Monday, January 30, 2012

Country-Style Pork BBQ Ribs

Sometimes I think I should have been born in the south.  Then I think I would be 300 pounds if I had been born in the south!  I love me some BBQ of any kind just the same!  I've tried many different rubs, BBQ sauces and methods of cooking never reaching that desired flavor and tenderness with a partially crunchy exterior -- until last week! 

It was a fluke honestly.  I had forgotten to think about dinner.  When I realized what my menu choices were, I was bummed because I usually cook my ribs in a crock pot for HOURS, and I only had a couple hours left until dinner.  I was going to attempt a new rub but nothing was jumping out at me.  I had found one online years ago that I liked but didn't print it out and cannot find it again (Food Network person that no longer has a show).  When I was younger, we used to visit family in Florida.  My uncle made a BBQ sauce out of a mixture of things.  I've used it occasionally on hamburgers and other things we've grilled.  I like the flavor, so thought I'd just use that since I was in a bind.  It turned out to be the most wonderful thing EVER!

Country-Style Pork BBQ Ribs

3/4 c Open Pit Original BBQ sauce
1/3 c ketchup
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 pounds country-style pork ribs

1.  Preheat grill on high.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix first six ingredients in a bowl.  Generously baste ribs with BBQ mixture on all sides.  Grill ribs only to sear outside to desired amount.  Reapply BBQ mixture as you turn the ribs to grill other sides.  Do not grill ribs until completely cooked.  Should only take about 10 minutes.

2.  Remove ribs from grill.  Place them in a 9x13 pan and cover the pan with aluminum foil.  Poke a few small holes in the aluminum foil.  Continue cooking ribs in a 300 degree oven for 2 - 2 1/2 hours.

Country-style pork ribs have more meat on them the traditional ribs we think of.  Feel free to try this method with other ribs, chicken, pork roasts or tenderloins.  I'm pretty sure it will be yummy!  You could also substitute your favorite BBQ sauce in the recipe above.  (Note: The sugar helps attain that wonderful crusting on the ribs exterior.)  We ate these to-die-for potatoes along with our ribs.

Due to my camera's untimely death and my cell phone's poor picture quality, enjoy the picture above I found on Bing images.  Please try not to drool on your computer. =D

Black Bean & Veggie Salsa

Had this at the hubby's family Christmas.  It was so light and refreshing.  I've already made it twice since -- once as an appetizer, once as a side dish!  I love having leftovers to snack on during the day too.  Think original recipe called for black-eyed peas, so adapt it however you like.

Black Bean & Veggie Salsa

Black olives
Red onion
Green, yellow and red peppers
Black bean (drained and rinsed)
Italian dressing

Dice up olives, onions and peppers and place in a large bowl.  Add drained beans.  Pour Italian dressing on top and mix together.  Marinate for several hours or overnight.  Drain and serve with tortilla chips.

To help give you portion estimates, I used a half can of olives, small red onion (because we aren't big on either), a whole pepper of each (literally the whole thing except the stem/seeds), a whole can of beans and about 1/2 cup of dressing.  I just keep pouring it on until it's covered nicely.  The veggies will add liquid once it marinates for a while, so that's why you drain the salsa.  I just drain it with a colander over the sink and pour it back in the same bowl to serve.  Marinating overnight is best or all day if you plan to serve it in the evening.

Bought everything at Aldi, so the cost isn't too bad for the amount it makes.  We use the light dressing, so other than salt (from olives and chips) it's fairly good for you!  Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Cheesy Bacon Potato Rounds

So I've found Pinterest.  Those of you that know what that is . . . nuff said.  For those of you that don't, check it out online.

I found this recipe a couple days ago and decided to pair it up with BBQ Ribs and Herbed Corn with Mini Cinnamon Rolls for dessert.  Kinda wished I would have made a salad for some light freshness, but this was BY FAR one of the best meals I've eaten in a while -- partially because of the ribs which I will share as well. Later.

I will put my notes in italics next to the original recipe since I took a few short cuts.

Cheesy Bacon Potato Rounds

4 baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices (cut slightly thinner -- heavy 1/4")
1/4 cup melted butter (spray butter)
8 slices bacon - cooked and crumbled (bacon bits)
8 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese (colby jack)
1/2 cup chopped green onions (optional - only hubby does onions)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush both side of potato slices with butter. Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. (season with salt and pepper)

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides, turning once. (baked 20-25 minutes on stoneware, no turning, fork tender)

When potatoes are ready, top with bacon, cheese, and green onion; continue baking until the cheese has melted.

Photo from Pinterest

Monday, January 23, 2012

Herbed Corn

My sister made this recipe for our Christmas dinner last month.  She wasn't too crazy about it.  It was a bit too overflavored, but I've adjusted it and now it's one of our favorites!  I like it because I can buy the cheap frozen corn instead of the steamfresh kind I'm used to buying.  Adding all the seasoning covers up that "cheap" flavor that comes along with the cheap corn.  Did I say cheap too much?!?  Sorry.

The recipe is written to feed an army.  I'll include it "as is" and then tell you how I make it.

Herbed Corn

12 cups frozen corn
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

In a large saucepan, combine corn and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 4-6 minutes or until corn is tender. Drain; stir in the remaining ingredients. Serve warm.


If you want to keep the types of spices the same, I would recommend using a half recipe of the spices listed for a large bag of corn.

Half "Spices" recipe:

1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme


I did not include the dill weed or the salt, and I used dried ingredients instead.  I think I cut back on the parsley as well.  In a normal world I wouldn't, but my kids freak out when there is green stuff on their food.  Oh, and my corn cooked WAY longer than 4-6 minutes.

Here's the link to Herbed Corn on

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu

When I made out my menu for the last couple weeks, I warned my family that we would be trying new food.  No one wants to give me suggestions lately.  I think their favorites are even getting old.  They loved the Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops we tried last week, and this dish was another favorite.  I'm trilled they are excited to eat dinner and I have new menu items to chose from.  I almost didn't feel like cooking anymore.

We've eaten Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole before and the $1 breaded Chicken Cordon Bleu you can find at Aldi, but I don't really care for either.  So I was excited to try this recipe since these are flavors we like.  I do have to say it was rather fun beating the snot out of the chicken!  (Not literally, of course.)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 slices Swiss cheese
4 slices cooked ham
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 7x11 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Pound chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness.

3. Sprinkle each piece of chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place 1 cheese slice and 1 ham slice on top of each breast. Roll up each breast, and secure with a toothpick. Place in baking dish, and sprinkle chicken evenly with bread crumbs.

(On the left is my "spread" to make this recipe -- chicken already pounded out.  I love the sectional plate, albeit Toy Story, for coating the chicken roll-ups in breadcrumbs.  The picture on the right is the chicken roll-ups ready to go in the oven.)

4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink. Remove from oven, and place 1/2 cheese slice on top of each breast. Return to oven for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Remove toothpicks, and serve immediately.

Special Note:  I purchased 5 slices of cooked ham at the deli and cut them in half to fit on the chicken.  Next time I will have them cut them about 2xs the thickness of regular sandwich slices because the hubby wanted more ham flavor.  I used chicken tenderloins rather than chicken breast because that's what I had.  I think I liked them better anyway because they were great portion sizes for the kids and they cooked in about 20 to 25 minutes rather than 30 to 35 minutes.  I also rolled the chicken roll-ups in breadcrumbs rather than sprinkling them.

I have had two people (family and friend) already try this recipe, and they also gave it rave reviews!

We had Smashed Potato Pancakes and herbed corn (come back next week for that recipe) with our Chicken Cordon Bleu.  Don't think we'll be making the potato pancakes again.  It's an easy recipe in the aspect that it's not complicated, but it takes a long time to make (and I even used leftover mashed potatoes).  And I prefer not to load my body with that much grease!  (Recipe calls for 3 Tbs, but I had to keep pouring and pouring and pouring in more to get the pancakes to brown.)  Curious to know what YOU would serve along side this recipe??

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pinapple Grilled Pork Chops

I'm tiring of making the same meals, so I picked something new to make this week.  We tend to revolve around the same type flavors, so I thought I would pick something a little outside the box.  It went well and suprisingly all but one person ate the pineapple!  My hubby and I agree we'd lower the amount of soy sauce (a little too salty for us).

Pineapple Grilled Pork Chops

1 (8 ounce) can pineapple rings, juice drained and reserved

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4 pork chops
1 pinch ground black pepper

1. Mix together the drained pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder together in a large plastic zipper bag, and smush the bag a few times with your hands to mix the marinade and dissolve the sugar. Place the pork chops into the marinade, squeeze out any air in the bag, seal it, and refrigerate overnight. Reserve the pineapple rings.

2. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate.

3. Remove the chops from the marinade, shaking off excess, and grill until browned, the meat is no longer pink inside, and the meat shows good grill marks, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Brush several times with marinade and let the marinade cook onto the surface of the meat. Discard excess marinade. While the meat is grilling, place 4 pineapple rings onto the grill, and allow to cook until hot and the slices show grill marks; serve the chops topped with the grilled pineapple rings.
Photo found online.  Recipe found at

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Guess this is one of those "from the heart" posts.  Just sharing what's been going through my mind as this new year has begun.

Last year, the Lord impressed Isaiah 26:3 (Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee) on my heart.  I had a feeling deep inside that it wasn't going to be an easy year and that the Lord was going to show me a lot of things.  I've mentioned this on Facebook already, but those closest to me can attest to the fact that amidst difficult times this year (death of a childhood friend and housing issues to name a few) I possesed peace that was none of my own doing.  Looking back on 2011, I can see many times the Lord gave me peace, where my faith was stregthened and I learned to trust Him more.

This year, the Lord has impressed "Joy" on my heart.  Haven't quite found a theme verse yet.  Guess I'm making my way through the Fruit of the Spirit or so it would seem.  Recently, I've heard of Ann Voskamp and her book, One Thousand Gifts.  I've only vaguely looked into it and am currently trying to get a copy of her book, but this is the jist of it.  She wrote a book out of a tramadic situation in her childhood.  She gives you "a dare to live fully right where you are" and count the blessings/gifts every day in your life. 

‎This is a quote from a post she wrote for (in)courage.  (I would encourage you, especially busy moms, to read this whole post.)  "Wherever you are, count your blessings, collect gifts, count it all joy. Because there’s no way to enter into His courts but through the gates of Thanksgiving — and it’s only in His presence is fullness of Joy!"  She offers "A Year of Graces" free printable on her website where you can write down (or download a free app) to keep track of your blessings.  There is even a child's version to encourage your children to be grateful. 

I'm excited about studying Joy and making it part of my every day life.  Hope you'll join me or pray about what the Lord would have for you in 2012!


Side note: This is not endorsed by SRBC.  I have not read her book.  I do know it references non-KJV Scripture -- I always keep my Bible along side a book like that so I can look up the references in the KJV.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Easy Platz (Coffee Cake)

Every week we bring in a breakfast food for my husband's College and Career Sunday School Class.  Most of the time we bring in something homemade, so I am constantly looking for new recipes.  This is a recipe I found (on my trusty site, a couple years ago -- it's simple, light and smells wonderful coming out of the oven!  I was recently asked for the recipe, and thought I'd share it on the blog too.

Platz is apparently coffee cake with fruit and crumbs (per my search online).  One of my definition options lead me to this blog, Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  I really enjoyed looking through their blog.  I will definitely be trying some new recipes!  For their version of Platz, click here.  Their crumb topping is slightly different than this recipe.

Easy Platz

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white sugar*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup margarine (I like using butter)
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1 cup blackberries, raspberry or blueberries

*can be decreased by 1/4 to 1/2 cup

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch square pan.  (I use a 9x13 jelly roll pan.  The key is to keep the dough about 1/2" thick.  From the reviews, it looks like the original recipe is incorrect.)

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 3/4 cup of crumb mixture, to be used as a topping for the cake. Mix eggs and milk together and then blend into remaining mixture in bowl.

3. Spread batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle blackberries evenly over the top. Sprinkle reserved crumb mixture over fruit.

4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.