Simple Sunday Fare

Hey everyone,

Yes, I’ve been so MIA even I missed me, lol.

Feeling as if my life is one distraction after another these days. Falling into that unproductive rut has been such a downer, I’m currently in near-total avoidance mode. That’s got me MORE bummed so now I’m kicking my own butt out of the hole (no easy feat to move this much mass, I promise). The French Open Tennis Championships, kids, their friends, gardening, the house–none of it is any help re: getting me on track.

The first zucchini blossoms–so early this year–and tonight’s dinner delicacy. (Recipe at my website–dee-lish! Just make sure to scroll down the page a little. :))

See how DBD (Distracted by Dust) I am? Anywho, This 30-40-minute recipe/meal was due to post on my blog two Fridays ago, as promised to my online friend and cooking aficionado, Stephanie. (Check out her blog and some of her awesome recipes: comfort food from scratch, and many dishes/desserts from typical household ingredients—my favorite kind.)

Once Stephanie took added a part-time job (cooking, of course) to everything else I’m sure she does, she asked for quick, from-scratch meals that could be made in a 30-40-minute time frame. Here’s the one I offered. Hopefully, some others found their way to her sooner! (Sorry, no photo of this one.)

Pork Chops with Zucchini, Onions and Rice (serves 3-4)

For the rice: white or brown rice (1 cup)

2-2/3 cups water

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

butter or olive oil (optional)

In a small saucepan you can cover tightly with a lid, bring water and seasoning(s) to a boil. Keep flame on high and add rice. Stir continuously for one minute then lower heat completely. Cover and let rice steam until done (about 23 minutes). When finished, keep rice covered for at least five minutes to allow all the water to be absorbed. Fluff with fork then cover and set aside. (Please note: brown rice will take about 40 minutes to cook.)

For the zucchini and onion:

2-3 zucchini (about8 incheslong and 2-3 inchesthick) cut into 1-inch pieces

1 med or large onion, chopped

canola or olive oil

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste

Over medium flame, heat a large frying pan and add enough olive (or canola) oil to just cover the bottom of the pan. When hot, sauté the veggies to desired doneness. (You can also coat with cooking spray and roast in a 400˚F for about 20 minutes. This cuts back on oil—and calories—and brings a unique sweetness out of the vegetables. Stir at least twice while veggies are in the oven.) Set aside.

Meat: (At least 4) boneless pork chops (boneless chicken breast or top sirloin make nice substitutes here, but you may want to marinate them in Italian salad dressing or Worcestershire sauce and olive oil, respectively)

salt/pepper/Adobo to taste


fresh parsley

small clove of garlic, finely chopped

olive oil (1-2 tbsp, or to taste)

Flatten 4 boneless pork chops to desired thickness. Season with salt/pepper/adobo to taste. Spray a cast iron (or heavy aluminum frying) pan with cooking oil and heat over medium to high flame until a drop of water dances then evaporates. (Pan should be hot enough to sear the pork chop when it makes contact with the pan.) Place pork chops on pan and cook about five minutes before turning over. Cover and cook another 5-10 minutes, until cooked through. Transfer to plate on which you’ve already mixed together oregano, parsley, garlic and olive oil. If you like, add juices from the meat to the plate too. Turn meat to coat.

That’s it! Serve immediately with veggies and rice. (Hint: If you’re using rice you made the day before, stirring together the rice and veggies in a frying pan coated with olive oil for a quick stir-fry. Yum!

Some easy substitutes for your sides: peas with onions and bread crumbs (see this post for how to on the peas) and a microwave-baked potato. (Yes, I much prefer oven-baked but at 7-10 minutes as compared to 6o in a conventional oven, the former speed-cooking method wins). Another thought: making the rice, chopping the veggies and pounding those pork chops the day before will cut your cooking time that much more! Finally, having your favorite crusty bread frozen (wrapped in foil and ready to pop in a 400-degree oven (Fahrenheit) for 10 minutes saves a trip to the bakery too).

Thanks so much, everyone. I appreciate your indulgence and hope you’ll try this very simple meal. Let me know how you made out. Any variations on the theme? Housing some awesome recipes at your blog? Share links in the comments!

And while we’re talking about sharing, please help this girl get ’round the web just a little faster by clicking one of the SHARE buttons below. (Assuming you liked this post and deemed it worthy of being thrust beyond my tiny corner of cyberspace!)

Have a great day! Go Rafa!


Recipe Recap–Just in Time for Christmas!

Hello friends!

We’re winding down to Christmas and getting close to cooking time. Because life does things its way–and today I’m blessed with the ability to take what it brings and make the best of it–I wasn’t able to post the recipe I wanted to share. Here, though, are two I’ve run before: my super-easy stuffed mushrooms and make-ahead rosemary-wine chicken. And fans of pumpkin, check out this page at my website: you’ll find recipes for creamy pumpkin pie, cheesecake and cookies, too. 🙂

Now here are the easiest stuffed mushrooms ever: simple, elegant and absolutely delicious! Makes a great appetizer or side dish. (Stuff a Portobello and you have an instant meal!)

10-oz package white mushrooms (not sliced)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½-2 cups seasoned bread crumbs (add more as needed)
grated cheese (I use Parmesan)
fresh or frozen parsley (optional)
canola and/or olive oil
¼-½ cup white wine (or to taste; optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Remove stems from mushrooms and set aside. Under gently running water* wash the stems, carefully rubbing off any dirt by hand or using a mushroom brush. (Those can be purchased anywhere cooking gadgets are sold, but more easily found in a store like Bed Bath and Beyond. The brushes look like surgical brushes—a great substitute for those who have access to them . I simply wash them by hand.)

*Some folks don’t wash mushrooms—they simply brush off the dirt so that the mushroom doesn’t get mushy. I can’t go for that. Moving the cap or stem in/out of gently running water wets the flesh enough to loosen the dirt. The underside of the cap is occluded by the stem and can only have so much dirt in it. Soaking that part will make your mushroom soggy; keeping the round part of the cap upright under the water will easily eliminate this problem. Air dry each piece on a wire rack while making the stuffing. BTW, you can stuff them slightly damp.

Okay, the stuffing:
In a mini-food processor (or by hand) mince all the mushroom stems; add the garlic and continue processing until finely chopped. (It will look like a lot. Don’t worry—mushrooms really shrink when you cook them.) Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in bread crumbs, cheese and parsley.

Coat a 10- or 12-inch frying pan (preferably non-stick) with cooking spray then with enough oil to coat the bottom. Heat the oil (and the wine) over medium heat. Add the contents of the bowl, stirring to coat everything and moisten it. Saute for a minute or two and remove from heat.

Using a regular teaspoon (not a measuring spoon) stuff the mushroom caps with the mixture. You can level off the stuffing or mound it—your choice; depends on how much stuffing you have.

Coat a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place caps (stuffing side up), if necessary, layer them across the spaces formed by the bottom layer (or get another pan). Cover with foil** and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 375˚F, or until mushrooms are tender. Serve immediately.

**At this point, you can refrigerate and bake the next day. Leftovers can also be refrigerated and reheated in the microwave.

As always, I thank you all for stopping by. Please keep someone (or two) very near and dear to my heart in your prayers–have a great day!


Fridays are for Fun–and Comfort Food Too :)

Friday is here again! Happy upcoming weekend, friends: hope it’s restful, fun, productive—whatever you want it to be!

So what’s more fun than a simple, comfort-food recipe (especially when I get to eat it, lol)?

This one can do breakfast, lunch or dinner—and is ready in ten minutes or less. Keep in mind, this is not the best choice for anyone watching their cholesterol count as is, but can easily be adapted to be more heart-healthy.  This also works for those who abstain from meats and makes a great Friday meal during Lent.

What you’ll need:

One slice multigrain bread

One egg plus egg whites (or only egg whites)

One slice cheese of choice (I like white American; a low-fat, 2% slice works well too)

Cooking spray and/or oil (I like canola)

Put it together: 

 Spray a non-stick frying pan and add a teaspoon or so of oil; tilt to coat pan.

Toast bread and cover it with cheese.

Heat pan over medium to high heat. (Don’t make pan so hot egg burns once you drop it in.) Crack egg into pan and add as many egg whites as you like. (I always add one). When white is set gently turn egg over and continue cooking until yolk is as cooked as you like. (Soft—but not runny—for me.) Remove from heat, gently place egg on toast/cheese. Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve hot and enjoy! (I love to dip the bread into the yolk. Maybe it’s an Italian thing?) Fruit and coffee round this out beautifully and often keeps me un-hungry for up to four hours.

What are some of your favorite, simple meals? Share them here! (If we get enough, we can collect them into a freebie pdf cookbook and offer it on Amazon or Barnes and Noble? What do you all think?)

 All the best!