Pork Loin Chops in a Crock Pot

I love crock pot meals when I am really busy. The other day I had a ton going on, and I knew I was not going to be home to cook dinner, but wanted my sweet hubby and my brother who was helping with the kids, to have dinner. The nice thing about crock pot meals is that when you do have time, in the morning, you can toss everything in and not think about it for the rest of the day! It was so great just knowing it was there and not having to rush before I had to leave.

So… CROCK POT meals! You can use it in the summer or the winter… cold or hot outside… there’s always a good reason to use a crock pot.

Pork Loin Chops in a crock pot:

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Servings: 2… so double for more…

Ingredients:

1 butterflied pork loin chop – 1.5 lbs
1 TB flavored vinegar (I used a pear/cranberry vinegar that I got from an oilery)
2 TB olive oil
Cooking spray to grease the inside of the crock pot
1 onion sliced thin
1 clove garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
5 carrots cut into large pieces
8 yukon gold potatoes quartered (I washed and did NOT peel)
1/4 cup white wine
2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 cup chicken broth

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Directions:

Cut up the carrots, onions and potatoes and set aside. Take the pork loin butterflied pork chop (or 2 separate thick-cut pork chops) and salt and pepper both sides evenly. Heat a skillet on medium and put 1 TB olive oil in the skillet. Sear both sides of the pork chop for 2-3 minutes per side and place into the bottom of the crock pot. Put all of the veggies and starches on top. Sprinkle all the seasoning and then add the liquids. Then take the butter and cut into small pieces and placed intermittently on top of the meat and veggies. Let cook for 6-8 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH.

It is a wonderful blend of sweet and salty… it’s got a great savory taste with just a hint of sweet. My husband and brother RAVED over this, and the pork just FELL APART when it was ready. WINNER!!!

Try this one for sure!!

And now… a bit of a giggle for the quote of the day:

This blackboard was in a pub/restaurant in Devon, UK and I have kept the photo ever since to remind myself that I should not be afraid to try something new and that no matter how old I get, there are still new people to meet, experiences to have and things to learn every day!

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Lemon Thyme Chicken Thighs and Potatoes

I have seen a lemon thyme recipe on pinterest for the last few months and I’ve been craving it this whole time. I kept putting it off for other recipes for reasons unknown. So… the other night I decided that I was going to finally make this dish… with my own twist of course.

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Ingredients

6 boneless, skin-on chicken thighs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried thyme
4 potatoes diced
2 TB parsley chopped for garnish

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Season chicken thighs with chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper, to taste.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side; drain excess fat and set aside.
Melt remaining tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add garlic and diced potatoes (I used Yukon gold), and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth, lemon juice and thyme.Bring to a boil. Return chicken to the skillet.
Place into oven and roast until completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 175 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in the heavy cream and Parmesan and stir until well blended. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley.
Serve immediately.

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This had a TON OF flavor! It was absolutely delicious! I loved every bite, as well as the leftovers today!  You definitely want to try this one! Taste as you go so you don’t put touch salt in it! And use low sodium chicken broth to make sure that, along with parmesan cheese, it doesn’t get too salty. ūüôā

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Chicken and Veggie Parmesan Skillet

I can’t believe I forgot to post this last night! This one was so fresh… and the veggies added a nice crunch! We did eat a bit later last night though.
This one took me about 20 minutes. It’s quick, easy, low carb (unless you have bread as a side like I did… haha) fresh and summery! Perfect quick dish on a weeknight!
My mom had my daughter last night, so I had just my son when I was making dinner. Isn’t it strange how when you go from 2 kids (or however many you have) to 1 less… the world suddenly seems so easy? Everything is simple all of a sudden . Butterflies are everywhere, birds are chirping, you can smell the roses… lol. But seriously. I sat and talked with him and had time to give him my full attention… and he LOVED IT! I’ve gotta do that more. Have focused one on one time with each of them. They just BLOOM (only term that seemed to properly describe it) in that time. I learn new stuff about them, they talk and just snuggle into me. I cherished it. ūüôā
Ok, back to food.

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 tsp garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 TB)
6 chicken tenderloins (or 3 chicken breasts)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Dash cayenne pepper powder
1/4 cup white wine (or chicken broth)
2 TB butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 sweet mini peppers chopped
1/2 cup frozen broccoli florets
1 cup frozen veggies: carrots, green beans, etc. Your choice
3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook garlic, carrots and onions in a large skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt and pepper, oregano, cayenne powder and lemon juice and the black pepper; cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until chicken is done (165¬ļ F.).

2. Add in the vegetables and white wine (or chicken broth) and butter; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

3. Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese.

Serve! This makes 3 – 4 servings depending on the size of serving you take. I served it with a couple of slices of bread. You can do quinoa, pasta, or some fruit! Totally up to you! This one was amazing!

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And now, for the quote of the day:

 

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Easy Peasy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Ok, this soup tasted really yummy… but it did not photograph well… it was very frustrating. Honestly? I don’t know how people always get good pics of their dishes. I don’t have the time to be quite honest. My pictures aren’t perfect, but my food is good!

I have another recipe for chicken tortilla soup, but this one is pretty dang easy! It’s a thinner soup as well, and went great with some chips that I had. Start to finish it took me less than 30 minutes! You could probably let this one simmer for a while too if you wanted.

Today it was 80 degrees here!!! My kids and I spent a majority of the day outside, which was awesome!!!! I wasn’t sure if a soup would go well on such a warm day, but it was honestly just perfect!

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I couldn’t get a good picture of the whole pot of soup, so I will show 2 separate pictures of the soup in a bowl. ūüôā

  • 4 chicken tenderloins
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • end of jar of salsa – add 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth to jar, shake, and pour into skillet with the chicken
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TB olive oil

For the Soup

  • 32 – 40 oz. of low sodium free range chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup medium restaurant style salsa
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 TB tomato paste
  • 1 cup frozen sweet white corn
  • 1 can organic black beans rinsed and drained
  • 1 TB fresh chopped cilantro

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Directions

  1. Drizzle olive oil into skillet, and heat at medium high. Season the chicken tenderloins with the garlic powder, salt and pepper, and cumin. Place into the skillet. Add the salsa and chicken broth – use the end of a jar of salsa, add 1/2 cup of chicken broth, shake and pour into the skillet with the chicken and the place the lid on. Reduce to medium low heat. simmer for 4-5 min per side until cooked thru. Remove the chicken and shred. Set aside.
  2. In a Dutch oven or large pot, combine the first five ingredients under “for soup”; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the rinsed black beans and the corn, stir in the chicken that you previously set aside.
  4. Stir cilantro into soup. Top with tortilla chips, a bit of cheese and sour cream if you desire!. If desired, serve with additional salsa. Yield: 8 servings.

Ever wonder what to do with leftover soup??? This is what I do:

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I use leftover applesauce jars, pickle jars, etc… I fill it up with a couple of inches room at the top, and let them cool. Once cooled, I place them in the freezer. Then, my husband takes them to work for lunch!!! Perfect and quick lunches!

And now, for the quote of the day, I love C.S. Lewis!

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Read more: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/fiesta-turkey-tortilla-soup#ixzz3TTDX9Wol

Pork Loin Rosemary Roast with Creamy Rosemary Gravy

So, I was freaking out today. Is anyone else out there a control freak? Growing up I had no idea I was a control freak. I was always the one just “going with the flow”, whatever, sounds good. I am a typical middle child, book nerd, peace maker, introvert.

Now, my birthday is approaching and I’m afraid that what other people plan won’t live up to what I was thinking we’d do. Like, I just gave my husband a DETAILED list of EXACTLY what I want to do on my birthday. Is that too much? I don’t know. At least I know what will happen, and that I won’t be disappointed that my husband didn’t pick up on my “hints”. Heh. Well…. bad or not, now I’m excited because he said he was really happy to see, in detail, what I wanted to do… and that he could make it happen. Whew!

Now, since I love to cook… I, at times, find myself saying… I’d rather just make it at home. Then I can control what ingredients are put into it and it will cost way less. So, I mentioned that to my husband and he said NO. Lol… problems, right? I’ve got a great husband who knows how to deal with my crazy emotions. ūüôā

But this was one meal that I was considering making for my birthday since it was a crockpot meal and I wouldn’t have to “cook”. But, since I was appropriately shot down, I made it for dinner tonight!

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Ingredients

  • 3 TB extra virgin olive
  • 2 TB minced garlic
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 tsp dried sage
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • dash of cayenne
  • 1/2 onion sliced thick
  • 7-8 potatoes cut into 6-8 pieces each
  • 2 lb. center pork loin (or two 1 lb. pork tenderloins)
  • 1 1/2¬†cups favorite¬†white wine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cup free range low sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 cup half&half with 2 TB flour (or cornstarch)
  • 2 TB butter

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This is what the roast will look like when it comes out of the crock pot!!!

Instructions

  1. Spray your crock pot with some non-stick olive oil cooking spray.
  2. “Crust” the pork loin by placing and rubbing all dry herbs and garlic all over the pork loin and then place it into the crock pot.
  3. Wash and cut potatoes and onions and place into the crock pot with the pork roast.
  4. Add the white wine and the chicken broth, and then add the 2 TB of butter broken up into smaller pieces of the cop of the meat and potatoes in the crock pot.
  5. Put crock pot on LOW for 6-8 hours for best results, OR on HIGH for 4 hours.
  6. About 20 minutes before you want to eat, remove the pork roast from the crock pot and set aside on a plate and cover with foil to let it rest. Then, remove the potatoes. (At this point, you can do as I did and make mashed potatoes with them, or just eat them roasted.)
  7. Take the juices and onions from the bottom of the crock pot and put into a medium sized sauce pan. Heat up on medium-low. Do NOT boil.
  8. Put the 1 cup of 1/2&1/2 into a measuring cup and whisk in the flour (or corn starch). Then, SLOWLY whisk into the sauce pan with the drippings from the crock pot to make an AMAZING gravy!!! Then, add the FRESH rosemary to the gravy.
  9. Place the resting pork on a cutting board (you can add any accumulated meat juices back to the sauce if you like!). Slice the pork very thinly and place on to a serving platter. Pour the warm gravy over top.
  10. Serve with potatoes, and veggies… or just DIG IN!

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Had to give this shot of the pork loin with the yummy, creamy gravy…

It sounds like a lot, but it was pretty easy because most of the day it was just sitting in the crock pot! Then you just whip up a gravy from the juices and voila! It’s juicy, tender and just comforting really…. perfect for a chilly and windy day!

And now, for the quote of the day: This was my day today.

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Baked Chicken and Gnocchi

Oh Mondays….

Yes, today is Monday. And today, we had homeschool group. My 3 year old son… MILDLY behaved and reminded me of the previous week.

So, last week.. here’s the situation: my son thinks that he can be independent and make his own decisions. As his mother, it is my job to teach him that mommy knows what’s best and if he refuses to do what I say, consequences will follow. The problem? When we are in the car, driving 60+ mph down the freeway, it is VERY hard to discipline a little boy. So, we leave our homeschool group, and he’s tired and hungry. I hand him a baggie of veggie straws (Like… potato straws, but made from veggies… very chip like). 3 seconds later, he LOUDLY proclaims that he’s “ALL DONE!”. I, at that moment in time, cannot reach back and grab the bag from his grimy little hands. I tell him, “hold on to the bag for a minute until mommy can grab the bag”. He then proceeds to start to chuck the veggie straws AT MY HEAD! Yes, yes this is true. I am yelling “No, mommy will take the bag”, as well as telling him consequences that will happen from these bad choices. I start trying to get the bag from him and trying to grab at any part of his body that I can reach, and he stealthily, like a tiny ninja, somehow completely evades my reach! I cannot turn around to see how this is happening, as we are STILL on the freeway. He then starts throwing them all over the car, one at a time and starts yelling “na-na-na boo boo”. Yeah. That happened. By the time we got home 30 minutes later I was fuming and he was asleep. Ugh. I carry him inside, and do NOT put his cars in bed with him like he requested before he fell asleep… (that sure told him!)… and proceed to take my dog out to eat all of the veggie straws from the van floor. Whew! What’s a mom to do? Cry and an call her husband, pray that the next day will be better, and figure out how to properly discipline in the car… working on it… I think I will be a consistent work in progress.

So today… another Monday, another homeschool group day. This evening, I feed my kids their meal (rice and beans with a smoothie… easy.. so very easy) and was going to have that for me and my hubby… then I see the package of gnocchi in my fridge and just HAVE to have it tonight. So, I proceed to start cooking and then go out to my detached garage where I keep all of my meat in our deep freeze. I then find out that for some reason our lock is broken. The key gets STUCK in the door. I literally cannot get into my garage until 1.5 hours later when my husband gets home. So… dinner was late. But whatever, it was good!!!!! Gotta be honest… Mondays are always a bit rough!

So, here’s my craving meal for tonight…. cuz I needed a bit of comfort food!

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Baked Chicken and Gnocci!

And, I gotta say, it’s a comfort food and I will definitely be craving it in the future!

Inspired by: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/baked-gnocchi-with-chicken.html?soc=sharingpinterest

Ingredients
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely diced onions
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (unsweetened, unflavored)
1 cup low-sodium free range, fat free chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups diced chicken. I used 3 large chicken tenderloins seasoned, cooked and diced (Orig. recipe called for leftover rotisserie chicken)
1 17 .5-ounce package potato gnocchi
1 1/2 cups loosely packed baby kale
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 1 ounce)
1/2 tsp cumin
dash cayenne pepper
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
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Directions
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a deep ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, but do not let burn. Transfer to a plate and wipe out the skillet.

Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat; add the flour and cook, whisking, 3 minutes. Add 2 TB lemon juice and the lemon zest. Whisk in the milk and chicken broth until smooth; simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt and the nutmeg, cumin and cayenne.

Add the chicken, onions and garlic back in, and the gnocchi and kale to the sauce and stir until coated and the kale wilts. Sprinkle with the parmesan, transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until bubbling, about 20 minutes. Turn on the broiler; broil until lightly browned on top, about 3 more minutes.

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I definitely kept to a smaller portion with this one, because of the yummy creaminess… but it was DELICIOUS! I liked the uniqueness that the cumin and cayenne added, but you do NOT have to add those spices… that’s my addition. This one you can definitely play around with.

Well, my day is done, I have enjoyed an evening of Bachelor watching with my friends, and now I’m gonna kiss my hubby and babies goodnight! Have a good one!

And for the quote of the day:

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Apple Thyme Lemon Chicken

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This one has FLAVOR! I’m saying… like, chicken can be very void of flavor. Seriously. You’ve gotta try really hard to pack flavor into chicken. This one… SO flavorful and just bright! I used chicken thighs, and I think that helped keep the chicken moist also. I used skinless, but you can also use skin-on for extra moisture in the chicken.

I served this over mashed potatoes and with green beans. I am going to be trying mashed cauliflower soon… I’ll have to see how it compares!! Maybe mashed cauliflower and a salad next time… hmmm… this chicken was good… I’d definitely make this again. Two thumbs up from both my father-in-law and my huband!!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 stick of butter
  • 2 apples, cored and chopped into slices
  • 1/4 onion cut into thin, large pieces
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1.74- 2 lbs chicken (I used 5 pieces chicken thighs skinless)… you can use skin-on or skin off
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 11/2 cup chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 1/2 cup low fat greek yogurt (or¬†cr√®me fra√ģche)
  • Juice of ¬Ĺ lemon and zest of 1 whole lemon
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

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Directions:

01 Melt half the butter in a saucepan over high heat, add apples and sauté, stirring carefully with a wooden spoon, until golden brown and tender. Transfer to a bowl.
02 Melt the remaining butter in the pan over medium heat and fry the onions, garlic, bay leaves and thyme for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes until golden brown. Turn over and cook for another 5 minutes. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the white wine, turning the heat up high to burn off the alcohol, and cook for 3-5 minutes. Lower heat to medium, add chicken stock and when stock comes to boil, lower heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken is tender (Mine I only cooked for about 15 min since it was chicken thighs). Whisk in greek yogurt and add apples, raising the heat again to allow some of the cooking liquid to evaporate and the sauce to thicken. Add lemon juice and parsley then transfer the mixture to 4 plates, spooning sauce over the top and serve with boiled rice or buttery mashed potatoes.

Enjoy!!!!!

 

And now, for the quote of the day:

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Homemade Pot-Pie!

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The above pictures shows the progression of Homemade Pot-Pie! (I didn’t make the crust homemade, because I had one leftover in my freezer. You buy a box w/2, use only 1, and you’ve got an extra in your freezer for whatever!! Pot Pie for me!)

Original Recipe: http://www.simplyscratch.com/2012/12/chicken-pot-pies.html

COOK TIME: 25-30 minutes

TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes {give or take}

INGREDIENTS:

5 Boneless skinless chicken tenderloins (sauteed in skillet and cooked through, then diced)

2 TB butter

1.5 cup frozen mixed vegetables

2 Celery Stalks, diced small

1/2 sweet onion diced small

1 cup Chicken Broth

2 TB flour

2 teaspoons Kosher Salt, more or less to taste

1/2 teaspoons Black Pepper, more or less to taste

1 teaspoon cumin

1 frozen pie crust, thawed to room temperature

4 ramekins

 

DIRECTIONS:

TO Sautee the chicken: Place all chicken tenderloins into skillet w/1 turn olive oil (1 TB). Season with salt, pepper and a dash of coriander (1/2 tsp). Cook until BARELY cooked through.

TO MAKE THE POT PIES: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and grease 4 10-ounce ramekins with olive oil cooking spray.

 

Thaw the pie crust out and use a bowl {slightly larger than the ramekin}, trace and cut out 4 circles, using the scraps to make more if needed. Keep the dough circles in the fridge so they stay cold.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet.

Add in the onions and celery and cook for 5 minutes. Season with a teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/4 tsp cumin. Cook until the onions are soft.

Now add in 1 TB olive oil, and the 2 TB of flour to form a roux.

Pour in the 2 cups of chicken broth. Let that simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened 3-5 minutes. Then add the 3 TB of grated parmesan cheese.

Next add in the mixed frozen veggies, cooked chicken and season w/salt&pepper to taste. Stir.

Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray w/ fat free olive oil cooking spray. (At this point, if you wanted to, you could add diced potato to the bottom of the ramekins.

Spoon the pot pie filling evenly, filling the ramekins to the brim. Let them cool down a bit before placing the pie dough over top and crimping the edges. With a sharp knife make slits for ventilation.

Slide the tray of pot pies into a preheated 375 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Remove and let them cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

NOTES:

*For a glossy top crust, try spraying w/cooking spray and sprinkling with sea salt.