Twice-Baked Potatoes

Yuuummm!!!

I was watching a show on the Food Network the other day, and the chef was making twice baked potatoes for a tail gate party. It sounded so good. Especially smothered in cheese! We all know how much I like cheese.

Potatoes fresh out of the oven.

They don’t look so pretty – I’m not sure how they ever would look so pretty. But it doesn’t matter because they are absolutely scrumptious!

The basic concept for twice baked potatoes is to bake them once (duh!) at 400 degrees. Then you scoop out the middle, leaving just a tad of a border so they don’t fall apart, and mix the middle of the potato with good stuff, like cheese and chives and oregano. If I had the energy, I would have added sauteed onions and garlic with mushrooms to the mix, but instead I just added the dried versions.

Bake the potatoes again for another 20 minutes until the cheese is golden – oh and did I mention the bacon? That makes it salty and crispy and more scrumptious. I think I died and went to heaven.

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Melanzane alla Parmigiana con Carne

That title? Just means eggplant parmesan with meat. But I got it out of a cookbook of Italian favorites, and it is so good. I don’t think I’ve had eggplant parmesan that good. And I’ve never had it with meat. The recipe calls for a couple things I didn’t have, so I improvised with spices. And took down the amount of some ingredients. Either way it was so good!

The eggplant parmesan after it came out of the oven, cheesy and bubbly.

The changes I made from the original recipe include not adding italian sausage – I added italian seasoning, basil and rosemary, as well as a little chili pepper for some heat. I also¬† used ground turkey instead of ground beef, which saves me some calories. I didn’t have enough mozzarella or fresh parmesan, so it probably isn’t as cheesy as the recipe originally intended, but it was still good. The recipe also calls for canned tomatoes, which gave the meat a sweet taste.

Overall, I give this recipe an 8 out of 10. It’s not the healthiest, but it is filling, and tastes amazing with a salad. If done exactly to the recipe, it would probably be even better.

Stuffed Pork Chops – a complete experiment

Knowing the basics can be essential. You can’t break the rules until you know the rules, right? So I knew I wanted stuffed pork chops – something different from the BBQ pork that I’ve been making. But what to put in it?

Egg. Yes, that holds it together. Breadcrumbs. To absorb the egg to hold it together. Veggies. Duh! Spices. Even more obvious – that’s how I cook. The correct combination of the bunch was the trick. I felt like I was doing a science experiment.

It doesn't look highly appetizing, but it tastes AMAZING.

It doesn't look highly appetizing, but it tastes AMAZING.

After talking to mom about her ideas on the topic, we came up with garlic and onions, essential in almost any super tasty dish that involves other veggies. Carrots, grated, not chopped. They’d cook faster that way. And I don’t like to wait. Celery, for a little crispness; mushrooms…because they’re awesome. On to the spices. Oregano, to give it a smoky flavor; salt and pepper, of course ( that’s another one of those essentials); sage for it’s unnatural and earthy flavor that doesn’t get the pleasure to be in a lot of the dishes I make; parsley to bring out the flavors of the other herbs; basil to go with the oregano. I might have missed something there…Here’s the recipe.

Part two of the experiment. To grill or to bake? I had two different cuts of pork chops – both which were a pain in the butt to butterfly. Note to cooker: don’t use pork chops that you want to butterfly that have a bone, it’s rather difficult. Therefore, the smaller, boneless pork chops were butterflied, stuffed and grilled, ready in about 15 minutes. The thicker cut, bone-in pork chops were butterflied to the best of my ability and baked at 350 degrees. That took closer to an hour. And frankly? The grilled ones tasted better. Maybe baking the pork chops in some chicken stock too? They were surrounded by the stuffing though…curiouser and curiouser.