Saturday, February 12, 2011

2nd Power Outage In One Week! Grrrr

I had big plans for my kitchen today.  Last night I cleaned it really well so that I could do all kinds of Valentine's Day baking today.  Sounds nice doesn't it, especially for all of you that are thinking about me sharing the baking with you :)  BUT, the power is out for the second time this week. So I am left to tell you about last nights dinner instead.  I wasn't going to post it because it started out just being something I was going to quickly throw together, but it turned out better than I thought so I'll tell you anyways. 

There are actually two parts to this dinner, the happy pork and the pilaf.  I'll start with the pilaf and at the same time I"m going to try and sell you on owning a rice cooker.

My rice cooker was the first b-day gift that the hubby ever bought for me.  He went to China Town and chatted with the nice woman working at the store and she told him that this was the Cadillac of all rice cookers.  Five years later, almost to the day, I am still using it at least once a week. Not just to make plain rice but sometimes to make the whole meal right in the rice cooker.  It's so convenient and cooks right perfectly every time. I often end up with rice crusted onto the bottom of my pot when I try and make it on the stove top, I think that's because I try and do to many things at once.

The other part of dinner was stuffed happy pork.  Earlier in the week I grabbed two butterflied happy pork chops.  The pork at our grocery store is delicious, and HAPPY!  Like with chicken I find the happy pork to taste much more tender and flavorful.  The good thing about the pork is that it doesn't cost that much more to buy it happy!  I bought two butterflied happy pork chops for $2.80 each, you can't go wrong.  I'm not usually a fan of pork chops so I tried to do something that I would like just as much as the hubby, he could eat pork chops every day of the week.  So I stuffed them with a mushroom and craisin stuffing.  It was a perfect compromise because I actually really liked them and the hubby got to eat his pork chops. 

Here's what it all looked like before we ate,

And then when we sat down to eat I cut mine in half and had to get another shot for looked really pretty inside. 

Looking back on dinner I would have added some sort of green veggie to the meal, broccoli or peas maybe.  It would have looked nicer on the plate as well.  Oh well, next time.

Stuffed Happy Pork


  • 2 happy pork chops, butterflied (I bought the chops already butterflied)
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup cubed bread, (1/4-inch/5 mm)
  • ½ onions, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups  thinly sliced mushrooms, divided
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ cup craisins
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 cup sodium-reduced chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp butter, softened
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard, any mustard fancy mustard will do just don’t use the yellow stuff

In large ovenproof skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat; fry bread, stirring often, until golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

Add 1 tbsp of the remaining oil to skillet; fry onion, 1 cup of mushrooms, garlic and half each of the salt and pepper over medium-high heat until onion is softened and mushrooms are golden, about 6 minutes. Add to bread along with parsley and craisins. Let cool.

Stuff about 1/2 cup of the stuffing into each chop. Fold in half and secure closed with toothpicks. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.

In skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat; brown chops. Transfer skillet to 400°F oven; roast until juices run clear when pork is pierced and just a hint of pink remains inside, about 15 minutes. Remove to platter; remove toothpicks.

In small bowl, blend flour with butter.  You may want to warm the butter for 15 seconds in the microwave if it is not soft enough to blend with flour.

Add wine to skillet and bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring and scraping up any brown bits; boil until evaporated, about 3 minutes.

Add butter and flour mixture to pan and cook for 30 seconds.

Add stock and bring to boil, stirring until thickened about 3 minutes.  Add remaining mushroom and simmer another 3 minutes.

Rice and Vermicelli Pilaf


  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • ¼ cup 2 inch vermicelli, like you put in chicken noddle soup
  • 1 ¾ cup low sodium chicken stock
  • 1 tsp seasoning blend, I used a lemon-herb mix
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Set the rice cooker to Cook.  Place butter and oil into the rice bowl and melt.  Add the rice and pasta and cook stirring a few times, about 5 minutes.  The rice and pasta should turn golden brown, it will take about 5-10 minutes.

Add the stock, seasoning spices, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.

Close the lid and reset the cooking cycle.  Let the cycle complete until it switches to Keep Warm.  Let the steam release for 15 minutes.  Open the lid and fluff rice with a wooden spoon. 

You can leave the rice in the cooker on Keep Warm for up to 2 hours until you are ready to serve.


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