Emily M. DeArdo

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Food Fridays

Food Friday 6: Pork chops with apples and onions

food, Food Fridays, recipesEmily DeArdo1 Comment

Continuing my apple theme here on Food Friday, here is one of my favorite pork chop recipes (besides this one). Apples and onions are a classic combination and they work well with the pork chops. Pork is really easy to overcook, so be sure you don't--keep an eye on them! Dry pork is really terrible. The recipe also calls for apple cider, so we're really getting the full apple effect here. (If you don't have cider, you can substitute water or apple juice.)

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Mustardy Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

from Dinner: A Love Story

Four pork chops, about 1 1/4 lbs., without bones, salted and peppered on both sides

olive oil, for the pan 

one apple, sliced

one large onion, sliced to the same width as the apple slices (You want these fairly thin)

two tbsp. mustard (dijon, whole grain, whole grain dijon....whatever)

2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. apple cider, apple juice, or water

Heat a large skillet with a lid over medium-high heat and add olive oil to the pan. When it's hot, add the pork chops and cook for four minutes on each side (they don't have to cook through). Remove the pork chops to a plate. Add the apples and onions to the skillet (adding more oil if needed), reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until soft, 5-7 minutes. 

Add the mustard, cider, and vinegar to the pan, and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a boil for one minute. Add the pork chops back in, nestling them in among the apples and onions, and reduce to a simmer. Put the lid on the pan, and let cook for five more minutes. When time's up, remove the lid, and serve. If the sauce is still too thin, remove the pork chops and boil, uncovered, for a minute. 

 

Note: the original recipe called for the apple to be peeled, but I didn't peel it. The apple skin has a good amount of fiber in it, so not only is it better to eat the whole thing, but it reduced prep work! 

 

 

Food Friday 5: A recipe for apple season

food, Food Fridays, recipesEmily DeArdoComment
apples.jpg

I actually have two recipes for apple season, but I want to share the second with you next week. 

This is a great time to see if there are any U-pick orchards or farm stands near you, because apples and so many other vegetables and fruits are peaking right now. Every year my parents make at least one trip to the fruit farm near us to buy cider (even peach cider!), apples, and other produce and locally-made products. So while you can always get apples at the grocery, when they're local and fresh, they're even better!

There are so many types of apples, it's enough to make your head spin.  I like Granny Smiths, Golden Delicious, Jonathans, Galas, Fijis, and Honeycrisps. You can taste test to see what you like best--I think it's fun to try the different varieties! Apples are high in fiber, vitamin C, and various antioxidants. So besides being delicious, there are plenty of health benefits in them. 

This year my bag of apples are BLANK HERE, and when I have the bag on my counter or in my fridge (and you can even freeze them for longer-term storage), I pull out my apple recipes. This first one is a very quick option for a filling breakfast the next morning and it takes less than five minutes to prep. Really. 

Overnight Apple Oatmeal

adapted from The Oh She Glows! Cookbook

2 apples

1 cup oats (I use steel-cut)

1 cup vanilla yogurt (you can use coconut or non-dairy yogurt if you want) 

Peel and core both apples. Grate one into a mixing bowl, and dice the other. Place the diced apple in the mixing bowl. Add the yogurt and oats and mix well. Place in the refrigerator over night (or for at least two hours). In the morning, you'll have a ready to eat breakfast, no cooking required! 

Food Friday 4: An Outer Banks recipe

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From  Our State  magazine 

From Our State magazine 

This is one of my favorite recipes from The Outer Banks Cookbook. Whenever I feel the urge to get the beach, but can't, I usually make this. Shrimp are one of my favorite foods, and they're a good nutritional deal too; they protein-packed (one shrimp contains about 3 grams of protein, and 3 ounces of shrimp is almost equal to a 3 oz chicken breast for protein, having about 20 grams), and provide important nutrients like selenium, Vitamin B12, and phosphate. 

This is a very, very easy recipe--it requires only one pot and, aside from the shrimp and Old Bay, these are probably things you keep around your house. (Unless it's my house, in which case, I always have shrimp and Old Bay!) Even if you don't like beer, try this. Trust me. 

Shrimp 'n' Beer

from The Outer Banks Cookbook by Elizabeth Wiegand

2 pounds shrimp, unpeeled

one 12-ounce beer (not lite)

1 cup water

1 medium onion, sliced

1 lemon or lime, sliced

4 garlic cloves, slivered

1 bunch parsley, coarsley chopped (or about 1/4 cup dried)

1 tbsp salt

2 tbsp Old Bay seasoning

1 tsp. red pepper flakes

1 tsp. whole black or mixed peppercorns

1 c. prepared cocktail sauce (your favorite brand)

Rinse shrimp and set aside to drain. 

In a large pot, add beer and all other ingredients. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, and allow to bubble for two minutes, reduice heat if necessary to keep it from boiling over. 

Make sure the beer mixture is at a raucous boil, then add the shrimp. Stir often, and cook just until the mixture returns to a boil and the shrimp turn pin. Drain. 

Serve in a large bowl, with an extra bowl for discarded shrimp shells and a small bowl of cocktail sauce.

NOTE:

Sometimes Old Bay seasoning is labeled "Chesapeake Bay seasoning" or "Chesapeake Seafood Seasoning". You can usually find it in the seafood section of the grocery store, or at places like Williams-Sonoma in the spice section. 

(And congratulations to Abby, who won a copy of Reading People! Thanks to all who entered!) 

Food Friday 3: Thoughts on Fruit

food, Food FridaysEmily DeArdoComment

There really aren't any recipes, here. Today I'm just being chatty. 

Everyone knows that we "should" eat many more fruits and vegetables than we do. The problem is most of us say we don't "like" them, or they're too expensive, or we never eat them all before they go bad, so we throw away fruit...

Here is my secret for eating more fruit: 

Get fruit you like to eat. 

That's it. 

I know, earth-shattering, right? 

Now, I know that this is not seasonal. This is not trendy advice. And I will say that if you live near a farmer's market or a fruit farm, by all means, go and get seasonal fruit when you can! It's usually the same price as at the grocery and it will taste great!

However, if you live, as I do, in a place where lemons and limes and bananas and kiwis, etc., do not grow ever in life, then...buy them. I don't do well with no lemons in my kitchen. They are vital to about every one of my favorite dishes, especially the quick ones. Lemons are magic. If you or your kids love bananas, then get them. Eat them. Enjoy them. Eat them like candy! 

I love to get a big bag of cherries and just eat my way through them. They're better than candy, some days. When I can find fresh berries, I do the same thing. They're yummy! They're healthy! EAT THEM!

If you don't like apples, don't buy them even if they are seasonal. If you hate a food, just don't eat it. That's waste. Buy what you like. I've found I like fruit that's small-ish, like cherries, berries, grapes...I can just pop them in my mouth. Apples are OK. They're a good choice to fill in the cracks at a meal, in my world. 

We're talking about eating well, eating good things for your body, in this series. No food, no matter how healthy, is doing you any good sitting on your counter posing for a Vermeer-ish still life. It's just not. 

Roesen, "Still Life with Fruit"

Roesen, "Still Life with Fruit"

Now, that being said--fruit does taste better in its season. But if you are buying it out of season, try to buy the ones that have good color, smell, texture. Learn what you should be looking for, and buy the pieces that fit that criteria as quickly as possible.

Also, there is nothing wrong with frozen or canned fruit! Just get the canned kind that doesn't have five million bits of sugar in the syrup. :) I ate a lot of fruit cocktail as a kid, and it's good! 

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Do what you can with what you have. Remember that seasonality does impart better flavors. But if you live in a place where seasonality would mean kale and rutabagas and potatoes for four months of the year, then be like Laura Ingalls Wilder and get an orange in your Christmas stocking. :) (Technically, blood oranges are a winter fruit, anyway! Score!) 

Also: be like the Italians and the Greeks, and have fruit as your dessert. (I think the French might do this too?) Have a little bit of orange or kiwi or something. Make it a treat. 

Eat what you like, like what you eat (to riff off of Life is Good's logo). Focus on eating the good stuff instead of the not-good stuff. Worry about seasonality and organicness later. 

 

Food Friday 2: Open Faced Avocado Sandwich

food, Food Fridays, recipesEmily DeArdoComment

Avocados are AWESOME. Really, they are! It's high in healthy fats (because we do need some fat in our diet, guys!) They contain more potassium than bananas, and are high in antioxidants. 

And did I mention it's delicious

One of the problems is that avocado flesh can become brown quickly once you've started to eat the avocado. So this recipe uses an entire avocado. All you need for this is a toaster (and you can probably do without the toaster, if you want). And it's really not even a recipe. It's so simple it's hardly even cooking!

One of the changes I made back in April was cutting out bread--but not entirely! I stopped eating pasta except on special occasions awhile back, and I honestly don't miss it. But I still loved cereal, bread, all that other carb goodness. And I've decided I can have it, but I have one piece in the bread basket. A soft pretzel is a treat, and usually when I'm having serious salt cravings in the summer (thanks to my CF genes, since my body doesn't regulate salt secretions appropriately. In the summer, I have to be sure I'm getting enough sodium, which means some not-so-healthy treats, like salty pretzels and popcorn, are important for that.) But sometimes you want a sandwich. Or toast. The key is to have one or two pieces--not four. 

I've started using Ezekiel bread (Trader Joe's carries it now! Yay!), which is good toasted. I don't really like it un-toasted. But you might. So try it. 

This is adapted from a Weight Watchers cookbook, and I've actually left out the prosciutto the recipe calls for, because I don't think it really worked here. But hey, if you want to try it, go for it. Just go easy on it. 

Open Faced Avocado Sandwich

Makes four slices 

1 ripe avocado

1 lemon, zest and juice (so zest it first!)

kosher salt

pepper

four slices regular bread or Ezekiel Bread

Toast the bread. While that's happening, split the avocado and put the flesh into a mixing bowl. Crush it with a fork to break the flesh into small pieces. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste, and combine with fork until well-mixed. Spread on toast. Place the rest of the mixture in a container such as Tupperware or Pyrex, and refrigerate. Can be used again the next day. 

 

Food Friday 1: Salmon with mustard dill sauce

food, Food Fridays, recipesEmily DeArdoComment

This is one of the easiest and most made recipes in my healthy food box. I hope it makes it to your house, too!

I love fish, almost all of it. And that's a good thing, because we can get a lot of great nutrition from fish, especially salmon. It's an excellent source of high quality protein (which keeps you feeling full longer), potassium, selenium, and vitamin b12. They're also a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to healthy brain, heart, and joint function, as well as general well-being. It's a power-packed bit of fish!

I know fish can be pricey, so try to find the best and most affordable source in your area. Even adding it to your diet once a week can reap great benefits. 

(And for the Catholics among us, it's good to stockpile fish dishes in the recipe boxes to use on Fridays during Lent, or every Friday, if you want to do that, or your diocese requires it.) 

This dish takes maybe 20 minutes, and 10 of those are preheating the oven. 

Salmon with mustard dill sauce

(from the book Dinner: A Love Story)

4 6 oz. salmon fillets, skin removed

kosher salt

pepper

1/2 cup Greek yogurt (any fat content, but I usually go 0%)

one lemon

1 heaping teaspoon dijon mustard

1/4 tsp. dried dill weed

 

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While that's happening, place the salmon on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. (If you have a stoneware baking stone, that's great for this too, and easy clean up!) Sprinkle salt and pepper over the fillets and roast for 10-15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, add the yogurt, salt, pepper, dill weed, and mustard to a mixing bowl. Add half of the lemon, whisk together, and add the rest of the lemon if needed. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. 

When the salmon's done, place it on a plate and top with the sauce. 

Notes

I use one fillet for me, and eat all the sauce. It's delicious and healthy and so filling. 

Roasted cherry tomatoes, or even raw ones, are good served along side this. You can also put them in a hot pan with some extra virgin olive oil and toss them around for a few minutes, until they start to blister/open, and serve. 

You can get fresh dill weed, but I prefer the dried, because it's more cost friendly (given how often I make this). 

 

New weekly series!

food, recipes, Food FridaysEmily DeArdoComment

So I've missed writing every week in Catholicism 101, but I haven't had any great ideas for a new weekly series, until recently. 

I'm going to be sharing healthy and easy recipes once a week. I know, there are five bazillion recipe sites out there. But I'm going to do this differently: one recipe a week, with some background about it, including why I love it. The recipe will be healthy and simple. It will not be overwhelming. It will cover dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even things you can take to parties that are healthy. 

Healthy in this context doesn't really subscribe to any particular bent. It's not paleo. It's not the Mediterranean diet. It's not vegetarian. It's just...simple, easy, yummy food that doesn't have a million ingredients. 

Since Easter, I've been implementing a new way of eating and I've lost 22 pounds so far. I'm really happy with this, but that doesn't mean that there haven't been hard parts. So I want to encourage people with these recipe suggestions, and show that just because you want to lose weight doesn't mean you have to abandon cooking, you don't have to use weird fraken-food substitutes, and it can still be yummy and delicious and simple

For a sample of what this will look like, this post is a good template. 

I'm excited to be sharing this with you--and maybe some food tips along the way? We'll see!