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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Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Pasta

Last night we eat dinner late. So bad. I read a few different blogs about healthy eating, especially my FAVORITE : http://www.dietitiancassie.com/ . Do I follow all of her rules? No. Should I? Maybe yes… maybe no? Everyone’s body is different. But she is very smart and has a lot of good information on how to naturally keep our bodies healthy, and how to think about food and what we put into our bodies completely differently than what we’ve been taught… and stay healthy! Check out her page!!!

Anyways… back to eating late. I know I shouldn’t have dinner that late… but I was making a blanket for my daughter, Madilyn and I was almost done crocheting it and I looked up and it was almost 8:00 and I hadn’t started dinner! Woops! Luckily it only took me 20 minutes to make from start to finish… so… pretty darn good!

This one is simple, full of flavor, quick and very filling. Yes, it does have pasta. I, of course, am steering you to Dietitian Cassie’s website and she’s pretty much grain free… and here I am writing a blog post with pasta in it. But… still read her blog. And.. decide for yourself what to eat…. ? 🙂 But… for me? I eat carbs/grains 1 time per day MAX, if not less often. I try my best to fill up on veggies and protein during the day… which really works for me! I’m not starving and HANGRY come dinner. I also have go to healthy fat, high protein snacks that I grab while I’m cooking that really help. I love celery with 1 TB sunflower seed butter. Also, when I am having a sugar craving, I grab 1 or 2 of these Butter Mints: http://empoweredsustenance.com/stop-sugar-cravings/ . Lots of good ideas!! 🙂

Here’s the delicious… pasta filled, quick and easy dinner recipe with some amazing and tasty shrimp:

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for 3-4 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb shrimp (I used Trader Joes Argentinian Red Shrimp) (cooked and deveined)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • 2 TB parmesan cheese
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (I used this on a garnish on my husband’s bowl since it’s too spicy for me… but he loved it)
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 can diced petite tomatoes (with the juice in the can as well)
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup white wine (I used a Riesling… just use your favorite)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • spaghetti noodles
  • fresh parmesan for garnish
  • fresh parsley for garnish

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Instructions
  1. On a baking sheet, place the shrimp (I do mine from frozen) on a foil lined sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, splash of white wine, a bit of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Place in a 375 degree preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on size of shrimp).
  2. While the shrimp is cooking, in a skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic until soft.
  3. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, cayenne powder, can of diced tomatoes, white wine and salt & pepper.
  4. Cook until the liquid is reduced to half.
  5. While the tomato mixture is simmering, boil the spaghetti noodles according to the package directions.
  6. Once the tomato mixture is done simmering, add the shrimp back into the sauce, stir and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in the heavy cream and the 1/2 of the parmesan cheese.
  8. Toss the tomato and shrimp sauce with spaghetti noodles.
  9. Garnish with fresh parmesan, red pepper flakes and fresh parsley
  10. Serve Immediately
  11. ENJOY!

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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. 🙂
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 (165º 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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Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

So… it SNOWED! Woohoo!! Since I homeschooled, it didn’t really matter either way… we still did school today, but my kids got to go out and play in the snow! And yes, it was only a 1/2 inch MAYBE… but look at my daughter’s face…

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Priceless!!!

So what’s good for dinner on a cold day? Spicy food!!!! (And pretty much most other warm food… but spicy is on the menu for today!) And you know… I made my own “mild” version of spicy that my husband giggled at a little bit when I called it spicy. But you know, we can’t all be champions of the Taco Bell fire sauce like him, you know. 😉

So here we go:

Spicy Cajun Shrimp Pasta

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1/2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used Trader Joes Red Argentinian Shrimp, it’s WILD CAUGHT!)
1 TB EVOO
1 TB unsalted butter
2 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup sweet yellow onions diced
1/4 cup sweet mini peppers chopped (I used 1 of each color)
2 TB fresh lemon juice, and the zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine – I used Riesling – use what you like to drink
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 TB. Cajun seasoning, divided – I used Emeril’s Bayou Blast
1/2 tsp cayenne powder – or more to your spicy preference
1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
8 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/2 cup reserved pasta water set aside

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Have pasta precooked and set aside. Angel hair pasta does not take very long to cook. Cook according to the packaging.

Preheat oven to 350. Toss shrimp in 1 TB olive oil, splash white wine, 1 tsp minced garlic and salt and pepper and 1/2 of the cajun seasoning. Put shrimp on cookie sheet lined with tinfoil, put pieces of approximately 1 TB of butter over the shrimp, and place into preheated oven. Bake for 10-12 min (depending on size of shrimp) until cooked thru and pink. If timed right, you will take the shrimp from the oven, and dump into skillet with onions and peppers right as they are cooked through.

Heat 1 TB olive oil  and 1 TB butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Saute the garlic, onions, and bell peppers, for 3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, zest and Worcestershire sauce, and half of the Cajun seasoning. Add the wine and remaining Cajun seasoning and reduce heat and simmer for another 5 minutes. Add a bit of cayenne powder at this point to spice it up a bit if you’d like to. If too thick, add the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water at this time. Then, remove shrimp from the oven and place into skillet with all juices and sauce from the pan. Place the pasta into the skillet, and stir to coat well. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve!

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Enjoy being warmed up by this yummy dish!

And now, 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 crème fraîche)
  • Juice of ½ 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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Short Ribs – Served 2 Ways… and mighty good either way!!!

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Short Ribs, served on top of cheesy grits OR garlic, parmesan mashed potatoes…. You choose!!

I was watching one of my favorite cooking shows the other day, and someone made short ribs. I was thinking… short ribs?! I could do that, right? I have GOT to try that if they make it on a cooking show. They must be amazing!!! So, I found a recipe and adapted it to make it my own. And I have found out…. I LOVE short ribs! They were incredibly easy too!!! You could cook a roast the same way! LOVE! You could even do sirloin tips, etc similarly. Easy and quick recipe!

Ingredients (including grits AND potatoes… you can choose either though)

6-8 individual short ribs (or more depending on the size of your crowd! You want about 1-2 per person)
3-4 TB butter (4 if you want to top the ribs after serving with a bit of butter)
1 TB minced garlic
1/4 onion cut roughly (larger pieces)
1 cup red wine (I used an “Old Vine Zinfandel”) this is optional, you can just use beef broth; OR substitute with a dark beer
1 cup low sodium organic beef broth
4 carrots cut into large pieces
salt & pepper
1 TB Worcestershire sauce
3 TB quick cooking white grits (or yellow grits… your preference)
3/4 cup water (for grits)
5-6 red potatoes
2 TB milk
2 TB parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

Place cast iron skillet (or normal skillet) on stove and heat up. Do not put oil in the skillet. While it is heating up, dry the short ribs with a paper towel, and sprinkle sea salt and pepper on all sides of the short ribs. Then, making sure the skillet is hot, sear the short ribs on all sides so they have a nice crust. Only about 30 seconds per side. Then, place into your crock pot. When you remove the short ribs from the pan, DO NOT dump any drippings from the pan. (You can also do this in a dutch oven baking at 350 for 3-4 hours). Put your crock pot on HIGH for cooking for 4-5 hours, put on LOW to cook for 7-8 hours. Add 1/4 cup of the beef broth to the skillet that you just finished searing the meat in. Then add the garlic and the onions to the skillet and stir into the simmering beef broth. Once that’s simmering, add 1/4 cup of the wine and a tsp of the worcestershire sauce and 1 TB of butter. Simmer that until it reduces by half. While that is simmering, add the remaining liquids into the crock pot and place a small amount of the butter onto the top of each of the short ribs. Once the liquid in the skillet has reduced, pour that into the crock pot and place the lid onto the crock pot.

Cook as directed above until the meat is about falling off of the bone…. And… if you want some gravy, just take about 1 cup of the drippings, place into a sauce pan, add a TB or a bit more of flour… Simmer and WHISK vigorously until thickened!

When it’s about time to serve the short ribs, you’ll want to make your sides. The wilted spinach in the above picture, all I did was sautee it in some of the “au jus” from the crock pot for about 2-3 min. Done. The carrots I also sauteed in the au jus, just for about 5-10 min until starting to soften.

The mashed potatoes was a version of a previous recipe of mine: https://dancinandcookininthekitchen.com/2014/06/08/crispy-coconut-encrusted-chicken-with-mashed-potatoes/

The grits, I just followed the instructions on the package for quick cooking grits. Once they were done, I removed from the heat and stirred in about 2 TB of shredded cheddar cheese. That’s it!

Serve up, and ENJOY!!! My hubby said “I’d order this in a restaurant, develop a craving for it, and then have to keep going back just to order it!”. So, I’d say it was a major success!!!

And, for the quote of the day:

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Away on “Vacation”!!!

I was away at my sister’s visiting, and taking some pictures for her blog : frugalfitmomma.com and decided… I’m not cooking while I’m here! So… we made wine popsicles instead! Check out her blog for the recipe! http://frugalfitmomma.com/2014/06/21/wine-popsicles/
Aaannnddd… if you are looking for a good website for deals and coupons, check out the rest of her blog!!