Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon

My wife has been out of town for a little bit taking care of her mother. This has left me to mostly fend for myself at home. Fortunately, our youngest daughter, Kate, is currently living at home and has helped me to avoid going back to my old ways of hot dogs, pork and beans and eating out of the pan I cook in. She has also turned me on to Game of Thrones.

Anyway, she made these once before, but I didn’t really get a chance to try them. They are quick and easy to prepare, which is great. It’s not much of a recipe since she doesn’t measure anything. At least when I prepare things without measuring I have some general idea of the amounts or proportions. Since I have no clue here, I’ll just lay out the ingredients and leave to each of you to figure out what amounts work for you.

Ingredients:

  • Petite Brussels Sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Bacon
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Microwave some bacon.
  2. Put olive oil in a pan and add Brussels Sprouts.
  3. Break up the bacon into small pieces and add to the pan.
  4. Add a small amount on garlic.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Saute for a few minute until Brussels Sprouts are done.

Kate suggests microwaving the bacon for two reasons. First, the paper towels that you use above and below the bacon will help draw out the grease so they are a little healthier. Second, it help to make them a bit more crisp and uniform so you can easily break them up into small pieces.

Brussels Sprouts w/Bacon

They were pretty good. The only thing I noticed was that some pieces seemed to have more garlic than others. I will probably leave out the garlic when I make these myself. I’m also thinking of adding some chili powder to give them some kick. I’m sure there is a lot that could be done with them. Any ideas?

Crock Pot Pork Chops Recipe

Fall seems to be the time of year that people break out the crock pots and slow cookers. They’re great for pot roast, but can also be used to make some really great meals that you probably cook other ways. You might not even have considered using a crock pot for them. I know I would never have thought to use it for pork chops.

My wife Linda was looking around for slow cooker recipes and stumbled on this one that looked good so we decided to give it a try this past weekend. We made a few changes based on availability of ingredients. I’m listing the recipe the way we prepared it. Feel free to visit the source to find the original recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  •  Goya’s Con Culantro Y Achiote
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 4 thick cut boneless pork chops
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, chicken broth, and seasonings.
  2. Pour into the slow cooker.
  3. Cut small slits in each pork chop with the tip of a knife, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
  4. Place pork chops into the crock pot, cover, and cook on High for 4 hours flipping them about once an hour.

via Slow Cooker Pork Chops II Recipe – Allrecipes.com.

When Linda found this recipe we made sure to pick up all the ingredients, but apparently we missed a few things. We thought we had paprika and totally overlooked the poultry seasoning. We decided to skip them both and use Achiote instead since we always have some on hand.

I must confess that I was a little nervous about this recipe since it not only calls for garlic powder, but also minced garlic as well. Still, I tried to keep an open mind and waited until they were done to try it. They certainly didn’t smell bad in the crock pot all afternoon.

So finally the moment of truth came as it was time for dinner. The first thing we noticed was how incredibly tender they were. The chops were practically falling apart as we pulled them out. I really liked the way they fat separated from the meat. Even Linda noticed that the fat wasn’t as appetizing as it would normally be when they were fried or broiled.

When Linda served my pork chops, I didn’t see any noticeable garlic on them. I think the garlic may sink to the bottom of the crock pot, but I’m not sure. All I know is that it wasn’t on my chops and that’s a good thing. Since they were so tender, you only needed a fork to break it up into bite sized pieces. I still wasn’t sure if I was going to like them. Linda said hers needed more seasoning. Personally, I thought they were really good. As they used to say in the Alka-Seltzer commercials – ” I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”.

So this recipe gets the fussy eater stamp of approval. Chances are we’ll be trying a few more crock pot recipes this fall. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

Citrus Garlic Chicken Tacos

My wife picked up this citrus garlic marinade the other day and wanted to try it for tacos. I’m not a fan of garlic, but she says it’s in other things I do eat. I figured the citrus flavor would probably be the stronger taste anyway. It also gets grilled so I thought some of the marinade would get cooked off. I put the chicken in a food storage bag with the marinade for about 30 minutes. I didn’t care for the smell at all, which didn’t bode well.

The chicken came out looking really good and juicy. I sliced it into strips to put into tacos. Since I was a bit nervous about trying them, Linda offered to take the pieces on the outside with more seasoning on them. I just used the pieces from the inside that only had a little.

We both added a little shredded colby jack cheese and microwaved them about 30 seconds to get the cheese to melt and the tortilla to soften a bit. Linda then added sour cream to hers. I left mine as is and rolled it up. I always fold up the very bottom first so nothing will fall out. Then I roll it up from the side closest to the meat and cheese.

So it pretty much looked like a typical taco with chicken (we usually use ground turkey). I bit into the first bite and it wasn’t bad. I didn’t really get any seasoning until a few bites later. Only the cheese made that bearable at all. The garlic in the marinade was a bit stronger than I thought. It also had cilantro so that might have also turned me off. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be having one of these again – at least not with that marinade.

Tostones Recipe

My wife is half Irish and half Puerto Rican. She learned a few island dishes from her mother. One dish that she loves to make to go with either steak or pork chops is Tostones (fried plantains for the rest of us). They are very easy to make.

  1. Peel the plantain(s) and cut them into sections about an inch tall using slanted cuts.
  2. Fill a bowl with water and put the cut plantains in it.
  3. Add Morton’s Natures Seasons to the bowl – she adds a lot, but season to taste
  4. Let them sit for a while – we usually wait at least 15 minutes
  5. Heat cooking oil
  6. Add plantains to oil and fry till them just start to get a little golden
  7. Remove the plantains and squash with a plantain squasher (not sure what it’s really called, but it is in the picture).
    You can use a paper bag or other items to squash them if necessary.
  8. Place the flattened plantains back in the oil
  9. Fry until golden
  10. Cut up several cloves of garlic and smash them with a mortar and pestle.
    You can use minced garlic for a less authentic dish.
  11. Add olive oil, a splash or two of red wine vinegar and Nature’s Seasons and mix.
  12. Serve plantains with a spoonful of garlic mix

I’ve never been bold enough to try these before and I still wasn’t going to try them with the garlic. I grabbed one after it came out of the oil the second time. It wasn’t bad. In fact, I find it odd to say this, but it actually was a little bland for my taste. I didn’t try adding anything to it. Perhaps the next time we make them I will find something besides garlic that goes with them.

Do you have an ideas on what might go well with fried plantains? Let me know and I’ll try it out next time.

This recipe is featured on A’lil Country Sugar and Linky Party.

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