To be honest, I am notoriously bad at making pork chops. (Notorious with my own family because I would never make pork chops for company because then they would see how dry I always make them.) In fact, I usually avoid making pork chops because it's no fun to always make them so badly. I ventured back into this scary world of pork chops because I vaguely remembered having made them good once and remembered that I had blogged that recipe many moons ago, as I passed the thin pork chops on sale in the store yesterday. I decided to take the plunge and dove into the blog archives to this buried recipe and am so glad I did.
So here it is revitalized because sometimes you feel like thin buttery perfectly crispy and juicy pork chops.
Since we're talking crispy and juicy chops that crisp right in the butter soaking in it's buttery goodness, what's not to love? These delectable little gems will melt in your mouth with these perfectly paired wine seared baby bella mushrooms.
You can also whip up these amazing chops in no time at all. There's not much to it. Simply cook pork chops in olive oil and butter occasionally flipping them to brown on both sides until done. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder while cooking. Then quickly saute mushrooms in butter and wine and wallah you just made an amazing entree.
Serve with a simple salad and quinoa or rice pilaf and dinner is done.
6 thin pork chops
2 T. to 1/4 C. white wine
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle olive oil in the pan. Add a pat of butter. Cook pork chops, browning each side. Season chops with salt, pepper, and garlic powder while cooking.
2. Set chops aside once done. Add some white wine to the skillet to deglaze scraping up any browned bits. Add sliced mushrooms and a couple of pats of butter (2-3 Tbsp. should do) and saute the mushrooms until desired tenderness.
3. Add chops back to the pan to warm topping them with sauteed mushrooms. You can turn off the heat at this point. They will warm up quickly from the hot skillet. Serve and enjoy.
We love our new home in Southern Kentucky, but as with any move, there are always people and places to be missed. One of our favorite places we wish we could have packed up and brought with us is a little unassuming Asian restaurant in Champaign, IL called Cravings. The first time we went there, it was just my husband and I on a rare night out and when we tried to order, the young woman working the counter told us not to order what we had selected from the menu. Instead she suggested two other dishes (that weren't even on the menu). One of them being crispy salt and pepper beef. Actually, I'm not sure what the real name of the dish is, but any time we go back to Cravings we always order it. Our favorite girl behind the counter always knows what we want. I wish I could remember her name because she is awesome!
If you ever find yourself in Champaign-Urbana, IL and craving some great Asian food make your way to Wright St. and settle in (if you can find a seat) with a cup of hot tea (free on tap) for a unique, authentic, and delicious dining experience.
Since this is one of our favorite meals, I tried recreating it a year ago for Valentine's Day. We had just moved and I thought it would be fun to create new memories with one of our old favorite meals. Plus, we always have something special on holidays to celebrate with the boys. It was a hit so I made it for Valentines Day again this year.
It's really a simple recipe. I have been making it from some notes I jotted down in a spiral notebook just over a year ago. You can buy beef for stir-fry in your grocery store to save yourself a little time if needed (It is pre-sliced beef). For the best flavor, I would use fresh ground salt and pepper. I use a pink Himalayan salt grinder that can be purchased at the grocery.
You will love this flavorful combination of crispy savory beef with slightly sweet peppers and onions cooked tender crisp. Delicious over a bed of hot rice or alone.
1 lb. steak sliced into 2-3 inch thin strips
1 egg white
Flour for coating meat
Fresh ground salt & pepper
Peanut oil or other frying oil
2 T. butter
1 - 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
Cooked rice for serving
1. Toss meat with egg white, then coat in flour. Put meat out on a large cutting board and generously salt and pepper.
2. In batches, fry the battered meat in hot oil in a deep skillet or wok. Salt and pepper each batch again after frying. Set meat aside. Drain oil from pan.
3. Add 2 T. butter to the pan and stir-fry bell peppers and onions for about 2 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper. The vegetables should still have some crispiness.
4. Add the meat back to the pan with the vegetables to warm. Stir to combine.
5. Serve with rice.
This is one of our favorite desserts ever and since I made an apple crisp last week, I thought it was time to update the photos for this old favorite recipe.
This apple crisp is truly amazing. You can taste a hint of citrus which complements the apples and sweetness perfectly. Honestly, I think it's a little too sweet, but my husband likes the sugary crunchy coating just the way it is. If you are sugar conscience (we really need to work on using less sugar too) you can easily reduce the sugar and try using some coconut sugar as a substitute for some or all of the granulated sugar.
My husband likes his apple crisp unadulterated. I like it served warm with vanilla ice cream. However you like it, this is seriously good stuff. Good enough for company, good enough for potlucks and it serves a crowd. But don't worry if you don't have a crowd to feed, you can easily halve the recipe and bake in a 9 X 9 square pan. This apple crisp will keep nicely in the fridge for several days. You can also prepare ahead and refrigerate to bake later in the day or the next day. I do give myself about an hour to prepare. Prepping the apples and blending the topping takes a little time and effort, but the results are completely worth it.
I think my old photo circa 2013 still deserves a place here on the blog.
4 pounds baking apples
1 tsp. dried orange peel (sold in spices)
1 tsp. dried lemon peel (sold in spices)
2 tablespoons orange juice or apple juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice (in a pinch, you can use lime juice)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or just grate some whole nutmeg
For the topping:
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 pound cold butter, cubed (2 sticks)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9 X 14 by 2-inch oval baking dish. (A 9 X 13 rectangular baking dish will work just fine too.)
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples. Combine the apples with the zests, juices, sugar, and spices. Pour into your buttered baking dish.
3. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and cold butter in a large bowl. Use a pastry blender or two butter knives to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.
4. Bake for about an hour or until the apple filling bubbles and the crisp topping is golden brown.
Adapted from a Barefoot Contessa recipe.
I don't know what it is about instagram, but I love it. I have only been (really) using it for a few months and know lots of people are not on instagram so I thought I would share some of my favorite pics. I post lots of pictures of the kids and our lives outside of Home Ec @ Home, so Mom you should love this!
Pretty excited about this, I just figured out how to add a caption that shows up when you hover the mouse over each picture. So hover to see what I have to say:) If you want to follow me on instagram, you can here.
Let me know if you are on instagram. I would love to see your posts!
My kids will eat anything. It amazes me sometimes. You should see them at a Chinese buffet, plates piled high with crayfish, mussels, crab legs, prawns, and sometimes even frog legs. They will just about try anything. It is probably because we have always given them the same foods we eat and we eat a large variety of foods.
You would think mealtime is always a breeze with kids who eat anything, but it's not. Crunchy tacos meant food crumbling beneath their little hands, meat and toppings falling all over the place and of course meltdowns and the inevitable waterworks. Being a lover of crunchy tacos and easy dinners I figured out a way to enjoy tacos without the all the drama.
By stuffing and baking the tacos before serving, everything stays neat and tidy inside the taco shells. The cheese melts and helps hold the meat/onion/tomato mixture in the shells.
You end up with a pan of ready-to-go kid friendly crunchy tacos. These would also be great for a buffet with a topping bar. This has become one of our favorite busy night meals. So easy and kid friendly!
I have used stand and stuff and regular taco shells for these baked tacos and the stand and stuff are the easiest to use. Serve with your favorite toppings. Pictured lettuce, sour cream, kumato tomatoes (so yummy!), and homemade guacamole. I should note that I don't like heavily taco seasoned meat so I serve mine flavored simply with onion, cumin, salt and pepper. If you like taco seasoning in your meat, feel free to add.
Easy Baked Beef Tacos
1 box (10) self-standing taco shells
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
½ tsp. ground cumin
Fresh ground salt & pepper
1 tomato, diced
Shredded colby/jack cheese
1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. If you like, grease a 9 X 13 baking pan with cooking spray to prevent any runaway ingredients from sticking to the pan. You can also skip this step. Taco shells will not stick to the pan.
3. Place taco shells in baking pan.
4. Brown beef and onion in skillet. Add cumin, salt, and pepper.
5. Add tomatoes and cook 2-3 minutes.
6. Fill taco shells generously with meat mixture.
7. Top with shredded cheese then bake for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and tacos are hot.
Serve with your favorite taco toppings like guacamole, salsa, lettuce, diced tomatoes, cilantro, and sour cream.
Makes 10 large tacos
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WonderfulYourWay #CollectiveBias #ad The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older.
Ever have a simple recipe that was so good you could serve it for special occasions? This is one of those recipes. I love the flavor of this traditional penne casserole with the added twist of fresh spinach baked right in. The spinach adds a dimension and freshness that compliments the pasta, cheese and sauce and is truly delicious.
To make my favorite Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole I headed to Kroger to get the ingredients. I selected Barilla® Classic Blue Box Penne because it is an authentic Italian brand that I trust as a quality ingredient to make our special "Wonderful Your Way" "date night in" meal spectacular.
This may make me sound like some kind of crazy grocery store groupee, but I really, really love my local Kroger store. Even though it is a chain, it feels like a small town store. Everyone (and I mean this literally) is so friendly. We have lived in our small town for about a year and I feel like I know most of the employees at Kroger. My favorite cashier is the sweetest lady, Barbara, who dotes on my children every time we see her. The other day my five year old told me he wants to work at Kroger when he is older so he can see me all the time. Guess that means I spend a little too much time at the store. (LOL)
Making time for date nights is important in a relationship, but let's face it, sometimes it is easier said than done. With so much going on in our busy lives (like caring for four children including a newborn), making plans and hiring a sitter can sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.
With a few simple tips, you can still have a date night "in", saving yourself a lot of stress and money in the process.
A simple, romantic date night table setting using things I already had. I coordinated some red patterned paper place mats with a black tablecloth for a festive Valentine's Day look. I served Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole with a basic lettuce, tomato, and basil salad. You can pair with a favorite wine or sparkling juice (pictured: sparkling cherry juice) and an easy homemade or store bought dessert.
For dessert, I made this easy slow cooker chocolate cake a few days before and froze a few slices to keep them fresh. I then cubed the cake and layered it with homemade whipped cream and fresh berries in some fancy dessert glasses. So simple and yet sophisticated.
6 Easy Tips for a Fabulous Date Night In:
As you can see this recipe makes a lot of food. Awesome if you have a big family like we do. If you don't you can halve it. (Instructions at the bottom of the recipe.) Leftovers are great too! One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make it earlier in the day or even the day before and refrigerate to bake later. If you want to get a little fancy, garnish with some fresh basil leaves after baking.
Spinach and Cheese Penne Casserole
16 oz. Barilla Classic Blue Box Penne
2 (15 oz.) containers ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 (24 oz) jars Barilla pasta sauce
5 oz. package fresh Spinach
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce in a greased 9 X 13 X 3 pan or a really big casserole dish. (A 9 X 13 X 2 will work, but it will be up to the top of the pan.)
4. Top with a third of the cooked pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, half of the spinach, 1 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 T. Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce.
5. Repeat layers of pasta, ricotta mixture, spinach and mozzarella cheese.
6. Sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan cheese.
7. Then top with remaining pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. (Serves 12)
You can easily halve this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 9 baking pan. If you cut the recipe in half, still use one egg as a binding agent in the ricotta mixture, but halve all other ingredients.
Need some more recipe inspiration? Head to Barilla for more "Wonderful Your Way" recipe ideas. .
This is kind of a flashback post...redoing the photos, so you may have seen these brownies on the blog before. This is the first recipe I ever made with coconut oil back when using coconut oil was new to me and I wasn't quite sure when to use it. I now use coconut oil in place of vegetable oil in most recipes and find that it substitutes easily without compromising flavor or texture.
These brownies are my favorite. I love the hint of coconut flavor. It is subtle, yet noticeable. They are so easy to prepare and way better than a brownie mix. Delicious on their own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. These would make a lovely treat for Valentine's Day!
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 3/4 cup chocolate or peanut butter chips
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
3. In a medium bowl combine melted coconut oil and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved. (I melt the coconut oil in the microwave for about 25 seconds.)
4. Add sugar and mix well.
5. Add eggs and stir until well combined.
6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
7. Fold in chips.
8. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
9. DO NOT OVER-BAKE — You do not want your brownies to come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
10. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
This recipe is slightly adapted from coconutoilcooking.com.
I often double this recipe and bake it in a 9 X 13 pan. I haven't tried it yet, but you could try using coconut sugar in place of the granulated sugar.
Hi there. It has been a while, hasn't it. We made it through not one, but two surgeries for my husband over the past couple of weeks. I know it is a tough recovery. I had sinus surgery in 2003 and I missed two weeks of work, but he really had a tough recovery. After a week and a half of misery, he had to have a second procedure and is now on the mend and feeling better.
So what does this have to do with soup, you ask? A lot actually. All he wanted to eat after the surgeries was soft foods like mashed potatoes and soup. After you have nasal surgery, you can only breathe through your mouth until the bandages are removed. Which means that breathing when you eat is a challenge, hence the desire for soup.
So we had a lot of soup. Good thing it's winter and we like soup so much. This creamy cauliflower soup is one I'm glad to add to my repertoire. It's creamy, hearty, delicious and I love serving my family a meal that's chock full of vegetables and wonderful flavor.
So confession time...See those little black flecks in the cauliflower soup, those are burnt onions. I decided to go ahead and photograph anyway because a.) the soup is fantastic even with burnt onions and b.) we do "real" here. I make food for my family and do photo shoots in our home (no studio here and I shoot for less than 10 minutes, maybe a dozen shots if I'm lucky) and if our soup has burnt onions we eat it anyway. Our house is busy with four kids so sometimes I burn things. It's all part of the beautiful, messy life we lead and I wouldn't trade it for anything.
So if you try your hand at making some creamy cauliflower soup, I'm sure you won't burn the onions like I did. But if you do enjoy it, burnt onions and all.
Creamy Cauliflower Soup
1 sweet onion, diced
2 carrots, grated
2 ribs celery, sliced
2 cloves garlic minced
10 T. butter, divided
Splash cooking Sherry, (optional)
1 medium head cauliflower, chopped or 24 oz. bag cauliflower florets
5 Cups chicken broth or stock
1 T. dried parsley
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. Creole seasoning, (optional)
6 T. flour
1 Cup milk
½ Cup whipping cream
1. Melt 4 T. butter in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat. Saute onion, carrots, celery and garlic until tender.
2. If you like, add a splash of cooking Sherry to deglaze the pan. Add cauliflower, chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper, basil, and Creole seasoning. Simmer covered for about 30 minutes.
3. While soup is simmering, melt 6 T. butter in a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in 6 T. flour, then milk and whipping cream and cook and stir to make a thick white sauce.
4. Use a potato masher to mash up the soup, breaking the cauliflower into smaller pieces. Then stir in the white sauce and continue to cook and stir until thickened.
Everything cookies have been my favorite cookies for as long as I can remember having a favorite cookie. They are crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and have so many wonderful flavors of toasted nuts, oatmeal, coconut, raisins, and chocolate.
On another note, it's nice to be back at it again. I like the routine of being back to normal after a long Christmas break. When we came home from break, they were still installing a new kitchen, laundry room, and kitchen nook/butler's pantry floor (which is awesome!), but we are just now getting the house put back together. Plus our 5 year old and myself have been really sick with the flu over the past two weeks and my husband had sinus surgery this week. We are all so so glad to be getting back to "normal".
Here is glimpse into our kitchen nook where we have been eating off of the card table while sorting through everything that was piled into the dining room while the floors were done. Tonight was our first night eating in the dining room again and it was nice to be back to our usual dinner routine. The floors do look beautiful though and it forced us to go through more stuff and organize (two boxes of donations and two boxes of trash from today's work). This little kitchen nook is usually an art/homework room for the boys and they are glad to get it back. I also do most of my food photography in this little kitchen nook...So glad to get back to normal!
This is the butler's pantry across from the kitchen nook. I really did have this counter cleaned off this week which lasted for about half a day. You pass through here to get from the kitchen to the dining room so it's kind of a hallway too. I love the extra storage from the butler's pantry.
More on getting back to "normal"...I know that in our house full of boys that our normal may be a little chaotic to some. Sure it's full of adventure, dirt-SO MUCH DIRT, laughter, and LOTS of NOISE, but I'll take our glorious chaos because I know that someday when the house is quiet I'll miss the joy that came with the chaos.
Speaking of Joy...These M & M Everything cookies will bring some Joy. They are perfect for gift giving, although you better make a double batch if you have a sweet tooth.
I used red and green M & M's for Christmas. Wouldn't these be pretty with red M & M's for Valentine's Day or spring M & M's for Easter? One more note...you might be tempted to skip toasting the nuts, but don't, it takes the flavor to a whole new level.
1 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter softened
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. milk
1-2 cups chocolate chips*
1 cup quick or old fashioned oats
½ cup raisins
½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
½ cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 cup M & M's chocolate candies
1. Toast nuts on a small un-greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
2. Turn oven temperature up to 375 degrees.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in egg. Gradually beat in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, raisins, nuts, coconut, and M & M's candies.
5. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment lined baking sheets.
6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are crisp but centers are still soft. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
*I use less chocolate chips when adding M & M's, but if you are a chocolate lover, go all out.
Makes about 3 dozen.
My favorite cookie scoop makes perfect cookies every time. I got this Nordic Ware cookie scoop in my Christmas stocking one year.
Mashed potato soup has been a favorite in our house for years. I started making this several years ago when I had some leftover mashed potatoes to use. We love it so much that now I puposely make extra mashed potatoes just so that I can make mashed potato soup.
You don't need a whole pound of bacon for this recipe, but I always cook a whole pound because my boys LOVE bacon, like really LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE bacon. This is a great use of leftover mashed potatoes. It is quick to make from start to finish and it is thick and hearty. Great for warming up on cold winter nights.
So next time you have some leftover mashed potatoes, make this delicious mashed potato soup and enjoy every creamy, bacony bite.
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Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science (Home Economics) Teacher turned work at home Mom, bringing you family friendly, homemade recipes and homemaking tips to simplify your life. Join me on my homemaking and mothering journey.
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