We all have those days… Nothing seemed to go quite right, the baby’s been fussy, you suddenly realize you’re almost out of diapers and have to run to town. Then, suddenly, you look at the clock and think “How the Hell did it get to be 5:00 already?!”
When I have a day like that I pull a package of pork cutlets out of the freezer and get to work. They are so quick and easy it’s kind of ridiculous.
They’re also usually pretty cheap. Bonus!
The easiest way to cook these:
Heat a little oil in a skillet on medium. Season your cutlets on both sides however you like. I used Creole seasoning but you can just use good ol’ salt and pepper. Coat the cutlets in flour, then fry for five minutes on each side. That’s it! You could make gravy by adding flour to the pan drippings (remove the cutlets first!), then whisking in milk. Keep whisking while it thickens and season as needed.
Another easy way to cook pork cutlets? Again, start with heating a little oil in a pan. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper the cutlets and fry on each side for about five minutes. Place in a shallow baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, then coat with your favorite barbeque sauce. Bake until the sauce looks a bit caramelized.
There are a number of other ways to prepare pork cutlets, but these are my favorite go-to quickies. I usually serve them with roasted veggies (might as well if the oven’s already going) and potatoes. If I’m going the gravy route I do mashed potatoes…If we’re having barbeque cutlets I usually have roasted red or fingerling potatoes.
Of course, you can serve them with whatever you like, don’t let me tell you what to do.
I heart these cutlets so much because they’re really hared to mess up. If you have leftovers they make good sandwiches, too…
But you probably won’t have leftovers.
Yesterday I planned to make baked chicken with roasted broccoli and asparagus for dinner. Good plan, right?
Well it would have been if I had enough chicken. I got home and opened the freezer to discover one lonely little chicken breast sitting there. Well, damn. I felt like a real bonehead.
I did a fair amount of pouting, then I decided I’d go ahead and make the chicken for the BF and I’d have veggies. I’m ok with veggies, but I had been looking forward to that chicken all day. Sometimes you have to sacrifice for those you love.
I dug through the freezer one last time, hoping to find another chicken breast hiding behind something. Instead, I found a package of turkey smoked sausage that I had forgotten about. I decided to completely switch gears and make pasta instead, which would mean I could use up a few things that were about to go bad.
While the turkey sausage was defrosting I chopped some sad looking leftover onion along with 4 cloves of garlic. I melted butter in a pan over medium heat and added the garlic, onion, and sausage (cut into bite-sized pieces). Since turkey smoked sausage is already cooked I was just looking for it to brown a little… So I think everything cooked together for around 10 minutes.
At this point I went ahead and put a pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta. I used the rest of an open box of fettuccini that had been sitting in the pantry for God knows how long. I also sliced a mini loaf of French bread that was just a teeny bit stale and made garlic bread.
Once the sausage looked nice and brown I poured in about 2 cups of chicken broth and threw in the rest of my baby kale that was starting to look a bit wilty. I turned the heat up just a bit to bring everything to a boil, and once the broth had reduced by about half I poured in some half and half. I let everything simmer until the pasta was done…Then I strained the pasta and tossed it with the sauce and a handful of parmesan cheese.
For a completely unplanned, scraped together dinner it was really good! I’d definitely make this on purpose sometime. I guess sometimes being a bonehead isn’t such a bad thing.
After Sunday’s post, I got a few emails asking about kale… Specifically, how to prepare it and how to make it taste good. To be honest, I actually like the taste of kale, but I was that kid who loved Brussels sprouts. I was also the kid that looked forward to the required summer reading list every year… How on Earth was I not the most popular kid in school?!
So from the emails I received it seems that most people think kale is a bit icky..Please don’t let that keep you from trying it. There are so many different ways to prepare it that I’m sure you’ll find one you like!
As I’ve mentioned, you can sub kale into anything that calls for spinach. I’ve used it in veggie and regular lasagna, soups, ravioli filling, omelets, etc… If you grind it up into teeny bits (using a food processor), you can put it in meatballs and sprinkle it on top of all sorts of things… Just pretend it’s parsley. I also know people that add it to smoothies…though I can’t vouch for how that tastes since I’ve never tried it.
Baked kale is all over Pinterest. Check out Repurposed and Redriven’s take on baked kale chips for an easy recipe…and Smitten Kitchen offers a unique way to eat baked kale (hint: it involves popcorn). I’ve tried both ways…and both are very yummy.
Another awesome option is baby kale, which you can find pre-washed in the produce section of your grocery store. Baby kale is milder than grown-up kale so it’s less scary and is easier to use raw. Try it in a salad along with your usual lettuce. I actually stopped using lettuce in salads because I like the flavor of baby kale so much. Plus, regular old lettuce is bor-ring.
Baby kale is also awesome in sandwiches. I used to make my favorite sandwich with hearts of romaine…Not anymore!
Ladies and gents, I present to you my most favorite sandwich EVER:
Oven roasted turkey breast, shaved so thinly it’s falling apart
Sharp cheddar cheese
Thinly sliced fuji (or your favorite variety) apple
All smooshed between two slices of whole-wheat bread with just a smidge of mayo.
My goodness, it’s heaven on bread.
Let me know if you decide to try kale…tell me what you made and what you thought of it. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.
Just so you know, Mario Batali wasn’t kidding when he called kale ‘nature’s little colon sweeper’.
Happy Sunday y’all!
So I’m a huge fan of anything that I can sneak kale into… I usually throw a bunch into my mini food processor and grind it up so I can add it to things like meatballs and spaghetti sauce without any fuss (that’s oregano, honey…). It’s so good for you that I think you should eat it every day. Mario Batali even referred to kale as “nature’s little colon broom” on The Chew… So I’m guessing if you eat it a lot it’ll help you stay regular. Someone let Jamie Lee Curtis know so she can stop shoving Activia down our throats. Is anyone else weirded out by how much ol’ Jamie Lee wants to be involved with our pooping habits?
Oh, did you think I was going to go a whole day without talking about poop? It’s like you don’t even know me…
So where was I?
Oh yes…This week’s pin.
I get really excited when I find a recipe that calls for spinach because I have found that I can substitute kale with no troubles.
This recipe is really versatile… Not only can you use kale in place of spinach, but I’ve also used a few different types of pasta (cheese tortellini, rotini, and cheese ravioli so far) successfully. I typically use mild breakfast sausage (can’t get too wild since I’m breastfeeding) but you could use hot or sweet Italian. The original recipe says to use Italian style tomatoes. I couldn’t find anything that was specifically called Italian style at my grocery store, so I bought Hunt’s brand Basil, Garlic and Oregano diced tomatoes. I really like the flavor so that’s what I’ve stuck with, but there are lots of varieties to choose from. Also? As much as I love my crock pot, you really don’t have to drag it out for this one. I usually make it in my stock pot, which makes this a one pot meal. Less stuff to clean up makes me very, very happy.
I serve it with grated cheese on top, some type of garlic bread and occasionally a salad…In this case I decided to be lazy and use crescent rolls out of a can, but I did at least mix butter, Parmesan cheese, a couple of garlic cloves and some basil in my mini food processor and smear it on them before baking. If that doesn’t say love I don’t know what does.
Hey, I can’t be Betty Crocker all the time.
You could also use your homemade bread (or a loaf of store-bought French bread) to make cheesy garlic bread if you really want to impress someone.
I have a top-secret method for what I think might just be the best garlic bread of all time. Perhaps someday I will share it with you.
So this pin gets a big ol’ thumbs up from me and the BF (who has eaten it a number of times and gone back for seconds). It’s quick to throw together, can be a one-pot meal, and it’s super tasty.
If you’re in the market for a cool new t-shirt AND you want to do a good deed, check this post out. Even if you don’t buy one please share the post and help me get the word out, ok?
My friends at Threadless are awesome human beings. The t-shirt pictured below was designed by Boston artist Thomas G. Sullivan and Threadless’ Ross Ziets. 100% of sales go to OneFundBoston.org.
If you’d like to help, click here to order one, then give yourself a pat on the back.
Please share this post on Facebook or Twitter… email everyone you know… Hell, print it and hang it on your fridge if you like. I want to reach as many people as I possibly can.
Thanks in advance readers!
When people hear that I live in the country they always say the same things.
Oh you must love the fresh country air!
It must be nice to live where it’s so quiet!
I’ll bet your windows are always open!
Um… no. See, people that say these things are typically people that live in town, or in big cities. The truth is, sometimes it literally stinks to live in the country… at certain times of the year farmers spread fertilizer over the fields… and if you’re lucky enough to live near a farm that has animals all it takes is wind blowing from the right direction. It’s a pretty common thing to walk outside and get smacked in the face by the odor of poop.
Another thing that really blows about country life? Mice. I hate mice… I’m not scared of them, I hate them. Big difference.
I really think that everyone has a mouse or two running around in the house. The thing about being in the country is that when the farmers start working in the fields it drives the mice out. All of these displaced little mice suddenly have nowhere to go… and your house looks mighty inviting.
I’ve been pretty busy lately, and today I’ve been home all day for the first time in a while. I put O down for his midday nap and started wandering around the house, picking things up as I went. I got to the kitchen and realized I needed to take the trash out… I’d pushed it down until there was seriously no room left. I pulled the bag out of the bin and gave it a little shake before I started to tie it closed… all of a sudden something flew out of the trash bag and hit me on the chest. I stood there dumbfounded for a brief second before the thing started moving… I looked down just in time to see it crawl down my shirt.
It was a mouse. A disgusting, vile, dirty, disease-carrying, nasty little mouse.
I let out a shriek that was probably heard within a ten-mile radius… How O didn’t wake up, I have no idea. I could feel it crawling around in my shirt searching for a way out. It was headed up my back, so I bent over and frantically tried to pull my shirt over my head. The nasty little vermin somehow got tangled in the hair at the nape of my neck, causing me to bolt upright and scream again. Now I was turning in circles, yelling profanities and slapping myself in the back of my head. I bent over again and immediately slammed my arm into the chest freezer. At first I was pissed (because, ouch) but I heard a little thud and looked down in time to see the mouse scramble a little on the hardwood floor and then scurry into a heating vent.
I stood there holding my shirt, out of breath and shaking violently, and vowed that I would hunt that mouse down and end its nasty little life.
Then I had to go sit on the couch and recover for a good little while. I can still feel its sharp little claws on my back.
So no, living in the country isn’t always fresh air and bunny rabbits, ok?
I just went back into the kitchen to take the trash bag outside since my heart rate has almost returned to normal. As I picked the bag up, something moved inside it. I screamed and ran away. I’m gonna need therapy.
EFF YOU, TRASH MOUSE
Oui monsieur bonjour coquette,
Uh huh croissant e chevy corvette,
Maurice chevalier effeil tower,
Oh oui maria bagette bon soir,
FRENCH TOAST! FRENCH TOAST!
-The Toast Song, Heywood Banks (Heard on Bob and Tom)
Remember how yesterday I said I made French toast with my bread?
Believe it or not, in the middle of beating my egg I realized that I had no syrup. I did have some brown sugar, so I decided to use that…It was possibly the best French toast I’ve ever had. Here’s how to make it:
Mix an egg or two (depending on how many bread slices you’re making) with some milk or cream, cinnamon, and a bit of vanilla extract.
Meanwhile, melt some butter in a pan.
Dunk each bread slice in the egg mixture…Make sure each side soaks up some eggy goodness. Don’t let it get too soggy or it’ll take forever to cook.
Once the butter is melted and the pan is good and hot, add your bread. Let it cook for about 5 minutes, then flip.
Place a bit of butter on each slice of toast, then sprinkle on some brown sugar. Use as much or as little as you like, just keep in mind that it will take time to melt. Put a lid on the pan and let everything cook for another five minutes. You might have to turn the heat down a bit so things don’t burn. Burnt brown sugar is sad brown sugar.
I was way too impatient, so the brown sugar didn’t melt quite enough to get to a syrupy consistency. It was still amazing.
I suppose you could use store-bought bread and it would still turn out nicely…Though I would recommend getting a nice fresh French loaf from the bakery rather than regular old white bread in a bag.
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For those that haven’t heard the Toast song:
If you’ve liked my page on Facebook, you probably already know that yesterday I baked some bread. I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person that bakes bread but it seemed to be a bit intimidating. I did once have a bread machine, but it got used exactly once and I declared it worthless. I also made some soft pretzels for 4-H once, but like every other 4-H foods project I mostly blocked that experience from my brain. I had to, or there would be quite a few things I could never. ever. eat. again.
Anyway, my bread making adventure started with this pin:
That bread looks really good, and the recipe seemed alarmingly easy, so I went to the store yesterday morning to pick up some yeast and bread flour. While I was there, I bought some deli turkey and other sandwich fixins so we could have sandwiches for dinner. Yes…I’m so smart that I based our whole dinner on a recipe I’d never attempted.
No big surprise that it almost backfired.
I was a bit concerned when the dough didn’t seem to rise… But I was determined to have a loaf of freshly baked bread so I carried on with the recipe. Two loaves went into the oven… two hockey pucks came out.
I re-read the recipe and immediately saw my mistake. I bought regular yeast… the recipe called for rapid rise yeast. Oops. This is a good example of what happens when you only skim the recipe. Read the ingredients and instructions thoroughly, people.
I considered going back to the store for the right yeast, but it was getting later in the day and I was running out of time. If I didn’t figure something out we’d be having a pile of turkey on a plate for dinner. Not scrumptious.
I stood in the kitchen scrolling through my pins in a mild state of panic when I saw this:
Hooray! This pin saved the day for sure. I must have pinned it a while ago (or during a 3 a.m. bleary-eyed baby feeding) because I had forgotten it. Luckily, I had the right yeast for this one…and I already had the rest of the stuff.
I realized halfway through that I only have one Pyrex mixing bowl and I was using that to mix the dough…Thankfully, this time my lack of attention-paying wasn’t a total deal breaker. I found a couple of Pyrex baking dishes and thought, close enough. I think that’s why mine didn’t poof up as much as the picture (maybe it had too much room?) but I still had two loaves of freshly baked bread so who cares?
I’d like to say I had the self-restraint to put them on a cooling rack and walk away but…Nope. I couldn’t help but slice into one of the loaves…burning the tips of my fingers in the process.
Normally I’d tell you to run out and buy some yeast so you can make this bread right now…but I don’t know if that’s such a good idea. See, yesterday afternoon I had two freshly baked loaves of bread. Yesterday evening I had only one**. That’s a lot of carbs, y’all.
It doesn’t end there…I made brown sugar french toast this morning and I intend to make garlic bread tomorrow. The possibilities are dangerously endless with this particular bread.
I do think I’d like to alter the recipe slightly, though. I’m not a fan of the flour on top… Next time I think I’ll try brushing on some melted butter with some herbs or finely minced garlic. I think you could add cheese to this as well.
This pin absolutely gets a big ol’ thumbs up from me. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up on the Amish bread yet, because had I not been a bonehead I think it would have turned out ok.
**In my defense, I DID NOT eat the entire loaf. The BF came home last night after running errands and said he wasn’t hungry but I still forced him to eat a bite of bread. Yes, I realize that means I still pretty much ate the whole thing by myself, but not technically.
Also, I didn’t just stand in the kitchen stuffing bread in my face like a rabid badger (um…what?). I had a couple of turkey and swiss sandwiches. Ok, and I probably ate “just a little bite” of bread every time I went into the kitchen.
I’m fairly certain I may have a new chin.