a99kitten's Musings

I blog about a WHOLE LOT of stuff :)

Another yummy sounding winter recipe that I found after digging through my big box of recipes (that I really need to get sorted out.) Plus it sounded like a fairly easy one and I like those :) I did change it to suit my tastes AS USUAL!

INGREDIENTS:

4 (to 6) boneless chops about 1″ thick
1/2 cup flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
10 ounces sliced mushrooms (original recipe called for 8oz and I say the more mushrooms, the better!)
6 tablespoons butter, divided (I used unsalted)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used a whole small shallot)
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery (I did not use, but did mic in about 1/4 teaspoon of celery seed)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup milk (I used non-fat as that’s what in my house…probably even creamier with whole milk)
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°.

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the flour, the paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper; Stir to blend well. Dredge the chops lightly to coat all sides.

In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter; add the mushrooms and cook until tender and golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and brown the pork chops on both sides, for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove the pork chops to a baking dish and set aside.

Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter to the skillet and add the onion and celery (seed). Cook, stirring, until onion is tender. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour to the skillet and stir to blend into the onion mixture. Add the chicken broth and milk and cook, stirring, until thickened. Stir in the mushrooms and add salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice.

Pour the sauce mixture over the chops in the baking dish. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 1 hour.

Mmmmmm

I served over Jasmine rice because I could live off of the saucy white rice combo :) This was DELICIOUS. It was like a homemade cream of mushroom recipe. So, less people (yes..talking to you pretentious foodies) might not be AS condescending about using not an actual can of cream of mushroom soup in a recipe. Maybe. But probably not. But then, if I cared about that, I’d probably not have a #zombiepocolypse supply of blue box mac and cheese in my pantry. :)

We feasted on pea risotto and Hunters chicken, both from the Cipriani cookbook, plus some roasted Brussell sprouts with maple and bacon on Christmas Eve.

Then the hashed brown sausage scramble casserole Christmas morning.

Then some neighbors came over and we had champagne, cheese and an amazing homemade antipasti they brought over around 3. So by the time Christmas dinner time came around, we felt some more cheese and a few bites of leftover chicken and risotto was sufficient while we watch a great Christmas classic, Trading Places :)

So December 26th became the planned Christmas dinner time! On the menu was Caramel Apple Pork Chops with au gratin potatoes, green bean casserole (because I need this at least once between Thanksgiving and New Years and had not yet had it!!) plus apple sauce.

Ingredients:

4 (3/4 inch) thick pork chops
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons pecans

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees F. Place a medium dish in the oven to warm.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chops lightly with oil and place in hot pan. The original recipe said to cook the chops for 5 to 6 minutes but I found they took about 8-9 minutes but they were probably 1″ chops. Turn the chops every couple minutes to cook evenly. Transfer to the warm dish, and keep warm in the preheated oven.

3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, salt and pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add butter to skillet, and stir in brown sugar mixture and apples. Cover and cook until apples are just tender. Remove apples with a slotted spoon and arrange on top of chops. Keep warm in the preheated oven.

4. Now, according to the original recipe there should be some sauce to continue cooking sauce but we found there was almost none so added some butter and brown sugar and spices to create a little more. Cook this uncovered in skillet, until thickened slightly. Spoon sauce over apples and chops.

5. The recipe called to just sprinkle pecans on at the end and serve. But next time, I will roast or brown the pecans first (perhaps in the sauce at the very end) as they seemed bland. Although the tastes combined were good. I just think the pecans needed something.

Yum

I would make it again for sure but would use thinner chops and dress up the pecans. But very yum!

Brown Butter Blondies with Cherries, Chocolate, Cashews & Pecans

Found this recipe on Williams Sonoma. First time trying it so who knows but let’s face it…how can it possibly taste bad??

Ingredients:

16 Tbs. (8 oz.) unsalted butter
3 cups (21 oz.) firmly packed dark brown sugar
4 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
2 Tbs. bourbon
2 tsp. salt
2 cups (10 oz.) all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (4 oz.) coarsely chopped cashews
1 cup (4 oz.) coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (2 oz.) dried tart cherries
2 cups (12 oz.) chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil and grease well. I melted a bit of butter and spread it in there.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the butter, stirring constantly, until it turn golden and the butter has a nutty fragrance. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar. Set aside and let cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, bourbon and salt. Whisk in the cooled butter mixture, then fold in the flour and baking powder.

Making sure that the mixture is almost at room temperature (to prevent the chocolate from melting), stir in the nuts, cherries and chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top is shiny, set and slightly cracked around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.

IMG_5429

IMG_6007

We just “tested” these. WOW!!!! SO GOOD!!!!!

Mmmmmmm

Merry Christmas!!

It’s cold & snowing outside and my 49ers just lost and got booted out of play-off contention so comfort food is needed. Stat.

First. Put this on.

:)

Then….

Slice up spicy Italian sausage (I used 5)
Slice up some mushrooms (I used a package of mushrooms – 10 oz)

Brown them in some olive oil

Meanwhile, boil some water

Make some pasta – I used a box of Gluten-free, non-GMO Quinoa rotini (yeah…we’ll see…)

Once both are done, mix in a baking dish, pour in a jar of sauce (or gravy if you prefer Corleones) and a few handfuls (big giant football player handfuls) of mozzarella. Make sure mixed well and bake at 350 (oh yeah…preheat your oven) for 25 minutes or so. FYI – I used “Rao’s Homemade Arrabbiata” sauce to keep with the spicy theme.

Then sprinkle Parmesan on it and bake a few more minutes.

Mmmmmmm

Eat.

Simple.

And if your team lost and you are out of play-off contention, pour a glass of red too :)

It’s unofficially winter so I thought it was time to break out 1 of my big Staub pans and make something winterey! Decided on soup for this weekend since it has been snowing and raining all week…literally all week…today was the first day it stopped raining for more than a few minutes. #notcomplainingthough #drought #wouldprefersnow

Dug through my box of recipes as I knew I had a good one (well, sounded good on paper) for chicken and rice soup. Found it!

INGREDIENTS:

6 cups of chicken stock
2 cups of shredded chicken breats (I actually used both light and dark)
1/4 c up Vermouth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp olive oil
2 carrots – peeled and chopped
2-3 garlic cloves – minced
2 cups white rice, cooked
1 cup wild rice, uncooked
1/4 cup flour
1 cup chicken broth
4-5 basil leaves, minced
Several dashes of celery seed (since I didn’t use celery)
handful of fresh parsley, minced
salt and pepper
(original recipe also had 4-5 green onions and 3 celery stalks – blech)

Prepare white rice according to the package directions and set aside

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot add 2 tbsp olive oil and warm over medium heat. Add garlic, carrots (and celery and green onion if using) and saute for about 5 minutes.

Add 6 cups of chicken stock, uncooked wild rice, cooked white rice, chicken and herbs and simmer for at least 20-30 minutes.

In a small bowl mix the flour in the 1 cup of chicken broth making sure the flour is thoroughly blended with no lumps. Slowly add the flour/broth mixture to the soup. Simmer until soup thickens (about 15 mins or so.) If it does not thicken enough, take a little broth out of the pot and mix in another tbsp of flour and slowly add back to soup. Keep simmering until soup reaches desired consistency.

Add the heavy cream and vermouth. Season with salt (I used Himalayan pink salt because duh…pink!) and pepper and add minced parsley. Simmer 10 minutes and serve!!

Mmmmmmm….

Creamy Chicken Rice soup

p.s. I tasted the Vermouth….GAH! Don’t think I could channel Robin channeling Mork channeling Julia with that….

p.p.s I paired my soup with a glass of Piper Sonoma Rose Brut – Delicious! (obvs)

I finally listened to the entire new album (1989 in case you live under a rock) by Taylor Swift. I like it. I think my favorite song (at least after my first 2 run-thrus) is “How You Get the Girl”.

But honestly, I miss this Taylor…

She was never super duper country, but I think she did what she did well. And I can only listen to pure pop for a short time before I can’t take it. Maybe 1989 will change that? #doubtit

It snowed! It’s winter! OK….not really winter (it will be 60 and sunny this week and melting my snow) but I’m excited for even a hint of it! Decided to make some cold weather food to celebrate!

Saw pics from a twitter/Instagram friend who made a zucchini lasagna. Mmmmm. Looked SO good! And I LOVE Italian food. But love it in the way of I-rarely-make-it-at-home-because-I-will-eat-it-all-in-1-sitting kind of way. BUT….zucchini instead of carby-carby-carberson noodles? OK! I can give that a try.

So I used the recipe my twitter friend used and changed it a bit to suit my tastes (my notes in italics):

INGREDIENTS:
4 large zucchini, sliced about 1/4 inch thick (I used 5)
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small yellow onion, diced (I DID NOT USE AS I HATE ONIONS)
1 green pepper, diced
8 oz of sliced mushrooms (I ADDED THIS TO THE RECIPE)
Shot of red wine (I ADDED THIS TO THE RECIPE)
1 pound extra lean ground turkey
1 – 14 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 14 oz can crushed tomatoes (I used diced)
2 teaspoon dried oregano
handful of basil, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
handful of parsley, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
red pepper flakes, if desired (VERY MUCH DESIRED)
salt and pepper, to taste
15 oz part skim ricotta
1 egg white
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (maybe a touch more :) )
12 oz reduced fat or part skim shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place sliced zucchini on large non-stick baking sheet (or 1 coated with non stick cooking spray.) Sprinkle with salt and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes to help dry out the zucchini a bit. This is a critical step. I did 20 minutes and it was perfect.

While the zucchini noodles are roasting, you can make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic, mushrooms and peppers and cook a few minutes until veggies start softening and garlic is fragrant; stir occasionally so that you don’t burn it. Add in ground turkey and cook until no longer pink. Add in tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, oregano, basil, parsley, and a few dashes of red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce REALLY thickens up! Season with salt & pepper to taste. Remove from heat to cool. While it was simmering, I also added a splash of red wine (more like a shot-of-sherry-Mork-does-Julia-Child style!)

Zuchini lasagna 1

In a medium bowl, combine egg white, ricotta, and Parmesan. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Add in 1/2 cup of the slightly cooled meat sauce and stir to combine.

To assemble lasagna, spread 1/2 of the meat sauce into the bottom of a 9×13 inch nonstick baking pan (or coat regular pan with nonstick cooking spray.) Place zucchini slices evenly over meat sauce, spread on 1/2 of the ricotta mixture, then sprinkle 1/2 of the mozzarella on. Repeat layers again starting with the meat sauce, zucchini slices and ricotta mixture and finishing with mozzarella.

Ready for the oven!

Cover with foil and bake for 30 min. Remove foil and bake for 15 (I did 20 actually) minutes longer uncovered.

Baked!

It is SOOOOOOO good! So good!!!! Totally making this again!!

This is the original link for this recipe (which itself is based off another): http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/2014/08/healthy-low-carb-zucchini-lasagna-spicy-turkey-meat-sauce/

And hat tip to @kerotab on twitter and Instagram who enticed me with this recipe and sent me the link!

Finally hung my new Mike Kungl piece today!! I bought this at his show at the Chuck Jones Gallery in San Diego during SDCC. Going in, I told myself I had no wall space so you are just going to meet Mike, say hi to everyone and leave. Yeah…so…#fail

He did a Marvin piece. I love Marvin (also my very first tattoo!) Plus I am huge fan of the color combo of purples and greens. *please see my love of Maleficent. It is a 1 of a kind. He did a few of these but each in a different color scheme. So this purple and green one = all mine :) #mineminemineminemine #saidlikekDaffy

Kungl Marvin

I also got to meet Mike in person. We spoke a couple times on the phone while he was doing my commissioned piece but I missed him at the last SDCC. And I got to meet his wife. Both were so kind and it was great to hear how they loved doing the husky piece (both are big dog lovers which is also great!) It will always be very, very special to me and I’m glad others feel that way too.

Kungl show

Kungl show 2

And seeing everyone at the gallery again was fun! The staff there was excited about the husky piece. Was a fun night for sure and I look forward to the next one!

This makes 3 Kungl pieces I have: the Leia artist proof, Marvin and my Chewie/Angelus/Storm original commission. This is becoming an expensive habit! I am still coveting a TinkTini original…but again #nowallspaceleft http://www.mkungl.com/2/d.php?contentID=195

Very excited about the new season of Sleepy Hollow!!! If you did not check it out last season, I suggest you do.

Tom Mison as Ichabod Crane is fantastic. His blend of 1700s fish out of water in nowadays Massachusetts is great. Plus he’s cute :) The chemistry of the cast is awesome (especially between Crane and Abbie) and I cannot think of a single thing that I do not love about the show other than it had a short season in its first season out.

I also love Ichabod’s constantly pointing what is wrong with today’s world. This clip from an episode in the upcoming Season 2 where Ichabod comments on banking and credit is a prime example :)

Seriously – check out the show. Comes back on Fox 9/22

I finally watched the last 2 episodes of S4 of Game of Thrones last weekend. As usual with GoT, the 2nd to last ep of the season was WAY crazier. Like…amazing crazy. Jon Snow and Ghost continue to be my favorites of all time.

But since this finale was rounding out Book 3, I was hoping to see some things that we did not get :/ And I was very bummed about this. I really felt the story they left was a key one – Catelyn??? KEY. (we’ll ignore the Arya and Hound changes right now.) And would certainly create quite the stir. And I’m left thinking that the storyline is actually not at all important for the books, so all of the future possibilities I imagined with it are non-existent, since I imagine GRRM would have insisted it be kept in if it played a large part going forward. Very Big Bummer. Although I still hope it does. But I must say, I was looking so forward to that :(

Then today I read, for the 2nd time this week and from different sources, the “spoiler” about upcoming story lines. None of it was a surprise and makes perfect sense and I assumed half of it already. BUT…in 1 of the news stories, it said how the upcoming season 5 (which should be following the story lines of Book 4) would have important details from Book 5. Huh?

So now I’m starting to think we will fast forward Book 4, which is actually pretty much fine since it was my least favorite, and head to Book 5? And since we already got things not in the books so far (hints for Book 6?), will the show veer more off the books?

All I know is the end of Book 5 made me want to throw my Kindle across the room. So I really wish GRRM would finish Book 6! And is he delaying on purpose for the show? And if the long unkept secret spoiler of Jon Snow is true (the days before the internet were kind sorta better in a way), I think we need a LOT more story and fast!

Heading to SDCC this week (SQUEEEE!) and will be trying to get into Hall H for the GoT panel. And by trying to get in I mean waiting in line for a wristband on Thursday night and hoping to get a spot in a line on a lawn (if you are on the concrete, you could be in trouble) so we can eat pretzels and energy bars for hours on end and then run but not run for seats…but then once you are in – YOU ARE IN!

HBO is having a pop-up store dedicated to GoT and there is an interactive Survive the Realm at the Omni Hotel. Will definitely try and check out both of those as well. Oh! And don’t forget getting the flocked Ghost Funko POP!! I need 2 of those :) Ned Stark will also be at SDCC…in the form of Sean Bean for a different show starting in August. I just might need to check that panel out as well. I’m still bitter about Ned…

But they never, ever give away spoilers at their panels so not expecting much in that area. Although I am imagining that the In Memoriam they do every year, and which had people almost crying (and not just me!) last year for Robb and Greywind, will cause a break out in applause and cheers for Joffrey. Muahuahuahua!

Plus Jon Snow will be there :) Now if they could just bring Ghost!!!!