October 15, 2018

Welcome to #Choctoberfest 2018 Sponsored by Imperial Sugar






This is one of my favorite weeks of the year, because #Choctoberfest is finally here! From now until the end of the week, I am joining forces with over 100 other bloggers from around the world to post delicious chocolate recipes. Every day, #Choctoberfest bloggers will be celebrating all things chocolate - milk, dark, white, bittersweet, semi-sweet, and cocoa!

We are starting with a #Choctoberfest prize pack from our generous sponsors. Scroll down to learn how you can enter to win. One lucky winner will receive the following:
  • A 100-Piece Cake Decorating Kit from our blog sponsors The PinterTest Kitchen. This set includes a cake turntable, piping bags, piping tips, flower nozzles, scapers, and more.
  • An Instant Pot and a 40-Pound Case of Granulated Sugar from our gold sponsor Imperial Sugar. Imperial Sugar provides high-quality sugar and sweetener products and over 100 years of time-tested recipes. Sweet things happen when people come together in the kitchen, and that’s why Imperial Sugar has been at the heart of family traditions and celebrations for generations.
  • Coconut Oil and Chocolate Silk Greens from our silver sponsor Barlean's, your trusted source for chocolatey goodness superfood nutrition. Barlean's has a commitment to staying ahead of the innovation curve in providing the absolute highest quality product.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Forte Chocolates. You'll receive 12 of their most popular chocolate bars. With Forte Chocolates, you can celebrate life through chocolate. They also have a line of chocolate developed specifically to use in savory recipes.
  • A Chocolate Gift Pack from our silver sponsor Divine Chocolate. You'll receive one of each of their baking bars, a white chocolate bar, and their top 5 everyday bars. Divine Chocolate is the only Fairtrade chocolate company in the world that is owned by cocoa farmers. Their baking bars are also a delicious vegan option.
  • A Selection of Sprinkles from our silver sponsor Sprinkle Pop. Sprinkle Pop's bespoke sprinkle creations are one of a kind, just like you! At Sprinkle Pop, you can also order a custom sprinkle mix; there isn't a sprinkle mix that you can dream up that they can't create.
That's a prize pack worth over $400! Open worldwide, except where prohibited. Must be 18+ to enter (21+ in some locations). See terms and conditions for more details.

To enter, simply follow our sponsors using the widget below. You can gain additional entries by following me and the other participating bloggers. A winner will be drawn on October 21, 2018 and contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Don't forget to come back to my blog for more chocolatey goodness between now and October 20.

Check out our participating bloggers:

The PinterTest Kitchen 2 Cookin Mamas 27th and Olive A Day in the Life on the Farm A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures A Little Fish in the Kitchen addicted 2 recipes Amy's Cooking Adventures An Affair from the Heart April GoLightly At the Table with R and R Baking Sense Blade & Barbell Blogghetti Body Rebooted Books n' Cooks Bottom Left of the Mitten Canning and Cooking at Home Cheese Curd In Paradise Chef Sarah Elizabeth Cindy's Recipes and Writings Coconut & Lime Cook With Renu Cook's Hideout Cookaholic Wife Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt CopyKat.com Daily Dish Recipes Everyday Eileen Fairyburger Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice Family Around the Table Fix Me a Little Lunch Frankly Entertaining Frugal & Fit Get the Good Stuff! Growing Up Gabel Hardly A Goddess Hezzi-D's Books and Cooks Home Sweet Homestead House of Nash Eats Intelligent Domestications jenniferbakes JoAnn's Food Bites Join Us, Pull up a Chair Jolene's Recipe Journal Jonesin’ For Taste Karen's Kitchen Stories Kate's Recipe Box Kelly Lynn's Sweets and Treats LeMoine Family Kitchen Life on Food Life, Love, and Good Food Lisa's Dinnertime Dish Little House Big Alaska Long Distance Baking Maria's Mixing Bowl Moore or Less Cooking Must Love Home Norine's Nest Our Good Life Our Sutton Place OVENTales Palatable Pastime Prettysweetblog Red Cottage Chronicles Restless Chipotle Reviews, Chews & How-Tos Sarah Cooks the Books Sarah's Bake Studio Savory Moments Seasonal and Holiday Recipe Exchange Seasoned Sprinkles Seduction In The Kitchen Simple Family Crazy Life Simply Inspired Meals Snacks and Sips Soulfully Made Stephie The Happy Mom Sumptuous Spoonfuls Sweet Coralice Take Two Tapas Tampa Cake Girl That Recipe The Baking Fairy The Beard and The Baker The Food Hunter's Guide to Cuisine The Gingered Whisk The Heritage Cook The Mad Scientist's Kitchen The Olive Blogger The Pajama Chef The Redhead Baker The Saucy Fig The Spiffy Cookie The Weekday Gourmet This is How I Cook Trampling Rose Turnips 2 Tangerines Walking Fruitfully Wendy Polisi Wildflour's Cottage Kitchen Zesty South Indian Kitchen

October 10, 2018

Parmesan Pork Chop Sheet Pan Supper with Delicata Squash and Mushrooms




Ingredients:

4 thick cut boneless pork chops
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 delicata squash, sliced into rings, seeds removed
8 oz crimini mushrooms
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet.

Place the breadcrumbs, 1/2 of the Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, and the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl. Dredge the pork chops in the mixture. Place on the baking sheet. (I placed them on a single silicone baking rack similar to this one to help promote even cooking but they can be placed directly on the baking sheet)

Arrange the squash and onions in a single layer. Top with mushrooms. Drizzle the vegetables lightly with oil, sprinkle with remaining Italian seasoning,  salt, and pepper.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the pork chops are fully cooked. Served immediately.


My thoughts:

This was another surprise hit! I really didn't feel like dinner so something like this seemed like the way to go; everything cooks at once and minimal fuss. I didn't even bother dredging the pork chops in egg first. Who knew it would turn out so well?

The hardest part was seeding the squash but once I cut it into rings, I used a biscuit cutter to cut out the centers so that went pretty quickly. I love delicata squash, it is super tender and you can eat the skin. I hate peeling bumpy squash! Technically it is a summer squash but since it is in season in the fall, it often characterized as a winter squash.

The whole dish just really pulled together and was as flavorful as it was easy. All of the ingredients cook for the same amount of time so you can really just prep, stick it in the oven and walk away unlike a lot of sheet pan meals that require ingredients that have to be tended to or added at different intervals. The pork was particularly juicy and flavorful. Even the leftovers were great. Perfect weeknight dinner.

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October 01, 2018

Pineapple-Coconut Kiss Macaroons



Ingredients:

7-oz unsweetened grated coconut
12 oz sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup chopped candied pineapple*
24 (unwrapped) Hershey's Kisses Pineapple Coconut Flavors Of Hawaii Edition


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients EXCEPT the Kisses thoroughly. Form into small balls (or use a medium-sized cookie scoop) and place 1/2 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Slide the macaroons out ON the parchment paper onto the wire racks. Press a Kiss in the middle of each macaroon. Cool completely.


NOTE: the candies will become very, very soft once they are placed on the macaroon. If you want them to keep their "Kiss" shape, do not touch or move them until they are completely cool and set, about 1 1/2-2 hrs. Alternately, you could press down on the top of each Kiss to flatten into more of a "filled" effect.

Yield: about 2 dozen


*I used about 1/3 cup of this candied pineapple to yield 1/4 cup chopped.

My thoughts:
Saturday we spent the afternoon at Hersheypark. I went there a bunch as a child but it's been years! It was lovely weather--one of the nice few days we've since spring but so very, very crowded. Luckily we are not ride people so we mostly walked around, ate lunch and I was able to cross off playing skeeball from my summer goals list.

We also stopped off in Chocolate World, where you can get a virtual tour of a chocolate factory, prepared food and tons of everything Hershey makes. Chocolate World was also a zoo but were able to pick up some fun candy (including Hershey-ettes for my dad who is probably the only person who prefers them to M & Ms) and baking bits. My husband picked up these Pineapple Coconut Kisses impulsively at the check out line (left unattended, ha!) without realizing that they weren't milk or dark chocolate. We thought they were tasty but not something we'd want to eat by the handful.

I immediately thought of making Kiss cookies like I have in the past but then I thought, why not macaroons? So easy to make yet so tasty and very appropriate flavor-wise. I had some candied pineapple on hand so I chopped that up and in it went! Instead of using the typical sweetened flaked coconut, I used unsweetened because I worried that between the sweet pineapple-coconut candy, the candied pineapple, and the sweetened condensed milk, it would be too sweet. I think I made the correct choice but feel free to sub in sweetened flaked coconut if you'd like.

The resulting macaroon has a great tropical coconut-pineapple flavor that is welcome any time of the year! The candy adds a nice note of creaminess and of course, coconut-pineapple to the mix. Just a really fun, easy dessert that any coconut fan would like.

One note: if you can't find these Kisses (although I have seen them at various chain stores and online) try it with white, milk or dark chocolate Kiss or even leave them off altogether, the macaroon is delicious on its own merits.

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September 20, 2018

Reuben-Inspired Twice Baked Potatoes




Ingredients:

4 large Russet potatoes (about 3 lbs)
2 1/2 tablespoons minced dill pickles OR dill relish
1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/3 cup chopped corned beef*
3/4 cup sauerkraut
2/3 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyère
freshly ground black pepper



Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Bake potatoes one hour or until fully cooked. Half each potato and scoop out the insides into a bowl. Place the empty skins openside up on a foil-lined baking sheet.


Add the pickles, tomato paste, pepper and sour cream to the bowl with the potatoes. Using a potato masher, mash until well combined. Add the corned beef and stir well mixed.





Scoop the mixture into the skins. Divide the sauerkraut among each potato half, top with cheese.



Bake 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and the potatoes are hot. Serve immediately.


*I cooked mine for 8-10 hrs on low in the slow cooker, covered in water.

My thoughts:

I had this idea a few months ago but it was just too hot to bake potatoes. We finally had a few cool days so I used that an as an excuse to make this riff on the popular, totally no Kosher deli sandwich, the Reuben. Ruebens normally have corned beef, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and rye bread. I ditched the rye bread (I did toy with having rye bread crumbs but decided against it) but kept pretty much everything else. Instead of the Russian dressing I've made when I've made the sandwich, I tossed in the two ingredients that influence the flavor the most, pickled and tomato, and mixed it with the potatoes and sour cream. Adding the corned beef was easy. I debated about mixing the sauerkraut in but I left it on top and I think it was the best choice. It really did end up tasting more like a Reuben that way; in the sandwich, there are very distinct layers and you taste each one individually so it makes sense!

The end result was a triumph, it really did taste like a Rueben, the potato was perfectly flavored and creamy and the toppings nicely browned and slightly crunchy. I made the corned beef  "fresh" but it would also be a great way to use up leftovers.


Note: corned beef can be tricky to find but Aldi seems to carry it most of the year and most supermarkets will order it for you if they don't have it in stock. I personally buy a bunch when it is super cheap near St Patrick's Day and freeze it. It freezes and defrosts wonderfully.

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September 17, 2018

Cheesy Zucchini Pimento Casserole




Ingredients

1 1/3 lb (about 3 medium) zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick half moons
3 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 red onion, chopped
4 oz jar diced pimentos, drained
5 oz shredded gruyere, divided use
3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:


Preheat the oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish.


Place the zucchini in the prepared pan. Steam the zucchini until just tender. I used a steamer pot like this one and steamed it for roughly 4 minutes. Drain (if needed) and allow to cool.


In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, pimentos, milk, and spices Stir in the onions and 3/4 of the cheese. Pour over the zucchini.


Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese then bread crumbs. Bake 35 minutes, until bubbly and browned.





My thoughts:
Zucchini season is still in full swing! Honestly, the zucchini we've had this year has been the best out of all of the local produce. The peaches, nectarines, tomatoes, and corn that I wait for all year have been either just fine or downright inedible. My old pal, zucchini, however, had been quite tasty.

One thing I like to do is make a slightly labor intensive dish like then when I am making a super easy main (ahem, hot dogs) so I'm not torn in so many directions for a weeknight dinner. I made this dish up on the fly like I have so many dishes lately. I had stocked up on pimentos to make pimento cheese (jarred chopped pimentos can be oddly difficult to find locally) and accidentally knocked a jar to the floor breaking the seal. Rather than making pimento cheese, I took it as a sign to try something different with it. Pimentos have a great mix of heat and sweetness and were perfectly paired with similarly lightly sweet zucchini. The whole dish was homey and satisfying, with just the right amount of cheese and eggs for it all to hold together. It's definitely making its way into regular rotation. The leftovers held up well reheated in the oven.

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September 13, 2018

Triple Pepper Pork Chops


This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Mazola® Corn Oil . All opinions are mine alone. #MakeItMazola #simpleswap #CollectiveBias
With cholesterol-blocking plant sterols, neutral-tasting Mazola® Corn Oil is a heart-healthy choice for salad dressings, marinades and more. A clinical study showed Mazola® Corn Oil reduces cholesterol 2x more than extra virgin olive oil. To learn more about this claim, see Mazola.com.


Ingredients:
1 1/4 lb lean, boneless pork chops (about 4-5 pork chops)
2 Hatch Green Chiles*, sliced into strips
3 shishito peppers, sliced into strips
2 large jalapeño peppers, sliced into strips
1 red onion, cut into 8 wedges
 1/2 cup Mazola® Cooking Oil
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
salt
freshly ground black pepper


Directions:

Place all ingredients in a resealable plastic bag or marinating container. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to 12 hours.




When you are ready to cook, prepare a grill pan according to the manufacturer's instructions. Place the pork chops, onions and peppers on the grill in a single layer and grill 2-3 minutes on each side until fully cooked and grill marks appear.




Remove to a paper towel-lined platter (the peppers release a lot of liquid). If necessary, repeat until all of the pork, peppers, and onions are cooked. Serve immediately. *If Hatch Green Chiles are unavailable, substitute cubanelle or poblano
My thoughts:
I was pleasantly surprised to learn this fact about Corn Oil, so I thought I'd swap out my usual canola or olive oil in a marinade for Mazola Corn Oil and check it out myself. To keep with the lighter vibe, I created this simple recipe as a spin on the classic sausage with peppers and onions. I swapped out the sausage for lean, quick-cooking pork chops and used three kinds of peppers for flavor instead of using bland bell peppers and spices. These peppers are not only tasty, they are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, potassium, folic acid, and fiber and are low in calories. Another benefit of corn oil I had no idea about was Mazola Corn Oil has a smoke point higher than most cooking oils at 450°F, which makes it perfect for sautéing or in this case, indoor grill pan use. My grill pan gets so hot, it sears the meat almost instantly so using an oil that doesn't burn or smoke up the house is important. Both of us really enjoyed this dish, it was super quick to put together (under 30 minutes including marinating!) and the meat had a ton of flavor and heat thanks to the in-season hatch chiles, jalapeño, and shishito peppers. I love grilled onions and red onions caramelize pretty quickly which added some depth to the dish. The strips of peppers ended up being more like a side dish than a flavoring device in the marinade which I really liked. It made a great make-ahead dish for lunches this week too, my husband packed some up with rice to easily reheat at work and I made sandwiches and salad with the leftovers. You can also double the recipe successfully.

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Chorizo, Hatch Chile and Rice Bake




Ingredients:
1 lb Mexican style chorizo
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pint cooked rice
1-pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2-3 roasted* Hatch Green Chiles, diced
5 oz shredded quesadilla cheese
7 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon Tajín Clásico Seasoning
salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Direction:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 inch baking dish. Set aside.

Saute the chorizo, onion, and garlic in a medium pan until the chorizo is cooked through and the onions are translucent. Drain off any fat. Allow to cool. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and spices. Stir in the chorizo mixture, and 3/4 of the cheese. Pour into the prepared baking dish.


Sprinkle the top with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake 35 minutes, until bubbly and the edges are nicely browned.

*Thanks to the rain, I oven roasted my chiles this year.
My thoughts:
This was not the most photogenic dish but it was so tasty, I had to share. It's another dish born out of trying to use up ingredients I had on hand. I roasted some green chiles for this how-to that afternoon and rather than freezing them, I wanted to use them up. I had some chorizo in the freezer that quickly defrosted, tomatoes from my mom and a whole pint of rice leftover from Chinese takeout so why not combine them all? 

I'm glad I did because it turned out really well. It wasn't quite a baked frittata, more of a casserole thanks to all of the rice so I'm just calling it a bake. It was savory, spicy (which can vary with your chorizo and it's always the luck of a draw with the chiles) and very satisfying. A great weeknight meal. The leftovers reheated nicely, wrapped in foil and baked for about 10-15 minutes. 


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