Monthly Archives: March 2011

Rachael Ray Wednesday – Spanish-Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans


Howdy do to all my blogging buddies. Hope you are all having a great day. Only two more days until the weekend so hang in there! Here we are again at Rachael Ray Wednesday. I searched for a bit and came up with Spanish Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans. MMmmmmm sounded soooo good to me.

My whole family loves chorizo, we lived in Southern California for most of my kids’ lives, as well as my own. So chorizo and egg burritos on the weekends were something we all looked forward to. We are trying to initiate Kevin into the burrito fan club. You know the whole if you mix just about anything with eggs, cheese, and hot sauce, it goes great in burrito line of thinking? So far he is not buying it, but I am not giving up!

So we got the chorizo cooking and immediately I am happy with the smells coming from my kitchen. Then you blend the roasted red pepper sauce in the food processor and YUMMM it just made my mouth water. Kevin even said it smelled terrific.

I did stick right to the recipe on this one, believe it or not! The only thing is I feel I over salted a bit. I didn’t take into account the salt in the chorizo, so make sure you taste the final sauce before you salt.

I was lucky that my grocery store had preground chorizo in their meat case. If your grocery store doesn’t carry Spanish chorizo you could substitute the Mexican chorizo, just be aware that Mexican chorizo is fattier and melts into a sauce really, not like ground meat. You also could use linguica. 

I did the pork chops in a cast iron skillet and transfered them to the oven like it called for. But I feel the chops were a bit overdone going by the times listed in the recipe. Kevin felt the same, but Seth said he felt they were just fine. Jessi by the way wouldn’t even eat them so we have no input from Miss Picky Pants. I mentioned to the family that I felt it was over salted but again the kiddo told me he thought it was really good. 

I am currently trying to think up a recipe I can incorporate the sauce minus the chorizo in. I can say I think the pork chops should be cooked less time. I did get the inch and a half thick pork chops but it was just too much time. It would definitely be too much time for a thinner chop. We also felt the green beans should be cooked a couple of minutes longer.

Here is the finished product. I love it when you can see the steam coming off the plate.

Spanish-Style Pork Chops with Chorizo and Red Pepper Sauce and Green Beans 


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus some for drizzling
  • 4 1 1/2 inch thick boneless center cut pork chops
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (half a palmful)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/4 pound chorizo, casing removed, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (from about 4 good sized sprigs)
  • 1 16 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup flay leaf parsley leaves (a couple of generous handfuls)
  • 1/4 dry sherry or dry white wine (eyeball it)
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed (available ready prepped in sacks at many markets)
  • crusty bread, to pass at the table


Preheat oven to 350

Heat a large skillet over meduin-high to high heat. Add the 2 tablespoons EVOO. Season the chops with the paprika, salt, and pepper. Place the chops in the skillet and sear the meat to caramelize, about 2 minutes each side. Transfer the chops to a rimmed cookie sheet and place in the oven to finish off, 8 to 10 minutes, until the meat is firm to the touch, but not tough. Remove from the oven and let the chops rest, covered with a piece of aluminum foil, for a few minutes.

While the chops are in the oven, return the skillet to medium heat. Add the diced chorizo and cook, stirring frequently, for two minutes. Add the garlic, onions, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook chorizo and onions for about 3 minutes.

Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in another skillet with a lid.

Process the roasted peppers and the parsley in a food processor until smooth. Add the sherry to the chorizo and onions and stir, then pour in the roasted red pepper puree.Cook for another minute or 2, until the puree is heated through.

Place the green beans in the boiling water. Salt the water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the beans are just tender. Drain and dress the beans with a drizzle of EVOO, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

Place a chop on each dinner plate, top with the chorizo and roasted red pepper sauce, serve with green beans and crusty bread for plate mopping.

serves 4

Pork Chop

Florentine Meatballs


I have to admit, I have made these before, so I knew they were going to be good before I even hit the chopping board to prep. This is one of those recipes that caught me off guard. Simple, tasty, and it got my daughter to WANT me to add spinach to a meal! Now days it is not as hard to do, but when I first made this recipe about 2 years ago that was an amazing thing trust me.

When I say this recipe is easy I am not joking. It is such a nice feeling to make something that doesn’t take a million ingredients and an hour to cook and have it taste really good. 

You will be proud of me. I actually stuck to a recipe this time! yes, I can actually do it from time to time, I promise. Possibly the fact that I was busy creating a pasta side dish was what kept me in line. It let my creative juices flow with that.  Actually I was scrambling because I forgot to pick up something to make for a side. So I roasted some garlic with anchovy and red chili flakes in olive oil and made some pasta. Topped it with shredded parm and VIOLA a full meal! There was nothing left after I packed Kevin’s lunch for the next day. It was the perfect amount for 4 people if they eat 3 meatballs each.

I would suggest you give this one a try.

Florentine Meatballs


  • 1 box frozen spinach, defrosted in the microwave
  • 1 1/3 pound (1 package) ground turkey breast
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups milk, divided
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs, 3 handfuls
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, 2 palm fulls
  • Coarse salt and black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (10-ounce) sack shredded provolone or blend of Italian cheeses, available on dairy aisle
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wring defrosted spinach dry in a clean kitchen towel. Place turkey in a bowl and make a well in the middle of it. Add the spinach, all but 3 tablespoons of the onion, all of the garlic, 1 large egg, about 1/4 cup milk, bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, salt and pepper. Mix well. Form into 12 large balls and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. Arrange on a nonstick cookie sheet and roast 20 minutes, or until cooked through.
While balls are in the oven, heat a small sauce pot over medium heat. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil and 2 tablespoons butter. Melt butter, add remaining finely chopped onion and cook 2 minutes then whisk in flour. Cook flour 1 minute, then whisk in 1 1/2 cups milk and 1 cup stock. Bring liquid up to a boil then stir in shredded provolone or blended Italian cheeses. Season the sauce with salt, pepper and nutmeg, turn heat to lowest setting.
Place 3 balls on dinner plates and top with sauce, garnish with parsley.



I have to admit, I am not much of a breakfast girl. As a matter of fact I am downright BORING when it comes to breakfast through the week. With my love for cooking it is amazing that I have such a lack of imagination when it comes to making myself some breakfast. Maybe that is the big problem. I hate to cook for just myself. If I lived alone I would probably starve! But once the weather starts cooling down I start to get inspired to make breakfast on the weekend. Jessi actually requested I make grits this weekend! She hasn’t had grits in YEARS! I am actually excited to cook some up.

This morning I made Scramblewiches. It is pretty simple, cook some deli ham in butter, add eggs with some S&P, hot sauce and a splash of milk, scramble and put them inside some scooped out bread boats with cheese topped with chives. Simple? Extremely! Tasty? Well, we all liked it so that would be a yes. It wasn’t a fancy show of a breakfast, but it was warm and cheesy and filled our tummies nicely. It was supposed to make 4 adult size servings, but it just seemed too big for me so I cut the bread down and made 8 normal size servings.

I don’t see me waking up in the middle of the night telling Kevin “Oh My God I have GOT to have a scramblewich tomorrow or I will die!”. But it was a good, filling, and easy breakfast and perfect for the cool fall mornings. 


1 baguette (day old is fine)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 pound deli sliced ham, smoked turkey, pastrami, or corned beef
8 large eggs
a splash of milk
a teaspoon of hot sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 deli slices of Swiss cheese (halved lengthwise to fit bread), or 8 slices of cheddar (2 squares per bread), or 6 slices Provolone cheese ( 1 1/2 slices per bread, cut to fit)
chopped fresh chives or parsley

preheat oven to 200

crisp the bread in the oven, split it lengthwise, and hollow it out. Cut each piece in half again, across, making four boats. Switch the broiler on.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and melt it. When the bubbles stop, add the meat and cook, separating the pieces, for 3 minutes, or until brown at the edges. In a bowl beat the eggs with the milk, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Add to the meat and scramble, keeping the eggs a little soft. They will continue to cook in the oven.

Divide the eggs among the bread and cover with the cheese. Melt the cheese under the broiler. Take i tout as soon as the cheese softens and melts. Do not brown or allow the cheese to bubble; there are eggs under there! Garnish with the chopped chives or parsley.

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Smoky Turkey Shepherd’s Pie


Yes, yes, yes, oh sorry for the rant but I love love LOVE how this recipe came out last night. I made Smoky Turkey Shepherd’s Pie. All I can say is yummmmm. I can’t take all of the credit, of course it mostly goes to Rachael Ray for her recipe (DUH), but my fabulously wonderful sous chef, AKA my boyfriend Kevin, helped by chopping most of the veggies for me. And believe me there are a LOT of veggies! But that is one of the things I love about this recipe. The veggies cook in the bacon and turkey for a long time. Then the smoked paprika joins the party and WOOHOOO look out, yummy in the tummy folks!

Now of course a recipe couldn’t be cooked by me without a few missteps and tweaks, sometimes after tasting you just…well I will get to that in a minute. Ok so back on track here. Today’s lesson is, make SURE you have everything for the recipe. Hmm haven’t I have that problem before? Well obviously I don’t learn from my own mistakes, but maybe YOU can.

It calls for three large Idaho potatoes, these are a VERY important part of the recipe. I casually look in my pantry and see I have a bag of russets so I am happy with that and check that off of my list of things to buy at the market. However, when I get down and dirty and ready to roll with this recipe, OOPS, the potatoes are not that good. They are small and most of them weren’t in any shape to be used for anything but a trash can filler. ARG!! 

I salvaged what I could, but it was no where near the amount I should have had, and grumbled at myself under my breath. I began stressing as soon as I saw that I had a problem with the very first ingredient in the recipe. This is about the time Kevin donned his Super Hero cape and swooped in to rescue me. Have I mentioned how much I love this man? Anyway, we got to work and as I pulled everything out and got it lined up in order, he began chopping. I got the bacon done and added the turkey (side note, I would leave quite a bit of the bacon fat in the pan if you want it to really flavor your veggies). Then we added the spices and dropped all those gorgeous veggies in the pot. Oh, it called for a small red bell pepper but we used a pretty good sized one.

From that point on it is just a matter of mashing your potatoes, (heads up don’t forget to save a ladle of the cooking liquid to temper your egg, I didn’t, but I heated up some chicken stock in it’s place. Gotta work on the fly in my kitchen!), finishing up the pot with the flour, stock, and sour cream, and simmering away. Since I had used fewer potatoes than it called for, and didn’t think to reduce the liquid going in, I needed to cook my mashed potatoes over low heat for awhile to try to thicken them up. But that is ok because the more you simmer, the better this stuff gets! My tweak, I added two palmfuls total (aprox 2 tablespoons) of smoked paprika, we like it extra smoky. Just taste it as it is simmering and as you adjust your pepper and salt you can figure out your level of smokiness.

So the reviews, well, Kevin LOVED it and not only had two or three helpings but laid claim to the leftovers as well. My Dad said he enjoyed it, and I was quite happily full with a smile on my face. All in all a very successful night. 

Smoky Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

3 large Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
Coarse salt
2 tablespoons EVOO – extra-virgin olive oil – 2 turns of the pan
1/4 pound smoky bacon or turkey bacon (for a lighter choice), chopped
1 1/3 pound ground turkey breast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika, available in small cans on spice aisle of market
(You may substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons each sweet paprika and cumin combined)
Coarse black pepper
2 tablespoons, 5 or 6 sprigs, fresh thyme leaves
1 medium onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
3 ribs celery from the heart, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup sour cream (you can use light or fat free)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
10 to 12 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil, salt it, and cook the potatoes until tender, 12 to 15 minutes.

Heat a deep, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, to the skillet. Add bacon and brown it up, then add ground turkey to the pan and break it up. Season the turkey with smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and thyme. When turkey browns up, add: onions, carrots, celery. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, then add red pepper and peas cook another 2 minutes. Stir in flour and cook flour 2 minutes. Whisk in broth and combine. Add 1/2 cup of sour cream and combine.Simmer mixture over low heat.
Preheat your broiler to high.
When potatoes are tender, add a ladle of cooking water to the egg.Drain potatoes and return to the warm pot to dry them out a little. Add remaining 1/2 cup sour cream, butter, half of the chives, and salt and pepper. Smash and mash the potatoes, mashing in the beaten, tempered egg. If the potatoes are too tight, mix in a splash of milk.
Pour turkey mixture into a medium casserole dish. Top turkey with an even layer of smashed potatoes and place casserole 5 inches from hot broiler. Broil the potatoes until golden at edges and remove the casserole from the oven. Garnish the casserole with the remaining chives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.