Apple Butter Pork Chops and Twice Baked Potatoes

Apples and pork are a great combination.  Growing up we always had my Mom’s homemade applesauce when we had pork chops.  I had a jar of her homemade apple butter and thought it would be the perfect thing to add to the crock pot with some boneless pork chops.  Twice baked potatoes is also a favorite of mine, and the two go together great!

Put two 8 ounce boneless pork chops in the crock pot (mine were still frozen, right out of the freezer…that’s the joy of crock pot cooking), and add a pint of homemade apple butter.  Turn the crock pot on high and let it cook for 4 hours.  Occasionally turn the chops and stir them, but for the most part leave them alone. 

About an hour before the pork chops are ready, put 4 washed potatoes in the microwave for 10 minutes. 

When the potatoes were done, mash them with a fork. 

To the potatoes, add 1/2 cup of ranch salad dressing, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, and about 1/4 cup of butter and mixed well.  Add a handful of mozzarella cheese and mixed well again. 

Put the mashed potato mix in a small baking dish and topped with mozzarella cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese on top is melted.

Ready to eat!

My pork chops were so tender they were falling apart.  Serve with some apple butter on the side. 

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Vegetable Pizza

This recipe is great for hot summer days that call for a refreshing, light healthy snack or dinner.  It is also great to take to a party or family picnic.

To make the crust:

Mix 1 package of active dry yeast, 1 1/4 cups of flour, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of oil and 1 cup of warm water (110-115 degrees) with an electric mixer to combine well.  Continue to add 2 cups of flour at small increments until you can no longer beat with an electric mixer (for me, I added about 3/4 cup of flour until my mixer could no longer do it).

Spread remaining flour on clean surface and turn dough out on surface to knead.  As you knead, try to incorporate as much of the remaining flour as possible.  Knead about 6-8 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. 

Form dough into a ball, cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes.

Spread dough out on a greased pan.  Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in size, about 30-45 minutes.  After it has doubled, bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

If you don’t have the time to make your own crust, you can use the ready-made pizza crusts or a package of crescent rolls that are found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  If using crescent rolls, roll them out flat and piece the dough together to create one piece of dough.

While the dough is baking, prepare the veggies to top the pizza.

I used julianned carrots, and simply snipped them into small pieces with my kitchen shears until I had 1 1/2 cups.

Next, finely dice 1 green pepper and 1 cup of mushrooms.

Finely dice 1/2 of an English cucumber and quarter 8-10 grape tomatoes. 

After the crust cools, spread a pint of dill dip or ranch dip over the crust. 

Mix the chopped veggies together and spread over the entire pizza.

Top with your favorite cheese–cojack, cheddar or mozzarella.  Keep chilled. 

So good!

Creamy Parmesan Potatoes

This dish is a perfect and easy addition to any family party or church potluck.  It also makes a delicious side dish for any supper. 

Start by either slicing or cubing 6 good-sized potatoes.

Spray 9 x 13 inch dish with cooking spray.  Place potatoes in dish.

Melt 1/2 cup of butter over medium heat.  Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Whisk together.

Add 1/3 cup of flour.  Whisk continually.  Mixture will get thick. 

Add 2 cups milk.  Bring to boil while stirring continually.  Mixture will begin to thicken.

Stir in 3/4 cup parmesan cheese.  Cook and whisk until smooth.

Pour parmesan cheese mixture over potatoes, stir to coat.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

 

After baking for 30 minutes, stir the potatoes and continue to bake for another 30 minutes.

 

After baking an additional 30 minutes, stir potatoes again, and sprinkle 1/4 cup parmesan cheese on the top.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Perfect!

 

Amish Friendship Bread

Amish Friendship Bread is a tasty dessert bread that goes well with a cup of coffee or tea.  It is made from a starter that is meant to be shared.  It takes 10 days for the starter to be ready to be used to make the bread.  Here is the starter recipe:

Amish Friendship Bread Starter

1 package active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup milk

Day 1: soften yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water, set aside for 5 minutes.  Combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and 1 cup milk.  Stir in yeast.  I put mine in a ziploc bag and store in the refrigerator.

Day 2-4: Stir or squeeze once a day.

Day 5: Add 1 cup sugar, 1 cup flour and 1 cup milk to the mixture.  Stir.

Day 6-9: Stir or squeeze once a day.

Day 10:

This is what the starter looks like on day 10.

Add 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk.

Mix well and add to starter mixture.  Remove 3 cups and give 1 cup each to 3 friends.  Save 1 cup of starter for yourself to make bread.  The remaining starter is used to start the 10 day process over.

Amish Friendship Bread

Note: Be sure to use a non-metal bowl and non-metal utensils when making this recipe.

Add 1 cup of starter mixture.

 

Add 1 cup sugar and 2 cups flour

Add 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cinnamon and 2 teaspoons vanilla and 2/3 cup vegetable oil.

Add 3 eggs, beaten (I always beat my eggs before adding them to anything.)

Combine all ingredients.  Mix well.  Batter will be thick.

Spray 2 bread pans with cooking spray.  Pour batter into pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.

Super Yummy!!

This bread can also be frozen after it is baked and cooled.  It makes great housewarming or Christmas gifts, especially if made in the mini loaf pans.  It could also be made in muffin tins as well.  Be creative!!

Mexican Lasagna

By far, my favorite kind of food is Mexican, so when my friend Todd suggested that my next post be something Mexican, I jumped at the idea!  So…here is my version of Mexican Lasagna.  Enjoy!

Start by browning two pounds of lean ground beef.  I added 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper.  

As the meat cooks, break it up into small pieces.

Spray an oven safe baking dish with cooking spray, and line raw corn tortillas on the bottom.

Spread refried beans on the tortillas.  (Thanks Todd for that idea!)

Layer the cooked ground beef next.

Add a layer of shredded cheese, such as a Mexican blend or cojack.

Add another layer of corn tortillas, and continue layers until the top of the dish.  If desired, before the cheese layer, you could add black olives, onions, or any other topping you prefer.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Top with chopped lettuce, tomatoes and salsa.  You could also top with black olives, onions, sour cream or guacamole, depending on your preferences. 

 

Oven Toasted Ravioli and Creamy Garden Salad

Both of these recipes I have heard of before, but didn’t have the exact recipes.  So…I just experimented tonight and it turned out marvelous.  That’s the best part of cooking, and the thing I enjoy the most–making recipes my own. 🙂

Creamy Garden Salad

For this salad, I chopped half an English cucumber (they are the long skinny ones without seeds) into half moons, 2 green peppers into half rings, 2 tomatoes into bite size pieces, and a red onion into half rings.  I love the color of all the veggies together!

My mom would use sour cream, but I used about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of nonfat vanilla yogurt.  I added 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mixed well.  I mixed up the yogurt first, let it chill and the spices mingle while I chopped up the veggies.  Pour the dressing over the veggies and toss.  Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

Oven Toasted Ravioli

 I always buy frozen cheese filled ravioli at the grocery store.  For this recipe the ravioli needs to be thawed.  It makes about 20 raviolis.  To bread the ravioli, dip it an egg wash and then bread crumbs.

Beat 2 eggs and add about a tablespoon of water. 

I am using my homemade bread crumbs, about 2 cups.  They are unseasoned, so I added 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Mix well.

Dip each individual ravioli in the egg and then roll in the bread crumbs.  Place on a greased baking sheet (I use cooking spray). 

Bake at 375 for 15-17  minutes. 

The ravioli can be dipped in marinara sauce or ranch dressing…or any other dipping sauce you prefer. 

Doesn’t it look absolutely yummy?  It was!