Smothered Pork Chops: Healthier Gravy

I promised to use the Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower) in a new recipe. First a song . . .

Zombie (mardi gras party basement clam jam remix)

Then the dish!

My mom was visiting and I wanted to cook for her. Like so many people in my generation, I am trying to eat better than my parents. I grew up on gravy smothered rice and liver and cube steak. When I told her that I bought pork chops at the Farmer’s Market, she asked me if I had any cream of mushroom soup . . . My mom loves cooking food with a can of cream of mushroom soup. I wanted to get the flavor without the salt and the calories in traditional gravy and saucy products.My white sauce seemed to be promising for my variation of an old classic.

This is a one pot dish. Use something large enough to hold soups. Everything will be cooked and reacquainted in the same dish.

The “Gravy”

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Garlic, leek, and mushroom

4 large mushroom caps

6-8 medium potatoes
3 cloves garlic
~4-5 cups Healthy White Sauce Alternative (White Beans and Cauliflower)

The Meat

3 large pork chops (about ½ to 1 inch)
salt/pepper/seasoning/herbs etc (customize your flavor, but make sure you season the meat!)


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Diced potatoes

Last time, I made a large amount of my white bean/cauliflower gravy and I froze it. While thawing a batch of my white sauce in the microwave, I chopped garlic, mushrooms, and potatoes. I set my veggies aside.

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Pork chops searing

I put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of my large pot and sauteed the garlic. With the heat on high, and the oil ready, I seared each pork chop for about one minute on each side. I put all of the meat back into the pot.

Next, I smothered the meat in the white sauce and brought it to a boil. Once it began to boil, I turned my burner to medium/low heat and covered it for about 20 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, I added my potatoes and mushrooms.

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Pork Chops, White Sauce, Mushroom, and Potatoes

I covered the dish and let it cook until the potatoes were tender, maybe another 10 minutes. Do not ruin the dish and overcook the meat, but also, make sure the pork is cooked thoroughly. I’d say 30-40 minutes, on medium low heat, is a safe amount of cooking time.

My mother was overjoyed and she also appreciated the zucchini and squash on the side. What a nice way to make a healthy alternative to a home cooked meal.

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Smothered Pork Chops

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Smothered Pork chops with Roasted Veggies and mojitos

August 4, 2011
Food, Recipe


Orange Glazed Lamp Chops

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Orange-marinating lamb chops

Inspired by another post by a good friend, Dinner Party: summer rolls, snails, smoked trout, shrimp, lamb loin chops and potatoes, and driven by a budget that cannot use generous amounts of Grand Marnier, I decided to try my own orange glazed lamb chops.

This marinade was easy.

2 medium/large lamb chops
2 tbsp olive oil
a handful of fresh rosemary
1 tbsp hot sesame oil (this will vary depending on your taste buds. It packs a punch)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped leek
juice from a 1/2 orange (save the other half for the cooking stage)

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marinating lamb chops

Combine all of the ingredients in a covered shallow dish. Evenly distribute the ingredients on the meat and shake the container. Re-rub-shake every 15-20 minutes for about an hour.

After about an hour, your meat is probably room temperature, and ready for the frying pan. I’m still learning lamb, but I think my method is working. I turned my burner on high. No oil was needed in the pan because I used it in the marinade.

I seared each chop for about one minute on each side. Then I turned the burner down to medium and cooked them for 5-7 minutes on each side. For the last turn, squeeze the juice from the other half of the orange. “They” say you should let the meat sit for five minutes before you cut into it. Again, I’m new with lamb, but the meal was phenomenal. See for yourself 😉

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orange-marinated lamb with roasted veggies



Food, Recipe


Shrimp Saag Remix

When I first started cooking, I experimented with Indian dishes. I loved the Saag that I ate at a local restaurant, but I knew it was loaded with heavy cream, butter, and everything delicious for me and bad for my arteries. I tried this recipe 🙂

My Shrimp Saag Remix is served on top of a mound of Carrot Sweet Potato Mash. It’s fairly easy.

Carrot Sweet Potato Mash


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Carrot Sweet Potato Mash


  • 4-5 Carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 Yams or Sweet Potatoes, peeled, chopped  into bite sized pieces
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • dash Cinnamon
  • dash ground Cloves
  • 2 tbsp butter Butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk

Boil the vegetable and ginger until the potatoes are tender. Drain and transfer to a bowl and add butter and almond milk and more spices. Mash with a whisk until ingredients are blended and similar to mashed potato consistency. Use more or less liquid for creamier potatoes.


For the Saag, I combined the following ingredients:

  • 4-5 stalks of leafy greens, or around 8 cups of chopped greens (spinach, kale, swiss chard)
  • Trifecta of Awesomeness (garlic, leek, ginger) I don’t measure (maybe 1/2 cup of leek, 1/4 cup ginger, 4 cloves finely chopped garlic)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

I sauteed the Trifecta until the leek was clear. Then I added the spices. I hear they activate when you place then in the hot skillet, before adding bulky ingredients. Once I could smell the spices, I added my greens. I cooked them until they were soft, but not soggy.

In another skillet, I cooked my shrimp (seasoned with curry and garam masala. I may have added Old Bay. There are similar ingredients.)

The Plate

topshrimpsaag 300x263   Shrimp Saag Remix

Shrimp Saag Remix











Try a garnish with fresh cilantro, thai basil, and greek yogurt 🙂

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I must cook with music playing 🙂

Head Over Feet (acoustic cover) – QueenEarth







This dish serves well as leftovers. I’ve eaten it with lamb, chicken, beef, and tofu. Season to your liking, but definitely, try this healthy Saag alternative.


June 10, 2011
Food, Recipe


Healthy Veggie-Stuffed Squid


When living in Greece, I developed a taste for calamari..  Not the tiny rubber band-sized rings so heavily coated in batter that you wouldn’t even notice if they’d left out the squid, except for the fact that the texture resembles a rubber band as well.  Not that kind.

The calamari in Greece was generally in thick slices or rings, lightly coated in batter, fried just until tender and topped with fresh lemon, so that you could still taste the squid.  MM.

You can see my attempt and this here.. though I admit the beer battering was heavier than necessary.  And I need a fryer.

The other way I enjoyed squid abroad was baked or grilled whole, stuffed with something delicious.  This could be crab meat, feta, dandelion greens, etc.  I decided I wanted to try something new and healthy with my squid and settled on this:  Baked, vegetable-stuffed whole squid.  The basic premise involves pureeing some of the vegetables to stuff inside the squid, then chopping the rest and adding a little tomato sauce and broth to the pan to bake the calamari in.


  • 2 whole squid (I used wild turbo squid from the H Mart)
  • 8 button mushrooms (half blended for the stuffing, half chopped for baking)
  • 1 yellow squash (1/3 blended for stuffing, the rest chopped for baking)
  • 3 or so stalks (tops) of a fennel plant (you can probably use any part, really). Blend half for the stuffing, chop the rest
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2-3″ section of leek
  • 3 Tbsp of fresh ginger
  • 1 can Canellini (white beans)
  • 1 leaf Kale or any other green
  • 4-5 stalks Chinese broccoli (you could alternatively use more greens like kale and regular broccoli, or sub some other crunchy and leafy veggie.  Chinese broccoli has both–crunchy stalks and leafy tops)  Blend 2 stalks/leaves, chop the rest for the baking dish
  • Tomato if you have it (dice and lay over the dish), if you have enough you can leave out the pasta sauce
  • 1/2 C tomato sauce or pasta sauce.  If you have homemade, this would make me happier.  I had no tomatoes so I had to use a jar of sauce, which is easier and still works.  You could just use a lot of fresh tomatoes.
  • drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • Season with: black pepper, oregano, paprika


Step 1: Make the stuffing

  • First puree the leek, garlic and ginger.  Set 1/3 of that aside to add to the baking dish, and put the rest in a bowl for the stuffing mixture
  • Next blend in a food processor (in batches, if necessary–it took me 2) 1/3 of a yellow squash, 3-4 mushrooms, 2 stalks of Chinese broccoli,  kale, and 1/3 of the can of white beans.  You should leave the mixture somewhat chunky, not completely pureed.

    IMG 0938 300x243   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Fennel, Mushroom, Squash in the food processor

  • Add all the blended ingredients to a bowl and mix together

    IMG 0942 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid stuffing: pureed mushroom/squash/fennel/ginger/garlic/leek/chinese broccoli/kale/white bean

Step 2:  Stuff the squid

  • Thaw and rinse the squid and pat dry
  • Turn each squid inside out.  One reason for this is so that you can clean it better, in case it hasn’t been completely cleaned.  You can try to rip off any extra membrane which ensures your squid will be more tender and less chewy.  The other reason is that the squid will tend to curl up outwards as it bakes due to the difference in texture inside and outside.. if you flip the squid inside out, it will curl inwards, holding the stuffing inside.
  • Use a toothpick to hold the ends together as you stuff the squid.

    IMG 0944 255x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Turn the squid inside out, place toothpicks at one end if both have holes in them, and stuff with mixture

  • Place squid in a baking dish and generously coat the stuffed squid with fresh squeezed lemon

    IMG 0946 300x228   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    After stuffing, use toothpicks to close up the ends slightly. Place in a pan and squeeze a lemon over each squid.

Step 3: Add the rest of the veggies and sauce

  • Chop the rest of the squash, 3 more stalks of Chinese broccoli, any tomato you have, and fennel and add to a bowl
  • Add the rest of the drained cannelini (white beans), and the rest of the blended garlic/leek/ginger mixture
  • Mix all ingredients with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • Spread veggies over the squid in the pan
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of pasta sauce
  • Add 1/2 cup or so of chicken or vegetable stock

    IMG 0948 300x225   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Cover squid with chopped veggies (chinese broccoli, squash, mushroom, white beans, garlic, leek), 1/2 C (chicke/veggie) stock, 1/2 C tomato or pasta sauce, drizzle of balsamic vinegar, paprika, oregano, black pepper

  • Season with fresh ground black pepper, paprika, and oregano

    IMG 0953 241x300   Healthy Veggie Stuffed Squid

    Squid baking

  • Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  Optionally uncover for the last 5 minutes of baking.  Cooking times may vary depending on how large your squid are and how thick your veggies are in the pan.


Serve each squid with veggies and sauce from the pan.  Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how big your squid and appetite are 🙂

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Plated squid and veggies. Add a squeeze of lemon.


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Baked stuffed squid

April 12, 2011
Food, Recipe


E-Z Dumpling Salad


This salad is  E-Z because you use pre-made dumplings instead of making your own.  (I used the frozen vegetable dumplings from Trader Joe’s.)   You could also make Not-So-E-Z Dumpling Salad by choosing to craft your own dumplings from scratch.


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slice up some veggies


Step 2:

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steaming some dumplings


Step 3:

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Tamari sauce, agave nectar, white balsamic, sriracha hot sauce


Step 4:

2011 03 31 18 41 11 225 300x200   E Z Dumpling Salad

You eat! You blog!



HINT: You can either dip the dumplings into the dumpling sauce, or use the sauce like salad dressing

ANOTHER HINT: I don’t really have a recipe for dumpling sauce except for this:  mix together a little bit of something vinegary, a little bit of something sweet (juice, honey, sugar, agave, etc), a little bit of something hot, and something soy-saucey.  Sometimes I dilute the sauce with a few splashes of water or mirin if the flavor is too INTENSE.

HOW TO MAKE IT BETTER: Pan frying the dumplings positively increases the taste, texture, appearance, and fat content of the dish.  Thai basil and fresh mint would add  leafy delight and sliced daikon would provide sweet/hot crunchiness.

April 5, 2011