Saturday, January 05, 2008

Pork Chops with Tangy Cherry Sauce and Fantail Potatoes

As part of the Pantry Challenge, I'm going through my cabinets and finding things that have been in there a while and need to be used. On today's list was dried cherries. I had used most of the bag on the Cherry-Pistachio Bark I made last month. This recipe was simple and quick, and the only caveat for anyone trying it is that it's sweet. Now I like sweet things on my pork - apples, teriyaki, pineapple, etc. - so this was just up my alley.

Pork with Tangy Cranberry Sauce

1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup apple juice, divided
2 boneless pork chops
1/2 teaspoon butter
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a small saucepan, bring cherries and 3 tablespoons of the juice to a boil. Remove from heat; cover and let stand.
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook pork in butter and oil 3-4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove and keep warm. In the same skillet, bring the vinegar and remaining juice to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in cherry mixture; heat through. Return pork to pan; turn to coat.

To go with these, I made a simple baked potato recipe that's been in my notebook for years.

Fantail Potatoes

4 medium potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 Tablespoon melted butter
4 Tablespoon grated Cheddar cheese
1 ½ Tablespoon Parmesan cheese
2-3 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Peel potatoes if the skin is tough; otherwise, just scrub and rinse them. Cut potatoes into thin slices but not all the way through. Use a handle of a spoon to prevent knife from cutting all the way through. Put potatoes in a baking dish. Fan them slightly. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with butter. Sprinkle with herbs. Bake potatoes at 425F for about 50 minutes. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake potatoes for another 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned, cheeses are melted, and potatoes are soft inside. Check with a fork.

Still using up pantry items, I made dessert for Don (I'll probably have a small piece). I've had some marshmallows back in the back, getting old, plus a half-empty (half-full?) jar of chocolate peanut butter. I'd bought it at the commissary a couple of months ago because I just had to try it, and haven't eaten any of it. My daughter's eaten the half that's gone during some of her weekly visits. She can do without the rest. : )

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Treats

1/4 cup butter
1 cup chocolate-flavored peanut butter
40 large marshmallows
5 cups crisped rice cereal

Butter a 13 x 9" baking pan. In a large stockpot, melt the butter, peanut butter, and marshmallows over very low heat until all the marshmallows are melted. Stir in rice cereal and stir to mix. Quickly pour out into baking sheet, and flatten using your hands, which you dampen often with water (to help press them down and to cool them down). These will be ready to cut and eat within 15 minutes.

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