Boneless Grilled Pork Chops

Sometimes I may sound like a broken record, stating how much I love America’s Test Kitchen, but I really do! And as you may have noticed, many of my recipes on here are courtesy of them. The one I am bringing you today, is so absolutely delicious and easy, that I do not think I will fix regular pork chops any other way again. This technique turns out perfectly juicy chops, which at least for me is always a challenge not drying them out. To boot, it only takes a few ingredients. The anchovy paste threw me for a few minutes, as I have never actually used it, but I gave in and bought a tube. When I tasted the chops, I never would have guessed that ingredient was used if I hadn’t put it on there myself.

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I served these with a rice pilaf, and they paired together wonderfully. The leftover chops also heated up perfectly the next day for lunch.

Boneless Grilled Pork Chops
Serves 4 to 6
Ingredients

6 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
3 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (or very well-mashed rinsed and dried anchovy fillets)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Directions

Cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through outer layer of fat and connective tissue on each chop to prevent buckling. Dissolve salt in 1 1/2 quarts cold water in large container. Submerge chops in brine and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Whisk together oil, honey, anchovy paste, and pepper to form smooth paste. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Using spoon spread half of oil mixture evenly over 1 side of each chop (about 1/4 teaspoon per side).

FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chops, oiled side down, over hot part of grill and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 4 to 6 minutes. While chops are grilling, spread remaining oil mixture evenly over second side of chops. Flip chops and continue to cook until chops register 140 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes longer (if chops are well browned but register less than 140 degrees, move to cooler part of grill to finish cooking). Transfer chops to plate and let rest for 5 minutes.

Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.

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Best Steakhouse Burgers

For those who have always wanted to try making burgers from scratch (from steaks), but don’t have a meat grinder, this is the recipe and technique for you. Not to mention, these are absolutely, hands-down the best burgers I have ever made. We will never go back to buying pre-ground meat again to make burgers. With this technique, you know exactly when your meat was ground, and have absolute control over the fat content.

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This comes from the latest issue of Cooks Illustrated, their July/ August issue. There are a lot more explanations provided in the issue that I am not adding to the below, but I think I am hitting all the high points. A couple of items to note are:

1) I cannot find “Sirloin Steak Tips, or Flap Meat” by me, so I use Chuck Steaks (see pic below, not to be confused with Chuck Roast) for the meat. This steak choice came recommended from another great source for grilling, http://www.amazingribs.com.

Chuck steaks being trimmed

Chuck steaks being trimmed

2) For well done burgers, ATK recommends adding a Panade. This is 1 slice of white bread torn into pieces mixed with 2 tablespoons of milk. Let combine for 5 minutes, then mash it to a paste with a fork. Add to the meat right when adding S&P, right before forming the patties. I added the Panade the first couple of times as my wife likes her burgers well-done. The next couple of times I didn’t as we had people over with a gluten restriction. I couldn’t tell the difference with or without it. I am skipping that from now on.

3) The first time I made these, I again stuck to the recipe and added 4 tablespoons of butter. In our opinion, and personal taste, this is WAY too much butter. I highly recommend cutting it in half to 2 tablespoons. The 4 tbsp reminded me of the “Butter Burgers” they serve in Wisconsin, where when your burger comes off the grill, they throw a huge slab of butter on top then add the top bun. First, it is a heart attack waiting to happen, but the extreme butter flavor overpowers the meat.

4) For the food processor, I use a Kitchen Aid 7-cup processor, and it handles the semi-frozen meat with absolutely no problem. I think any decent processor will work for this recipe.

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Meat and butter cubed and going into the freezer

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After the food processor, just prior to forming patties

Best Steakhouse Burgers

Ingredients

1.5 pounds sirloin steak tips (or chuck steak), trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces (recommend just 2 tbsp)

Kosher salt and pepper

Vegetable oil for grill grate

OPTION – Panade – 1 slice of white bread and 2 tbsp milk

Directions

Freeze Meat: Place beef chunks and butter on large plate or rimmed baking sheet in single layer. Freeze until meat is very firm and starting to harden around edges, but still pliable, about 35 minutes.

Grind Meat: Place one-quarter of meat and one-quarter of butter pieces in food processor and pulse until finely ground into rice-grain-size pieces (about 1/32 inch), 15 to 20 pluses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to baking sheet. Repeat grinding with remaining meat and butter in 3 batches. Spread mixture over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat, fat, or butter.

Form Patties: Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pepper and ¾ teaspoon salt over meat and gently toss with fork to combine (if adding a Panade, do it here when you toss the S&P in). Divide meat into 4 balls. Toss each between your hands until uniformly but lightly packed. Gently flatten into patties ¾ inch thick and about 4 ½ inches in diameter. Using your thumb, make 1-inch-wide by 1/4-inch-deep depression in center of each patty. Transfer patties to platter and freeze for 30-45 minutes.

Cook Patties: For a gas grill, turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high. Clean and oil cooking grates. Season 1 side of patties liberally with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Grill patties without moving them until browned and meat releases easily from grill, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip patties and continue to grill until browned on second side and meat registers 120 to 125 for medium-rare or 130 to 135 degrees for medium, 4 to 7 minutes longer.

Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to buns and serve with toppings.

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Also, as this is the season for grilling, if you are experiencing any issues with your Weber Grill, or need to get a hold of hard to find parts, please go to http://www.qualitygrillparts.com/

Chicken Enchilada Ring

For anyone that likes Tex-Mex food, you must try this Chicken Enchilada Ring. This recipe is one of my wife’s that she has been making us for years, and it absolutely never gets old. One of the things that makes this so good, is that I have never seen another rendition quite like this. I trust there is somewhere out there, I just haven’t run across it.

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I do wish I would have done it better justice by taking a few more pictures, especially of the process, and better ones definitely of the end result. But these few pictures should get the point across on what it should look like, and how you need to lay out the crescent rolls to start.

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Definitely give this one a try for something different, and if you do, I really think you will enjoy it. When we make this, I normally make queso and drizzle it on top of our portions once it id plated, and my wife likes hers with salsa and sour cream on top.

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Chicken Enchilada Ring

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped cooked chicken

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 4-oz can chopped green chilis, un-drained

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tbsp southwestern seasoning mix

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

Juice from 1/2 lime

2/3 cups crushed tortilla chips

2 packages crescent rolls

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together chopped chicken, cheese, chilis, mayo and seasoning mix. Add tomato, lime juice, and chips to the mixture.

Separate crescent roll pieces and arrange to look like a sun, with the flat bases towards the center, and the skinny points facing out. Spoon mixture onto the fatter base parts, all the way around the circle. Fold tips of the pieces back over the mixture, pressing down on the tip to secure it to the base.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lightly spray with non-stick spray. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

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Repairing Grills and Escaping the Rat Race

Grilling Fanatic

Have you ever wanted to get off the hamster wheel and start doing something you love for a living?

Yeah..me too.

I am tired of dealing with corporate layoffs, two hour commutes and mind numbing meetings.

It’s time for a change. The thought of change makes me happy.

One of the things I love is fixing up old Weber grills.

I buy used and beat up Weber grills off of Craigslist. I replace the burner tubes, Flavorizer bars, grill grates and ignition systems.

The grills get sold as refurbished grills on Craigslist.

I lose between $25-$50 per project 🙂

The money isn’t the important part about these rehab projects. I just hate the idea of beautiful grills ending up in landfills.

The hardest thing about fixing up old Weber grills is finding the right replacement parts.

Parts for a Weber Genesis C made in 2001 do not fit a Weber…

View original post 242 more words

Orange Chicken (w/ GF option)

I have gone through no less than a handful of Orange Chicken recipes, all with decent results. Even posted one on here that I thought was definitely worth making from the Pioneer Woman, who has never steered me wrong. But alas, she has to move to the side on this one, and I have now deleted that version and am replacing it with this one. It is hands down the best one I have made, and much better than what I can get from a take-out Chinese restaurant.

From the base recipe (linked below), I only made two minor changes. One, as the La Choy Orange Ginger sauce already has red pepper flakes in it, I omitted the extra addition of them to the sauce, but that is purely a personal preference as my family tends to lean towards the less spicy dishes. I have made it with the extra red pepper flakes, and it is still excellent. Second, instead of the gluten free white rice flour, I use GF all-purpose flour (Trader Joe’s brand works awesome!). I have also made this with regular all-purpose flour and it is just as good. I serve this over simple Jasmine rice.

Enjoy!

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Orange Chicken

Ingredients

One pound of boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

½ cup cornstarch

½ cup all-purpose flour (or GF all-purpose flour)

2 eggs

Vegetable oil for deep frying

Orange Sauce-

1½ Cups of La Choy Orange Ginger sauce

1½ teaspoons of garlic powder

½ teaspoon sesame oil

1½ teaspoons San-J Teriyaki Sauce

Optional- sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Instructions

Crack eggs in shallow dish or bowl and break yolks/lightly scramble. Mix together cornstarch and rice flour on a separate shallow dish.

Dip chicken pieces into egg let any excess drip off then dredge into the flour mixture and coat pieces of chicken. Heat oil for deep frying in wok or deep fryer to 375°F.

While oil is heating stir together orange sauce and garlic power in saucepan. Heat thoroughly then add sesame oil and stir together. Turn sauce to low.

Once oil is heated fry in batches about 3-4 minutes until a golden crisp and chicken is 165° internally.

Add chicken to orange sauce and stir together, coating the chicken in the sauce. Add chopped green onions and sesame seeds for garnish. Serve immediately.

The original recipe can be found at Rolling Out Dough here.

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GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Two things are amazing with this recipe. First, you will never have believed that you could make pork tenderloin cutlets as tender as these turn out. Second, you will swear there is no way they are gluten free. We have made these numerous times now, and they always turn out fantastic. I am not trying to figure out what other dishes I can make using this cooking technique. Next up, I believe I am going to do chicken cutlets. If you have a small family like mine, one pork tenderloin will provide for two iterations of this recipe. When I get it home from the store, I cut the tenderloin in two, then freeze half to make on another occasion.

If you do not have a Trader Joe’s close by and your grocery store doesn’t carry GF all-purpose flour, there are recipes online for how to make your own. I believe they are usually a mixture to include Rice Flour, tapioca flour, etc. On the GF breadcrumbs, I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed until fine in a food processor. I have used this alternative on these cutlets, chicken parmesan, and many other breaded dishes and I cannot tell the difference between this, and panko or other breadcrumbs.

Enjoy!

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Normally I serve these cutlets with mashed potatoes. Woops, must have forgotten the vegetable by accident! 🙂

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven.

The improvised raised bed in the Dutch Oven, with water in the bottom.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

After browned in oil, pre-baking.

Baking complete, ready to eat!

Baking complete, ready to eat!

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GF Breaded Pork Tenderloin Cutlets

Ingredients

2-3lb pork tenderloin

1/2 cup GF all-purpose flour (I use Trader Joe’s)

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1 cup GF Breadcrumbs (I use Rice Chex cereal pulsed in a food processor)

3 large eggs plus 3 tsp water

1/3 cup avocado or canola oil, divided into Tbl increments

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle. Cut the tenderloin crosswise into 2″ rounds. Places each piece between two sheets of plastic wrap and gently pound until they are thin cutlets (less than 1/4” thick).

Set up your station with 3 separate pie pans. In the first pie pan place the flour, salt, pepper and paprika and gently mix. In the middle pie pan add the eggs and water whisking to combine. In the last pie pan place the bread crumbs.

In a medium non-stick skillet over medium heat add 2 Tbl of oil. Once the oil starts to shimmer, dredge a cutlet in flour coating all sides. Next dip it in the egg flipping to get all sides wet. Gently lift up letting the excess egg drip off. Place the cutlet in the breadcrumbs and coat all sides. At this point you can coat a few and cook all at once being sure you do not crowd the pan.

Gently place the cutlets in the hot oil cooking each side about 3-4 minutes or until each side is golden brown. Continue coating and cooking in batches until they are all pan-seared. You will need to add more oil as you cook.

Either in a large roasting pan (that has a lid) with a rack in the bottom or a large dutch oven that has a lid (if you can fit a rack in it great, if not it’s OK) take about 2-4’ of aluminum foil and crumble it up like a snake. You want to rest this on top of the rack or the bottom of the dutch oven. The goal here is to have the food be elevated at least 1” above the bottom of the pan.

Place about 1/2-1 cup of water at the bottom of the pan. The foil or rack can sit it but the water cannot go over top of the foil or touch the cutlets. Take the pan-seared cutlets and place them on top of the foil. It’s okay to stack them if you made a lot. You just don’t want them to touch the water.

Cover the roaster or pan very tightly with foil and the lid. You want to steam these now. This is the trick to get them ridiculously tender. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently remove.

Recipe slightly adapted from The Kitchen Whisperer.

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Chicken Chilaquiles

Chicken Chilaquiles! Don’t ask me how to pronounce it, as I have not the faintest idea! For someone who never had even a bite of Mexican food growing up, I sure have not come to love it! Love it in as it is on the menu at least 2-3 times a week, in some form or fashion. The latest attempt was not only the first time making this dish, it was a first time eating this dish. I had come to notice it more and more on Tex-Mex restaurant menu’s, and while I never ordered it, it definitely intrigued me. And I honestly, the only reason I didn’t order it was it looked so simple, I couldn’t justify spending money to have someone else make it for me.

At the end of the day, it was as easy as it looked, and just as tasty. If you have someone on a gluten free diet in your house, this dish is perfect for you. Many restaurants serve this as a brunch item, but I really cant picture this, especially paired with eggs. We enjoy this at dinner. My wife tops her plate of chilaquiles with sour cream and cut-up avocado.  Enjoy!

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Chicken Chilaquiles

Ingredients

1 28oz can whole tomatoes

1 jalapeno pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons chilies in adobo, chopped

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1/2 bag of tortilla chips

1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, shredded (option: switch half of cheddar with Monterey Jack)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large food processor or blender, add in tomatoes, jalapenos, chilies, broth, and salt. Pulse until it is smooth. Set-aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Add cooked chicken pieces and stir in evenly.

Using a 9×13” casserole dish, layer tortilla chips in the bottom until they are even, and fill up approximately half of the dish. Pour sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle cheese over the sauce. Bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 5-8 minutes.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

This dish, requested by my wife recently was a first for me. I have never been a bell pepper fan, unless they are sauteed almost beyond oblivion. That being said, I have not tried bell peppers made otherwise for probably the last 20 years. As once I “know” I don’t like something and it is stuck in my head, it is pretty hard to convince me otherwise.

So last week when my wife requested it, I had no clue. Instead of perusing the internet, I turned first to one of my sisters. Thankfully enough, she had a tried and true recipe. Truth be told however, this “recipe” was her scribbling down notes while her husbands grandmother made these for them years ago. This is same way she got her meatballs recipe, which I have shared with you (Your New Favorite Meatballs), and are pretty darn good.

So this recipe is slightly adapted, from a slightly adapted recipe from an Italian Grandmother. Can’t beat it!

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Started out with a colorful assortment.

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Just out of the oven.

Ready to eat!!

Ready to eat!!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients
6 peppers, plus 1 pepper diced
2 tablespoons oil, divided
1 onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch red pepper flakes
½ lb ground beef
2 cups cooked white rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup grated parmesan
¼ cup grated mozzarella
¼ cup parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Flour (Gluten Free APF if desired)
1 cup marinara sauce

Instructions

Sauté onion, diced pepper, garlic and red pepper flakes in oil. Once softened, add ground beef and cook until browned through. Remove from heat and mix the meat mixture with the rice. Add eggs, cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top off the 6 peppers, and remove the insides. Sprinkle the insides with flour, then fill with the meat/rice/cheese mixture.
Flour the tops, and fry in oil for 5 minutes or so (see note).  Add to a pan, pouring sauce over the tops of the peppers. Add a cup of water or so to the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour or until tender.
*Note: After flouring the tops, flip upside down to brown in the oil. The mixture inside is fairly wet at this point, so the mixture should not fall out if is packed in pretty well.

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Italian Sausage Bake

Like many others, I am always in search for easy and delicious one pot meals. Unfortunately I have found they are few and far between. This is a great one for a weekend, or if you have an opportunity during the week to assemble and bake a couple of hours before dinner. Sausage and potatoes gives you your main course and side dish with some great flavoring from the peppers and onions. We generally will make a side salad to go with this as well. If you have someone in your house on a gluten free diet, this dish is perfect for you!

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Fixing to cover and head into the oven.

A couple of notes for you. Do not cut up the potatoes too small or they won’t hold up well after two hours. I try to stay between 1.5 – 2 inch pieces. Also, the first couple of times I made this I added the tomatoes at the beginning, as the source recipe called for. They definitely don’t hold up for that long. They still had flavor, but they were too mushy for my taste. So I add them at the 90 minute mark when I remove the foil. They hold up much better that way. We also use sweet Italian Sausage instead of spicy as that is just our preference. And if we ever have leftovers with this one, which is rare, I turn it into a sausage and potato hash with eggs for lunch the next day. Yum!!!

Enjoy!

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Ready to eat!!

Italian Sausage Bake

Ingredients

1 pint grape tomatoes, red and/or yellow variety

1 pound honey gold potatoes, cut in to 2″ pieces

2 large bell peppers, chopped length-wise 1-inch

1 large red onion, sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

6 links Italian sausage, sweet or spicy

5 sprigs dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large baking dish, toss potatoes, bell peppers, and red onion with one tablespoon olive oil and chopped garlic. Mix well until incorporated and salt and pepper to taste.

Place the sausage links on top of the vegetables. Place sprigs of thyme throughout the dish. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

Remove foil from baking dish, add the tomatoes, mix vegetables around, and bake for an additional 30 minutes (flipping sausages halfway) until the sausage is golden brown.

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Recipe slightly adapted from Katie’s Cucina.

Classic Beef Chili

With this cold weather blanketing the country, and the Superbowl less than a week away, I thought it was a great time to post about the best chili I have ever eaten. I found this recipe about 2 months ago and have made it quite a few times since, altering a thing here or there, but mostly keeping it intact.

Of course, like many of my favorites it came from ATK. When the weather really took a turn for the worse this year the first thing my wife asked me to cook was chili. She had a hankering for it, and the canned stuff was no longer acceptable (nor should it ever have been!!). So I scoured the Net, and found quite a few recipes that looked like they would be winners, but at the end of the day, I came back to the trusted folks in VT.

The ingredients as shown makes a large pot of chili, so if I am making it for us and guests, I do it as written. If it is just for our family, I half it and still have some leftovers for lunch the next day. It reheats very well, and almost tastes better the second day. And of course since we live in TX, mine gets turned into a Frito Pie. Simply, a Frito chip base, followed by chili, followed by shredded cheddar cheese. She eats hers over rice, then topped with cheese. Can’t go wrong with either, or with just a big old bowl of chili by itself. If you have someone in your house with a gluten allergy, this beef chili is perfect for you!

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Almost done simmering.

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My Frito Pie version.

Classic Beef Chili

Ingredients

¼ cup chili powder

1 tablespoon dried cumin

2 teaspoons dried coriander

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped fine

1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds, 85% lean ground beef

2 (15-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed

1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes

1 (28-oz) can tomato puree

Water, as needed

Directions

Combine chili powder, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in spice mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Stir in half of beef. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking up meat with spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining beef and cook until no longer pink. Stir in beans, diced tomatoes with their juice, and tomato puree and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat to gentle simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.

Uncover and continue to simmer gently until beef is tender and sauce is dark, rich, and slightly thickened, about 45 minutes longer. If chili begins to stick to bottom of pot or looks too thick, stir in water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Chili can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; add water as needed when reheating to adjust consistency.)

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