Monday, February 18, 2019

Forgotten Pork Chops


Today dawned dark and dreary in my corner of New England.  I woke to a dusting of snow, gray skies, and ongoing drizzle forecast for the remainder of the day. It's days like these when you turn to a one-pan, comfort food dinner like this recipe for Forgotten Pork Chops. This recipe is perfect for a dreary winter weeknight or any day you want an easy, hearty meal.


(This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  When you purchase through these links I receive a small compensation.) 
Forgotten Pork Chops: A One Pan Dish
Forgotten Pork Chops
Truth be told, this recipe came about on a day when I wasn't really in the mood to spend time in the kitchen.  Much like today, it was dreary.  It was pouring rain and we had just sent the last of our guests home from my son's wedding.

All I wanted to do was sit with my feet up. I needed an easy pork chop recipe!  This recipe is the result and has been a favorite ever since.  The recipe serves two to four, depending on the number of pork chops you use.
Forgotten Pork Chops

This Forgotten Pork Chops recipe couldn't be easier.  Canned cream of mushroom soup is key to the flavor.  No snarky comments, please.  You know you already have some in your pantry just for recipes like this.

This dish is perfect for days like today when you know you want a hearty meal, but don't really feel like cooking.  All of the ingredients are combined together in one baking dish and then baked together in the oven. It's easy as can be!

Serves 2-4 adults

Pork chops, rice, onion, and condensed cream of mushroom soup baked in the oven.
Forgotten Pork Chops Ready for Oven




  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-4 bone-in pork chops, cut 3/4-1" thick
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can condensed mushroom soup
  • 1 cup long grain rice
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat on your stove top.

Season the chops with salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops for 3-5 minutes on each side or until you get a nice brown sear. Set aside.

Spoon the mushroom soup into a two-cup glass measuring cup,  Add water to make two cups liquid. Mix the water and soup together.  Add the chopped onion and mix to combine.

Add one cup of rice to the soup mixture and stir to combine. Pour the soup and rice mixture into a 9" square baking dish (13x9" baking dish when baking four pork chops).  Place the chops on top of the rice mixture.

Cover the baking dish very tightly with aluminum foil.  You want to be sure you keep as much steam as possible in the pan as it cooks.

Bake the pork chops and rice for 90 minutes.   Remove the pan from the oven and check to be sure the rice has absorbed the liquid and is ready.

Be careful when you remove the foil. The steam will be hot and can burn you.  Serve with your favorite vegetable side dish for a complete meal.


Try these other pork chops recipes, too.

For one of my favorite pork chop dinners try Pork Chops with Onions and Provolone Cheese.
For a yummy baked pork chop and stuffing main dish try Gloria's Pork Chops.
For a delicious, slow cooker pork chops recipe try Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Seasonal Vegetables.
For a grilled pork chops recipe try Teriyaki Pork Chops with Coconut Rice.

Essential Kitchen Tools


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Enjoy!


Monday, January 7, 2019

Five Workhorse Essentials for Your Kitchen

I've been the queen of my kitchen for a long time.  That means I have accumulated all manner of kitchen equipment, tools, and gadgets.  A couple of years ago we completed a full kitchen renovation and I took that opportunity to eliminate all the excess clutter and anything that was no longer useful.

I've been working hard to maintain discipline in my kitchen.  Nothing comes into the kitchen without thoughtful consideration.  I do not want to get into kitchen clutter again.  Even so, I do buy things once in a while.  I reviewed my Amazon purchases for 2018 and thought it would be fun to share the handful of kitchen items that made the cut into my kitchen cabinets this year.  I consider each of these items essentials. You'll notice there is no air fryer or InstaPot on this list.

My Kitchen Essential Purchases


My Kitchenaid double ovens were not replaced in the kitchen remodel.  Those ovens are teenagers now and I've felt the need to monitor their temperatures.  This inexpensive oven thermometer gives me peace of mind and ensures successful roasting and baking.



In early November I decided I needed to replace my fat separator.  For many years I used an OXO fat separator with a spout the did an okay job.  This new one by Cuisipro is a much better tool.   It's a little pricey but worth it for the no mess, no bother job it does. I've been using it for gravy and making chicken stock.




I always keep cooking thermometers on hand in a drawer.  "One and a spare" is my motto here.  A working cooking thermometer takes the guesswork out of your meal preparation.  This Taylor thermometer was a fantastic daily deal and is still very reasonably priced for a must-have kitchen tool.




Throughout the years I've had a number of favorite pans.  In 2018 I found myself making a lot of one-pan, stove-top dinners that required a broad cooking surface for browning a combination of meats and vegetables.  I went in search of a pan that would do the job for me.  This 14-inch pan from Rachel Ray does the trick.  It's my new favorite pan. You'll love it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner food preparation. If you are buying just one pan this year make it this one.




Finally, this most recent purchase is a combination of function and pleasure.  I bought an Amazon Echo to provide entertainment while I'm cooking.  It allows me to switch quickly and easily between, music, news, and podcasts.  I can set a timer with my voice, check for recipe substitutions quickly, make a quick phone call and even get recipe suggestions, all hands-free. I also like its sleek design.




I only recommend items I use and love.  All of these items were purchased by me from my personal Amazon account.  If you choose to use these links I will receive a small compensation.

Monday, December 31, 2018

My Favorite Homemade Snack Mix

It seems that homemade snack mix has been around since the dawn of time.  You know the snack mix I am talking about.  It's the one made with those little squares of rice, corn, and wheat cereal that you bake in the oven.  It's a delicious and addictive addition to festive gatherings of all kinds.

Delicious and Addictive Homemade Snack Mix


You might be tempted to take the easy way out and buy a pre-packaged mix from the store.  Don't do it.  I beg you.  I've yet to find a premade mix that is worth the money.

The key to a tasty homemade snack mix is in the seasonings and the yummy stir-ins.  First, I like to use more butter than is usually recommended.  Using more butter ensures all the tasty bits get coated with the seasonings.  I also tend to have a heavy hand with the flavorings.  If you have been visiting Just One Donna for a while you know I like flavor in my recipes.  This snack mix is no exception.  I use Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.

The base of this snack mix is made from three flavors of Chex cereal in equal portions.  Some people don't like wheat flavored cereal but I just don't get that.  I think the wheat cereal has an earthy flavor that adds to the overall yumminess of the mix.  
My Favorite Homemade Chex Mix

Bagel chips and pretzels are traditional and I like them, too.  I'll usually break about half of each into pieces in the mix to keep most of the mix relatively even in size.  The garlic flavored bagel chips are yummy so I buy them whenever I can.

Goldfish are a delightful addition to the snack mix.  I like to use the original flavor because the butter mixture works really well on them.
Homemade Chex Snack Mix
My Homemade Chex Snack Mix

My favorite mix-ins for my snack mix are salted cashews, smoked almonds, and wasabi peas.  Don't add these until after the base mix has baked and cooled.  Yum!

My Favorite Homemade Chex Mix

Serves Many

Homemde Snack Mix Cooling
Homemade Chex Mix
Base Mix
3 cups each of corn, rice, and wheat Chex cereal
2 cups bite-size pretzels
2 cups bagel chips, garlic flavor preferred
2 cups original flavor goldfish crackers

Seasoning Mix
3/4 cup unsalted butter
4 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.  Combine the base mix in a large bowl.  Melt the seasoning mix ingredients together in your microwave or in a pan on your stove-top.

Stir the seasoning mix into the base mix.  Combine well.

Divide the seasoning mixture between two sheet pans.  Bake the mix in your oven for about one hour.  Stir the mixture every fifteen minutes and rotate the pans to be sure the mixture bakes evenly.

Cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!




Thursday, November 15, 2018

How to Make Fresh Applesauce

Applesauce is a perfect complement to a pork dinner. I always have a pork tenderloin on hand in my fridge for a quick weeknight dinner.  A pork tenderloin roasts in about 20 minutes and if you buy one of the marinated options there is absolutely no prep time required.  That can be a real lifesaver when you are running behind and need to get dinner on the table. One of the things I do to make these pork tenderloin dinners my own is to serve them with my homemade applesauce.

A Homemade Applesauce Recipe

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Homemade Applesauce
Homemade Applesauce
Homemade applesauce tastes so much better than any jarred sauce that I have purchased and takes so little time to make that I never buy applesauce anymore.  September and October are the best times of year to make your own fresh applesauce as so many delicious apples come to market.  You can have the applesauce cooking on the stove in about five minutes and it will be ready when the pork tenderloin is ready to serve.

This is a five ingredient recipe.  How easy is that?  Just use my recipe as a starting point and adjust the salt, sugar, and cinnamon until the applesauce is perfect for your tastes.  I like to use an apple variety that cooks down easily like McIntosh or Cortland, but you can use any variety you like. Choose any variety that looks and smells the most enticing.  Mixing different kinds of apples is also yummy.  You'll also want to use a good quality cinnamon because cinnamon and apples are the costars in this recipe.
How to Make Homemade Applesauce

I like to peel the apples for my applesauce.  I don't use a fancy apple peeler.  I just use my favorite vegetable peeler from OXO.  I actually like peeling apples and can usually peel an apple with one long ribbon of the peel.  Don't be too fussy with the peeling.  Leaving a few stray pieces of the peel in the applesauce will add to the color of the final product.

Watch Me Make My Homemade Applesauce



The tools you'll use to make your applesauce are very low tech.  All you need is a sharp vegetable peeler, a sharp paring knife, and an old-fashioned potato masher.  You probably have these already in your kitchen.

Donna's Homemade Applesauce

Applesauce Ingredients
Applesauce Ingredients
Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4


  • 4-5 medium apples, Cortland or McIntosh, peeled and chunked
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • a pinch of fresh nutmeg
  • 2-4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons water

Directions
Taste your apples to assess how sweet they are.  Decide how much sugar you think you need.  I always start with less sugar because I like my applesauce to have a little tartness.  Mix the apples, salt, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon together in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the water.  Two tablespoons are usually enough.

Cover the pot and let the mixture come to a boil.  Turn the heat down to simmer.  Cook the mixture for 10 to 15 minutes, until the apples start to collapse.  Remove the pot from the heat.  Using a potato masher, mash the apples until you get the consistency you want.

Mash the Applesauce with a Potato Masher
Mash the Apples
I like to leave some chunks in my applesauce.  Taste your applesauce and add more sugar or cinnamon as needed.

Chunky Homemade Applesauce
Chunky Homemade Applesauce

Serve your homemade applesauce warm or chilled. Make extra applesauce and mix it with your favorite plain yogurt or serve it on top of your morning oatmeal.  It's also delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.  Yum!

Essential Kitchen Tools

OXO Vegetable Peeler
4-inch Paring Knife
A potato masher

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Enjoy!



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Donna's Grilled Caprese Chicken with Honey Balsamic Reduction

Donna's Caprese Grilled Chicken is a quick, easy, and delicious recipe that you can whip together after work, but feel like you are indulging yourself.  It is a perfect weeknight dinner because it can be ready in less than thirty minutes.  All you need to do is have your ingredients ready to go.

Add a drizzle of honey balsamic reduction before serving to make this a very special dinner that seems fancy but is so very quick and easy.

Grilled Caprese Chicken with Honey Balsamic Reduction
Donna's Grilled Caprese Chicken with Honey Balsamic Reduction


Grilled Caprese Chicken with Honey Balsamic Reduction
This recipe pays homage to Caprese salad, with the addition of roasted red peppers.  The recipe came to be one summer when our tomatoes were starting to be ready for picking.  I wanted a dinner that was quick, fresh tasting and would showcase our delicious tomatoes.  My hubby loved it, my sons loved it, and ever since it has been on our regular menu rotation.
Grilled Caprese Chicken

I always keep boneless chicken breasts in my freezer, all ready and pounded thin so they are ready to go.  They are a staple at our house.  Fresh mozzarella is usually in the refrigerator because we use it to make our pizzas, and we are homemade pizza fans.

You'll also need roasted red peppers.  For today's recipes, I used peppers I had roasted on my grill a couple of days ago but jarred roasted peppers work just as well.  If you don't keep roasted red peppers on hand in your pantry I beg you to start.  They add wonderful flavor to many dishes.

Finally, you'll need fresh tomatoes and fresh basil.  You can either use slices of lovely, fresh garden tomatoes or chopped cherry tomatoes.  Both will be delicious.

Donna's Grilled Caprese Chicken
Donna's Grilled Caprese Chicken

Another time saver with this recipe is the marinade I use for the chicken.  I always keep a robustly-flavored, bottled Italian dressing on hand to used as a chicken marinade.  The dressing adds great flavor and couldn't be easier to use.

The end of summer is the perfect time to make this recipe. You can make it other times of the year, using canned diced tomatoes and pesto, but fresh from the garden tomatoes and basil really make the difference.  Let's see how to make it, shall we?

Donna's Caprese Grilled Chicken 

Grilled Caprese Chicken Ingredients
Grilled Caprese Chicken Ingredients
Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves Four

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1 jar roasted red peppers, cut in strips
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
  • Fresh basil leaves, sliced in ribbons
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • your favorite bottled Italian dressing, for the marinade

Directions
The key to success with this recipe is to have all the ingredients prepared and ready to go beside your grill. The entire dish will cook up quickly so you don't want to be running back and forth to get your ingredients.

Place the raw chicken in a glass baking dish and sprinkle with Italian dressing to cover.  You can marinate the chicken for as little as 15 minutes or up to overnight.

Prepare the remaining ingredients and place on a platter or cutting board.  Preheat your grill.  When ready to cook, place the chicken pieces on the grill and cook for 3 minutes.  The chicken will release easily from the grill when ready to turn.  You'll have lovely grill marks.

Turn the chicken.  Begin building the flavors right away.  Place the slices of tomato on each piece of chicken.  Salt and pepper the tomatoes.  Sprinkle with the sliced basil, leaving a little for the top.  Place the roasted pepper on top of the tomato and basil.  Then add the mozzarella cheese.

Cover the grill and cook for three to five more minutes.  Check to be sure the cheese is melting, and add the remaining basil.  Cook another 2-3 minutes.

A fresh tasting Caprese Grilled Chicken
Celebrate the Fresh Flavors of Summer with Grilled Caprese Chicken

Honey Balsamic Reduction

Make your grilled Caprese chicken special with a honey balsamic reduction.

Bring 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and 3 tablespoons of honey to a boil.  Cook until the mixture thickens. Set aside to cool. Drizzle over your chicken before serving.

That's all there is to it!  Enjoy this easy, yet super delicious dinner that highlights the fresh tastes of summer.

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Enjoy!