Cuban Pork Chops and Sofrito Mashed Potatoes

First, I haven't been getting dinner ready until about 6pm and it is already dark, which is making for some less than stellar pictures. I found this recipe on Favorite Family Recipes while searching for a new pork chop recipe to try. This offered a great change of flavors. I loved the combination of tangy meat and the yummy potatoes. I saved the rest of my rub mix too because I think it would be great on some grilled chicken to throw in a salad. There was a lot of prep work chopping in this one, but your hard work is rewarded :-).

1 cup plus 1/4 cup orange juice, divided
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, divided
1/4 cup vinegar
4 (1-inch-thick) pork chops
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 Tbsp. chicken broth
1 Roma tomato, chopped, for garnish
1/2 avocado, sliced, for garnish

In a gallon-sized resealable plastic bag, combine 1 cup orange juice, 1/2 cup lime juice, and vinegar. Add pork and let it sit and marinate for about 1 hour in refrigerator.

In a small mixing bowl, combine all dried spices. Pat the pork chops dry with a paper towel and rub with the dry spice mixture.

Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Place the pork chops in the pan and sear on 1 side until brown. Flip over and turn the heat down to medium-low. Add onion and saute for 2 minutes. Then add the garlic and continue to cook until garlic begins to brown. Pour in the remaining 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 cup lime juice, and broth. Simmer until the liquid is slightly reduced and begins to thicken. The chops should be cooked through.

Remove the chops from pan and put on a warm plate. Continue to reduce juices in pan by half. Pour over the chops and serve immediately.

Garnish with tomatoes and avocado.

Sofrito Mashed Postates:
2 tablespoons salt
2 pounds potatoes (recommended: Yukon gold)
3 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup chopped red onions
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup chicken broth
3 ounces tomato sauce
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons salt
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

Fill a large pot with water, salt and potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until fork tender.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat. When oil is hot add onions and peppers and saute for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it begins to brown. Lower the heat and add tomato paste and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and let thicken.

Add tomato sauce and bring to simmer for 5 minutes. Then stir in butter and cream and set aside, covered to keep warm.

When potatoes are fork tender, drain water and mash slowly adding the sofrito mixture. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with cilantro.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice

This recipe was in the March 2009 of Real Simple magazine. We love beans and rice and I was excited to try a new variation. The radishes added a nice crunch to the dish...who would have thought?! I wish we had an avocado to eat with it...would have been heaven :-)!

1 cup long-grain white rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 15.5-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
4 radishes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Cook the rice according to the package directions. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 5 to 7minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beans, oregano, and 1 cup water. Simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the vinegar and smash some of the beans with the back of a fork to thicken.
Serve the beans over the rice and top with the radishes and cilantro.

Chicken Corn Chowder

YUM!!! I may have eaten this for the last 3 meals in a row :-). Love it...even my lighter version is full of great flavors! I saw this on Holly's blog (it is actually called spicy chicken corn chowder, but it's not spicy at all)...thanks for sharing it!

5 bacon slices, chopped (I used pre-cooked bacon)
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1/2" pieces (I used 1 can chicken)
1 large chopped red or orange bell pepper
3-4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used cornstarch)
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 cups russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I used red potatoes)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 (16 oz.) bag frozen corn kernels
2 cups half and half or cream (I used 1% milk)
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese (plus more for garnish)
1-2 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1/2 cup green onions (plus more for garnish)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (plus more for garnish)

Cook bacon in large pot over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain and cool; crumble and reserve for garnish. Pour off all but 1/4 cup drippings from pot. (since I used pre-cooked bacon I didn't have bacon drippings, but it was still great!)
Add butter to pot and melt over medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic, chicken breasts, and bell peppers; saute until onions are soft and chicken is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
Add flour; stir and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Whisk in broth, then add potatoes, cumin, and thyme; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered until potatoes are somewhat tender, about 8 minutes.
Add corn, half and half, cheese, green chilies, and Tabasco; simmer until corn is tender, about 8 more minutes.
Add green onions and chopped cilantro and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with crumbled bacon, additional shredded cheese, green onions, and cilantro.
(LDS Living)

Mummy Dogs

I see these every Halloween and we finally made our own this year.
I found these cooking instructions from Pillsbury.

1 can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
2 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered (I didn't put these in)
10 large hot dogs
Cooking spray
Mustard or ketchup, if desired (or peppercorns - my mom used them for eyes when she made them last year)

1. Heat oven to 375°F.
2. Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.
3. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Slice cheese slices into quarters (1/2 slice cheese, cut in half).
4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages," stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray.
5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on "face."