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Mrs. Samurai's Kitchen



Tender Slow-Cooker Pork Chops

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Slow Cooker, Recipes, Main dish 22 September 2011 · 1,089 views
pork, slow cooker, Crock Pot
For me, cooking pork chops is often a bit frustrating because today’s pork is so lean that the result is often very dry. Here’s an easy way to create succulent chops and a yummy sauce all in your slow cooker with very little labor. I love having dinner cooking in my Crock Pot - gives me kind of a smug feeling all day (as opposed to that nagging “what am I gonna fix for dinner?” playing in the back of my mind).

Ingredients

6-10 center-cut pork chops, trimmed (quantity depends on size of the chops and the number of people you are feeding)
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other seasonings
about 1/2 cup of flour
Fat/Oil (olive, refined coconut, butter, or ghee)
1 large or 2 medium onions, sliced
2 - 3 cups chicken broth
8 oz. sour cream or whole-milk yogurt

Directions

Put the flour in a shallow dish or pie plate and mix it with seasonings of your choice. Salt, pepper, and garlic powder are good - or any favorite seasoning blend you might have on hand. I don’t measure the seasonings - I shake it in fairly liberally, imagining how much I would shake onto the amount of chops I’m cooking.

Heat about 1 tablespoon of the fat or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the pork chops in the flour mixture, then add to the hot pan and brown lightly on both sides. Put the chops in the slow cooker, then top with the onion slices and enough chicken broth just to cover it all.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours (this can vary slightly, depending on the size and quantity of chops). Remove the chops (they should be falling-apart tender!) and stir in the sour cream to the remaining liquid and onions. This sauce is excellent over the chops and either mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower (recipe coming soon!), and whatever green vegetable you decide to serve on the side.

Note: if you want a thicker gravy-like sauce, you can transfer some or all of the liquid to a saucepan (before you add the sour cream) and heat it with a little corn starch or flour to thicken somewhat, then stir in the sour cream off heat. I’m usually too lazy to bother, and don’t mind the more liquidy sauce flooding my plate!

This recipe is adapted from one I got through a cool menu-mailing service called, oddly enough, Menu-Mailer. Check it out if meal planning is a challenge for you!


Graham Cracker Toffee

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Dessert, Recipes 18 September 2011 · 461 views
recipe, dessert
(Originally published at Fixitnow.com in September '10)

All right, time for another of my highly requested recipes. This is great to make for a crowd, because if you have it sitting around for very long in your house you’ll eat so much that you’ll have to run a marathon to burn off the extra calories. Like the Corn Casserole, it’s very easy to make, and if anyone tries to discuss the nutritional makeup of it, plug yours ears and hum.

Graham Cracker Toffee

2 packs of plain graham crackers (approx.)
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
12 oz. bag chocolate chips
1 cup. chopped pecans (roasted for a few minutes in the oven, if there is time, to bring out the flavor)

optional – mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet (mine is about 17 in. x 12 in.) with foil, tucking into the corners and allowing some to wrap around the sides. This takes the wide roll of foil – if you have only a regular roll of foil, use 2 smaller pans. You do not want this stuff to get on the pan itself – it’s like superglue. Grease foil with unsalted butter or cooking spray.

Arrange the graham crackers in the pan in a single layer, breaking them as needed to cover as much of the pan as possible.

Melt the butter, sugars, and salt in a saucepan, then bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently. As soon as it comes to a boil, carefully pour the mixture over the graham crackers, using a spatula to smooth it evenly. Make sure all of the crackers are covered. Bake for about 10 minutes – the syrup should be enthusiastically bubbling.

Immediately sprinkle chocolate chips all over the crackers, then put back in the oven for a minute or two. Remove pan, then smooth the chocolate out using the spatula. Sprinkle the nuts over the chocolate (and, for a “Rocky Road” variety – some mini marshmallows), then let it cool for 30 minutes. Stick the pan in the freezer for about half an hour to harden the chocolate, then lift the foil off the pan and break or cut the toffee into pieces. Enjoy!


Corn Casserole

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Recipes, Side dish 18 September 2011 · 489 views
corn, casserole, side dish and 1 more...
(Originally published on Fixitnow.com Sept. '10)

This is probably my most requested recipe, which is a little embarrassing because it is so simple and relies heavily on canned/boxed ingredients. I normally like to cook with whole, unprocessed foods, but sometimes you need something quick and easy. This certainly fits the bill!

Mrs. Samurai’s Corn Casserole

Makes enough to feed a small crowd.

1 stick butter, melted
4 eggs, beaten
16 oz. sour cream
3 cans cream-style corn
3 cans whole kernel corn, drained
2 pkg. Jiffy brand corn muffin mix

In a large bowl, mix together butter, eggs, and sour cream. Add corn and muffin mix and stir to combine. Pour into a large casserole dish or pan (or two 9x13 pans) and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about an hour to an hour and a half, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and it is starting to brown a little around the edges.

You can halve this recipe, using one or two cans of each type of corn – depending on how “corny” you like it. Bake this smaller size in a 2 quart dish or pan for about 45 min. to an hour.


Krispy Kale

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Side dish, Recipes 14 September 2011 · 523 views
vegetable, side dish, kale and 1 more...
Here’s a recipe that takes a vegetable my kids don’t like very much and turns it into something they actually get excited about - a rare find! Why do we want to eat kale? I happen to think it tastes great, but also... Dr. Mercola recently named kale as one of the top-ten superfoods we should all eat (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/09/10/top-ten-best-superfoods.aspx ) - here’s a fun way to get more of it in your belly!

Ingredients
1 large bunch of kale (if bunches are smallish, get 2)
olive oil
salt

Method
Preheat oven to 350 deg. You’ll need 2 baking sheets and 2 wire cooling racks that can sit on top of them.

Tear the leaves off of the stems and then into large pieces (2 to 3 inches, approximately). Wash and dry the leaves as best you can (a salad spinner works perfectly).

In a large bowl, toss the kale with a pretty good-size drizzle of olive oil and some salt, then spread it evenly on the wire racks placed on top of baking sheets. Bake for about 15 - 20 minutes until nice and crispy. The leaves will darken somewhat. Enjoy right away! As soon as I pull it out of the oven the Samurai and our 2 sons immediately come and stand around shoveling it into their mouths making disturbing crunching noises and leaving little kale crumbs around the stove. Not too pretty a sight, but I console myself with the knowledge that all those nutrients are gonna be good for them.

Serves about 4 - 5 in our house.

Notes
This recipe only seems to work with kale and its curly leaves. Any of the flat-leaved greens don’t crisp up properly. Also, be sure to use the wire racks - if you put the kale directly on the baking sheets, you would have to turn all the pieces halfway through the cooking to try to avoid sogginess - tedious!






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