New School Year Dinner

August 31, 2012

Hiya!  Happy New School Year!

If you are a mom you know that brings the relief of structure, and the confines of it too.  Like a well-oiled machine, our home and kitchens need to be set up to handle the daily grind that is around the corner.  Maybe it is the life-long habit of new school clothes and supplies, but fall brings on the feeling of newness in every area.  I love it. The past week has me organizing our mud room, our pantry, drawers and of course, closets, in anticipation of the busy early mornings and quick family dinners.

I have also found a ton of wisdom from other moms on various blogs.  My new favorite site is Like Mother Like Daughter. This mom shares her lifetime of insights from feeding a family of nine.  She makes biscuits out of a little left over squash, has posts like Make Dinner Every Night and Like It, and Make Menus, Really.  She shined a light on the very loose meal planning I do, and suggests that families start by making a master list of meals they like, and when you meal plan, pull from that list.

I love this idea, and am going to make my families master list this weekend.  I am inspired to add a few new ones to it and I hope you are too!  This meal will DEFINITELY be on the list:

Pork Chops with Balsamic Honey Glaze, and Butternut Squash with Sage and Blue Cheese

 

I just made this last week when I found this easy recipe for butternut squash as a savory side (or a full meal if you are so inspired!).  Literally, just chop and roast this gorgeous orange vegetable, add cheese and you have a silky, luxuriously rich vegetable at your table.  And since it goes well with pork, I made boneless pork chops with Giada’s Agrodolche Glaze for pork chops.  This glaze is heaven and is one of those flavor combinations that you keep remembering because it is so good!

For the Butternut Squash, start with these ingredients (the sage is from my herb garden!):

 

 

That’s it! So easy.  In fact I got it from another food blog that titled it ‘Relaxing’. Find it here.

Roasted Butternut Squash with Sage and Gorgonzola
Serves 4

Ingredients
2 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash (about 1 lb)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 leaves of sage, finely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 400.
Toss butternut squash cubes with olive oil, sage, salt, and pepper. Roast squash for 20 minutes, or until tender. Sprinkle gorgonzola on top. The heat of the squash will melt gorgonzola. Serve.
While that was roasting away, I remade a version of pork chops that Giada De Laurentiis made a while back, and it is so good, I think I might make it again soon because I am hungry for it just thinking about it!  I left out the red pepper flakes for my kids, but if you like a kick it is super good.  This recipe is from the Food Network, and she called the glaze ‘agrodolce’, an Italian name meaning sweet and sour.

Pardon me while I geek out on you, but I was curious about this so I looked it up on Wikipedia. They write:

Agrodolce is a traditional sweet and sour sauce in Italian cuisine. Its name comes from “agro” (sour) and “dolce” (sweet). Agrodolce is made by reducing sour and sweet elements, traditionally vinegar and sugar. Sometimes, additional flavorings are added, such as winefruit, or evenchocolate. The sauce is thought to have been brought to Sicily by the Arabs. It can be high in fat, sodium, cholesterol and sugar, used for lamb, and served over rigatoni or wide noodles, such as pappardelle.  Though the term “aigre-doux” could refer to any sweet and sour sauce in French cuisine, a gastrique is very similar to agrodolce.[1]

If you want to find the Food Network link for easy printing you can find it here.

Pork:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra as needed
  • 4 (8-ounce) boneless pork chops, about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions, pale green and white parts only, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, at room temperature
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Pork: In a large, heavy skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper, to taste, and sprinkle with the red pepper flakes. Add the pork to the pan and cook until cooked through. for about 5 to 6 minutes on each side, or Remove the pork from the pan, cover loosely with foil, and set aside.

Glaze: In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar, honey, garlic, scallions, and rosemary to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the honey has dissolved. Simmer for 9 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Arrange the pork chops on a platter and drizzle with the glaze.

Please comment and let me know your favorites on your families master list! I am forever curious about other mainstays in the life of busy families!

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