Monthly Archives: August 2006

Delicious Minestrone

The recipe is from cooksillustrated.com

You have to suscribe with a yearly fee to access, so I can’t post the specific recipe here. Cook’s Illustrated is based in Brookline, MA and accepts NO advertising for it’s bi-monthly magazines or it’s website. Along with the Utne Reader, it is a subscription I keep going even when money is tight. Some “fancy-shamcy” stuff, but lots of great ideas and recipes, as well as totally unbiased food, cookware, appliance, and utensil reviews.

Anyway – minestrone soup is basically chopping up a modest variety of veggies, using fancy or regular bacon or a good quality hard cheese rind to boost the flavor, and adding pesto (basil or rosemary) for a final kick. YUM!!!!

It calls for some diced potato, and there is a version with rice or pasta, but none of those freeze well, and I like to freeze portions. The potato actually seemed okay after freezing in the last batch I made, but this time I used corn for the starch since I had three ears in the fridge that were nearing their end of usefulness. 🙂

The recipe also calls for canned cannellini beans. In the directions, it says not to add the beans or pesto until ready to eat- implying that, if freezing, don’t add beans or pesto until defrosted. …Well, that’s too complicated for my lifestyle since I want to freeze a couple of 4 cup portions!

I froze this soup with both the beans and pesto last time, and it was fine.

I have to get back into serious meal planning because I now work outside of the home on Tues and Thursdays and don’t get home until around 8:00 pm (!) I need to make sure I have VERY quick and easy meals ready for those nights. Hopefully, I’ll get back to posting more regularly as I do my meal planning and experimenting with good “freeze for later” meals.

🙂

pork chops with zucchini, tomato and stuffing

Yes, this recipe includes the insidious cream of mushroom soup that so many pork chop recipes call for, but it sounds pretty darn good, anyway. I liked the idea of stuffing instead of rice, too. I have a brown bag that I put all my bread ends in, and most are whole grain, so the stuffing will have more fiber than white rice – albeit not as much as brown rice… but, any rice just gets TOO gooey and gloppy for my taste when cooked with pork chops in the traditional way. Even with added veggies, such as carrots, I just don’t like it anymore.

I’m basing this on a recipe I just came across at recipezarr.com, but will be varying a bit by making my own stuffing, and using yogurt instead of sour cream. And, as I usually do these days, I’ll reconstitute regular or low-fat evaporated milk for the amount of milk called for by the recipe.

….a few hours later….YUMMMMM!!!!! I like this. Here is the URL for the original recipe:

http://www.recipezaar.com/181810

I guess I didn’t change it that much – I kept thinking it called for 4 chops and I had five, but the recipe calls for six…How that would fit in a 9×13 pan, I don’t know! I used a …10X15? Whatever the next step up is. But, because I was thinking I was using one more chop than called for, I made a bit extra stuffing, used 4 big tomatoes, 4 small zucchinies…and, I used cheddar (only 1/2 cup) instead of mozzarella cheese… The recipe didn’t specify, but I used bone-in chops.

Instead of using two pans, one to saute the zuc and one to brown the chops, I did the zuc first, then the chops in the same pan – then the tomatoes briefly, as called for.

Anyway, after cutting off almost all the fat from the chops, this came out tasting light, moist, and really good. The chops were VERY moist and tender. The zucchini was still a bit crisp, my husband didn’t even add salt (!) – a keeper. Nice one-dish meal, too. Well, one-dish for the final product!

Make sure you keep washing up dishes as you cook! … I will be forever thankful to my Mom for teaching me the value of taking a minute here and there while cooking to wash any dishes and utensils used as you prepare a meal. It is wonderful to have dinner cooking in the oven and have the kitchen and sink area nice and clean so you only have the after dinner dishes to deal with after you eat. (Now, if I could only emulate my Mom’s so sensible approach to overall housekeeping…I got the kitchen sensibility gene – except for keeping the stovetop clean – but I totally missed out on the the housecleaning genes…)

Making my own stuffing added time – use store bought stove top for a quicker meal. I was happy with my homemade stuffing, though. Here is the link for the recipe I used:

http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1626,151186-252198,00.html

We each had a chop and veggie/stuffing topping this evening – and I have one in the fridge with the veggie and stuffing topping for leftovers, and froze two chops with the veggies/stuffing topping, adding some of the juices left in the pan. Hopefully, it will reheat well after freezing. (

As noted above, this was a light meal, considering. The juices didn’t seem to have much fat – I guess I’ll know for sure when I see the leftovers after being fridged and frozen!

Geez, I don’t think I ever blogged the amazing minestrone soup I made last month. Cooks Illustrated recipe. Fantastic. I am making it again tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll get around to blogging about it. Life gets busy – but I am still cooking – blogging or not!