Monday, February 21, 2011

Cookbook Challenge: Honey-Spiced Pork Chops, Potato and Leek Gratin and Banana Pudding

The Cookbook Challenge introduced us to one of our favorite meals yet: savory Honey and Spice Pork Chops, a filling and delicious Potato and Leek Gratin and light and sweet Banana Pudding. The trick with these doesn't end with just meeting the Cookbook Challenge. We've been trying to watch our pennies and have really tried to use ingredients found in the pantry. We were largely successful with this but did splurge on a couple of ingredients, including Gruyere cheese(which did indeed give us a bit of sticker shock) and ground cloves. The author does say that you can use cheddar in place of the Gruyere and that would save some bucks as well but wanted to make the dish as close to the original recipe as possible. I'm also pleased to report that these recipes involved various kitchen gadgets and I emerged relatively unscathed after each use. I didn't splatter the kitchen with the electric mixer and most reassuringly, I didn't lop off a digit with the mandolin. We also tried to cut calories where possible. The Potato Leek Gratin from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison wasn't lo-cal by any stretch of the imagination but we did use skim milk and it worked out deliciously. The amazing chops were from the 2003 Cooking Light annual best-of cookbook and the Banana Pudding is from Patti LaBelle's Lite Cuisine. These recipes will count as Cookbook Challenge recipes #26, #27 and #28.

Yes, Miss Patti makes another appearance in the blog; bless her. For the story of Keith and I sharing an elevator with Miss Patti and Mary J. Blige at the Marriott Marquis in New York City, enter the title Aunt Bonnie and Miss Patti in the search engine at the top of the blog. I loved her recipe for her banana pudding because it used low calorie ingredients and therefore resembled my Mom's banana pudding. The recipes follow with Lady Marmalade's at the end....

Honey and Spice-Glazed Pork Chops


1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Cooking spray
4 (4 oz) boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Reduce heat to medium-low; add honey mixture. Cook 10 minutes or until done, turning pork once. Yields 4 servings.

Potato and Leek Gratin


1 garlic clove and butter for the dish
3 pounds russet of Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 quart milk
1 bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs or 2 pinches dried
3 garlic cloves,thinly sliced
2 large leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced
Salt and white pepper
Grated nutmeg
1 to 2 cups grated Gruyere
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


Preheat the oven to 375. Rub a 9 x 12 inch gratin or baking dish thoroughly with the garlic, then with the butter to coat well.

Put the potatoes in a pot with the milk, herbs, sliced garlic, leeks and 2 teaspoons salt. Slowly bring to a boil, then simmer until the potatoes are barely tender but not to the point of falling apart. Discard the bay leaf and thyme. Drain.

Make a single layer of potatoes, leeks and garlic in the dish. Season with white pepper, a little nutmeg and cover lightly with the cheese. Repeat until all of the potatoes and cheese are used up, ending with a layer of cheese. Add enough of the milk to come up to the last layer of potatoes-about 1 1/2 cups-dot with the butter, then bake until a golden crust has formed on top, about an hour.

Layered Banana Pudding


2 1 ounce boxes fat-free, sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 8 oz. tub frozen light whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed
3 cups fat-free milk
2 5.5 oz. boxes sugar-free Nilla Wafers
4 ripe bananas, sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar substitute, such as Splenda


In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat together the pudding mix, sour cream, whipped topping and milk until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Arrange a layer of Nilla Wafers on the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch rectangular pan, using a little less than half of the cookies. Set aside 12 cookies for decorating on top.

Layer half of the banana slices on top of the wafers in the pan. Pour half of the pudding over the bananas.

In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar substitute. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the pudding. Repeat the layers, using the remaining cookies, sliced bananas, pudding and cinnamon-sugar.

Decorate the top with the 12 reserved cookies. Cover with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 1 day, before serving.

This pudding is 270 calories per serving.


Romantic Dinner said...

thanks for the info about this recipe.

Online Travel Tourism said...

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this is a very sweet and tasty food I like this food can thanks for the nice .....

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