pork-chopsIngredients:
4 All natural thick cut bone in pork chops salt and pepper to taste 1 pinch garlic salt, or to taste
1 onion, chopped I use organic Texas sweet onions
1/2 pound fresh Texas cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup of good red wine (can be left out)
1 Tablespoon of cooking oil or bacon fat
1-2 sprigs of fresh thyme
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic salt to taste. Preheat your cast iron over med-high heat once it is too warm to touch add 1T of cooking oil, I use bacon fat, brown the chops. Remove the pork chops add the onion and mushrooms, and sauté for one minute. Add the wine if you are choosing to use it, and stir for about 1 minute. If you choose not to add the wine add the fresh thyme and pour cream of mushroom soup over chops. Cover skillet, and add to the oven for about 15- 20 minutes, or until chops are cooked through.

mushroom-pork-chops

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10 Facts About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Skillet

Personal Chef and Catering Austin Texas

Cooks seeking alternatives to toxic non-stick cookware often find themselves in a bind. Stainless steel, which seems to be the healthiest alternative, is expensive, and it does not lend itself well to cooking eggs, pancakes and other dishes that non-stick cookware typically excels at. If you have not yet discovered the benefits of cast iron cooking, here are 10 reasons to buy and use a cast iron skillet.

1. Avoid Toxic Fumes– Replacing a non-stick skillet with a cast iron one allows you to avoid the toxic fumes that accompany most non-stick cookware. Cast iron can also replace aluminum cookware, which may also pose health hazards.
2. Use in oven – Besides the stove, you can use a cast iron skillet in the oven, at any temperature. This comes in handy for making corn bread, frittatas, and flat bread.
3. Nonstick – Surprisingly, a preheated cast iron skillet rivals the qualities of non-stick cookware, as long as it is properly seasoned and cared for. You can quickly move up this short learning curve by talking with employees at your local cookware store or by reading a book or Internet article about cast iron care.
4. Easy Clean up– Cast iron is easy to clean up. Not only does food easily lift off from cast iron cookware, soap is not needed or recommended, since it erodes the seasoning.
5. Health Benefits- You can actually boost your iron intake from eating food cooked in cast iron cookware. This vital mineral is crucial for maintaining energy levels, and it helps strengthen immune systems.
6. Inexpensive- Cooks looking to replace non-stick cookware often investigate stainless steel. However, a high-end, 12-inch stainless skillet runs well over $100, while a similar-sized cast iron one costs less than $30.
7. Food Cooks Beautifully– Using a cast iron skillet you can create restaurant-quality, homemade fish sticks, potato pancakes and French toast, complete with golden brown, crispy exteriors. Contrast this with non-stick cookware, which makes browning nearly impossible.
8. Sturdy/Wears well- Since it does not scratch, there is no need to use plastic utensils, and there is no fear of using your silverware to stir or scoop. It lasts for so long that many people still use cast iron cookware inherited from their parents and grandparents.
9. Any heat source can be used– In an emergency, cast iron cookware can be used over any heat source. As such, many disaster planning lists include cast iron as the survival cookware of choice.
10. Proven over years – It has been used for thousands of years. Natural News readers already understand how new technologies are often the least healthy, while those used by earlier generations are often more beneficial and more in line with how we are designed. Our cookware choice is no exception.
The Drawbacks of Cast Iron…Although there are many benefits to cast iron cooking, make sure to understand the drawbacks before you start: cast iron pans are very heavy; they require intentional maintenance in order to keep them rust-free and non-stick; and care is needed if you have a glass-top stove.
With that in mind, they’re still a great choice. Once you take the plunge, you will wonder why it took you so long to start!

Looking for a recipe for cast iron steak? Easy Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin

Central Texas Slow Cooker Rosemary Pot Roast

Personal Chef Austin Texas

Rosemary Pot Roast
Anyone from the Central Texas or The Hill Country area knows that there is rosemary in abundance. I love fresh rosemary and I have it growing everywhere and I have propagated plants to make even more plants. That is how much I love rosemary! They say that rosemary has many healing qualities as well as it helps keep bugs away too anyone here knows about those killer Texas Mosquitoes.

Pot Roast however is one of the all time favorite comfort foods and most people in the US absolutely love it. It has been a staple for many and also ways for moms to hide a few vegetables into their children’s diets. I really love the flavor of a good pot roast and vegetables medley with a hint of rosemary. Here is my pot roast recipe that I find is a really easy one to prepare and if you prefer not to have the red wine in it you can omit it from the recipe. The alcohol cooks off but it gives it a more rounded flavor if you do add it to the recipe.

Ingredients:

2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat cut into 2 inch size pieces
3-4 cans of beef broth
4 small gold or red potatoes, cut into 2-inch pieces
1-2 cups water
1-2 cups of baby carrots, rinsed
1 medium sweet onion, cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup of red wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, rinsed and patted dry
2 sprig fresh thyme rinsed and patted dry
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Directions:

Use about 2 Tablespoons of butter and rub the inside of your crock pot to ease the cleanup and to add some extra flavor. Add all of the veggies starting with the carrots and onions first then the potatoes. Add the meat and add the garlic powder, salt and pepper, then pour in the beef broth and wine. Add the tomato paste to the water and stir a bit to incorporate the paste in to a soluble and then pour on top of the already added items. Add the fresh rosemary and thyme and cover.

Cook on HIGH 4 hours or on LOW 8 hours or until beef is tender. If you are using the higher setting you will need to monitor so you do not run it out of water/broth. You do not want to burn. When meat is tender turn off the crock pot and let rest for about 10- 20 minutes and then serve. Enjoy.

Butternut Squash and Parsnip Soup with Maple Bacon Crumbles

Personal Chef Austin Texas

The fall is upon us again and you know what that means….. Root veggies. I love the fall as usual as most who follow our blog know that already. It is football season, and usually cooler weather is upon us as well as the holidays are right around the corner too. I love to have a nice hearty soup when the weather gets cooler it is a nice way to warm up and always a comforting dinner after the day is done. Everyone seems to like a good butternut squash soup, I just wanted to ass some parsnips to the recipe but you can go all the way with butternut squash if you prefer to omit the parsnip. I have actually made the soup with carrots and parsnip without the butternut squash it was rather sweet but still tasty.

 

Ingredients:

6 cups chicken broth

2 pounds butternut squash diced

1 pound of rinsed and diced parsnip

1/2 onion small diced

1/2 cup of cooked maple bacon

2-3 sprigs of thyme, stem removed

1/2 – 1 cup of heavy cream

1/2 tsp of allspice

1/4 tsp of ginger

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Sauté 1/2 sliced onion with a pinch of thyme in butter until soft. Add salt, pepper, 2 pounds diced butternut squash, 1 pound of parsnip diced, and 6 cups chicken broth along with the spices. Simmer until tender, then puree.

2. When pureed add the cream and stir until blended, salt and pepper to taste.

3. Top with crumbled bacon and serve.

 

Lemongrass Coconut Rice Recipe

CoconutRice TFN
Personal Chef Austin Texas

Ingredients:
1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk
1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemongrass powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1 pinch salt

Directions:
1. In a bowl you will add the rice and add cool water and rinse until clear.
2. Add all ingredients into your rice cooker and cook until done.

If you do not have a rice cooker and want to make this recipe using a sauce pan here are the instructions.

1. In a saucepan, combine coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until rice is tender.

**Garnish with black sesame seeds, roasted coconut flakes and either cilantro or chives if you have them.

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Easy Garlic Ginger Chicken Recipe

GarlicGingerChicken
Personal Chef Austin Texas

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 -2 teaspoon of fresh ginger
1 tsp of fresh cilantro or chives to garnish if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.
2. In small saute© pan, add your oil or butter and saute© garlic and ginger until it blooms.
3. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar and soy sauce. I usually add cilantro and even sometimes a curry just depends on my mood.
4. Place chicken breasts in the prepped baking dish and cover with the garlic ginger sugary soy mixture.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Convection Roast or Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until juices run clear. You will want to make sure you do not overcook because it could be dry, but make sure not to under cook either you never want to serve raw chicken. Garnish with chives or cilantro and serve with a rice dish as a side.

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Gourmet Beef Pot Roast Recipe

Beef Stew The Texas Food Network

You can make pot roast in a slow cooker if you wish but I like to make mine in a dutch oven. I am not saying that slow cooker pot roast is bad in anyway but I prefer to take the extra time to make it a little more special in my opinion. When you use the flour dredge you seem to get a more velvety sauce them using cornstarch thicken and it just gives it a better mouth feel. In my line of work I have definitely used both flour and cornstarch slurries and I can tell the difference, some people can and some will not notice.

I will sometimes add peas to this recipe to give it something a little different, the peas add a little sweetness to the recipe. If I am running low on potatoes or carrots I will use whatever I have in my pantry to make up the difference. I suggest you experience this for yourself, recipes are all about preference and using what you have as long as it makes sense and you like the ingredients you are using. I have added corn, tomatoes, poblanos, cilantro and peppers too to make more of a Mexican Beef Stew.

When cooking or developing new recipes I always have to play with the recipe to see if I can improve upon it, there have been many failures as well as many great new recipes 🙂 Have fun and enjoy the cooking process!

Ingredients:
3 pounds cubed beef stew meat
6 cups water
3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
6 stalks celery, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup large sweet onion, chopped
1/2 cup of red wine
1/2 cup of all purpose flour
1/3 cup of olive oil
1 can of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of fresh minced garlic
1-2 teaspoons fresh rosemary (preference – I love rosemary so I use 2)
1 teaspoon fresh parsley
1 teaspoon of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of salt and pepper (for flour bag)
1 large Ziploc bag

Directions:
1. Take your flour, salt and pepper and add to Ziploc bag and add stew meat and give it a good shake to coat the stew meat.
2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat your oil add your garlic and onion and cook for about 3-5 minutes until onion and garlic bloom, then add the beef and cook until brown.
3. Add your wine and tomato paste to deglaze the pan and cook for about another 5 minutes or so and then add your water, rosemary and thyme and additional flour left from Ziploc bag. Cook for about 45 minutes to an hour and a half or so until the meat is getting tender. This is creating your beef stock so you don’t have to add a bullion.
4. Add the potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot. Cover and simmer until done. Add salt and pepper to taste garnish with fresh parsley or additional fresh thyme. Serve with dinner rolls or cornbread, enjoy!

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