Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner

Another quick supper, this time a one-pot oven dinner, pork chops and rice cooked together. The very first meal I cooked, memorable for reasons good and bad!

How retro is this? Yes, it's a recipe from the 1960s but one that tastes just as good in the 21st century.

Here’s to memories, the ones connecting home-cooked food and real life.

On March 31, 1970, I cooked this easy one-skillet supper. Yes, I really do recall a single meal cooked exactly 39 years ago today, perhaps more than the one cooked yesterday, all because:

It was my mother’s birthday, her 40th.
It was the first meal I ever cooked.
It was a disaster.

But there’s more to the story, one that demonstrates how kitchen disasters can have happy endings and how some times, no matter what is served, meals are not about the food.

Mom had a new job, she was working long hours. That morning, she jotted down her recipe for a standby pork chop supper she’d made herself many times, one so familiar that she left out one itsy bitsy detail: browning the pork chops. Oops. An experienced cook might have realized. Me, I was 11 and following her recipe to the letter.

I baked a surprise birthday cake and frosted it with blue icing, a disaster in its own right. Worse? I forgot the sugar. Oops.

Weary from her day, hungry for real food, Mom arrived home to pale pork and an inedible gooey-blue cake. Still, she was full of smiles and her characteristic hear-it-from-across-the-room laugh.

You see, five years earlier, Mom had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a near-certain death sentence. Turning 40 meant she’d reached the five-year mark of breast cancer survival: she’d beaten the odds. Supper may have been a mess, but Mom – and all of us – had good reason to celebrate.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

QUICK SUPPER:
PORK CHOPS & RICE OVEN DINNER

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 4 (easily divided or multiplied)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thin-cut bone-in pork chops, about 1-1/4 pounds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice (see TIPS)
  • 4 onion slices
  • 4 rings of green pepper
  • 4 tomato rounds
  • 1-1/2 cups broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
  • Generous salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet until shimmery on medium high. Rinse and dry the pork chops, season with salt and pepper. (Don’t forget this important step!) Drop the chops into the skillet (they should sizzle). Brown each sides, about 3 minutes each, without moving. Set the chops aside.

Stir the rice into the pan drippings, then arrange the chops over top. Atop each chop, layer a slice of onion, a ring of green pepper and a tomato round.

Pour the broth over the rice and around the meat. If the broth is lightly seasoned, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 158 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 17mg Cholesterol; 86mg Sodium; 20g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 8g Protein Weight Watchers Old Points 3, PointsPlus 4
ALANNA’s TIPS Mom used white rice. I use brown rice or a mix of brown and wild rice. Really, any rice will do. She also used an electric skillet, I use a cast-iron skillet. Usually, I cook pork only until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 140F or 150F. In this dish, however, the long time in the oven with plenty of liquid tenderizes the meat so it can be easily cut with no more than a fork.


Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Share a favorite recipe via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.
This recipe is just one in 2009 to celebrate Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary. For more recipes, see Kitchen Parade by Shirley.
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More Ways to Cook Pork Chops

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Thick Chops with Mustard Crust Coffee Chops Thick Chops with Sauerkraut
~ more pork recipes ~


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If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.


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© Copyright 2009 Kitchen Parade



Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grape Salad with Almonds & Cilantro

An unusual fruit salad, savory and sweet at the same time. This salad recipe takes familiar ingredients and turns them upside down. Start with your favorite fruit – I've tried grapes, mango and apples – and then just stir in the rest, including a touch of salt, a key ingredient. There you go, fruit salad in a whole new way!

Grape Salad with Almonds & Cilantro

Even practiced frugal grocery shoppers suffer temptation.

The other day, my local grocery had big bunches of gorgeous-looking red grapes, one group for $1 a pound, another for $2. Closer inspection revealed that the more expensive grapes were seedless. I reached for them, almost unconsciously weighing the value of a dollar to the convenience of seedless grapes.

But if a penny saved is a penny earned, a dollar saved is a dollar earned, times a hundred. I picked the grapes with seeds.

Turns out, there were hardly any seeds in those $1 grapes. Turns out, the seeds were so soft, I didn’t even bother scooping them out. Turns out, they were some of the best grapes ever, fat the juicy and sweet and really really grape-y.

I saved $1 but learned a $100 lesson.

For something so simple, this salad is spectacular. I’ve made it six times in the past couple of weeks, once with fresh mango (gorgeous!), another time with chopped apple (very good!). Twice I’ve served it atop lightly dressed greens as a dinner salad, twice as a simple after-supper dessert and twice, well, a larger serving made for a luxurious, indulgent salad supper.

GRAPE SALAD with ALMONDS & CILANTRO

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time to table: 10 minutes
Serves 4
  • 1 pound red grapes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon good olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Sprinkle of good salt (don't skip!)
  • 1/2 cup toasted almonds (how to toast nuts)
  • Generous handful of chopped cilantro

Mix all ingredients. Serve and savor!

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Serving: 187 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 0mg Cholesterol; 39mg Sodium; 24g Carb; 3g Fiber; 18g Sugar; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4 & WW PointsPlus 5
Adapted from Go Go Chicago, discovered via Pro Bono Baker.
KEEP CILANTRO FRESH How do you keep cilantro fresh for a few days? I wash it well, then slip into a tall glass with about an inch of water, then put into the refrigerator. If the water gets grungy, I change it and give the stems a quick rinse too. This is a great way to keep fresh cilantro on hand! You never know when you’ll get a hankering for a grape, almond and cilantro salad!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. In 2009, Kitchen Parade celebrates its 50th anniversary with a special collection of my mother's recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

More Fruit Salad Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Cantaloupe Salad with Feta & Basil Healthy Waldorf Salad Citrus Slices with Orange Flower Water, Spices & Chocolate Shavings

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~ How to Keep Cilantro Fresh ~

© Copyright 2009 and 2012 Kitchen Parade

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cheery Cherry Banana Bread

The Recipe: My forever-and-forever favorite recipe for banana bread, rich with banana flavor, very banana-y. (That's thanks to very ripe bananas, even my favorite "black bananas"!) It calls for whole-wheat flour and wheat germ, so the recipe is even half healthful. But what really makes this banana bread special? Poppy seeds and those bright-red cheery cherries!

And now there's also Christmas Banana Bread with tart fresh cranberries. Consider making banana bread a new seasonal tradition.

The Conversation: Are super-size portions the reason we're putting on pounds?

My forever-and-forever recipe for banana bread, very banana-y, mostly sweetened with very ripe bananas, half healthful with whole-wheat flour and nutty wheat germ. What really makes this banana bread special? Poppy seeds and those bright-red cheery cherries! For Weight Watchers, #PP5. #KitchenParade

Nutrition experts cite super-size portions as one reason why Americans put on pounds.

I recently purchased a baking pan that cuts the portion size of quick breads in half – kinda magic, just like that!

The pan holds the same volume as a standard bread pan but is shallower and longer, about twelve inches long, allowing for more slices. The longer size is especially perfect for rich quick breads but when the weather cools off, I’ll be trying it for bread too.

A half-inch thick slice from the new longer pan feeds up half the calories as one from a standard bread pan. You can accomplish the same thing – sort of – by cutting a standard loaf in half . To my eyes, somehow that feels like a spoil-sport "half slice" where the tea loaf slice feels "just right". Weird but true.

2009 update: So sorry, my new heavy, high-quality "Danish Loaf Pan" has been discontinued by King Arthur Flour. Too bad, it remains my very favorite. They do sell a stoneware version.

Speaking of super-sized portions, who's seen the 2004 documentary Super Size Me? I couldn't imagine becoming LESS excited about the fast-food chains that appear at every turn. This very watchable movie has even turned my teenage nephews off McDonalds drive-throughs. Check it out on Hulu.com, my latest non-food obsession! No special software required, just click watch and there it is!

ALANNA's TIPS: Watch if your grocer puts out too-ripe-to-sell bananas at a much-reduced price. How ripe should bananas be for baking? See these pictures of ripe bananas. Store wheat germ and whole wheat flour in the fridge or freezer to retain freshness. While it's possible to find poppy seeds in the spice aisle at the grocery store, they're very expensive there. Instead, watch for large bags of poppy seeds at an international market with imports from the Mideast or Eastern Europe. The maraschino cherries are optional but add color and texture contrast to the bread. If you like this bread fresh, try it lightly toasted too! This column was first published in print in 2003 and online in 2009.

CHEERY CHERRY BANANA BREAD

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Time to table: 1 hour
Makes 1 standard loaf
  • 1/2 cup (114g) salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup (66g) brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (80g) buttermilk (or 1/3 cup milk plus 1 teaspoon vinegar)
  • 3 very ripe bananas or "black bananas", mashed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (28g) wheat germ
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (95g) whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup (35g) poppy seeds
  • 15-ounce jar maraschino cherries, drained, optional

Set oven to 350F/175C. Butter a standard-size bread loaf pan, about 8x4.

In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Mix in the eggs, then the buttermilk and bananas, combine well.

In a separate bowl, stir together the spices, baking soda, wheat germ, flours and poppy seeds very well, really mixing them together. With a spatula, turn these dry ingredients into the wet mixture. When they're about halfway mixed, add the cherries and continue to combine, just until mixed.

(Why do quick-bread recipes like this say to combine "just until mixed" and say to avoid over-mixing? When you over-mix a quick-bread batter, past the point where the dry ingredients are just mixed in but no more, small holes will form during baking. It's not a total disaster but not as pretty as it could be. It's why I make sure you know to really mix the dry ingredients well, also why I suggest turning the dry ingredients and the cherries in with a spatula, not the mixer.)

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 30 minutes before removing from the baking pan, completely before slicing. Keeps for several days but should be wrapped well and refrigerated if it's out for more than a day.

NUTRITION INFORMATION, Per slice, assuming 16 slices: 180 Calories; 8g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 24g Carb; 2g Fiber; 139mg Sodium; 55mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 4 & WW PointsPlus 5

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

Christmas Banana Bread


Christmas Banana Bread, just add fresh cranberries to your favorite banana bread. Recipe, tips, nutrition, WW points at #KitchenParade.

It's super-easy to convert a banana bread recipe (mine is above) into something seasonal and Christmas-y. Just add (if it's your recipe) or substitute (if it's mine) about 1-1/2 cups (150g) fresh cranberries. It helps to cut them in half, horizontally, they go further. With my recipe, since the cherries are extra-sweet and the cranberries are unsweetened, you might want to double the sugar, too. If you don't, the banana bread will definitely be less sweet than many are used to. But I don't add more sugar and really like that the Christmas Banana Bread is barely sweet, that makes it good as a holiday morning bread, an easy choice on a cookie plate, alongside a cup of tea, even a "less-sweet ending" for a holiday brunch, say.

NUTRITION INFORMATION, Per slice, assuming 16 slices: 166 Calories; 7g Tot Fat; 4g Sat Fat; 20g Carb; 2g Fiber; 139mg Sodium; 55mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 3.5 & WW PointsPlus 4


More Favorite Quick-Bread Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Autumn Pumpkin Bread Carrot & Zucchini Bread Shhh Banana Bread

More Recipes for Bananas

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Banana Oatmeal Cookies Banana Streusel Muffins Stovetop Oatmeal with Whipped Banana

What to Make with Poppy Seeds

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Lavosh - Armenian Cracker Bread Homemade Poppy Seed Cake Lemon Crinkle Cookies with Poppy Seeds

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~ Christmas Banana Bread ~





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