Friday, December 12, 2014

Mustard Pork Chops

Perfect Pairing:  Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pecans


When I ran across Nigella Lawson’s Mustard Pork Chops recipe I knew I needed to make it pronto.  It is a great cold weather dish with few ingredients that comes together in minutes.  

I made just a few changes to the original recipe.  I used three pork chops instead of two, and seasoned them with salt and pepper before searing in the pan.  Before deglazing the pan I added one sliced onion and cooked until soft and caramelized, then added the sauce ingredients (hard cider, mustard, and a touch of cream).  I bumped up the amounts of mustard and cider to make a little more sauce.


Nigella recommended serving the chops with gnocchi.  Of course you could keep the prep super simple and use store-bought gnocchi, or you could make your own!  I had always wanted to make gnocchi so this seemed like the perfect time.  I used this sweet potato gnocchi recipe from Richard Blais (Top Chef and Food Network fame).  I followed the gnocchi prep only and used the pork chop sauce to top it off.  I will definitely make these again and use the full recipe with the brown butter sauce because that sounds fantastic. 


They ended up being pretty easy to make and kind of fun!  I found that a bench scraper was the best tool for the job.

To round out the meal I roasted brussels sprouts (using this method, minus the vinegar) and tossed in handfuls of pecans and dried cranberries for the last few minutes in the oven.  Pretty and yummy.


It was a pretty fantastic meal!


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Wheat Berry Chicken Salad

Perfect Pairing:  Diet and Leftover Sage

If your Thanksgiving was as delicious as mine was you might be looking to detox a bit.  This salad is the perfect way to jump start that healthy kick!

Last year I wrote a post for Trail Mix Wheat Berry Salad with Chicken, Goat Cheese, and Orange Vinaigrette where I talked about my first introduction to wheat berries. 


My mom had a wheat berry salad at a friend’s house and later made it for me.  This Wheat Berry Chicken Salad is that original recipe.  It is simple, healthy, filling, and delicious.  I think it is the mix of textures that make it special, chewy berries are mixed with crunchy celery and apples. 

Wheat berries are combined with rotisserie chicken, dried cranberries, fresh herbs, veggies, and tossed in a light dressing.  This calls for fresh sage which might just be in your refrigerator after making that Thanksgiving stuffing!

If you are new to wheat berries you can usually find them in the organic aisle or with the other grains.


If you are on a diet this is a great “go-to” meal/snack.  One serving of this salad (recipe makes 14 servings) is four points.  If you know much about diets, you know which one uses points!  

Wheat berries are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Totes diet food!  My mom will make a batch and keep it in the fridge to have on hand for a quick and satisfying meal.  It keeps really well for over a week.

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