Smothered Pork Steaks & Potatoes

The weather here has been just insane lately. It’s been bouncing from very warm for the time of year, to seasonable, to incredibly rainy. This calls for some good old comfort food, in my opinion! When you can’t depend on Mother Nature you can definitely depend on Smothered Pork Steaks and Potatoes to make you feel good!

Smothered Pork Steaks & Potatoes

 

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Kicked Up Chicken Fried Steak

From the time I was a little girl I’ve had a love affair with chicken fried steak. It’s definitely one of my top comfort foods! I love that I can make it as simple or as complex as I like and still have the same “Oh this is yummy” feeling about it. Since Mr. Comfortable and I have been on a spicy food kick lately I decided to make Kicked Up Chicken Fried Steak to satisfy both the comfort food and spicy food cravings!

Kicked Up Chicken Fried Steak!

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Yooper Pasties Troll Version

I live in Michigan where two types of Michiganders reside. There are the Yoopers (U’pers) who live in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula) and the Trolls who live under the (Mackinac) Bridge. I’m a Troll but I love the U.P.! It’s a lovely part of our state and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the Midwest. The U.P. also has some unique foods. Pasties (pronounced “pass-tees”) are a favorite of mine since I was a little girl. But, since I’m a Troll I make Yooper Pasties Troll Version!

Yooper Pasties are a Michigan favorite!

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Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses!

I admit I’m a total carnivore. Sometimes people suggest I become a vegetarian and I tell them I’m already a vegetarian once removed; I eat animals that eat a vegetarian diet. Still, every once in a while I have a craving for good old macaroni & cheese. But I don’t always make it with cheddar cheese. You know…the “normal” way. Tonight it’s Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses!

Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses will become a family favorite!

There’s nothing wrong with macaroni and cheese with cheddar. I love the stuff. But lately I’ve been making a lot of dinners that include cheddar cheese and I wanted something different. I picked up a 5 lb. bag of Galbani Mozzarella, Provolone, and mild White Cheddar a few days ago so I decided to use that as the start of my mac and cheese.

Mozzarella, provolone, and mild white cheddar cheese make this macaroni and cheese special!

First I made the béchamel sauce. I melted 4 tablespoons of butter in a heavy, medium size saucepan over a low heat. I added the flour and cooked it, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. I increased the heat to medium and slowly whisked in half-and-half and milk.

I cooked the half-and-half mixture for about 4 minutes, stirring it frequently, until it was slightly thickened. Then I added a teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder and stirred it in.

Half-and-half makes this creamy cheese sauce really special!

The béchamel was covered and I set it aside. It was time to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next I filled a large pot with water and salted it to taste. I put it on the stove on a high heat and when it was boiling rapidly I added 1 pound of elbow macaroni. After the water had returned to a boil I reduced the heat so the macaroni was at a low boil. I cooked it 2 minutes less than the package directions (for only 5 minutes) because I wanted the macaroni very al dente. It finishes cooking in the oven and I hate, hate, hate mushy pasta!

While the macaroni was boiling I buttered a 9 x 13 casserole dish.

When the macaroni was done I drained it, returned it to the cooking pot and added 2 tablespoons of butter. I stirred it so the butter would melt and to coat the macaroni. I think we should all say a prayer of thanks for butter.

Then I poured about 1/2 the macaroni into the casserole dish. I topped it with the Galbani cheese blend and the Parmigiano cheese.

Mixed cheese blend crumbles make a smooth macaroni and cheese.

I spread the rest of the macaroni over the cheese layer and topped it with the remaining cheese blend but not the rest of the parmigiana.

I mixed the rest of the parmigiana with the breadcrumbs and spread that mixture over the macaroni and cheese. We like a lot of that crispy topping on top of lots of gooey cheese!

Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses ready to bake!

The macaroni and cheese went into the preheated oven for about 40 minutes. You’ll want the breadcrumbs golden brown.

Breadcrumbs combined with parmigiano cheese are the perfect topping for Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses!

I let the dish stand for a few minutes before serving.

Oh, the joy of stringy cheese and crispy breadcrumbs surrounding that flavorful béchamel and perfectly cooked macaroni! I think I heard angels singing. And I didn’t even care that there was no meat!

Lots of gooey cheese makes Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses amazing!

 

Macaroni & Cheese with 4 Cheeses

 

Ingredients:

 

6 tablespoons of butter + more to butter casserole dish

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups half-and-half

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon salt, plus salt for pasta water

2 cups Galbani Mozzarella, Provolone, and mild White Cheddar Cheese blend

1 cup Parmigiano cheese, divided (the stuff in the shaker bottle works just fine but you can use shredded, too)

1 pound elbow macaroni

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

4 ounces grated Cheddar cheese

2 cups fresh bread crumbs

 

Directions:

 

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over a low heat in a heavy saucepan.

Add the flour and stir to combine.

While stirring constantly, cook the mixture for 2 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium and slowly whisk in the half-and-half and milk.

Cook for 4 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is slightly thickened.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt and the garlic powder and stir to combine.

Cover the béchamel sauce and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Fill a large pot with water and add salt.

When water is boiling, add the macaroni noodles and return to a low boil.

Cook for 5 minutes (until very al dente).

Drain and return to cooking pot.

Add 2 tablespoons of butter and stir to melt and combine.

Pour 1/2 of the macaroni into a buttered 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Top with 2 cups of the Galbani cheese blend and 1 cup of the Parmigiano cheese.

Spread the remaining macaroni over the cheese and top this layer with the remaining cheese blend.

Mix the remaining 1 cup of Parmigiano with the bread crumbs and spread over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until top is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.

Let stand for a few minutes after removing from oven.

 

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Breaded Chicken & Fettuccine with Lemon Cream Sauce

The weather suddenly cooled significantly here. It was 85° just a few days ago and now it’s in the low, LOW 60’s. I need a shot of summer even if it’s only in the flavors in my dinner. So I’m made Breaded Chicken & Fettuccine with Lemon Cream Sauce because lemon always reminds me of summer and pasta is just plain comforting in any situation.

breaded-chicken-fettuccin

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I tried to get pictures of the steps during cooking but I discovered I was in too much pain to even care how they looked. This is the problem with cooking any dish that requires more labor than frozen pizza on days like this.

In spite of the lack of pictures please try this recipe. Even M, who still can’t taste a lot, said it was delicious and actually asked me to put it in my regular recipe rotation (and say that three times fast). I really believe you’ll love it. It’s also very easy to make in larger quantities if you have more than 2 people in your house.

 

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Breaded Chicken & Fettucine with Lemon Cream Sauce

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

2 servings of fettuccine, cooked al dente

For the chicken:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
  • 1 egg, mixed
  • 1/2 cup Italian Panko breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons oil for frying chicken

 

For the lemon cream sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

 

Optional:

  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley

 

Directions:

  1. Boil salted water and cook fettuccine until al dente.
  2. Drain and keep hot.
  3. Pound the chicken breasts until they are evenly thin.
  4. In a dish large enough for the breasts, whisk the egg.
  5. Pour panko crumbs into a dish large enough to hold the chicken breasts.
  6. Dip the breasts into the egg then into the breadcrumbs, pressing crumbs into the meat.
  7. Heat the oil in a large skillet until shimmering.
  8. Lay the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook each side until browned and crispy (about 3 – 4 minutes per side). *If your chicken is browning too quickly you can finish it in a 400F oven to reach the correct temperature.
  9. Remove the chicken and keep hot.
  10. Add the butter to the skillet then the chicken broth scraping up any browned bits from the chicken.
  11. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until reduced to not quite half.
  12. Stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice and increase the heat to medium.
  13. Cook until the broth and cream mixture is thickened.
  14. Place the breaded chicken and fettuccine on a plate and spoon some of the lemon cream sauce over both.
  15. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and garnish with parsley.