Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pork Chops with Plum Barbecue Sauce

As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I am participating in an Iron Chef Challenge with my husband's work where you need to use each of the secret ingredients in recipes during the month of September.  This is to try to help us expand our horizons in eating healthy foods.  The four ingredients were quinoa, eggplant, barley, and plums.  I have completed the task, and really like 2 of the 4 recipes I tried (the other 2 were so-so).  I have already shared the quinoa salad that we really enjoyed,  and I've decided not to blog about the roasted eggplant/chickpea hummus, or the barley biscuits, but tonight we had pork chops with plum barbecue sauce and we both really LOVED it!  My husband said that it was definitely a keeper! 

The plum sauce is sweet and tangy with a little zip to it.  It was a perfect compliment to the grilled pork chops.
The recipe calls for 4 plums, but I figured they were probably bigger plums than the ones I had, so I doubled the amount of plums. 

I LOVE any recipe that uses hoisin sauce!  If you haven't tried it before, I highly recommend it.  It is found in the Asian section of the grocery store.  (also - I used the bottled grated ginger - so easy!)

Pork Chops with Plum Barbecue Sauce
adapted from Rachael Ray

1/2 c sugar
1 c water
1 (1 inch) piece peeled ginger, grated (or just use about 1 tsp of bottled grated ginger)
4 plums, sliced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/3 c hoisin sauce
salt and pepper to taste
4 pork chops
Montreal Steak Seasoning or any other grill seasoning you like

Heat the sugar and water in a medium pot over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble.  Reduce the heat to medium low and add the ginger, and plums and a little salt and pepper.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the fresh squeezed lemon juice and remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.  Pour the plum mixture into a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Add the hoisin sauce until well incorporated.  Set aside. 

Sprinkle the pork chops with Montreal Steak Seasoning or other seasoning and grill until cooked, but being careful not to overcook them!  Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving.  Top with warm plum barbecue sauce and serve.  (garnish with some fresh cut-up plums)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This recipe comes from my next-door neighbor Diane.  I absolutely LOVE the sauce on these meatballs, and I love the fact that you don't have to cook the meatballs in a frying pan first.  Just form the meatballs and pour the sauce over the top and bake.  Couldn't be easier! 

Serve these over rice along with some fresh fruits and veggies.

I have found that, when mixing meatballs, it's best not to stir the ingredients together with a spoon.  It's best to use your fingers and gently mix the ingredients, being careful not to smash them, but to gently toss them together. 
I like using a small ice-cream scoop to form the meat balls so that they are all uniform in size.  This is what it looks like before you bake them in the oven.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


1 to 1 ½ lbs extra-lean ground beef

¾ c quick oats

2 eggs, slightly beaten

½ c finely chopped onion

½ c milk

1 tsp salt

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

¼ tsp ground black pepper

Gently mix meatball ingredients together and form into small balls. Place into a greased 9x13 pan.

NOTE:  I have found that doubling the sauce recipe below gives you more of the yummy sauce to serve over the rice (which you WILL want!)


½ c brown sugar

¼ c white vinegar

1 tsp yellow mustard

¼ c barbecue sauce

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat sauce ingredients to dissolve brown sugar (I do this in the microwave in a glass measuring cup). Pour sauce over meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's My 1 Year Blogiversary!

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of this blog.  I would love to hear from any of you who have tried some of these recipes and learn which ones you have liked.  I have appreciated all the comments made and I have enjoyed sharing recipes with my friends and family and any others of you who have stumbled upon this blog.  Thanks for your support! - Judy 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Punchbowl Cake

My daughter recently reminded me that I have never put this recipe on my blog.  Oh my goodness!  It is one of our family's ALL TIME FAVORITES!  How could I have forgotten to put it on here?  This recipe comes from my sister Barb - who brought it to a family party probably 10-15 years ago and it is still requested at most family parties.  It is easy, YUMMY, and feeds a lot of people (12-15).  It is called punch bowl cake because it is put together and served in a glass punch bowl so that you can see the layers.  (It could go in a trifle bowl, but it is much too big to fit in mine.) 

See the pretty layers!

Crumble 1/2 of the cooled cake with your fingers into the bottom of the bowl.

Make up one small box of instant chocolate pudding and spread it over the crumbled cake.
Spread 1/2 of the cool whip over the pudding, then top with the crushed candy.  Repeat the layers.

(Skore bars were $.79 each - so I opted to buy the Heath Bits found on the baking aisle, and added shaved milk chocolate using my vegetable peeler and a chocolate candy bar.  I think it turned out kind of pretty! My daughter told me that where she lives, they have chocolate covered Heath Bits in a bag!  I haven't seen them where I shop.)

Punchbowl Cake

1 German Chocolate Cake Mix - made according to directions on the box, baked and cooled.
2 small pkg. Instant Chocolate Pudding - made up one at a time as directed on box
1 lg container of Cool Whip
6 Skore or Heath Bars (or 1/2 bag of Heath Bits and shaved milk chocolate)

Crumble 1/2 of the cooled cake into a punch bowl (or other large bowl).  Mix up one pudding as directed and spread over the cake (I don't let it set up - it sinks into the cake better that way).  Spread over the cake.  Spread 1/2 of the cool whip on top.  Crush 3 candy bars (in a zip lock bag with something hard used to crush them) and sprinkle over the cool whip.  Repeat all layers.  Refrigerate.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quinoa Tabouleh with a Greek Twist

With my husband's work, they have a program called "Healthy Utah" where they have challenges from time to time to improve our health.  The challenge this month is called Iron Chef.  They choose a secret ingredient each week that we have to use in our cooking to try to broaden our horizons in healthy eating.  The secret ingredient this week was quinoa! (pronounced KEEN-wah)  I have never used it, but had recently tasted a salad made by my friend Melinda using bulgur.  I really liked it and thought it sounded similar to quinoa, so I substituted it in this recipe.  I think it turned out really yummy - but the quinoa doubles in bulk, where I don't think the bulgar does, so I think I would use less of it next time.
Quinoa is VERY good for you - a wonderful whole grain.  Give it a try!

I loved using fresh tomatoes, basil, and parsley from my garden.

Quinoa Tabouleh with a Greek twist

1 c quinoa (I think I would use 1/2 - 3/4 c next time)

2 c water (double whatever amount you use of the quinoa)

½ tsp salt

1/3 c fresh basil, chopped

¼ c fresh parsley, chopped

1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into little chunks

1 -1 ½ c grape tomatoes, sliced in half or thirds

3 green onions, chopped

1 tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1/3 c extra virgin olive oil

1/3 c freshly squeezed lemon juice

4 oz feta cheese, crumbled

Bring the 2 c of water and salt to a boil in a small pan. Be sure to rinse the quinoa well and add it to the water and stir.   Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Cool to room temperature.

Combine all the ingredients, gently adding the feta cheese last. Refrigerate.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cottage Cheese Dip

I have been on vacation this last week, and part of that was spent relaxing on a houseboat at Lake Powell.  It was a week of floating around in the water, enjoying good friends, and eating wonderful foods.  One of the couples brought this dip for chips or veggies and it was a BIG hit with all of us!  It is especially good with those little grape tomatoes.  We couldn't get enough.  It is different than your normal dip made with sour cream or mayo.  This is lite and would be good with all different kinds of seasonings added in - to your liking, but is really good just as it is.  Let me know if you try this and if  you added anything different.

Cottage Cheese Dip

1 16 oz container of low-fat cottage cheese
1 8oz pkg of 1/3 less-fat cream cheese
3/4 tsp of onion salt (to taste)
1 tsp  garlic powder (to taste)
1 tsp dried parsley flakes

Simply mix all ingredients together in a food processor or a mixer until the cottage cheese is broken down some, and ingredients are mixed well.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.  (If it is too thick, you can add a little milk to thin it, but I didn't seem to need it with mine)
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