Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Pork Chops

This blog post if finishing up a pretty great 3-day weekend. Friday consisted of watching Halloween movies, carving pumpkins, and getting lost in a corn maze with friends. Saturday started with hot cocoa in bed from D (that's now husband's name here...I wasn't feeling very clever) and a trip to farmer's market for apples, cider, peppers, and spices. I also enjoyed time with co-workers from one of my schools. Today was a morning of laziness and an afternoon of playing board games with some pretty great people. We played games until about 6:00 and I didn't plan dinner ahead of time. Thankfully, I had some pork chops thawed in the fridge and knew I had a couple recipes that took little time to prepare and cook.

D and I use to eat chicken for practically every meal. Thankfully we have branched out. We have much more variety in what we eat, and pork chops are among the various things I make now. Before last year I don't think I had ever cooked a pork chop. I bought some on a whim because they were on sale and now we have 1-2 per month. They are so tasty and cook so quickly. This particular recipe comes from Beth M at Budget Bytes and it is a tasty sweet heat dish. The ingredients are minimal and time is less than 30 minutes so it's a great way to whip up a yummy dinner. If you are a fan of pork and like sweet heat, try these!

Yield: 4 pork chops
Time: 25ish minutes
4 thick cut pork chops (bone-in or not; thin chops may also be used, you just have to watch them)
olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine brown sugar, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.

Rub that delicious spice mix on those pork chops. I'm lazy so coated one side of the chops while they were still in the packaging and then coated the other side once I put them in the pan. Probably not the smartest thing to do, but I did it any way. However you do it, coat both sides and use all the spice mix.

Pour enough olive oil in a oven-safe skillet to cover the bottom. (You don't have to use an oven-safe skillet, but it makes life easier.) Once the oil is hot, toss those chops in.

Let them cook about 5 minutes and then flip them. They should be a pretty golden color. Let them cook another 5 minutes or so to brown the other side. To finish up the cooking, transfer the whole skillet into the oven. If your skillet isn't oven-safe transfer the chops to a oven-safe surface and try to take the liquid/glaze too.

Let the chops cook until done, about 5 more minutes. The glaze should also have thickened with this time as well. That's it! Before you plate these suckers I would rub them around in the glaze to get as much deliciousness as possible. If you want to move the skillet after you have taken it out of the oven, please remember to use a hot pad. I don't often use my skillets in the oven and when I do, I'm prone to forget that the whole skillet is hot. I have given myself a handful of blister by attempting to pick up a oven-hot skillet by the handle. Please don't make my mistake! Also, soak this pan while it is still warm (not hot, but warm) to help clean it with a little more ease.


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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mini Pecan Rolls

Who doesn't like cinnamon rolls or other sweet, sticky rolls? I don't think I have ever met a person who disliked rolls of these kinds. Making homemade rolls can be a pain, but there are many shortcuts you can take to make them and they are still delicious. I'm not sure how I came across this recipe but Pillsbury has a delicious short cut to yummy rolls that uses a tube of their crescent rolls. They require a little bit of time, but they are definitely worth it. I love them because they remind me of something my mom used to make when I was younger. She made the caramel mixture and then threw in canned biscuit chunks. It's a much quicker variation. I knew when I saw these I had to try them. My husband asks for them often. So if you ever need something sweet for breakfast or anytime really, you should try these nutty, caramel rolls.

Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 16 mini rolls

1/4 cup butter
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tube crescent rolls (reduced fat works just as well as regular)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 F

Melt butter in a pie pan.

 Mix in corn syrup and brown sugar. If you want you can mix these three in a small bowl and then spread the mixture in a pie plate, but I'm a fan of fewer dishes. Set your caramel mixture aside.

Open the crescent rolls and separate out the 4 rectangles. Pinch the triangles together to make a full rectangle. I flip the rectangle over and pinch the other side too just to make sure it stays.

Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and dust it on top of the rectangles. If you want, you could probably cut the amount of sugar down, but why would you do that?

Then sprinkle the nuts on top. If you really don't like nuts, you could omit them, but they do make them that much more delicious.

Finally roll the rectangles starting with a short side. I don't roll very evenly, but just do your best.

Slice each roll into 4 mini rolls.

Now gently stand up each mini roll in the butter/syrup/sugar mixture. It's ok if there is some space between them because the rolls will expand. With that being said, you don't have to leave as much space as I did.

I was quite proud of that pretty little roll in the middle there. :)
 Throw the pan in the oven for 20-25 minutes. As soon as they are golden brown the the caramel mixture is bubbly, they are done. Let them sit in the pan for 1 minute or so.

Carefully flip them out onto a plate or foil and let cool before eating. These can hurt if you eat them too hot. They are amazing warm. Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!

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