Thursday, January 9, 2014

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Pork Chops

My Facebook newsfeed always has a recipe someone posted or shared on to their wall. And every once in a while, something catches my eye. Or it gets shared by numerous friends and I see it every other post. This is what happened with the Teriyaki Pork Chops. Well, I should be more specific. The post I kept seeing was:

I have to admit, there were a few days I scrolled right past, but then after seeing it appear on my wall, shared by several friends, I got curious. I love everything crockpot. Meals made in the slow cooker are so convenient. Everything is just about ready when dinner time rolls around. So one day, I clicked it. It brought me to Mommy's Fabulous Finds (a mom, blogging about her fabulous finds/ideas). I scrolled through the recipes to see what all of the fuss was about. I gave a few "meh's" until I got to the Teriyaki Pork Chops. I stopped there because 1. we don't eat a lot of pork chops in this house and 2. I love anything teriyaki. The recipes looked easy enough but I didn't want to prepare it, then freeze it. So I bookmarked the page to come back to later. And later I did. Here is my version of the recipe with a couple of added twists. 

Original Recipe
Crock Pot Teriyaki Pork Chops
  • 4 pork chops, about 1 in thick\
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ⅓ cup chicken broth
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Sprinkle salt & pepper on pork chops if desired, place in a gallon-sized freezer bag. In a small bowl mix garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce, and chicken broth together, add to bag. Place flat in freezer, when ready to use thaw in fridge overnight. Empty contents into crock-pot and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 6-7 hours. 

A photo journey of my preparation of the meal.

In the crock pot I mixed together the minced garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce and chicken stock. I mixed well until all of the brown sugar was dissolved. 

After I had prepared the sauce, I got my chops ready. I bought four because two was not enough for this family of three. I seasoned each side of the chops with salt and pepper (I use Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper). While I was seasoning the chops, I had some oil (EVOO) heating up in my NEW stainless steal skillet (Christmas present - which I LOVE).

Once the chops were seasoned, I placed them in the preheated skillet to brown both sides. Browning (or searing) helps keep the meat moist when you cook it. 

After they were down browning, I placed them in the crock pot. I turned it on low and let them cook away! (Note: my crock pot seems to cook hotter on low than normal crock pots, so in the future I'll probably cook them for a shorter amount of time). 

During the cooking process, I also flipped them a couple of time to make sure the marinade/sauce coated both sides. 

Below is what the chops will look like when they are done cooking. 
When they were done, I removed them and placed them on a plate and then covered the plate with tinfoil to keep the chops warm. 

The liquid in the crock pot was still warm and had a lot of flavor. So I took out a bag of leftover spinach and threw the remainder of the bag in the pot. My crock pot has a "stop top" setting so I turned the dial over to that setting and started to let the spinach wilt. 

When it was done, I topped the chops with the wilted spinach and it was SO good. The spinach had soaked up the sauce nicely and that gave extra flavor to the meat when you eat the two together. 

For a side I made some Parmesan noodles. I just took a box of spiral noodles and cooked until al dente. When the noodles are cooked, ladle a few spoonfuls of the noodle water from the pot into a bowl. You will need this later. Drain the rest of the pot and put the noodles back into the now empty pot. Take 2-3 tbsp of butter (I use unsalted) and mix it in with the noodles. Here is where the starch water comes in handy. Your noodles may seem to be getting a little "dry" so take some of the starch water you saved from when you boiled the noodles and add it back in to the pot. This will help moisten the noodles. Then take your grated Parmesan cheese and add as much or as little as you like. I LOVE Parmesan cheese, so I mix quite a bunch in. Again, you may need to add some of the starch water to moisten the pasta back up. Make sure you only add a little bit at a time, not too much or the noodles will become soupy and we don't want that. The more cheese you use, the more starch water you'll need, so make sure to alternate so you get the right ratio. When you're done adding the cheese, season with salt and pepper. 

And voila! A delicious dinner!

I hope that you'll be inspired by this recipe! Make changes as you see fit as you make new discoveries each time you cook!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Welcome 2014

I have not been a very good blogger. I have a horrible tendency to get really excited about a project, start it, continue with it for a short amount of time, and then completely abandon it. I have great vision and then it all just fizzles. So, my goal is to KEEP posting in this blog as often as possible (I say that now).

Last year was a whirlwind of endings and new beginnings. The biggest news is that we BOUGHT OUR FIRST HOUSE! Now, while most people my age have already accomplished this, it's awesome for our family because it finally means we are stable. Instead of moving every 2-3 years, we are staying in one spot, for the rest of our lives. It's a little overwhelming knowing we closed a chapter in our lives, but exciting that a new one is beginning. Eric decided that the Army was just not for him anymore. And while I will miss some aspects of being a military wife, the stability is a huge sigh of relief. We started looking when Eric decided to not renew his contract. And looking took about two weeks until we found our HOME. We looked a few prebuilt homes and one we were seriously considering putting an offer on. But the work we needed to do to make it what we truly wanted was more than we wanted to take on. So we started looking at home builders. We looked at a few, but we finally found an affordable builder with a floor plan we loved. It took six months of waiting, but we finally moved in end of August.

It's OURS. We can paint the walls, put holes in the them, hang whatever we want and not have to worry about changing it back or losing our deposit when we move. We still haven't unpacked all of the boxes, but it does feel like HOME. What's even greater is that we love our neighborhood. Because of our move, I was able to reconnect with a childhood friend. It had been probably 20 years since the last time we spoke, but when we reconnected, it was like time never passed. It was great to hear about the 20 year lost and pickup where we left off. Because of this, we were able to meet the rest of our neighbors and found the piece that was missing in all of those other "homes". While we made great friends in Louisiana and Alaska, there's nothing like walking our your front door and having friends across the street. Brooke has made a lot of new friends and she loves that they are just a door knock away.

Eric also got a new job. He also received his BS in Business Management this past fall. I am so proud! Starting this January (tomorrow actually), he will begin classes to become certified to become a police officer. He has gone on a couple of ride alongs and loved it. So, when December comes, we will reevaluate where our lives are heading and make some important choices. 

Brooke started the first grade. She is now half way done with the year. She loves school. I am just hoping that enthusiasm stays at this high until the end of her scholastic career. A parent can hope right? She thrives and that makes us happy. 

So with this, I hope 2014 brings you even greater things that 2013 did!