Thursday, June 14, 2012

barbecued pork potpie

I call this a barbecued pork potpie.  My husband calls it a deconstructed pulled pork sandwich.  Whatever you call it, it's really good.

You start with a rainbow of colors - red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, orange bell pepper, green Anaheim pepper, and an onion.

Chop these up and saute them with a bit of minced garlic until they are tender.  Then, add cumin, coriander, and cider vinegar, and cook for 2 minutes.

While that's cooking, open up a can of chicken broth, and set aside 1/2 cup to use later.

Add the remaining broth, brown sugar, unsweetened baking chocolate (yes, you read that right!), Worcestershire sauce, and chili sauce (see below) to the veggies.  Bring all of that to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Side note...I just love chili sauce!

 While that is simmering, combine the 1/2 cup of chicken broth that you set aside with some cornstarch.  Add it to the vegetable mixture and cook until slightly thickened.  If you taste it, it should taste barbecuey (yes, I know that's not a real word).

Chop up some cooked pork tenderloin and stir it into the vegetable mixture.

Put the pork and veggies in a greased baking dish, and then top with your breading.  I used reduced-fat crescents to make a lattice crust.  I also think topping it off with a thin layer of cornbread would be absolutely delicious. 

Bake it for 10-15 minutes or until your breading is browned and the pork mixture is bubbly!

Barbecued Pork Potpie
Adapted from Taste of Home Light and Tasty 2002
1 onion, chopped
3 bell peppers (each a different color), chopped
1 Anaheim pepper, seeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. canola oil
1 t. cumin
1 t. coriander
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 can (14 1/2 oz.) reduced-sodium chicken broth, divided
12 oz. chili sauce
3 T. brown sugar
1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate, grated
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. cornstarch
6 cups cubed cooked pork loin roast (2 pounds)
1 tube refrigerated reduced-fat crescents

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion, peppers, and garlic in oil until tender.  Add cumin and coriander; cook and stir over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add vinegar and cook for 2 minutes.

Set aside 1/2 cup broth.  Add chili sauce, brown sugar, chocolate, Worcestershire sauce and remaining broth to vegetable mixture.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine cornstarch and reserved broth until smooth; stir into vegetable mixture.  Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Stir in pork.  Transfer to a 13"x9"x2" baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Roll out crescents, stretch, twist, and place over filling in a lattice design.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Serves 8.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

fruit salad

Okay, so I'll be honest.  I'm not a fruit person - never have been, probably never will be.  I'd much rather eat a vegetable.  Seriously...I've been known to eat mashed potatoes for dessert.  And I've always hated it when you go to someone's house for dinner and they bring out fresh fruit for dessert.  Dessert isn't supposed to be healthy!

But recently, I joined Weight Watchers and discovered that fruit is a zero point food - that means I can eat AS MUCH of it as I want.  I like the sound of that. :)

I ate a lot of bananas for a while, but that got pretty old.  I decided that it was time for something a bit different...maybe I needed a new fruit in my life?  This fruit salad took no time at all to put together and has provided me with days of deliciousness.  I may not be a fruit person, but I think I am a fruit salad person (as long as there are no mandarin oranges, mom!).

Oh, and I just got a brilliant idea - I think I'll make one of these with just strawberries, blueberries, and bananas for the Fourth of, white, and blue!

Fruit Salad
1 cup grapes
1 cup blueberries
2 cups strawberries, sliced
3 nectarines, sliced
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
several dashes nutmeg

Combine orange juice, honey, and nutmeg at the bottom of a large bowl.  Add fruit and toss to coat.  Serve immediately.  Makes 8 servings.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

chicken salad

In my last few weeks of pregnancy, I got on a chicken salad kick.  Apparently, I haven't been able to shake it.  There's just something so delicious and refreshing about a pile of chicken salad on a bed of lettuce (and don't even get me started about the awesomeness of chicken salad sandwiches). 

We've had a chicken salad recipe for years that I've always loved, but recently I had to shake things up a bit.  The originally recipe calls for mandarin oranges, grapes, and almonds.  I am not a huge fan of mandarins (let's face it...I'm a mandarin hater), so I generally substitute a clementine or naval orange.  Then, my grocery store was out of grapes!!!  I didn't know such a thing could happen, but apparently it every grocery store in my vicinity.  And I thought I had almonds at home, but nope.  Time to improvise.

The results were beyond delicious.  I think this new version is going to forever replace the old one.  Here's the skinny...

Chop up some celery, half an orange, and some pecans.  Then, dice up 1-2 cooked chicken breasts.  (p.s. - you can use the canned chicken, but I think using freshly cooked chicken tastes soooooo much better.)  Finally, wash up some fresh blueberries. 

Combine all of these ingredients in a bowl and add some grated onion (dried minced onion is fine) and your favorite form of mayo.  I personally use Miracle Whip Light because I'm a Miracle Whip junkie.  But that's just me.

Stir everything up, and there you go.  Let me tell you, the oranges and blueberries had the incredible bursts of freshness and flavor that really make this salad.  But here's a warning...if your husband doesn't like fruit, don't let him see you make it.  Apparently (according to Cookie Bandit), fruit doesn't belong in chicken salad.

Pssst....what Cookie Bandit doesn't know is that he ate it, fruit and all, when I hid it in a sandwich, and he liked it!

I'm going to give you the original recipe as well as my new revisions below.  Try's delish!

Chicken Salad
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup seedless grapes, cut in half OR 1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted OR 1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 can (11 oz.) mandarin oranges, drained OR 1/2 naval orange, diced
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise or Miracle Whip
1 t. grated onion or dried minced onion

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix.  Yields 4 cups.
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