Last night’s New Year’s dinner, our first as a couple, consisted of old traditions with a twist.
I was raised to eat pork and sauerkraut slow-cooked to perfection in my mom’s kitchen every New Year’s Day. I hated– I mean hated — the taste of sauerkraut as a child and called it sour crap under my breath until I was old enough to say it aloud without getting mom’s wooden spoon wagged in my face.
My husband grew up eating black-eyed peas and collard greens, both a slow-cooked savory concoction of ham hocks and, well, grease.
I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen but did want to keep some traditions going in our new home. Therefore, I kept the collards (although they did come from a can – you can get amazing Southern-flavored greens in cans that taste pretty close to the made-from-scratch ones). I nixed the sour crap and switched the mashed potatoes to baked sweet potatoes. (I tried fries but that was a disaster, see below.)
Here’s what you’ll need:
4-6 boneless, skinless pork chops, trimmed of fat
½ Vidalia Sweet Onion, sliced in wedges or rounds
1 Fuji (or similar) apple, quartered and sliced
5-6 leaves of fresh sage, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 T low-sodium soy sauce
S&P to taste
Here’s what you do:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Drizzle a little oil on the bottom of baking dish and layer with chops, onion, apples and garlic. Sprinkle seasoning, soy sauce and sage over top. Drizzle a little more oil over top of meat dish and cover with foil.
3. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and increase heat to 350 degrees and move to top rack and bake another 5 minutes to brown it up a bit.
4. Allow to sit 10 minutes before serving with the juice ladle over the portion and over any potatoes or rice cooked along with the dish as a side.
Hubby definitely liked it! So score for us both.
And then there was this:
The first cooking casualty of 2014. I’m so glad I wrapped up two of those sweet potatoes in foil and baked them with these charred fries. I would have had really good fries, flavored with a little salt and some chili powder.
NOTE: Cook your side at the same time in the oven and everything’s ready at the same time. Also, take out the fries a little earlier… like 10 minutes earlier. The potatoes in foil were perfect if cooked at the same temp and duration as the main dish.
Tonight’s dish is a quick, satisfying soup that can be made with just about anything you have leftover in the fridge. Mom taught me how to make this when I was 14. It can be expanded with some canned veggies to feed an army, like my family.
Bring to boil any leftovers of meat, pasta, rice and vegetables in a stock pot with a can of vegetable or chicken stock. Fill the can with water and add to the mixture. Allow to boil for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and then simmer until you’re ready to eat.
Tonight’s mixture is some leftover veggies from Applebee’s, some quinoa/orzo mixture with Brussels Sprouts from dinner last week, a container of leftover dump soup starter I pulled from the freezer and the rest of a box of chicken stock. I added a pinch of Greek seasoning and tarragon for some extra zest, but those Applebee’s garlic green beans and roma pepper relish will make a nice flavor. I plan to pair it with some cheese and crackers.