Thursday, September 10, 2015

Baked goodies!

Friends, would you like to know what happens when you forget the fridge isn't working and you buy eggs? You bake. You bake a lot of things. I decided if I was going to be heating the whole house, I might as well try some new things! I have sweet potato chocolate chip cookies, chocolate oat banana bread, gluten free peanut butter cookies, and some good old fashioned plain chocolate chip.

The sweet potato cookie recipe came from Kitchen Queen Eats Clean. I made a couple changes to her recipe and it went as follows:
2 medium sweet potatoes - peeled, chopped, boiled, pureed
1/2 c oat flour (that I made myself in the blender)
1/2 c oats
1/2 c natural peanut butter
3 T vanilla syrup
1 t cinnamon
1 t pumpkin spice
1 t cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 c mini chocolate chips...with more sprinkled on top

Mix your dry ingredients. Add your wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips. Side note: make sure your potatoes are cool. I got a little impatient and now my cookies are brown because the chocolate all melted. They're still delicious. My batter wasn't really thick. I put everything in the fridge for about 20 minutes to let it firm up. Then bake at 350 F for 15-17 minutes. 

Also, I'm baking all my cookies on foil over my cookie sheets. Why haven't I done this before? Clean up is a breeze. 

I thought these turned out quite good. I don't taste the sweet potato at all so I call it a success.

I had bananas in the freezer so once they started thawing I decided I needed to make banana bread. I found this recipe at The Wholesome Dish. I made a couple of pretty big changes though since I didn't have applesauce and I didn't want to use sugar. Here's what I did:
3 ripe bananas, smashed up
1/2 c raw honey
1/2 canola oil
2 eggs
3/4 c flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 c oats
chocolate chips and oats for the top

Mash the bananas, add the honey, oil, and eggs, and whisk together. Add all dry ingredient except oats. Mix until incorporated. Add the oats and mix until combined. Don't over mix. Pour into a greased 9x5 bread pan, sprinkle the chocolate chips and oats on top, and bake at 350 F for 50-60 minutes, until tooth pick comes out without any raw batter. Let it cool in the pan 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let it continue to cool. 

This was also a success. It certainly looks pretty. 

If you search pinterest for peanut butter cookies you will find tons of sites advertising 3 ingredient, gluten free cookies. I decided to try it out. 
1 c peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 egg

Mix together. Scoop into balls. Press down with a fork. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes.

These were stupid good. Holy cow. 

Last, but certainly not least, some chocolate chip cookies. I found this recipe for Perfect Chocolate Chip cookies on Tastes Better from Scratch. I cut it in half (because seriously, how many cookies do I really need? Just kidding. I'm just running out of room.) I didn't make any changes except that I was out of vanilla so I skipped it. They're amazing. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Apple, Bacon, & Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

Have I ever mentioned that my husband is the king of finding awesome deals? He is. We have gone to some really great restaurants because of his savvy Groupon and Living Social skills. A couple weekends ago we were in Indianapolis and he had a deal for a butcher shop. Don't ask me how he finds these things, I'm just glad he does. We came home with some amazing 3 peppered bacon, 2 double cut pork chops, and 2lbs of grass fed Angus ground beef (stay tuned for awesome meatloaf when it gets cooler!) Tonight I used two of these wonderful finds to serve up some AMAZING stuffed pork chops that I found on blogger jo cooks website. She was cooking for 4, I'm cooking for 2, so here is her amazing recipe with my adaptations.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. My chops had been thawing over night in the fridge. I took them out and let them set on the counter as I got everything else ready. I started with my cast iron skillet and bacon. This 3 pepper bacon is so delicious that even though I only need 2 strips for this meal, I cooked 4. Once they were finished I removed them from the pan to some napkins to set and removed 2 tablespoons of bacon fat to a bowl for later.

Next up we have half an onion and half a green apple. Chop the onion. Peel and core the apple, then slice it thinly, and then cut the slices in half. The onion and apple went into the skillet and I let them cook about 3 minutes over medium high heat. Afterwards, I added a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic. Technically, that's about double what Jo uses in her recipe for 4 chops. I like garlic and using extra was fantastic. Let the mix cook about a minute longer and transfer into a glass bowl (or something that's ok with heat). Tear or chop up the bacon and add it to the mix along with almost a half a cup of crumbly blue cheese. If you want to be technical, I used 1/4 cup and an 1/8 cup. Extra will only make it taste better! Mix it up so everything is evenly distributed.

Now it's time to get the chops ready. I added the extra bacon fat back to the skillet and set it over low heat. Season each chop with salt, pepper, and rosemary (I used dried) to your own liking, then cut into each chop and create a pocket. I've seen people do this multiple ways: some cut half way through the whole side and then tooth pick it closed, I saw another version that did the same thing but then wrapped the bacon around the chop to close it up (which may not work so well for this version but still, fantastic idea), I like to cut about an inch to an inch and half hole and then hollow out the inside from there. It makes a gigantic mess while you're stuffing them, because you can only stuff a little at a time and the best method I've found is to just use my hands and finger to stuff it. That's what I did this time and each chop was bulging by the time they were done.

Turn the heat up a little on the skillet and add the chops. Sear each side for 5 minutes and then stick the whole pan in the oven for about 20 minutes. Some of the mix will ooze out of the chop, it's delicious. Such a great recipe!

2 double cut (thick cut) pork chops
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 green apple, peeled, cored, sliced thinly
1 heaping T minced garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
2 strips of bacon cooked (more for a snack and to have enough bacon fat)
1/2 c crumbled blue cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet. Once finished, remove from pan and reserve 2 T of bacon fat for later. Chop onion, peel, core, and slice half the apple. Add to the skillet and cook over medium high heat about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Remove from pan to glass bowl. Chop/tear bacon and add to bowl, add blue cheese, mix up. Salt, pepper and rosemary chops to your personal liking. Cut a pocket in the chop and stuff with the mix, half in each chop. Add reserved bacon fat to skillet and sear each chop, 5 minutes each side. Take skillet and put in oven to bake chops for 20 minutes. Delicious.