her for dinner.  On the other hand, if you have say a 12 year old son, he would probably enjoy the humor.

1 Pkg Frozen Leaf Spinach
(This would definatly be better with fresh spinach, but I have decided that this is my
"I don't have anything left in the fridge and I don't feel like going to the store so what can I whip up in a hurry" meal.  I think most of my best creations fall under that exact same description.)
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes (you can sub RoTel for some spice!!)
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 8oz Jar Medium Artichokes
2oz Cream Cheese
2oz Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese
1 Small Onion
Garlic, Salt, Pepper
Shredded Parmasean Cheese

Put a little olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and saute until they start to brown.  Add ground turkey and brown (You can drain the meat at this point, but I say what for, it's turkey). Add spinach, tomatoes, artichokes and seasoning.  Cook until spinach is thawed.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, and shredded cheese.  Stir until all the cheese is melted.  Top with parmasean cheese to serve. 

Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Skillet

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

The next dish was an amazing discovery and has become a lifesaver for the low carb diet.  My wife has gotten tired of constantly having eggs for breakfast.  One day at the store I stumbled upon low carb yogurt.  They actually have an abundance of flavors and only have 3 net carbs per cup.

This has become a simple, quick, and tasty low carb breakfast.

1/2 Carton Low Carb Yogurt (Flavor of your choice)
1/4 Cup of mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries)
1/8 Cup chopped almonds
1 Tbsp Whipped Cream

Follow these complicated and detailed instructions very carefully.  Place yogurt in a bowl and top with berries, chopped almonds, then whipped cream.  Enjoy!!!!!


Variation into a dessert:
I have to give credit for this variation to my malfunctioning refrigerator.  We just spent $300 to repair our fridge that wasn't cooling correctly, and since then it has become too cold and has been freezing things in the refrigerator.  I pulled one of the low carb yogurts out of the fridge and it was completely frozen.  I set it on the counter to thaw, but became too impatient after about 15 minutes.  What I ended up with was frozen yogurt that was creamy and flavorful. I made the same as above, but instead it ended up as ice cream with all the toppings.  Once I fix the fridge, I will just have to accidentally put a cup of yogurt in the freezer every once in awhile.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Low Carb Snow Ice Cream

We live near Dallas, Texas and I always figured Texas was supposed to be a warm state.  Not the case last week when we were hit with single digit temperatures and several inches of ice topped with snow and sleet that incapacitated the area for a whole week.  I'm ok with a little snow or cold weather for one or two days a year, but c'mon, this is a bit much.

Well all that cabin fever made for a great idea for a late afternoon treat.

Step 1.
Order some freezing cold weather and snow accumulation.  Preferably the soft fluffy type.

Step 2.
Place your bottle of wine in natures cooler for optimum thermodynamic heat transfer*.  See picture for proper installation.
*Not necessarily a true statement, but it is more interesting than the fridge.

Step 3.
If you are able to plan ahead, then place a clean bowl outside so that it will accumulate snow during the snowfall.  If you are less patient like me, then you will have embark on an important expedition to gather the correct snow.  Basically, find the cleanest snow around and gather it in a bowl.
Tip: If you have dogs, avoid the backyard for obvious reasons and instead choose another location not traveled by pets or animals.

Step 4.
Mix the following ingredients:
Heavy Cream or Half and Half
Sugar Free Syrup (Flavor of your choice)

Notes: Add less cream for more of a snow cone/frozen yogurt texture or add more cream to get closer to a real ice cream texture.  Add syrup to your preferred sweetness.  Start with 1 tsp syrup per Cup of snow.

2 Tbsp Half & Half per Cup of Snow

2 Tbsp Half & Half and 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream per Cup of Snow

Step 5.
Retrieve that chilled bottle of wine from outside and enjoy with your amazing dessert.

The snow has since melted and it is actually 55°F today.  However, I heard that tommorow we are expecting another winter storm with 13° temperatures and more snow and ice.  I was bummed at first, but hey, if God sends you snow, make ice cream!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Zucchini Wrapped Pork Loin Chops

I remember seeing a similar recipe in a Better Homes & Garden magazine and decided to make a few modifications and give it a try.

1 large zucchini
6 to 8 pork loin chops (To save money you can buy the whole pork loin on sale and slice it into chops yourself)
olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp basil pesto
Italian seasoning, salt, & pepper

Slice the zucchini as thin as you can.  Try to get 2 slices for each chop.  The zucchini needs to be thin so that they are pliable.  Season each pork chop with salt, pepper, & italian seasoning.  Wrap each chop with two slices of zucchini and place toothpicks in the chops to keep the zucchini in place.  Brush the zucchini and chops with the olive oil and place on a rack in a baking sheet.  Bake in the oven @350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pork is done.  Mix the pesto and minced garlic and serve each chop with a little pesto on the side for dipping. 

I served the pork chops with a side salad.  There is nothing that great about the salad except that instead of croutons, my wife came up with the idea to make backed cheese crisps to top the salad.  These tasted great and added an amazing texture to the salad.

Cheese Crisps:
1/2 cup grated cheese (I like to use a mexican cheese blend)
1/2 cup shredded pamasean
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix ingredients together. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and place a thin layer of cheese on the parchment paper.  The layer should be spread out so thin that the shreads of cheese only slightly overlap each other.  Bake at 400 until the cheese is melted and bubbling.  Set the oven to broil and toast the cheese to get it crispy.  Break the cheese into small pieces and use as a crunchy topping.