Sunday, November 20, 2011

Spinach Mandarin Poppy Seed Salad

This salad is super good. I just made it tonight for supper. It is from Our Best Bites, but I first saw it on Christy Bevan's blog. When I made it today I only had spinach, used cheddar cheese instead of mozza, and used just that packaged bacon from Costco. The red onion and avocado really make it a nice salad! Don't overdress this salad. I did that first time I made this salad! It was way too strong and soggy!

Spinach Mandarin Poppy Seed Salad
Recipe from Our Best Bites
8 oz. (1/2 bag) of baby spinach
1/2-1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/2 thinly sliced medium red onion
1 large avocado, cubed
8 oz. mozzarella or Swiss cheese, shredded
1 12-oz. package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 large can Mandarin oranges, drained
Combine all ingredients except dressing in a large bowl. When ready to serve, toss with desired amount of salad dressing and serve immediately. If you anticipate leftovers, just let your eaters dress their own salads because the dressing will make the greens wilt.

Poppy Seed Dressing
Recipe from Our Best Bites

1/3 c. white vinegar
1 tsp. Kosher salt
A few turns of freshly ground black pepper
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. mustard
1 green onion, ends removed (both the “hairy” end and where the green part starts to get floppy)
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. poppy seeds

In a blender, combine vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and mustard. While the blender is running, add the green onion. Continue running the blender and add the oil in a steady stream and is fully incorporated into the dressing.

Pour the dressing into a serving or storage container and whisk in poppy seeds. Serve over leafy greens.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pork Chops with Apples & Creamy Bacon Grits

I made these pork chops last night and they were delicious. Really good and easy. I didn't make them with the grits, I made mashed potatoes instead. I honestly don't even know what grits are. So if you have some pork chops in the freezer that you don't know what to with, try out this recipe! And if you do want to make the grits, click on the title and you will find the recipe there. And if you do make the grits, let me know how they taste! I got this recipe from The Pioneer Woman.

Pork Chops with Apples & Creamy Bacon Grits


  • 6 whole Boneless Pork Chops, About 1/2-inch Thick
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 whole Gala Apples, Diced
  • 1/2 cup Dry White Wine (I used white wine vinegar instead)
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3/4 cups Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 dash Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Creamy Bacon-Cheese Grits (see My Tasty Kitchen Recipe)

Preparation Instructions

Note: See my TastyKitchen recipe box for my Creamy Bacon Cheese Grits recipe.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and butter and heat until butter in melted.

Salt and pepper both sides of pork chops. Brown them on both sides until nice and golden. Remove pork chops from the skillet and set on a separate plate.

Reduce heat to medium. Add apples and stir to combine them with the oil, and butter that remains in the pan. Pour in wine and vinegar, then whisk along the bottom of the pan to deglaze it. Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Pour in the maple syrup, then add a dash of salt and pepper. Stir, then return pork chops to the pan. Cover the pan and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

Serve pork chops on top of a generous helping of Creamy Cheese Grits (mashed potatoes are good, too) and spoon the apple-maple sauce over the top, allowing the liquid to drip over the grits.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

I have to admit, I am not a huge Chinese food fan. It is just not that appetizing for me to go to a Chinese food buffet and eat lukewarm deep fried food. Brad, on the other hand, LOVES Chinese food. So to satisfy his cravings he will usually have to make Chinese food at home.

On Sunday Brad made this recipe and it was AMAZING! Seriously it was soooo good. We used pork tenderloin and it made a huge difference. If you have the time, make this recipe.

Sweet and Sour Pork (from Better Homes and Gardens Recipe Book)

12 ounces lean boneless prok
2 TBSP mirin or dry sherry (we used rice vinegar)
2 TBSP soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

1 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice vinegar
4 tsp cornstarch
1 TBSP soy sauce
cooking oil or shortening for deep-fat frying
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chicken broth

1 TBSP cooking oil
1 clove garlic, minced
3 med carrots, thinly biased sliced (1 1/2 cups)
1 med green sweet pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 green onions, bias sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 8 -ounce can pineapple chunks, drained
3 cups hot cooked rice

1. Trim fat from pork. Cut pork into 3/4-inch cubes, place in a bowl for marinade, stir together mirin, the 2 TBSP soy sauce, and sesame oil. Pour over pork. Toss to coat. Cover, let stand at room temp for 20 minutes.
2. For sauce, stir together the 1 cup broth, sugar, vinegar, the 4 tsp cornstarch, and the 1 TBSP soy sauce. Set aside. In a wok or large saucepan heat 1 1/2 to 2 inches of cooking oil or shortening to 365 degrees fer (or just REALLY HOT, boiling). Meanwhile for batter, in a bowl stir together egg, the 1/2 cup cornstarch, flour and the 1/2 cup broth until smooth.
3.Drain pork; pat dry. Dip pork into batter, swirling to coat. Fry a few pieces of pork at a time in hot oil for 4-5 min or until golden and no pink remains. Remove from oil. Drain on paper towels. Keep pork warm in a 300 oven while frying remaining pork.
4. Pour the 1 TBSP oil into a large skillet. (Add more oil as needed during cooking.) Preheat over med-high heat. Cook and stir garlic in hot oil 15 seconds. Add carrots, sweet peppers, and green onions; cook and stir 4-5 min or until crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from skillet. Stir sauce; add to skillet. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in pineapple and cooked vegetables. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until hot. Stir in pork. Server over rice.
Serves 4