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I don’t know what it is about this dish, but I really like it and make it frequently. I’m going to give you the recipe for two servings, so feel free to double or triple, etc. if you are feeding more . . . or a teenager.

  • Ingredients
  • Flour
  • Seasoning (at least salt and pepper, but whatever you like)
  • 2 pork chops (boneless or not, it doesn’t matter)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 15 oz. can kidney beans
  • 2 Tbsp. minced onion
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (I use ancho chile powder if I have it)
  • Water

Flour and season the pork chops. Heat a small skillet and add the oil. Brown the pork chops in oil and cook a little while. They don’t need to be cooked all the way through yet.

While that is happening, open your beans and drain them in a colander. Rinse with water. Drain well and pour into a small bowl. Stir in onion and chile powder.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

If you are using an oven-proof skillet to brown your pork chops, then remove the chops and stir in splash of water, enough to swirl the pan around and stir up the browned bits. Stir in the spiced kidney beans and place the chops on top of the beans.

If you are using a different baking dish, spray it with non-stick spray. Spread the kidney beans evenly across the bottom of the dish. Remove the chops from the skillet and settle them atop the beans. Splash a bit of water in the skillet and stir up the browned bits. Pour the water over the chops and beans.

Place either the skillet or the baking dish into the oven, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes until the meat reaches a temperature of 145 degrees F. This doesn’t take long because you’ve done much of the cooking already. The beans turn a bit crispy along the edges and are so, so tasty!

Dinner is served! Cheesy Vegetables, Pork Chops with Chili Beans, and Spicy Sweet Potatoes.

This is what happens when the grocery store pickup service makes a noodle substitution. And I’m very happy about it. These are mung bean noodles that go by various names: Saifun or bean threads or glass noodles or cellophane noodles. They are gluten-free. I received two packages and have made lunch three times so far. Please, no scoffing. I will be the first to acknowledge I have no idea what I’m doing. But I do know what I like and I like what I’ve done with these noodles. There are many recipes online for Ants Climbing a Tree and I started with the one at Saveur. The recipe then morphed because I couldn’t get the ingredients called for and that caused me to improvise.

  • Ingredients
  • 4 oz. (approximate) Chinese dried bean thread noodles*
  • Boiling water
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 3-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 3 Tbsp. Chinese bean sauce or oyster sauce**
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided (I use the low-sodium version)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 scallions, sliced

Cover noodles with boiling water and let stand for 4 minutes to soften. Drain and stir in sesame oil.

In a 12″ frying pan, heat canola oil and stir fry ground pork until cooked. Stir in ginger and garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, another minute or two.

Stir in red pepper flakes, bean or oyster sauce, 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then stir in noodles. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in 2 Tbsp. soy sauce and scallions. Serve warm.

Yield: 2 bowls

*I am seeing these sold in bundles and 4 oz. is 2 bundles. The packages I most recently purchased had three bundles, so I used two bundles each time I made this. What surprises me about these noodles is how well they stand up to the cooking process. They’re not mushy after all the softening and simmering. Amazing.

**The recipe calls for NO red pepper flakes and instead Chinese red chile bean paste. But I couldn’t find that. So the first couple times I made this using oyster sauce and red pepper flakes. Delicious. The next time I made this I had found Chinese bean sauce, but it’s not spicy. Oy! So, I kept using the red pepper flakes to spice things up a bit. Still Delicious! So there!

This is what I used as pictured. When I used oyster sauce, the color of the dish was much lighter, but still full of great flavor.

This is a super fast and delicious dish. The recipe started at OneGoodThingByJillee. Hers makes a ton, so I’ve cut it down and changed it slightly. I use Old El Paso brand Stand ‘n Stuff taco shells. There are ten shells in each box. In an 11×7″ baking dish you can fit 8 shells and that makes plenty for three people. They stand up beautifully, so there’s very little finagling. They are gluten-free. If you do not have access to these beauties, you’ll have to eyeball things to make it work. Jill has instructions on her site on how to make hard-shells from soft corn tortillas. I did try that one time, but I found it to be too tricky. The very best thing on Jill’s site is her recipe for taco seasoning and I make that ALL the time. I added a triple-recipe below.

  • Baked Taco Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 Tbsp. taco seasoning (or one store-bought envelope)
  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup (1/2 of a 15oz. can) refried beans
  • 8 Stand ‘n Stuff taco shells
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (sour cream, salsa, jalapenos, etc.)

Prepare an 11×7″ baking dish by spraying with non-stick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a frying pan, brown ground beef. Sprinkle with taco seasoning and then stir in tomato sauce and refried beans. Set the taco shells into the dish as pictured. Distribute the ground beef mixture evenly into all the taco shells. Sprinkle shredded cheese over all the shells. Bake at 400 degrees for ten minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with your favorite toppings. Voila! Done! Inhale!

  • Triple-Batch Taco Seasoning Ingredients
  • 6 Tbsp. chili powder (I use ancho chili powder)
  • 1-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • 3 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 3 Tbsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp. pepper

Mix all together and use 2-3 Tbsp. for each pound of meat. For tacos, I sprinkle it over cooked ground beef, then stir in a little water and cook until the water evaporates. I also use this mix on beef or chicken fajita-makings and other types of meat. I sprinkle it on before or after cooking, it just depends. No rules! This batch should last you a good long while.

I’m craving a grilled cheese sandwich, but have no bread. So . . . this should do the trick. The recipe is out of Suzanne Nightengale’s Electric Bread (1994, Innovative Cooking Enterprises). I first made this bread in October of 1999, back when I had a bread maker. All the recipes in the cookbook are made for electric bread makers, but I no longer have one and therefore do this my own way.

  • Ingredients
  • 1-1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast (3 tsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. dry milk powder
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. softened butter
  • 1/2 cup dried onions (FINALLY a use for the Costco-size!)
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. poppy seads
  • 3-1/4 cups bread flour

I use a stand mixer with a dough hook to make raised bread, but I will tell you both ways. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in powdered milk, brown sugar, salt, butter, dried onions, onion powder, pepper, poppy seeds, and 2 cups flour. Once it all comes together, let it mix on low for five minutes. If you are not using a mixer, stir for a long time to build the gluten.

If you’re using the mixer, gradually add flour and mix on low until the dough is no longer tacky or sticky. Use as little flour as possible. If you are not using a mixer, turn the dough onto a floured counter or table and start kneading. Knead until the dough is no longer tacky or sticky.

Grease a bowl and place the dough into it, then turn the dough to grease the top. Cover with cling wrap and let rise until doubled in size.

Prepare a 9×5″ loaf pan by spraying with non-stick spray or greasing. Punch the risen dough down and then shape into a loaf. Place the dough into the prepared loaf pan. Let rise until the loaf top is even with the pan top. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes or until it is a golden color all over and sounds hollow sound when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool for ten minutes. Remove from pan onto a rack. YUM!

The recipe says this bread, when stale, can be turned into some awesome croutons.

Yield: one loaf