Roasted pork chops with vegetables

Are you looking for an easy way to make pork chops?  I found that roasting them with vegetables is a delicious way to serve them, as well as speedy, because the dish comes together in about 30 minutes.

For this sheet pan recipe, I used baby carrots, one Gala apple, Brussels sprouts and fresh mushrooms. Bone-in pork chops would be tasty in this format. I had boneless on hand and seasoned them with salt, ground pepper and rosemary.

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Place the chops and sliced apples and vegetables on a sheet pan prepared with cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated oven set at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the ingredients over and bake until the chops are done, around 13-15 more minutes. Monitor and adjust the oven temperature as necessary. Some ovens may need to be decreased to 400 degrees during the roasting process.

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This dish could be served with a starch if desired, such as potatoes or wild rice.

 

marmalade carrots

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Spring vegetables bring a delicious excitement to any dinner plate.  I am encouraged by their fresh taste to begin planting my summer vegetable garden.  Colorful carrots are some of my favorites.  This recipe highlights their beauty with a spectacular glaze.

This recipe is super easy to make and compliments grilled chicken.  I often serve the carrots with fluffy rice, as the glaze is very tasty mixed together.

To prepare the carrots:  Select 4-5 medium-sized colorful carrots.  Peel and cut into bite-sized slices. Boil on the stove top for 12-14 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, add these ingredients:

2/3 cup orange marmalade, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons margarine, and 1 teaspoon maple extract.  Cook until thickened for about 6-8 minutes and then add 1/3 cup sliced almonds.

Drain the carrots and add the glaze. Mix well and serve.

 

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Baking Spring vegetables

 

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Roasting vegetables can move beyond winter side dish favorites.  By choosing spring vegetables, this dish can transform a meal presentation with color and style.  The secret is finding a spring mix of colorful carrots.  At Trader Joe’s, I was able to find a bag of “organic carrots of many colors”. Along with the other vegetables, the carrots alone transformed the color of the dish.

 

Choose a variety of vegetables which are cut about the same size for even roasting.  I roasted for 30-35 minutes in a 375 degree oven.  If you have a hotter oven, these vegetables will also roast well but decrease the time based on how many of each vegetable is chosen.

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Here is how I baked my mix of vegetables:  Cut in half 6 small red potatoes, use 4 colorful carrots sliced on an angle, one cleaned and sliced leek, one sliced shallot, and 1/2 cup of frozen or fresh peas.  Mix all of the vegetables except the peas in a large roasting pan.  In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, one cup of vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, and ground pepper to taste.  Mix well.  Pour over the vegetables in the pan and sprinkle with dried basil.  Bake and stir half way during the cooking process.  Add the peas to the mixture at that time.  Serve with meat, chicken or fish.

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cinnamon carrots

One of my favorite vegetables has to be carrots.  I usually purchase the petite or small carrots in the market, just for the ease of preparation.  Often, I just boil the carrots, drain and add some margarine and a teaspoon or two of brown sugar to finish the dish.

However, I recently tried adding one teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the brown sugar.  This simple addition made my side dish of plain carrots have a wonderful taste profile.  Sometimes just looking into my spice cabinet reveals a great new idea.

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Jamie Deen’s meat and potatoes

Here is a classic recipe for those men in your lives that are looking for a meat and potatoes dinner.  It is easy and quick and comes together with prep and baking time combined at 60 minutes.

It is easy to adjust the ingredients depending on how many men and how hungry you expect them to be at dinner time.

The recipe comes from Jamie’s Good Food cookbook, which has been a great success for me.  Every one of his recipes seems to work perfectly.  I used a smaller amount of ingredients as I don’t have many men to feed.  Here is how I made the baking pouches.  I used Martha Stewart’s foil and parchment wrap, which is amazing. I blogged about the product on May 6, 2012 on this blog. I purchased it on amazon.com, and am still using my box.  It seems to last forever.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a bowl, mix 3/4 pounds ground beef, with 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, one egg, and 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add minced garlic if desired. Combine well and form into two patties. As an option, could also add 1/8 cup of chili sauce or ketchup.

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Prepare the foil and parchment wraps.  Foil on the outside and parchment on the inside, or use Martha’s wrap. Place into a baking sheet pan.  Into another bowl add 1 tablespoon olive oil to 1/4 bag of small-sized carrots, 1 sliced white onion, and 2 Yukon baking potatoes which have been sliced lengthwise.  Mix well and season to taste with herbs or salt and pepper.

Place the vegetable mixture first into the pouch wraps and then top with the meat patty. Seal the pouches and roast for 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are fork tender.

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Open and serve.  Simply delicious for a meat and potatoes meal.  This is a once in three-month meal for us, as we limit our red meat intake.

Perfect for a cold winter night.

 

 

cherry street market –a wonderful fall experience

Last Friday, we took a relaxing Fall drive Up North to Traverse City Michigan.  I certainly do love Northern Michigan and will never give up an opportunity to experience wonderful food, shopping, and of course the Lake.  The weather was lovely and the air was filled with the crisp cooler weather that has rolled into our state.  I enjoyed every minute of the day, especially my stop at the Cherry Street Market in Kalkaska. ( http://www.cherrystreetmarket.com/)

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The vegetables and fruits were overflowing the shelves into bushels and pecks for sale.  The apples, squash, concord grapes and pie pumpkins were beautiful.  I love everything about a farm market.  I love that it is outdoors. I also love that the produce looks and tastes better than anything available at any local grocery store.  The romaine lettuce is deep green.  The corn is super sweet.  The apples are crisp and perfect without any blemishes. I love that I don’t have to “pick through” the pile, because every specimen of fruit or vegetable is picture perfect.  The freshness factor is overflowing.

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I purchased two large bags brimming with fruits and vegetables for $17.  This amazes me, as produce is so expensive at the grocery store. The abundance is breathtaking and the atmosphere is charming.  I love the harvest season and everything about farm produce.  I encourage everyone to have a small garden.  For those items that cannot be grown at your home due to hours of sun available in your yard, or even just space, I encourage supporting local growers in your area.  I have never been disappointed with the quality or the selection at the end of a growing season.

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carrots in the garden cake

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the weather was lovely in Michigan yesterday.  it really seems like Spring is here.  of course, the season of chocolate came as well, with another round of chocolate bunnies and just about everything dipped in chocolate in the stores.  it is certainly difficult to resist all of the temptations at the market.  my husband was treated again to chocolate bunnies and that makes him very happy for weeks to come.

as for me, with all of my bakery visits, i was determined to try a garden cake for Easter.  this was a simple pound cake mix, that i decorated with my chocolate ganache recipe.  it is so simple, it just begs to be made.  in a double boiler over boiling water, melt 10 ounces of dark chocolate, and one teaspoon flavor, such as vanilla or almond, and then whisk in 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  that step takes a bit of time to make sure the chocolate is glossy and smooth.  don’t stop the whisk–part way through everyone thinks that this will not work.  but, it does. and the result is so delicious. don’t give up.  the chocolate and the cream look like they will never come together, but don’t put down the whisk.  this recipe will be enough for a whole cake.  today, i chose to decorate only one layer.

then, once i spread the chocolate, i sprinkled chopped chocolate crumbs over the top of the cake to resemble soil for my garden–chopped Oreo’s could be used or any type of chocolate cookie crunch.

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i allowed the frosting to harden at this point, before adding the carrots.  the carrots are simply circles piped on with copper color-tinted frosting.  i used my basic frosting recipe of 5 tablespoons creamed unsalted butter at room temperature, with 1 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar, 1/2 tablespoon flavor, and 1 tablespoon milk.  mix these together very well and tint to color of choice with paste color.  i used copper for the carrots.

to make a radish garden or even just a radish row, use red tinted icing. the green stems will be the same. i supposed even onions could be made with white icing.

the green stems are made by slicing green twizzlers into small pieces.  add the stems and the garden comes to life.  even though this cake took several hours to come together, it was easier than growing a garden of carrots in the yard.

i will attempt that later this spring.