Barbecue Feast – Asian Pork Chops, Fillet Mignon and Barbecued Baked Potatoes

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barbecued Asian pork chops

Barbecued Asian Pork Chops

A funny story here. My friend Amber and her husband, Stevie went to the local Home Depot some time in 2010, and I was looking at Weber barbecues. The last one I had got toppled by a BVM Sister – the Sister was not hurt, but the Weber was a goner. The Weber at the Home Depot was on sale, and Stevie said I should get it, and I could keep it their house until Spane and I found a place with a yard. Stevie has one of those big drum barbecues, and he barbecues enough for a few days on that grill, so he likes to use mine for smaller meals. I get to “borrow” my barbecue about once a year. We’re good friends, and we laugh about this all the time.

So, tonight I decided to do kind of like Stevie does. I cooked a few things on the barbecue so I won’t have to cook tomorrow. I grilled a fillet mignon, bake potatoes wrapped in foil, and the Asian pork chops.

Amber came by tonight and shared our dinner. The Asian pork chops were moist, tender and full of flavor. The steaks with their blue cheese were just fine, accompanied by the wonderfully smoky baked potatoes and balsamic grilled vegetables. It was a great dinner to share with a very good friend.

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Cinco De Mayo – Pork Loin Tacos and Microwave Mexican Rice

Flag of Mexico

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So, a few weeks ago I was at the market and there was a package of Uncle Ben’s Taco rice in the Manager’s Special section. I thought, hey, why not? It might be good. I prepared it according to package directions on Tuesday. When Spane tasted it, he made a face. I tasted it, and I made a face, too. I even put Tapatio on it, and sour cream, and it still tasted like dirty, old socks. Mind you, I’ve never tasted dirty, old socks, but I imagine they probably taste like that rice – horrible. Moral of the story, don’t by Uncle Ben’s flavored rice.

After that debacle, I was determined to make good Mexican rice, but my stove, Bertha, is on the fritz. I had to find another way to make it.

I also had a pork loin roast, and I wanted to marinate it, but, it too, could not be roasted in Bertha. I had to find another way for that as well.

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Easy Meaty Chili

Easy Meaty Chili

Chili with fixin's

Sometimes, on a cold day that looks like it might rain, you have to have chili. Usually, I make a big pot of it, and it cooks a long time to let the beans get nice and soft. Sometimes, you just don’t have that kind of time, but you don’t want something that came out of a can.

I don’t buy the Chili mix in the bag. I make my own, and you should, too. It’s very simple, and better because you can control the heat and you know what’s in it. Basically, it’s a mixture of chilies, cumin and a little salt.

If you live in California, you probably have access to fresh Anaheim chilies, if you live in New Mexico, you have the New Mexico chili which is a bit hotter than the Anaheim. Both chilies have thick skin, so they should be charred before use. When making my chili, I charred two nice big red bells peppers as well.

How to Char Chilies

Charring chilies is very simple. You need four things, the chilies themselves, a gas stove top, long tongs and a plastic bag (the one the chilies came in is fine). Put the gas flame up as high as it will go, and just lay the chili on the burner. Use the tongs to turn the chilies as they char. When most of the skin has been charred, put the chili in the plastic bag, close it, and let the chili steam in the bag. When the chili is cool enough to handle, remove the charred skin under running water. Not only is this a great way to skin a chili pepper, it also give the chili a nice roasted flavor. Of course, if you want really smoky flavor, do it on the Weber!

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Manicotti Stuffed with Cottage Cheese, Spinach and Pine Nuts

Manicotti Served

Manicotti is a child friendly food. Most kids love spaghetti and pasta. What could be more fun than stuffing tubes and then eating them? Kids can get a little messy, but that’s their job, right?

My friend, Chef John Farion, came over and brought me a large container of cottage cheese. I did not think that Spane and I could eat if fast enough for it not to go bad, so I decided to stuff something with it. Quite frequently, cottage cheese is used for lasagna, but I don’t like meatless lasagna, and I wanted it for Friday. Oddly enough, I had everything I needed already at home, so I bought some manicotti and brought it home.

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Leftover Madness – French Onion Soup, Shrimp Scampi, Ham and Cheese Panini

The past few days have been full of left overs. That’s a good thing, and a good way to save money, but you have to get creative.

When I made the Veal Marsala Meatballs, I made enough to freeze some for another time. Spane and I were at the market on Thursday, and I was thinking of making enchiladas, but Spane didn’t seem to enthusiastic about it, so I asked him if he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, and he said yes.

I had everything I needed to make it, the veal meatballs, a large can of diced tomatoes, basil and garlic. The only thing I needed to make a good meal was a baguette of French bread to make garlic bread to go with our pasta, so I bought a long baguette. It was large enough that I cut it in half and made my garlic butter, intending to make another half on Friday. I bought some large frozen shrimp to have on Friday.

I served the meatballs separately from the pasta, and we ate all of those, and the garlic bread. There was still spaghetti and sauce left over. I had made enough garlic butter for both halves of the bread, and had left the left over in the refrigerator.

I took some of the garlic butter, put it in a pan, and heated the shrimp in that garlic butter. By doing that, I didn’t have quite enough garlic butter for the other half of the baguette, so I added a little olive oil and balsamic butter, whirred it around, spread that on the bread, topped it with a little Parmesan cheese, and threw it in the oven for a few minutes.

We ate all the shrimp Scampi, and all the spaghetti and sauce, and were a little to stuffed to finish the garlic bread.

So, now I had left over balsamic garlic bread. Today, Saturday, was cold and rainy, so soup sounded like the perfect meal. Originally, I was going to make macaroni and cheese as an excuse to turn on Bertha, but grilled cheese sandwiches sounded like a better idea.

What kind of soup could I make and use up the left over garlic bread? Why French Onion, of course. That is such a simple soup to make, and is really fool-proof.

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Rosemary Garlic Chicken Purses with Lavendar Mustard Dipping Sauce

Rosemary Garlic Chicken Cream Cheese Purse with Lavender Mustard Sauce

I graduated from Immaculate Heart High School in 1975. Okay, so now you know how old I am! I have not gone to any of the reunions, and had not heard from any of my former classmates until I found a bunch of them on Facebook.

When I was in high school, one of my best friends was Libby. She lives in another state, and we have been corresponding on Facebook for a while. She said she was coming into Glendale to visit her mother and suggested we get together. Her mother lives a block from Spane’s school. What a coincidence! I haven’t seen her in 36 years, and today, we are going to the park and have a reunion picnic. I am so excited!

Libby has been liking my recipes on Facebook for a while, and even asked me if I remembered making a lemon pie that she liked so much. I decided that she deserved to have a special lunch, so these are thing things I have made:

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