Monday, March 20, 2017

Improvised muffins.

   Funny story behind those muffins... well actually maybe not that funny, but still worth mentioning. Some time ago, I saw a quick cooking viral video (I am so addicted to watching those!) where they made flour-less, few-ingredients-only banana muffins and when I saw couple of my bananas turning ugly brown, I knew this would be a perfect solution. I searched for this video for hours on all the websites I could think of and couldn't find it, so I decided to improvise and make my own version. I knew I needed bananas, an egg and baking powder/soda... and the rest just happened to be around, so I threw it in as well. Since Christopher was helping me to bake... they also have chocolate chips in them (whatever was left after "sampling") ... but you can totally skip them (or substitute with dried cranberries).


*  1 cup old-fashioned oats
*  2 tbsp flax seeds
*  2 ripe bananas
*  1 egg
*  2 tbsp honey
*  1 tbsp vanilla extract
*  1 tsp baking powder
*  1/2 tsp baking soda
*  1/3 cup mini chocolate chips


1. In a food processor blend oats and flax seeds until they resemble coarse flour.

2. Mash bananas with a fork or potato masher until smooth, add all remaining ingredients (reserve 1 tbsp chocolate chips for decoration), mix until combined.

3. Using a small ice cream scoop, fill the mini muffin pan up to 3/4 full, sprinkle with few chocolate chips on top and bake at 350 F for 20 minutes.

   They turned out awesome! Breakfast, snack, dessert... you can have them any time of the day. And they are guilt free too... low in sugar, high in fiber, tiny in size... and to balance all the healthy stuff, there is also chocolate - the perfect combination.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Not as hard as I thought...

   I don't know why, but I always thought of "stuffed pork chops" as something that requires a lot of skills and time... and for that reason, I never made it before! Last weekend I was looking for something more challenging that my usual dishes, so I decided to tackle this "difficult" task and make some stuffed pork chops for dinner. Well, let me tell you.... easy-peasy, no special skills required dish! Who knew?! I was so surprised how quick and effortless the dish was, the "hardest" part was to make sure the the stuffing won't explode all over your shirt if you squeeze it too hard (don't squeeze it too hard, trust me on that!!!). Here is the recipe for pork chops stuffed with cream cheese/mushrooms/spinach deliciousness (serves 4):


*  4 bone-in pork chops (1.5 inch thick)
*  4 oz cream cheese
*  4 oz mushrooms, finely chopped
*  2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
*  2 tbsp olive oil
*  4 tbsp butter
*  salt and pepper


1. In a skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and saute mushrooms until soft (5 minutes). Add chopped spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook until spinach is wilted, 4-5 minutes. Transfer into a bowl, add cream cheese and mix everything until combined and smooth. Set aside and let it cool.

2. To cut pockets in the pork chops, insert the point of a small and sharp knife horizontally into the edge on the opposite side of the bone. Gently move the knife back and forth inside of the chop to create deep pocket, but without making the "opening" any bigger. Make sure you do not cut through or pierce the meat.

3. Transfer stuffing into a small piping bag (or a zip-lock bag), cut the corner off and gently squeeze it in the pork chop pocket. Pinch the opening to seal it.

4. In a large skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and butter, season pork chops with salt and pepper and sear them on both sides until golden brown (4-5 minutes on each side). 

5. Transfer chops into a baking dish, add the olive oil/butter grease into the baking dish (you can add 2-3 tbsp of water if there is not enough "juices"), cover with foil and bake at 365F for 30-35 minutes or until the temperature inside the chop reaches 145F.

    I think my biggest fear was under- or over-cooking the meat, so I kept checking the temperature once in a while, but it turned out awesome. Very tender and flavorful meat with a creamy, savory filling and delicious sauce that forms kind of by "accident". I served it with mashed potatoes and broccoli and it just hit all the right spots... for all three of us!