Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dinner-Beer Pork Chops


Drunken pork chops; beer pork chops; really damn good pork chops; whatever you call them, they are pretty much amazing.

This recipe is a classic in our household.  It's nice and basic, but can be easily dressed up with some nice side dishes.

My grandmother contributed this recipe to a women's club cookbook titled "Taste Tempters", and  you can tell that it has been a favorite for a while. This specific page of the cookbook has 3 generations worth of cooking stains, along with a small note in cursive handwriting that reads "140 cal each". Now, I am not sure I can vouch that these pork chops contain only 140 calories each, but I can attest that you probably won't care too much about calories while eating these!

The sauce for these chops is made from a magical trio of ingredients that are typically on hand in our house. When you put these ingredients together, they become a fantastic BBQ style sauce that tastes great with or without pork chops. You could also use this sauce for chicken for a slight twist on BBQ chicken.

You do need a little time to make these pork chops. Preparation is fairly quick, but baking requires an hour and a half, so be sure to plan ahead. I have baked the pork chops for less time (45 minutes to an hour) but to really get the rich flavor from the sauce and tender chops, cooking them the full amount of time is the way to go.

Beer Pork Chops

-8 pork chops, not too thin
-1 can beer  (2 cans if you have it, c'mon the chef can always use a beer)
-Garlic salt to taste
-Pepper to taste
-1 cup catsup (it says catsup so make sure that is what you get! kidding, kidding..)
-1/3 cup brown sugar
-1/3 cup oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Season chops and brown in 1/3 cup oil.
Remove and place in (oven-safe) baking dish.

For the sauce:
In a saucepan, bring to boil, beer, catsup and brown sugar. (Heat and stir for a few minutes to combine the ingredients.)

Pour sauce over chops in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 1 and a half hours.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A New Chapter for the Kiefer Kitchen

Hello everyone! 

Things have been busy for the Kiefers over the last couple years, combine that with an aging computer and you get no blog posts for nearly 2 years!!

Since my last post, we have succeeded in our initial goal which fueled our eating at home--we have purchased a house! The new Kiefer kitchen is more spacious, bright and much more conducive to cooking fabulous foods. We also have a spacious yard that finally allows us to use the grill we got as a wedding gift and the fire pit we received one Christmas. Let me just say that we have been really enjoying the ability to cook outside on something other than a tiny charcoal grill!!

We have been pretty true to our goals of not dining out as much, although we have tried several restaurants in our new neighborhood (look for reviews soon) and have had some excellent food on our travels. I will try to update the blog with lots of posts about the places we have happened upon, we have been lucky to make it to several places in the past year and I would love to share them with you all.

Our goals have also widened to include eating healthier meals and to be more in shape. We've both been on track with that for about a year now. I do still splurge for sweets, but way more moderately than I did before. It has been a good change for our household and we are both feeling great!

On that note, I hope you will enjoy reading the new accounts of the Kiefer Kitchen.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Dinner - Captain Hollywoodland Chicken Strips

I have long been a fan of themed restaurants, which should come as no surprise considering they were all the rage during my childhood. I loved them so much, I even had a little graphing paper notebook filled with theme restaurant floor plans and ideas. Yeah, I was kind of a strange child. (To this day, I would love to own a restaurant and if I could only find that darn notebook, I am sure my younger self would have had some great ideas.)

The idea for these chicken strips comes to us from that fantastic early-90s themed restaurant Planet Hollywood. Sadly, the restaurant went through a bit of a rough patch in the late 90s prompting the close of many branches, including the branches I had attended as a kid.

Fast forward to a couple years ago. Matt and I saw Planet Hollywood while vacationing in Las Vegas. I begged to go have the fantastic Cap'n Crunch Chicken Strips (AKA World Famous Chicken Crunch), so we had them alongside two cocktails and a statue from Terminator. The chicken strips were every bit as tasty as I recalled!

I have always wanted to make something similar at home, so I adapted a recipe that included corn flake cereal to instead contain Cap'n Crunch. The cereal gives these chicken strips that same delicious sweet crunch found at Planet Hollywood.

On a side note, if you have heard (as I did) that Cap'n Crunch was being discontinued, I am happy to say that it is just a crazy internet hoax. I hope you make these chicken strips in celebration!

Captain Hollywoodland Chicken Strips

Ingredients:
-1 tablespoon oil
-4-1/2 cups crushed Cap'n Crunch cereal (Crushed it makes about 2-1/2 cups)
-1/2 teaspoon onion powder
-1-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon pepper
-1/2 cup flour
-2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins
-2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line large baking pan with foil, brush with oil.

In bowl, combine cereal, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In separate bowl, combine flour with remaining salt and pepper.

Coat chicken with flour mixture, shaking off excess. Dip into egg, then coat with cereal again. Place on pan.

Bake until golden and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

Dinner - Lasagna Bolognese-Style

Matt and I were looking for a meal that we could make in a decent amount of time. This meal from Rachael Ray was listed as a "30 minute meal", however it does take a bit longer than that...perhaps 45 minutes to an hour! There is a bit of prep to do with this one, for instance: pre-cooking lasagna noodles and chopping onion and garlic.

This is no traditional lasagna, as it is not formed in layers of pasta and meat sauce. Rather, the noodles and meat sauce in this dish are combined then poured into a casserole dish, topped with sauce and cheese and baked.

It was not a bad meal, and afforded us plenty of leftovers. I could see making this again in the future, as an alternative to traditional lasagna.

If you would like a printable version of this recipe, please see this website.

Lasagna Bolognese-Style


Ingredients:
-Salt and Pepper
-1 pound lasagna noodles, broken into irregular pieces
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1-1/2 pounds ground beef (we used ground turkey)
-1 onion, finely chopped
-2 to 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-1 small carrot, finely chopped
-1 sprig rosemary, finely chopped (we used dried rosemary, a teaspoon or so)
-Sprinkle of ground cloves
-1/4 cup tomato paste
-1 cup white wine
-2 cups beef stock
-3 tablespoons butter
-2 rounded tablespoons flour
-2 cups whole milk
-Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
-Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (sub parmesan or romano if desired)

Cook pasta as directed on package until it reaches al dente.

(If you have a dutch oven, use it now! If not, use your normal pot and transfer to a casserole dish below).

Heat the olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) over medium-high heat. Add beef and cook well. Add onion, garlic, carrot, rosemary, cloves, with a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until tender, about 7-8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in wine for 1 minute. Stir in stock and simmer a few minutes longer.

Preheat the broiler and position rack in center of the oven. In saucepan, melt butter over med heat. Whisk in flour and milk, then let thicken to coat a spoon. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Toss pasta with meat sauce and arrange in casserole dish. Pour the sauce over the top evenly. Top with cheese of your choice and broil in the oven to brown the top.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dinner - Wasabi Beef

Sorry to leave you all with no new recipes as of late. I am super excited to have my computer up and working again! It has a power cord that sometimes does not charge, but somehow my husband got it to work!! So I am really happy to be back with a lot of new recipes. Hopefully they will all be up within the week.

We've been really pleased with the delicious new dishes we have been trying lately. Everything has been quite tasty, but I wanted to start off with the one that was our favorite. We have actually made this twice since my little hiatus. It is a really good alternative to Beef Stroganoff, and has just a hint of horseradishy kick. It is simply delicious over egg noodles, although Matt did take some for lunch over rice so feel free to choose your favorite!

This recipe comes to us from Penzey's. It was a tear-off recipe card in their retail store a couple months ago, and seeing it influenced me to purchase a small jar of their natural wasabi powder to try this dish. This dish is simple enough to be completed in a half hour or less, and while it says it serves 2, we found that it made enough for 4 meals.

Wasabi Beef

Ingredients:
-8 oz. strip steak (I'll be honest, we go cheap on the meat in the Kiefer Kitchen, so we used 8 oz. of those stir fry beef strips and it worked great! Double the recipe and use a pound of meat for plenty of leftovers)
-1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger (plus a little extra to sprinkle on noodles)
-1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic (plus a little extra to sprinkle on noodles)
-1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
-4 oz. egg noodles, wide or extra wide (we just made the entire bag...and had leftovers)
-2 teaspoons olive oil
-2 teaspoons rice vinegar (found near the Asian foods section, this stuff rocks and we use it a lot)
-1 teaspoon natural wasabi powder
-1 teaspoon water
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-Salt to taste

Prepare pasta as directed on package.
Wash the meat and pat dry. Rub both sides of beef with the ginger, garlic, and pepper.
Heat a pan over med-high heat. Cook beef until medium (4-5 minutes per side). Remove from the pan and let rest.
Drain noodles and toss with olive oil, a sprinkle of garlic and a sprinkle of ginger. Add rice vinegar and toss to coat.
Mix wasabi powder with water and stir to blend. Mix with the soy sauce.
Add meat to the noodles, drizzle with the wasabi-soy mixture, and toss again to combine and blend flavors.
Salt to taste and serve.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dessert - Orange Pound Cake

I made this recipe a few months ago, as a treat for hula class. My hula teacher is always doing me the favor of bringing some of her fave Hawaiian cookbooks to class for me to borrow. Problem with this is that I always like the cookbooks SO much that I end up purchasing a copy for my own collection!! (Yes, I love Hawaiian cookbooks so much that I somehow own at least 15 different ones.)

This recipe for Orange Pound Cake comes from one of these cookbooks she let me borrow, Cooking With Hawaiian Magic by Lee and Mae Keao. This cookbook has a fantastic variety of foods and desserts, also basic directions on how to do things related to Hawaiian cooking, and even tells you how to grow your very own pineapple! Consider that added to my list of things to do!

The cake has a nice light and delicious flavor, and is spiked with a healthy dose of bourbon! So really, you can't go too wrong with this one. It would be excellent alongside a nice cup of tea, or with your favorite cup of Kona coffee.

The only issue I had with this cake is one of my own accord...fully avoidable. I made this cake in a bit of a rush, so it was removed from the pan before it was cooled fully. Make sure that you cool the cake entirely, otherwise half of it will emerge from the pan crumbly. It was sad, but fortunately cake crumbs taste just as delicious as cake! If you are into making trifles, this cake recipe would also be great as the base for a trifle.

Orange Pound Cake

Ingredients:

Cake:
-1 cup margarine
-2 cups sugar
-5 eggs
-3 cups flour
-3 teaspoons baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-3/4 cup orange juice (must be fresh, not frozen)
-Grated rind of 1 orange

Glaze:
-1/4 cup margarine
-1/3 cup bourbon
-2/3 cup sugar

Grease and flour a tube pan (I used a Bundt pan and it worked fine). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
To make the cake, cream the margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients together in another bowl, then add to wet batter alternating with orange juice, and ending with orange juice. Add grated rind.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in oven for 1 hour. Remove cake from oven.
Prepare the glaze by heating glaze ingredients in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Do not let this mixture boil!!
Prick the top of the cake with a fork and pour glaze evenly over the cake. Leave in pan until fully cooled. Enjoy!
Serves 10.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Canning - Limelight-Island Curd

If there is one book you should check out regarding canning, it is this delightful Lip Smackin' Jams & Jellies by Amy and David Butler. You may recall me mentioning this book before, in my blog about my first attempt at canning which I used their recipe for Whole Strawberry Jam.

There are several recipes that I have my eye on trying in this book, and I finally got to trying this delicious limelight-island curd. Now, I have never made a "curd" before, and to be quite honest the thought seemed a bit daunting. Let me tell you firsthand, it is pretty easy, the only things you need to worry about are the freshness of the eggs used in the recipe and the amount of time you allow it to cook. If you overheat this one, you could end up with a funky taste due to the eggs. On that note, be sure it does not boil!

You may be wondering what you could do with a lime curd. Well, you could put it on scones, toast, add it to a cream pie, or put it in cupcakes or a cake! I plan/hope to use some of this lime curd in a cupcake recipe I found that normally calls for lemon curd. Or you can just have a spoonful of it as a treat.

To be honest, I had to freeze this stuff immediately as I would have probably eaten a 1/2 cup of it if I kept tasting it! It was just so good! Perhaps it was due to never trying a lime curd before, or maybe this recipe is just really perfect. I'm not sure, but I definitely hope you try this one. It almost reminds me of the filling on those wonderful lemon bars, sweet, citrusy and smooth.

The curd was supposed to have a little coconut flavor as well, but I'm thinking that the coconut milk we used (powdered) doesn't have quite the punch that regular coconut milk does. I hope you decide to try this, and if you do let me know what you think!

Please note that this recipe contains raw eggs! I don't believe this recipe gets quite hot enough to be entirely A-OK. I can't find the FDA warning, but If that makes you squeemish, please either avoid this recipe or locate some sort of pasteurized egg product.

Limelight-Island Curd

Ingredients:
-1 cup sugar
-Grated zest of 1 lime
-1/4 cup fresh lime juice
-1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
-4 whole eggs and 1 extra egg yolk
-10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces (I used my go-to salted and it seemed to be fine)
-Pinch of nutmeg (freshly ground hopefully! I need to do a blog post about nutmeg...)
-2 tablespoons coconut milk (we used powdered with added water to make a liquid)

Mix sugar, nutmeg and lime zest together in a bowl.
In non-reactive medium saucepan, add lemon and lime juices, eggs, egg yolk, butter, and sugar mixture. Combine.
Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add coconut milk and cook until mixture is thickened.
Remove pan from the heat before it starts to boil.
Pour through a sieve into a bowl.
Cover top of curd with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Alternately: Jar and seal in sterilized jars, but note that the curd will only hold 1 week in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to 2 months. To use, defrost in refrigerator overnight.
This made approximately 1 pint of curd.