Quick Pork Chop Chili

I had some boneless pork chops to use up this week after a BOGO sale at the store last week. I decided to make a dry chili and serve it like fajitas or tacos. If you want a more traditional chili, add canned tomatoes and water to make more sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Boneless Pork Chops
  • ½ White or Yellow Onion
  • ½ Green Pepper
  • 1 T. Olive Oil
  • 8 oz. Chicken Broth
  • 14.5 Oz. Can Cannellini Beans
  • 4 Oz. Can Diced Green Chilies
  • Chili Spices (I used Chili Powder, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin, and Black Pepper)

Steps:

Chop onions and green peppers and set aside. Slice pork chops thinly and then cut again crosswise to make small pieces.

Heat olive oil in large deep skillet or dutch oven to medium high. Add onions and green peppers and cook for a few minutes until they start to soften. Add pork and continue to stir and cook until no longer pink.

Add all spices and stir to coat.

Rinse beans well to remove as much sodium as possible. Add broth, beans and chilies to pan and heat until bubbly. At this point, I turned to low without the lid and continued to simmer for about 20 minutes until all the liquid was evaporated. If you want a more traditional saucy chili, add some water and a can of tomatoes and keep the lid on to keep the liquid in.

Serve with your favorite mexican toppings like tortillas, lettuce, cheese, sour cream, green onions and tomatoes.

Cooking the spices dry for a minute before adding the wet ingredients makes the flavor pop out more
I simmered this until all the liquid was gone and then served with toppings like taco night

Nutrition Facts: (¼ of chili with no toppings)

  • Calories: 275
  • Protein: 33
  • Fat: 9
  • Carbs: 17

Chicken Quinoa Bake with Orange Jicama Salad

I was on a mission this week not to eat any processed foods, added sugar or dairy so my meal plan included a lot of white meat and veggies. The kids are a bit tired of chicken now, so the hubby is planning to take us to Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar for dinner. I can get a chicken burger without cheese or a bun and a really delicious pick your own ingredients salad on the side. The kids can get good old american cheese burgers and fries and the hubby can get something interesting like spicy jalapenos or crazy big bacon. It’s nice we can all get something we like at the same place and it’s a real treat since we don’t go out to eat very often.

For this recipe I really just wanted a way to make quinoa and chicken in the same pan in the oven without using a cream based soup. Most of the recipes I found online all had Cream of Mushroom or some sort of variation of that nature.

So I just winged and it turned out pretty good. My family really likes garlic and that was the main flavor here. If there are other flavors you like better, definitely throw them in. Chicken and Quinoa alone are both pretty bland and neither soak up flavor very well.

The salad featured my two favorite in season ingredients right now, jicama and oranges. It was my favorite salad of the week. I made 4 separate salads this night instead of a big bowl buffet style. One of my daughters doesn’t like avocado so it was easier to make sure everyone got what they wanted. It actually turned out to be way too much food for one dinner so I had quite a bit of salad and chicken leftovers for lunch the next day and a container of quinoa for later use.

Ingredients:

Chicken Quinoa Bake:

  • 1 t. Olive Oil
  • 1 C. Quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 14.5 oz. Can Chicken Broth
  • 4 Thin-Cut Chicken Breasts
  • 3 Cloves Garlic minced
  • Black Pepper

Orange Jicama Salad:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • ¼ Jicama
  • 2 Cara Cara Oranges
  • 2 Green Onions
  • ½ Avocado

Steps:

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees.

Pour olive oil into 13 x 9 glass baking pan and rub to cover bottom and sides. Add rinsed quinoa and chicken broth and shake or stir until fairly evenly distributed. Place chicken breast on top trying not to overlap too much. Sprinkle with minced garlic and black pepper to taste.

Cover tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove foil, stir quinoa underneath chicken and take the temperature of the biggest piece of chicken. (Mine were about 137 at this stage and quinoa had not opened yet). Replace foil and return to oven for an additional 15 minutes. Chicken should be a minimum of 165 degrees in the center of the thickest part and quinoa should be open. (They will seem slightly larger than when you started and their little curly tails will be sticking out.)

While the chicken and quinoa are still in the oven, make the salads.

Chop lettuce and arrange in bottom of the bowls. Peel 2 oranges using a knife and cut into small pieces. Chop jicama into small squares and chop green onions. Slice ½ an avocado in the peel two ways and then scoop. Arrange all veggies on top of the lettuce. Return to refrigerator and then serve with dinner. We used lemon or lime juice and avocado spray for dressing, but any vinaigrette would also work.

Not too many ingredients and one pan makes for a quick weeknight dinner
These are thin-cut chicken, regular whole breasts would probably take too long to cook compared to the quinoa
More quinoa than one family of 4 can eat!
I want to eat this salad again….

Nutrition Facts: (1 Piece of Chicken, ½ C. Cooked Quinoa, 1 Salad no dressing)

  • Calories: 417
  • Protein: 34.9
  • Fat: 13.8
  • Carbs: 37.7

Cheeseburger and French Fry Casserole with Big Mac Salad

This recipe was born because I had some leftover Naked Baked Potatoes and some ground turkey and was trying to think of something the kids would enjoy for dinner. The two youngest have recently started liking Big Macs from McDonalds, but obviously it’s not healthy to have one very often. If I had to do it over again, I would use twice as much ground turkey and half as much canned tomatoes so the burger mixture was a little more dry and ketchupy flavored. The kids really enjoyed it anyway.

Ingredients:

Casserole:

  • 1-2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 4-6 Slices American or Cheddar Cheese
  • ½ White Onion Minced
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes
  • ½ C. Ketchup
  • 2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 t. Garlic Salt
  • ½ t. Pepper
  • 1 t. Dry Mustard
  • 1 ½ Cooked Potatoes Sliced in Stick Shapes

Salad:

  • ½ Iceburg Lettuce Chopped
  • 1 Small Tomato Chopped
  • ¼ Diced Red Onion
  • 2 Small Dill Pickles Chopped (or 2 T. Pickle Relish)
  • ¼ C. Mayonnaise
  • ¼ C. Ketchup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Saute the minced onion in a little oil or butter on medium heat until translucent but not brown. Add ground turkey and use a wooden spoon to stir and break up the larger pieces until brown. (If you use a lean ground turkey there is no need to drain it, if you used ground beef you may need to drain off excess fat at this stage).

Add the remaining casserole ingredients except the cheese and potatoes and stir until heated through.

Spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Add ½ the meat mixture to the bottom of the dish. Top with cheese slices until covered in a single layer. Add remaining ½ of meat mixture to the dish. Place the chopped potatoes on top of the casserole.

Bake 35-45 minutes or until the center is at least 165 degrees and potatoes are slightly crisp. You can broil for the last 2 minutes for extra crispy potatoes if desired.

While the casserole bakes, chop the veggies and pickles into small pieces for the salad and mix together with the mayo/ketchup and salt and pepper. I also added a very small dash of Worcestershire sauce to thin the dressing a bit.

I added a bit of prepared mustard to serve.

Chop the onions really small so they’re more like fast food onions
Add these after the meat is browned
Kind of like a Big Mac with Fries except WAY fewer calories even with potatoes, mayo and ketchup in it

Nutrition Facts: (⅙ of all ingredients made with 1 lb. Turkey and 4 slices Cheddar Cheese)

  • Calories: 312
  • Protein: 20
  • Fat: 22
  • Carbs: 25

Naked Baked Potatoes

I had some potatoes in the cupboard that had been there a bit too long. The skin was a bit wrinkly and they’d started to sprout eyes. I wasn’t in the mood for making something complicated like mashed potatoes or scalloped, so I decided to see if you could bake a naked potato. They turned out really well. My husband loved the crispy edges where the butter pooled at the bottom after baking and I had some leftover for another recipe later in the week.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Large Potatoes
  • 4 T. Butter
  • Coarse Sea Salt

Steps:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and peel potatoes being careful to remove any ugly spots. Place each potato on a square of foil and add a pat of butter. Sprinkle with Sea Salt. Wrap each potato being careful to see that all 4 edges come at least halfway up the side of the potato to ensure the butter doesn’t leak out while baking.

Bake on a baking sheet for at least an hour or until the potatoes can be easily poked almost to the center with a fork.

Allow to cool for several minutes and then serve with your favorite baked potato toppings. You might try some combination of cheese, bacon bits, green onions or chives, butter, sour cream and salt and pepper.

Make sure to close the foil only at the top so the butter doesn’t leak out while it cooks

Nutrition Facts: (1 Potato and 1 T. Butter)

  • Calories: 392
  • Protein: 8
  • Fat: 11
  • Carbs: 67

Sheet Pan Pork Chops, Apples and Veggies

I haven’t posted anything lately because the hubby and I were in Belize! It’s an amazing place, if you haven’t tried it, you totally should. The people are friendly, the prices are cheap and the ocean. What more could you ask for?

This recipe is an easy weeknight dinner that only uses one bowl and one sheet pan for dishes which makes for easy clean up. I ended up using frozen Brussels Sprouts because I was out of fresh greens toward the end of the week. They were not quite as delicious as fresh ones would have been, but WAY better than steamed per the package directions.

This recipe could work with pretty much any vegetables or apples you have around. Frozen obviously need longer to roast and depending on how big or small you chop the pieces and the thickness of the pork chops, you may need less time or longer in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Package Frozen Brussels Sprouts
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 3 Small Gala Apples
  • 4 Boneless Pork Chops
  • 2 T. Olive Oil
  • Spice Rub
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cinnamon

Steps:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spray the Brussels Sprouts with Avocado Oil (or any other high heat oil). Sprinkle with salt. Roast on a sheet pan covered with foil for 10-15 minutes until warm enough in the center to slice.

In the meantime, chop apples and onions or other veggies into bite size pieces. You can either peel the apples or leave the skin on.

Remove pork chops from package into a shallow bowl or plate. Add olive oil and rub and then rub with your favorite spice rub. I used an Omaha Steaks rub for this recipe and it turned out delicious. If you don’t have a rub pre-mixed you can make one with some paprika, onion powder or flakes and garlic powder, chili powder or other flavors you like.

Remove sprouts from oven, slice each one in half and return to sheet pan. Move them to one side of the pan and spray the cut side with oil and sprinkle with a bit more salt and some pepper.

Add the pork chops down the center of the sheet pan. Place the apples and any other quick cooking veggies on the empty side. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon.

Bake until pork chops are at least 145 degrees in the thickest chop center and veggies are done.

You can broil at the end for 2 minutes if you want some extra crispiness on the sprouts.

Before I sprinkled cinnamon on the apples. It’s not required, but really makes a delicious contrast with the other flavors.

Nutrition Facts: (1 Chop and ¼ of veggies/apples)

  • Calories: 300
  • Protein: 30
  • Fat: 11
  • Carbs: 23