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Meaty Monday-Crock Pot Pork Chops!

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Crock Pot Pork Chops sounds a little like a chant/cheer/battle cry from the University of Kansas:  Rock Chalk Jayhawk!-which I have to admit I have no idea what that means.  However, I do know Pork Chops!  This recipe is one I sorta made up this weekend when I was avoiding a trip to the store which is 25+ miles away one-way.  I love using the www.allrecipes.com recipe finder where you can enter ingredients you have and want to use and ingredients you don’t want to use.  I did this with Pork Chops and Apples and found some recipes that I combined to make this dish.  The Chickenman said it was a keeper and to be sure and write it down so we could have it again.  So…here’s what I did:

Ingredients:

Pork chops I used two thick-cut bone-in chops like these, but just use what you need for your family: 

Apples-I used 2 that looked like this.  I peeled, quartered and cored them. New potatoes.  I used 5 or 6 three-bit sized potatoes and left them whole with the peel on.1 tablespoon of Kitchen bouquet

Fiesta Chicken Rub for seasoning Pork Chops1 can of cream of mushroom soup.  I use low sodium.1 packet of Dry Onion Soup Mix2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  Rinse the Pork Chops and season them with several generous shakes of the Chicken Rub on both sides.  Set aside.  In your crock pot mix dry onion soup mix with the can of cream of mushroom soup, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of Kitchen bouquet and 1 1/2 cups of hot tap water.  I use a wire whisk to get it all blended good.  Go ahead and turn it on low and add the potatoes and the apples and give it a light stir to mix.  The liquid should just about cover the apples and potatoes, if it doesn’t add more water.

Heat a heavy skillet on the stove top to medium high.  I use one like this to get the pretty grill marks:  But one without grill ridges will work fine too.  I gave mine a quick spray of cooking oil when it got pretty hot and quickly seared the pork chops on both sides.  About  2 minutes each side.  Then place the pork chops on top of the crock pot mixture.  Don’t press them in, just gently lay them on top. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

Remove Pork Chops and place on serving plate.  Remove and separate apples and potatoes.  Use a potato masher or a fork to mash apples.  Cut the  potatoes in halves or quarters and place in separate serving dishes.  Pour gravy from the crock pot into a gravy boat or other serving dish.

We topped our Pork Chops with the mashed apples and ladled gravy on our  potatoes and served it with a fresh green tossed salad.  YUM!

The pork chops are so juicy and tender you won’t need a knife!

Happy Meaty Monday!

Meaty Monday: Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

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We have had an unusually warm winter here in north east Texas, but we did get a light frost last night and I woke up chilled thinking it was a great day for a batch of soup to cook all day in the crock pot.  Don’t let the list of ingredients scare you…it is pretty much just a dump and cook recipe.  My family loves this soup and the leftovers freeze well.

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Soup

1 onion, chopped

1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans, undrained

1 (15 ounce) can black beans, undrained

1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained

1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (I use Lone Star because the rule at our house is we do not sacrifice a Dos Equis for cooking!-The Chickenman drinks Lone Star/I drink Dos Equis)

2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning***See below to make your own

3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts (you can put them in frozen!)

shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)

sour cream (optional)

crushed tortilla chips (optional)

jalapeno (optional)

Directions 1. Place the onion, pinto beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.

2. Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

***I make my own taco seasoning:  1 tablespoon chili powder  1/4 teaspoon garlic powder  1/4 teaspoon onion powder  1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes  1/4 teaspoon dried oregano  1/2 teaspoon paprika  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin  1 teaspoon sea salt  1 teaspoon black pepper

The guys are here working on our bathroom remodel and they are complaining about how wonderful it smells!

Have a great Meaty Monday!

Meaty Monday: Etouffee

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I was born and raised on the Gulf Coast of Texas where the cattle have a little more ear (Brahman) and almost everyone has a little Cajun in them.  My family often spent Sunday afternoons crawfishing, crabbing or we bought fresh shrimp right off the boats in the bay.  This is a family favorite I’d thought I’d share on this Meaty Monday-Etouffee.  We prefer it with crawfish but you can use shrimp or even chicken if the thought of crawfish scares you.

Ingredients

1-2 lbs of shrimp or crawfish.

1 stick of butter per lb of shrimp or crawfish

1 bunch of finely chopped green onion

1 diced bell pepper

1 bunch of chopped parsley

1 sm can of tomato sauce

1 can if italian diced tomatoes

Several tablespoons of flour

Cayenne pepper to taste.

I got these crawfish at Brookshire’s but I have seen them at Wal-Mart near here too.  I have bought the already seasoned ones too but I thought they seemed salty.  You can use pre-cooked shrimp or crawfish too but fresh is best!!

In a Skillet or pot melt the butter. Add gr. onion, bell pepper and parsley (note:  I use kitchen shears to cut up the parsley-remove larger stems) Saute veggies until done. Add shrimp or crawfish.

Cook about 5 minutes until the shrimp/crawfish are done.  Add Cayenne pepper to taste-remember a little goes a long way!  I sometimes use a little Lawry’s seasoned salt or Cavender’s at this point too.

Stir in tomato sauce and italian diced tomatoes-don’t drain.

Sprinkle mixture with 1 tablespoon of flour at a time and stir until it reaches desired thickness.  For me, usually 2 or 3 is enough.  Taste and see if it is hot enough for you…if not add some more cayenne-be careful!!

Yum!  Looks and smells wonderful.  Serve over rice- I just use the easy and quick boil in a bag kind.  I like to serve with crusty french bread slices topped with butter and garlic & toasted in the oven.

Enjoy!

Meaty Monday-Reata’s Jalapeno Cilantro Soup with Chicken

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I love trying new recipes.  I especially love trying recipes from some of my favorite restaurants.  But I have to admit I almost always alter the recipe in some way whether for convenience or substitution if I’m short an ingredient or sometimes just because I think it sounds good.

Last week on the Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas Table Top  there was a post by Kelly Bogard featuring a recipe from one of my favorite restaurants, Reata.  Only problem was there wasn’t any meat in the recipe-The Chickenman has to have his meat.  Even though a certain unnamed Meat Judger we know says, “Chicken is not meat.  It is an alternative protein source-like beans”,  I decided to add some chicken, meat, protein-whatever you want to call it!

So to the recipe from the Table Top post I added four grilled boneless skinless chicken breasts that I had seasoned with Texas Tech Raider Red Meats new Steak Seasoning.I just fired up the gas grill and threw them on.  Always be sure when cooking chicken to get it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety-use a meat thermometer.  Here’s a great source for information about chicken from the USDA.

Another note on the recipe is that it calls for heavy cream-The Chickenman called me from the grocery in a tizzy because he couldn’t find anything labeled “heavy cream”.  FYI-heavy cream and heavy whipping cream are essentially the same thing: cream that contains 36 percent or more milk fat. Whipping cream is a bit lighter, with only 30 percent milk fat. I used heavy whipping cream because I like to channel Paula Dean when cooking. 🙂

It turned out great and don’t let the jalapeno turn you off thinking it will be too hot-it is not.  Seeding and removing the flesh from inside the peppers greatly reduces their bite.  Oh be very careful when handling these peppers or they will be burning you hours later-wear gloves if you have some. Also be very careful not to touch your eyes-Yikes!

So here’s the revised recipe:

Reata’s Jalapeno Cilantro Soup with Chicken

1⁄2 tbsp. unsalted butter

5 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced

2 tbsp. garlic, minced

3⁄4 cup red onion, finely chopped

1 avocado, peeled and diced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

8 cups heavy cream (use the highest fat content available)

kosher salt (you can use regular)

freshly ground black pepper

1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped (I love cilantro but The Chickenman only tolerates it so I only used about half of the bunch)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with Raider Red Steak Seasoning diced.

Dice the jalapeno, onions and garlic. In a large pot, melt butter and cook the diced vegetables over medium heat until cooked through. Chop the tomatoes and avocado and add them to the pot and stir. Add the diced chicken and stir.  Remove the pot from the heat and slowly add the cream. Stir constantly to avoid scalding. Return the pot to the heat and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to reduce the soup down to your desired thickness, and mix in the chopped cilantro just before serving.

We had ours with tortilla chips and mexican cervezas!  YUM!