Friday, May 28, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops

OH MY GOSH! You HAVE to try this recipe!! What could be better than pork wrapped in pork?! I originally bought the bacon to make BLT sandwiches one evening, but Mario wasn't feeling them so I stuffed the bacon in my small freezer and moved on. I knew, though, that I wanted to make pork chops that same week so I pulled them out waiting for inspiration. And then, BAM! It hit me! I pulled the bacon out and waited patiently for the meat to defrost overnight! After a long day of work, I did not feel like handling raw pork x2, but I'm glad I took the time to do it. You will love this dish! I served mine with a baked potato and steamed veggies! Enjoy!

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Chops
Source: Me
Yields: 4 pork chops

4 bone-in pork chops
1 package sliced bacon
1 cup brown sugar
salt and pepper

Pre-heat a grill to medium-low. Season pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Wrap the bacon around the pork chops, overlapping the pieces and pressing firmly on to the pork chops (you'll use about 4 pieces per chop). Put the brown sugar on a large plate. Press each bacon-wrapped chop onto the brown sugar plate, making sure you generously coat the top and bottom of the chop with the brown sugar. Grill until chops are done, flipping occasionally so that one side of the bacon doesn't get too much darker than the other. ENJOY!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Hot Chocolate for One

It's Southern California! Why was I freezing cold one night yearning for hot cocoa?! Computer Man hadn't come home from work yet and I was busy making dinner, but I was so cold I wanted something hot to warm me up! This hot cocoa was a quick and easy fix for an unexpectedly cold evening!

Hot Chocolate for One
Source: Hershey's Cocoa Powder Container (I cut the recipe in half)

Begin by mixing 1/4 cup sugar, 1/8 cup cocoa powder, small dash salt in a saucepan; stir in 1/6 cup of hot water. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils; boil and stir for 2 minutes.

Stir in 2 cups of milk and heat but DO NOT BOIL. Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour into a large mug, top with marshmallows, and sprinkle with some more cocoa powder. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Banana Bread

I love the smell of baking 11:00 p.m....on a school night...when I have to be up early in the morning! I picked up a bunch of bananas from a box at school--the lunchroom was giving away a ton of extra bananas that were past their serving dates! I knew they were the perfect ripeness for the best bread ever! I love how moist this bread turns out and spreading a little bit of butter on a warm piece makes it even better! Enjoy!

Banana Bread
Source: Mom
Yields: 3 small loaves, 2 medium loaves, or 1 large loaf (I like the 2 medium loaves option)

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large or 5 small ripe bananas (they should have a nice speckled brown peel)
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour milk (1 T lemon juice + enough milk to measure 1/2 cup)
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour (wheat flour would be good, too!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix in the order given. Pour into greased loaf pans. Bake for at least an hour (or until toothpick inserted comes out clean) at 325 degrees.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Unbaked Cookies

Wait! Don't go! Don't be afraid by the title! There's nothing in these cookies that makes them unsafe to be called "unbaked." I promise! These are some of my favorite cookies from childhood. The best part about them? Only 2 people in my house could eat them: me and my dad. My mom and sister loathe coconut, so they refused to touch these cookies. My dad and I would get 2 in our lunches each day and I knew I'd only have to fight him off for the last one! I love the texture, taste, smell, and versatility of these cookies! Enjoy!

Unbaked Cookies
Source: My mom
Yields: as many or as few as the batter makes (I'll explain later)

2 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
6 T cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter

Mix the oats, coconut, powder, and vanilla extract in a large bowl; set aside. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix together the sugar, milk, and butter and bring to a rolling boil; allow to boil for 2 minutes. Pour the milk mixture over the oats mixture and stir well. Drop by large or small spoonfuls onto wax paper and allow to cool completely before you eat them (obviously, the smaller the spoonfuls the more cookies you'll get). Enjoy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Graduation Cookies

I've talked about Summer before, but I'm going to talk about her again. She graduated from Azusa Pacific University with her bachelor's degree and plans to move into the credential program this fall. This is exactly what I did when I graduated, so I'm excited she's following in my footsteps. Hahaha! At any rate, I didn't want to give her the traditional Target gift card--a great gift, don't get me wrong! I just wanted to do something extra this time. So, I told her I'd cater her entire graduation party! It was SO much fun! I've never catered a party before, and I'm sure I could have done a much better job, but it was fun to give it a try.

I decided to take a safer route instead of doing something crazy. Mario and I put hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, I made my potato salad, and we had a huge selection of other appetizers like a veggie platter, chicken enchilada roll-ups from Annie's Eats (although I used plain tortillas), and a whole slew of chips and dips. I ordered a cake from Costco since I didn't feel like making one, but I did spend a whole bunch of time making these sugar cookies for her. Overall, the party was a huge success and I'm looking forward to my next opportunity to cater for someone!

Directions and recipes for these sugar cookies can be found at Annie's Eats.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mini Sliders

As the school year comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on my performance as a teacher during the year; if I had to give myself a report card, what grade would I receive? I guess I'd say a B, which is annoying because I really prefer A's. But, I know I have room to grow and there are always opportunities to become a better teacher. As a student, I'd probably give myself an A which is nice because I worked my butt off to get the grades I did this semester. What grade would I give myself as a blogger? Definitely a D...+...maybe a, definitely a D+. I haven't been faithful to the cause and I've allowed myself to go weeks on end without updating. It's not like I don't cook! I guess it's the accumulation of everything piled on top of me and the immense pressure I put on myself to be darn near perfect at everything I do. I blame my dad, really. We're perfectionists who stress about stressing too much. It's a vicious cycle and I'm aware of it!

These mini sliders were a bit [cue drum: bah-dump-sh] of celebratory dinner. I finished evening classes this week after what felt like the world's longest semester. I had about zero ounces of energy in me, but I knew I wanted to spend some time in the kitchen after a few consecutive nights of finals. I had picked these up at Fresh & Easy a little while ago and knew that after finals they'd make a fun meal.

I seasoned the patties with onion powder, powdered beef bouillon (that's not brown sugar on the patties; it's the bouillon), and salt and pepper. Then, I melted the butter on my flat frying pan and put the seasoned side down to cook first. While the first side was cooking, I seasoned the side facing up. The burgers cooked for about 8 minutes on the first side and another 6 minutes on the other (but I like mine well done).

When they were done, I put them on a plate and placed 2 quarter pieces of American cheese on each and tented the burgers with foil to melt the cheese. We enjoyed our burgers with the traditional ketchup, mustard, and mayo, but the topping choices are totally endless!

Happy End-of-the-School-Year!

Mini Sliders
Source: Me

mini burger patties (you can also form these yourself from a pound of hamburger; I bought a total of 12 patties which fed us for days)
mini burger buns
American cheese (or Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Colby Jack, JalapeƱo Jack, Bleu, etc.)
onion powder
powdered beef bouillon
a couple tablespoons of butter

Season burgers. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on a hot frying pan. Put seasoned side of burgers down on melted butter; season the top side. Fry on each side until desired doneness. Top with cheese and tent with tin foil to melt the cheese. Put on the buns and dress with whatever toppings you'd like!


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