Twice Baked Potatoes and Spicy Pork

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Before I get to the recipes, here's what's happening:

Our school's spring musical this year is Once on This Island. I'm very excited!! We had auditions already and I did really well. I was asked to sing 2 times and I got called back to read. All pretty good signs in my book. Also, I heard from one girl whose mom is the choreographer, that I got a call back!! So I'll keep you posted as I find more out.

I'm also in our school's Christmas play. It's written and directed by my history, so it's really amateur stuff. It's A Sponge Bob Story, based off A Christmas Story. I did it for fun with friends and we're like a small band in it. It's a singing role so I'm happy.

Okay, recipe time.
I love that I'm getting back to making nice homemade dinners again. Too often it's much easier to fall into a routine of eating out or having fish sticks (cough cough mom..) or another frozen dinner. So this meal made me extremely happy. My mom begin the potato cooking process for the first bake while I did the rest. I also left the meat to her, since she always does a great job.

I loved loved loved the potatoes. Cheesy, creamy, mashy goodness. It was a big hit! The meat was fabulous as well. The rub is quite spicy but super great. My dad of course suggested less spice next time, but I'm always an extremist when it comes to starring ingredients. The meat was also very juicy and not dry like I was afraid it would be, because I'm always afraid pork is dry. Fact: I'm not a fan of pork. My mom surprises me though and at times I forget=).



Twice Baked Potatoes
from Betty Crocker's Cooking Basics

Cook time: 1 hour 15 minutes for first baking plus 20 minutes for second baking

Go and get it:
2 large baking potatoes (russet or Idaho), 8 to 10 ounces each
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
1/8 teaspoon salt
dash of pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 teaspoons chopped chives

What to do:
1. Heat the oven to 375. Scrub the potatoes thoroughly with a vegetable brush, but do not peel. Pierce the potatoes on all sides with a fork to allow steam to escape while the potatoes bake. Place potatoes directly on the oven rack.

2. Bake potatoes 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until potatoes feel tender when squeezed gently. Be sure to use a pot holder because potatoes will be very hot to the touch.

3. Increase the oven temperature to 400.

4. When potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them lengthwise in half. Scoop out the insides into a medium bowl, leaving about 1/4 inch shell in the potato skin.

5. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher, in an electric mixer, or by hand until no lumps remain. Add the milk in small amounts, beating after each addition. The amount of milk varies between the types of potatoes used.

6. Add butter, salt and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy. Stir in the cheese and chives. Fill the potato shells with the mashed potato mixture. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake potatoes uncovered about 20 minutes or until hot.

Makes 4 servings.



Dry Rub Pork Chops
adapted from Simply Recipes Mom's Perfect Pork Chops

Go and get it:
Dry Rub:
1/4 cup salt
1/8 cup pepper
1/2 tablespoon garlic
1/2 tablespoon oregano
1/2 tablespoon celery seed
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 tablespoon chile powder

Pork Chops:

1. Heat a large cast iron frying pan to medium high or high heat (hot enough to sear the meat). While the pan is heating, sprinkle dry rub spices on each of the pork chops. Using your fingers, rub the spices into the meat. Turn the chops over and repeat on the other side.

2. Once the pan is hot, add a teaspoon of oil to the pan and coat the bottom of the pan. Right before you put the chops into the pan sprinkle each side with a little salt, or you can salt the chops in the pan. Put the chops in the pan. Make sure they are not crowding each other too much. There should be space between the chops in the pan or the meat will steam and not sear properly.

3 Sear the chops, about 2 minutes on each side. Watch carefully, as soon as the chops are browned, flip them.

If you have chops that are a lot thicker than 3/4" (many are sold that are 1 1/2"-thick), you can put a cover on the pan and let the chops finish cook for 5 minutes or so.

3 comments:

  1. debbmarie said...:

    Pork snd Potatoes ... sounds fantastic! You are really doing a wonderful job developing your culinary skills! Debbie

  1. Sherry G said...:

    Thanks Debb! It's great to hear that kind of support from a fellow blogger=)

  1. Mary said...:

    Looks like a great meal. It's been a while since I made twice-baked potatoes. I wonder why because they are so good.

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