I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

For a very long time now, I've wanted a counter top ice cream maker.  Do you know the one I'm talking about?  You freeze the canister and you don't need ice or rock salt or a headache from listening to it run for an hour?  Well, I finally broke down and got one for myself....right as I figured out this recipe that requires no ice cream maker.  I actually realized I didn't need the machine because the "custard" I made to turn into the ice cream froze immediately as I poured it into the canister.  Fail.  So I just scooped out what wasn't frozen, stuck it in my freezer without churning it, and it was heavenly! Win.  So here we have it.  This is the easiest, yummiest, creamiest no churniest ice cream I've ever had!

What you'll need:
2 cups cold heavy cream
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 box of Jello cheesecake flavored pudding
1 lb of strawberries, chopped (obviously, you can ditch the strawberries or do blueberries or cherries instead)

And some time.

Start with mixing your milk, cream, and sugar together in a bowl.  Chop up your strawberries and add them in, too.  Another option is to mix the sugar and the strawberries together first, let the sugar pull out some of the juices from the strawberries, then add everything else in.  I didn't do it like that because...I just didn't.

Next, add in the pudding mix.  I wait until the end to do this because it works as a thickener.  I like to get the strawberries in first.  After you thoroughly mix in the pudding, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for half an hour.

After the half an hour or so, it will be chilled and thick.  Almost gross looking.  This recipe makes a pint and a half of ice cream, so I split it up into two pint sized freezable containers.  I got these handy little guys at Dollar Tree 4 for $1.  Freeze for several hours or overnight, and voila!  Perfectly creamy, smooth, and lovely strawberry cheesecake ice cream!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Apple Bacon Chops

Once, a very long time ago, my sweet sweet husband made a comment to me after another staple dinner one night.  He very gently said, "You know, babe, variety is the spice of life."  After I spent hours crying and heard countless apologies, I recognized he simply meant "please don't make me eat spaghetti again this week."  Since then, I've had this underlying mission to find delicious ways to make things that are new and different.  This recipe came from that mission, and I'm happy to report that it's one of my husband's favorites....but that might be because it's not spaghetti.  It's really easy.  There are a few different steps, but each one is simple and totally worth it.  Enjoy!

What you'll need (I did this recipe with 2 pork chops, but the recipe is for 4)
4 pork chops, thick cut is best
2 to 3 red delicious apples
1 lb of bacon
Pepper Jack cheese slices
salt and pepper

First, you're going to cut up your bacon. (You don't have to use the whole pound.  Use half or a third or a few pieces, it's really up to you.  We just LOVE bacon.)  Make it easy on yourself and use kitchen scissors. It's so much easier.  Just cut the strips into bit sized pieces.

Cook the bacon until the fat has rendered out and it's crispy.  Pull the bacon out with a slotted spoon, but don't pour the fat out.  Making sure the fat and pan are really hot, carefully put in the pork chops.  We aren't looking to cook them all the way through.  We just want to brown the outside and add some serious flavor.  Salt and pepper a bit.  Flip when the first side has browned and delicious up the second side.

While you're browning the pork chops and the bacon is cooling a bit, chop up your apples into bite sized pieces.

Combine the bacon and apples and try to not throw your face into the bowl.  This is a serious challenge for me.  That salty and sweet combination is AMAZING.

Add your browned (but not cooked through) pork chops to a pan with a lid that your sweet and beautiful aunt gave you as a wedding gift.  (Oh...was that just me?) If you don't have a dish like this, no big.  A glass baking dish with foil on top will do the trick.

Cover the chops with the apple bacon mixture.  Oh yes.  That's right.  Cover and bake at 350 for about 40 minutes, or until your pork chops are done.

Once cooked through, pull the dish out, take the lid off, and add a slice of pepper jack cheese on top of each pork chop.  If it doesn't melt right away on its own, throw it back in the oven, uncovered for no longer than a couple of minutes.

Serve the pork chops with the cheese and apples and bacon still on top or falling all around or completely taken off.  It's really up to you...and enjoy this not-so-basic pork chop!  I hope it adds some variety to your dinner table, too!

Chip and Dip Potato Salad

I very often find myself trying to figure out a recipe that will be simple.  I adore simple things.  I love dishes that take either very little time, very little effort, or both.  If I can take a few minutes, start something, throw it in the oven, and walk away for a while while I play with play-dough or Simon Says, I will love it.  It's even better when it is tasty, too.  This recipe is one of those.  I used to make a potato salad sort of like this with cream cheese and sour cream and a dip mix, and it was really good, but it had a funny texture after it was refrigerated.  Since we are a leftover kinda family, that didn't really work.  This recipe was born from that, and I honestly can't tell you how delicious it is.  You really just have to try it.

What you'll need (this recipe is good for 4 or 5 people):
1 lb red potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
ready made dip of your choice (I used ranch, but I'm guessing french onion or anything else sour cream based dip would be fine)
salt and pepper

Start by washing and drying your potatoes.  It's important the potatoes are dry when you add the oil and put them in the oven, so wash and dry BEFORE you chop them.  Cut out any yucky spots, but don't peel them. Those peelings are the best part!  Chop into bit sized pieces.

After they are all chopped, dump them onto a sheet pan (I line mine with parchment, but you don't have to.  Add the olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss them around so the potatoes are completely covered in the oil.  This is what is going to brown them and make them all crispy and delicious!

Stick them into a preheated 400 degree oven, and roast for about 20 minutes, or until they start to crisp a bit.  Take them out and give them a toss and roast for another half an hour.  When you take them out, they will be golden brown and crispy (especially those skins) and soft on the inside.  I struggled with eating them all just like this.  Let them come to room temperature.

Start adding the dip, just a tablespoon at a time.  You don't want too much "sauce" for the potatoes.  They won't absorb it too much because they are crisped on the outside and cooled.  Toss it all together, serve, and love!