Monday, April 22, 2019

Pam’s French Onion Smothered Pork Chops

When I saw this recipe on Pam’s For The Love Of Cooking blog and knowing I really enjoy both pork chops and French Onion Soup, I knew this recipe had to be tried soon before it got lost in my recipe files.  I changed it up a little for our three chops but you can go to her website for the original recipe and great pics.

French Onion Smothered Pork Chops – Adapted from For The Love Of Cooking

3 thick boneless pork chops
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Garlic powder, to taste
Dried thyme, to taste
2 tbsp butter
1½ yellow onions, sliced (Red onion is what we had on hand)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ tsp fresh thyme leaves
 tbsp flour
¼ cup red wine
1¼ cups beef (or chicken) broth
¾ tsp Worcestershire sauce
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
¾ cup Gruyere cheese, shredded (more if desired)
Fresh thyme sprigs, garnish
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

1. Pat the pork chops dry then season them with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, and fresh thyme, to taste, on both sides; set aside.
2. Heat the butter in a large oven proof cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, for 20 minutes, until softened and golden brown and caramelized.

Side Note: If the skillet gets dry while cooking and the onions are getting burned add a bit of water, you want them to cook slowly, not get charred.

3. Remove the caramelized onions from the skillet and set aside.
4. Drizzle the olive oil in the skillet and heat over high heat. Add the seasoned pork chops and cook for about for 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown then flip over and cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden brown; remove from the skillet and set on a plate. At this point, the pork is not cooked through.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ham and Asparagus Strata

The asparagus is coming in and Bev went in search of something to make with it and searched for an asparagus strata finding a recipe for Ham and Asparagus Strata on the Simply Recipes site and this is their photo.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini Ala Lea Ann

When our neighbor, Pat, asked if we could cook supper for a group of about 10 at her church, I went in search of a casserole that might be different than what they usually get and I came upon Cheesy Chicken Tetrazzini from Chef Lea Ann on her Cooking On The Ranch blog.  Since I know they like leftovers and I wanted some for us, I doubled most of the recipe to get the one shown below.  The peas and olives weren’t quite double as I only used them in two thirds of recipe – we made a smaller pan for the kids who may not like them.  I forgot to take pics so here is one from Lea Ann’s blog but check it out for the original recipe and more pics.

3 medium boneless chicken breasts about 24 ounces, cooked and shredded
9 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
48-ounce package fresh white mushrooms sliced
1 large onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups milk
2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cup hot liquid from cooked pasta
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
2 pound linguine (Larry used shaped pasta)
2 cup frozen peas
3/4 cup sliced pimento stuffed green olives or more if you'd like
2 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a lasagna pan with Pam.
3. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to a baking dish and bake covered with foil for 40 minutes or until juices run clear. Once cooled, coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Turn up heat on oven to 400 degrees.
4. Melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large deep nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. 5. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Lightly salt and pepper and transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the shredded chicken.
6. Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, nutmeg, and lightly salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium. Bring to a boil. Simmer, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
7. In a large Dutch oven bring salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Before draining, with a measuring cup, dip out 1 cup of the hot pasta water. Drain pasta. Return pasta to the Dutch oven. Add sauce, mushroom and chicken mixtures, peas and sliced olives. Stir gently until well mixed. Add the pasta water a little at a time until you have a soupy consistency. Pour the pasta mixture into the prepared lasagna pan.
8. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

I did remember the plated pic.

Pat said the dish was a big hit with her church group and we really enjoyed our small pan full – thanks Lea Ann for a delicious meal.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/14/19 event date

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Baked Paprika Chicken Thighs Ala Debbie

I can probably count on just a few fingers the number of times we’ve made baked chicken as I usually head for the grill, but as soon as I read Debbie’s recipe for One Pan Baked PaprikaChicken Thighs With Potatoes and Tomatoes Served Over Wilted Kale,  I knew I wanted to try it.  I bought a package of chicken thighs weighing five pounds so I doubled her recipe to get the one shown below, which I followed except as shown in parenthesis.  

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Italian For Lunch – The Patio

Russ and Kathy had just returned from the Florida Keys, where Russ spends the winter in his motor home and after a get together the previous evening to share our winter adventures, they joined us for our initial 2019 trip to the Englewood Amish Market.  This was the market’s second week open for the season and they only had a few things – baked goods, sweet potatoes (likely left from last year), and greens (kale, chard, lettuce, etc) plus they had some great looking plants in their greenhouse.  We bought a couple of tomato plants, some potatoes and greens and headed back.

Part of the reason for the trip was to go out for lunch and since I was in the mood for Italian, I suggested the Patio in Madisonville, where we have only been once several years ago.  We were seated immediately and waited on promptly.

The drinks came quickly along with a basket of warm bread sticks and container of marinara – both were very good.

Russ ordered the Gyro – “Delicious beef & lamb cooked to perfection & layered on pita, served w/ lettuce, tomatoes, onion & cucumber sauce ($6.25)”.  No pic but he really liked his gyro meat.

Kathy ordered a small pepperoni pizza which she thought was excellent.

So we would have leftovers, Bev ordered the Patio Special pizza - Cheese, beef, pepperoni, sausage, onions, green pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, black olives, feta cheese large 14" ($14.95) and we both thought it was very good with nice fresh ingredients.

Bev and Kathy both raved about their pizzas.

I had the Baked Spaghetti - Sauteed bell peppers, mushrooms & pepperoni over spaghetti covered w/ homemade meat sauce, topped w/ melted mozzarella cheese & baked to perfection ($8.35) and thought it was pretty darned good for East Tennessee Italian.

When it came, I was shocked at the size of my dish and after a bread stick and small side salad ($1.50 with the entrée) I could only eat half of it so we ended up with two boxes of leftovers – Bev only ate two pizza slices.  While this is not the "real deal Italian" that I really like, it was real good East Tennessee Italian.  This was definitely a good place to stop and with good portions of good food at a reasonable price (definitely the opposite of tourist food) and excellent service - we plan to return soon.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


4/5/19 event date

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Surf & Turf

The bulb flowers have come and gone but spring is still showing off here at Almost Heaven South with the crab apple and Yoshino Cherry in full bloom

Monday, April 1, 2019

Steak Taste Test

Years ago, a local legend, Allen Benton, of Benton’s Country Hams (he is also a beef guy) advised me that even deer tenderloin is tender so no need to pay extra for high grade beef tenderloin and since I’d eaten nice, tender deer tenderloin, I believed him.  However, when Bev came home the other day with a package of prime beef tenderloin steaks (I’d never seen them before) from Sam’s Club, we decided to do a little comparison with a choice filet she bought at Walmart.  The first thing I noticed was the big difference in appearance in both color and marbling.