Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chicken Fried Pork Chops with Honey Garlic Glaze

I LOVE Pinterest! I love it like one of my kids, I really do. I always surf around the 'net and see so many things I love and I forget to add them to my favorites or bookmark them. Enter Pinterest. Just pin it to a board and you;ll have it forever!!

Are you on Pinterest? No??? Why not? You can find me here and follow all my boards so you can see what i like. I'll give you a follow back.

What does this have to do with pork chops? I found a recipe that I wanted to try on (dun, dun, dun) Pinterest. Here is the link for the recipe: Double Crunch Honey Garlic Pork Chops.

Basically, you crack a couple eggs in a dish, add some salt and pepper and beat them up. In another dish put some flour, salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic, whatever it is you like. Dip the pork chops in the egg, into the flour, back into the egg and then back into the flour again. Shake the excess flour off and plop that little baby into some hot oil. Fry them up until golden brown and lovely. While they are cooking up, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a pan and add 1 Tablespoon minced garlic. Let that hang out on low for a couple minutes and add 1 cup honey, 1/4 cup soy sauce and 1 teaspoon black pepper.

When the pork chops are chicken fried, dip them into the honey glaze and place on a plate. Serve them with rice or noodles and have one fabulous meal.

These were SUCH a hit with my family and they couldn't have been easier to make!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Crockpot Baked Beans

Yesterday I promised a recipe for basic baked beans and I'm here to deliver! Can we just start by all agreeing that beans are good? We should all eat more of them. They are cheap (way cheaper than meat these days), they are an excellent source of fiber and protein, can be made into a million different dishes, they freeze well and they just get better the second or third day. Leftovers are a snap to re-use or eat up.

Now, cooking beans can take a long time, which makes the crockpot an especially smart tool for the job. Beans that are cooked long and slow have the best texture.

Here is how I cook my beans:

Pick through and rinse 1 lb of dried beans (I used small white beans). Put them in a bowl and cover them with water. Let soak overnight.

The next morning, drain and rinse the beans. Put them in a crockpot and pour water over them until there is about an inch above the beans. Turn the crockpot on high. Check it after 4 hours and see if you need more water. Mine usually take about 6-7 hours to get all the way done. You want to cook your beans until they are tender and soft, completely done. I know, I know....we haven't added any of the flavorings yet. Stick with me here, I promise this works.

When your beans are done and most of the water is absorbed, like this:

Chop up 6-8 slices of bacon and start rendering it in a pot.

Chop 1 small/medium onion (it's up to you, we like the onion flavor so I used a medium onion) and add it to the bacon. Continue to cook on medium low heat.

To this add: 1 1/2 cups ketchup, 1/4 cup molasses, 1 Tablespoon dry mustard, 1 Tablespoon salt (more or less to taste), 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 cup brown sugar. You want to heat this mixture up so when you add it to your crockpot the temperature never goes down. This will help your beans cook a little faster.

When this mixture is up to a simmer, add it to your pot-o-beans. You may need to drain off a little water if there is too much. Remember, you can add water but you can't take it away. Runny beans are not what you're going for here. You want them to be nice and thick.

Throw in a nice big chunk of ham and let them cook for 1-2 hours. These beans will be thick, meaty and delicious!

I do have a couple variations on this basic recipe, although you should feel free to change them up however you want, these are just some ideas to get you started.

1) BBQ Baked Beans~ replace the ketchup, dry mustard and molasses for 1 3/4 cups of your favorite BBQ sauce.

2) BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Beans~ add 1 lb of cooked, crumbled ground beef to your BBQ beans along with the sauce. Serve with shredded cheddar cheese on top.

3) Make the regular recipe, but omit the ham. Instead, chop a package of hot dogs and add them to your beans along with the sauce. Crockpot beanie weenies!

4) Make the BBQ beans and add what's left of a crockpot pot roast and use it to fill a burrito. Homemade BBQ Beef and Bean burritos.

5) Make your beans spicy by adding some chopped, pickled jalapenos.

Beans may take some time, but if you use your crockpot most of that time you aren't doing any of the work. That's the kind of fast (s-l-o-w) food I can get behind ;)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet Cornbread Muffins

Cornbread is one of the most satisfying, simple, delicious things ever made. It can be sweet, savory, baked as a crust for chili pizza (that's a recipe for another time).  It's perfect for mopping up the last of the beans, BBQ and chili. It's a dessert when drizzled with honey. It's good, honest food.

It's also a very touchy subject. Some people like a little sweet in their cornbread. Some like it a lot sweet. Some don't want sugar to LOOK at their cornbread. Some people don't care, as long as it's hot and there's a lot of butter. I fall into the latter category. I love it all.

I do especially love the recipe I am about to share though, because it is so good with beans. I think being sweet enhances the beans and their flavor. It doesn't hurt that the leftover cornbread makes an amazing breakfast with jam or that my girls call this particular recipe "corncake" and beg me to make it.

Prepare to be blown away.....and be prepared to share this recipe. On bite and everyone wants the recipe. It's that good. No joke.

Sweet Cornbread

2 cups flour
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cups white sugar (just go with it!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons + 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup 1/2 and 1/2 or cream (or another cup milk)
2/3 cup oil

Turn oven on to 400 degrees. Spray a 9x13 inch pan (or 2-9 inch round cake pans) with non-stick spray. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. Add remaining ingredients and stir until just moistened, some lumps are ok. Too much stirring will make it tough. No one wants their cornbread to be tough. Pour it into your prepared pan(s) and bake for about 25-30 minutes, a little less if using the 2 cake pans. Cool slightly and slice.

And just like that, you have some amazing cornbread. As an additional note, these make super cornbread muffins. Fill your paper lined muffin cups almost to the top and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The tops will be golden brown and the interior will be tender-soft.

You will be happy and so will your family....

Friday, September 16, 2011


It's no secret that I love Fall. I love the cool, crisp mornings, warm days and frosty nights. So, in honor of Fall (otherwise known as my beloved) I took a couple pictures of some of my favorite fall things.

Which one do you like better? For your viewing pleasure.....

Now, for the good part! These are for you if you want them. Use them for wallpaper or whatnot....if you love one of them it's yours. Just my little way of saying Thank You for being you and reading Me :)

Have a happy weekend!!

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

Breakfast is absolutely our most favorite meal. We love it so much the we don't just contain it to the morning, we eat it all day long.There's just no *wrong* time for breakfast. I love to have cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and have perfected making them the night before and baking them in the morning. But what happens when you want a quick meal and cinnamon rolls sound good? You get creative.

I was searching the web for a recipe for brown sugar oatmeal pancakes (there are a bunch of those!) and I stumbled upon cinnamon roll pancakes. Back up the wagon! Cinnamon roll + pancakes = YUM!

I'm going to link up to the recipe I used as inspiration~ 1) because she has nice pictures so you can see how delicious they look and 2) because I took no pictures since my family was scarfing them down faster than they were cooking!

I did customize it to our tastes though:

  • I used my favorite pancake recipe but I added vanilla and cinnamon to the batter. (Maybe a teaspoon of each)
  • After I added the cinnamon swirl, I sprinkled finely chopped pecans onto the pancake. Ohhh yeeeahhh.

We ate these with maple syrup, but I think next time I'm going to make a really thin cream cheese frosting to drizzle over the top.

My family loved these so much they asked for them for breakfast this morning and I even heard rumblings of how good these would be on Christmas morning instead of our usual cinnamon rolls. They really take no more time than a regular pancake and are so special.

Here's the link: Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

These are a keeper for sure!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Putting Things In Perspective

Let me start off by saying I LOVE this blog. I can be creative, funny, honest, rant or whatever else I feel like doing here. This is my space, my little place to call home. The fact that other people occasionally enjoy reading along with me is somewhat flattering but it wasn't, and isn't, my first reason for blogging.

I blog because I want to.

Pretty simple right? Well, yes and no. Sometimes I feel like I need to get something on here. I need to give you something to read. Heaven help me if I keep all of you waiting a couple days to see a recipe that I loved. Sometimes life gets in the way and I don't want to spend an hour or more of my precious day sitting here and not spending it with my growing family. Sometimes I put off doing the dishes, or laundry, or sweeping, or cooking, or any other endless other chore so I can blog.

That isn't right.

So, I took a couple weeks off. I updated the Cooke's Frontier Facebook page a lot. I chatted it up with you on there. I found that I really like that platform for quick, honest interaction. Immediate responses. It's fast and easy to log on, throw out a status update and get back off. Not so much with blogging sometimes.

Where does that leave us now?

Exactly where we've always been. I'm not going to stop blogging. A lot of you have asked and that's not what I have planned. It's summer (although it's winding down now) and summer is busy. Summer is canning, family time, s-l-o-w time. Time to unplug, unwind and relax....all while being really busy. Does that even make sense??

With Fall on it's way, things are slowing down. New routines are falling into place, I have a little more free time and Fall/Winter is my favorite time of year. There will be more posting I swear! I just won't let blogging come before "must-do's" anymore.

I'm sure you can understand that. I'm Wife, Mom, cook, baker, schoolteacher, laundress, maid, milkmaid, crafter, blogger and so much more. In that order. Blogging is a hobby for me, not a job.

Whew! I feel better now. I don't want anyone to think I'm done. That just isn't true, I'm all here. I think of a million things a day that I want to share with you on here. What is true is that there came a point where my family was starting to resent my time spent on here and when I looked at it, honestly, I could see that they were right.

So, that's where we're at.

And it feels good!