What's For Dinner #2: August 23rd, 2013

So this time I'm going to try and combine all the recipes into one post.  It seems separating them is a bit too much, so I'll see how this goes instead!  I also need to learn how to make food look pretty!

In case you can't load the above photo, the items on the menu for dinner last night included:
~Braised Pork Chops~
~Spanish Rice~
~Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies~

Other menu options that my wonderful Taste of Home cookbook suggest include:
-Green Beans

We were quite full even without the extra!  Although it would have made for a more well rounded meal!

Part 1:  Braised Pork Chops


  1. Gather the ingredients -
    • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
    • 1/8 tsp onion powder
    • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/8 tsp pepper
    • 4 pork chops (I chose to go with boneless)
    • 1 tsp olive oil (I used more)
    • 1/2 cup water (I used more of this too)
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  2. Combine seasonings.
  3. Sprinkle over pork chops.  Cook chops in a skillet in olive oil, until browned on both sides.
  4. Add water & bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until chops are tender.  Remove the meat and keep it warm.
  5. Stir the cornstarch & broth into the cooking juices.  Bring to a boil again, then cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  6. Serve over pork chops & enjoy!

Part 2:  Spanish Rice


  1. Gather ingredients - 
    • 2 cups vegetable broth
    • 1 can (14.5 oz) diced or stewed tomatoes
    • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
    • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  2. Combine all ingredients into a large saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover & simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender & liquids are absorbed.  Enjoy!
(So easy, this one!)

Part 3:  Dark Chocolate Butterscotch Brownies


  1. \Gather ingredients - 
    • 4 squares (1 oz each) baking chocolate (I used semi-sweet)
    • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
    • 2 cups sugar (this is WAY too much!  Next time I'll use only 1 cup)
    • 3 egg whites
    • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour (I added 2 tbsp extra since I live at a high altitude. Next time I think I"ll add 1/2 cup extra)
    • 1 cup 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate baking squares
    • 1 cup butterscotch chips (I forgot to put all of these in the batter, so I sprinkled some on top while it was cooking and mixed the rest into the glaze)
    • GLAZE:
    • 1 cup 60% cocoa  bittersweet chocolate baking squares (I screwed up here too and didn't buy enough so used 4 semi-sweet baking squares instead)
    • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  2. Melt 4 chocolate squares & butter in microwave & stir until smooth.  Cool slightly.  (I put mine in the fridge for about 5 minutes).  In a large bowl, combine the sugar & chocolate mixtures.  Stir in egg whites & vanilla.  Add flour and then bittersweet chocolate & butterscotch chips.
  3. Spread into a greased 13x9 baking dish and bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  If you goof up like I did above, you'll have to cook it longer for it to be anywhere near done.
  4. Cool on a wire wrack.  For the glaze, melt the bittersweet chocolate & butter together, stir until smooth.  Immediately spread over the brownies.  Cool before cutting.
And that was dinner last night!  Very yummy...although I'll need to make changes next time I fix the brownies as they came out WAY too sugary.  Hope you enjoy!

What's for Dinner? #1: Chunky Pecan Bars

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Finally, dessert!!  And a very yummy one I must add...it turned out sooo delicious!  These are half gone already...that's how well we have enjoyed them.  They were quite delicious straight out of the oven...but they are even better now that they've chilled over night in the fridge.  Here we go:

Step 1:  Gather the ingredients.

Here is what I used:


  • 1 & 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 stick of butter


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 & 3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1 & 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Step 2:  Mix the flour and the brown sugar in a bowl.

Step 3:  (I seem to have lost my photos of these next few steps so will combine them)  Cube the stick of butter and cut into the flour & brown sugar mixture.  Press mixture into the bottom of a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.  Bake at 350 F for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Step 4:  While this is cooking, whisk together the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, 2 Tbsp melted butter & vanilla in a large bowl, until well blended.  Then add the chocolate chunks & pecans.  When the crust is finished baking, pour this mixture over it.

Step 5:  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it is set.  It took me longer than 25 minutes...about 35, before it was set...probably because of the altitude where I live.  Cool completely before cutting.  Store in the fridge in an airtight container.  Enjoy!!

I hope you enjoyed these 4 posts!  Watch for more!!  Subscribe to my blog if you'd like to get all updates.  Thanks for reading!

What's for Dinner? #1: Garlic Green Beans

Part 1:

Part 2:

The side dish last night was Garlic Green Beans!  Now the fact that I fixed these...and actually tasted them is a feat!  I HATE green beans and have ever since I was fed too many as a baby.  Apparently I loved them then.  I thought I'd give it a shot and see what happened.  As it turns out, I loaded them with SO much garlic, that I couldn't even taste the green beans.  So they weren't quite as bad as I expected.  However, because of the amount of garlic, my hubby & son didn't like them.  You win some and you lose some I guess!  So, onto the instructions:

Step 1:  Gather the ingredients.

I used the following:
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans
  • 1 tsp of minced garlic (I suggest using only 1/2 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/8 tsp of white pepper
  • 2 tsp of olive oil
Step 2:  Steam the green beans, or gently boil them in enough water to cover them for 8 to 10 minutes or until crispy.

Step 3:  When the above is completed, you want to combine them with the garlic, salt and pepper.  Then drizzle the oil across the top, serve & enjoy!!

Final recipe in this series follows in the next post!

What's for Dinner? #1: Weekday Lasagna

Main course for dinner last night was the Weekday Lasagna as explained in part one of this 4 part series.  You can find that post link at the top of this one.

Step 1:  Gather the ingredients

For this recipe I used:
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 Tbsp of Onion Onion (TM) from Tastefully Simple
  • 1 - 28 oz. of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 & 3/4 cups of water
  • 1 - 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 1 packet of Italian spaghetti sauce mix
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of cottage cheese
  • 2 Tbsp of shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 6 oven ready lasagna noodles (no pre-cooking required!)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Now, there are healthier options for some of these, but I just got what was available.  So now its time to start combining ingredients!

Step 2:  Combine ground beef & onion in a pan and cook until done.

I have always hated cooking meat...and have had to learn the best way to do it.  I panic its not done.  But, especially after it gets going good, if I stand over the pan and keep stirring it around and turning it over, and breaking it up into very small bits, that seems to work best.

Step 3:  Add the crushed tomatoes, water, tomato paste & spaghetti sauce.  Bring to a boil, cover & simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, while stirring occasionally.

Step 4:  While the above is simmering, combine your egg, the cottage cheese and the Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Step 5:  When the sauce & meat combination is done, spread 2 cups of the meat sauce on the bottom of a greased 13x9 cooking dish.  Then layer with 3 of the lasagna noodles, half of the cottage cheese mix & half of the rest of the meat sauce.  Continue creating these same layers until all ingredients are used up.

I had to split my ingredients between two smaller dishes, as I didn't have a 13 x 9 that wasn't being used.

Step 6:  Cover with tinfoil and bake at 350 F for about 50 minutes.  Next, uncover and spread with shredded mozzarella cheese.  Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted & bubbly.

Step 7:  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.  Then serve and enjoy!!!

The other two recipes are coming up in the next posts!

What's for Dinner? #1

Taste of Home...chances are if you love down home cooking you've heard of or even subscribed to the magazine or purchased a few of their cookbooks.  A while back I bought their first (and since a few others), Taste of Home Comfort Diet Cookbook.  I love easy to follow recipes and menus that are already prepared for me.  And this book has them!  Plus of course they include tips on how to make it healthy as possible, and nutrition info per serving.  For a long time now I've wanted to try out the menu, but didn't have the money to go out and stock up on all the supplies at the same time.  And since fresh foods go bad before we can eat them all around here, I wanted to wait till I could get some and use them in time.  I finally had the chance, and also shortened my over-zealous goal of buying all 6 weeks of groceries at the same time, to only one week.  Besides it looked like we'd probably be eating leftovers as well.  I also stopped my thinking that I had to fix everything exactly as described on the menu and in the same order, for 7 days straight...again not very feasible!

So last night I fixed week 1 day 5's dinner & dessert suggestions.  Lasagna sounded good to the family, and I was excited to try my first meal from the menu.  It turned out quite well and I figured I'd share the recipes as I chose to make them.  If you want to try the originals for yourself, and see all the other delicious menu ideas you can find the book for yourself here:

Here is my menu for dinner:

Now I should point out that the suggested menu also included the following:

  • 1 big green salad
  • 2 sesame breadsticks
  • 1 can diet soft drink

I totally forgot the salad...was going to make garlic bread, forgot that too...and we don't drink brain-tumor causing soda, so just had milk!  Its probably a good thing that I forgot the other stuff, because we were so miserably stuffed after dinner.  However, maybe a little less of what I DID fix and a little more of the rest would have added more variety.  Anyhow...enough rambling.  Lets get to the instructions & recipes!

Never mind...just kidding...going to post them as separate posts with links from this one, so I don't overload this post and make it impossibly long to read!  Be back soon!
P.S.  Links have been added to the menu items above so you can click directly on them to view each recipe.