Oven Baked Pork Chops

This post is sponsored by the National Pork Board, however, opinions expressed are my own.

Mentally, we should all start preparing ourselves for the new year. New me memes that will begin infiltrating our timelines soon enough. One thing that I’m not giving up in the new year, is pork. In fact, I’m committing to finding healthier ways to consume it and create with it in my kitchen. What I love about pork, are the various forms it comes in which just opens up the possibilities. From pork loin, to pork chops, you can have whatever you like and if getting what you truly want is in your resolutions, then look no further.

There’s nothing better than a good ole rub/marinade to get your chops juicy and golden with items you likely already have in your kitchen. Throw in some baked potatoes and you’ll be dining in no time. What I love about this recipe is that it’s low maintenance, super easy to make and delicious.

The Process

You can choose to make your own rub, or use ours. Allow your pork sit in the seasoning overnight in the freezer. This helps when you want to save some for another time. However, if you opt for a non-marinade, it’ll still have plenty of flavor. I left my chops in overnight for the added goodness. The next day, I pre-heated my oven to 400 degrees before baking.

Pork Chops

The potatoes you’ll want to cook at the same time so be sure to purchase small ones so that it all cooks in the same amount of time. I purchased red potatoes. Feel free to use white ones as well. I halved the potatoes and tossed them in the oven early to get them started. Give yourself enough time for them to cook thoroughly.

Red potatoes

Seasoned Red potatoes

After about 15 minutes, I added the pork chops and cooked them for about 15 minutes before I turned them over. If you have any rub left, this is a good time to add some more. Let the chops cook for another 15 minutes or until they are cooked through. I chose to serve this dish with a spring mix of greens and viola! I’m sure you’ll be drooling by now and happy the New Year version of yourself doesn’t have to give up everything you love. Let us know how the recipe turns out for you in the comments below.

Oven Baked Pork Chops

Oven Baked Pork Chops Ingredients

Oven Baked Pork Chops Directions

 

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Tai Pei Orange Chicken

This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Thanksgiving is coming up and I find myself running around with less and less time for my essential meals of the day. To stay on track with my schedule, I grab a Tai Pei meal from the frozen food aisle of the super market. I decided to pick up Tai Pei’s Orange Chicken entree today for a quick lunch and I have to admit, it’s my favorite so far.

tai pei orange chicken

I excitedly heat up the meal, the bright packaging was so enticing. The fact that it’s quick and simple to heat up in the same packaging, certainly helps as well. When I’m on the go, there’s little time for fixing plates; I just want to eat. I’m a huge fan of Asian food, so, I’m always looking forward to trying a new entree from Tai Pei. There are so many options to choose from, but it really does depend on what your local supermarket is carrying. I go to a different supermarket each time to make sure I’m experiencing large variety Tai Pei offers. Before heading to the store, I use Tai Pei’s store locator so I know what to expect upon arrival.

The orange chicken entree consist of breaded white meat chicken, vegetables and fried rice in an citrus-flavored sauce. I warmed it up for about five minutes in the container. Then, I let it cool for about two minutes before digging in. I peaked into the container during the cooking process. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of chicken I saw.

The portion size on this dish is perfect. It’s just enough for one with plenty of chicken and rice making it a filling meal. I definitely felt a hit of heat at the end of the dish, which surprised me. I love spicy foods and this one was just so flavorful all the way to the end. I’m not big on vegetables but Tai Pei makes it easy to consume because of the sauces they use and how fresh the ingredients taste. This might have been the first time I ate all my carrots. My mother would be so proud.

The best part is that you too can have Tai Pei in your freezer this weekend after a busy holiday season. If you love Asian food or Fried Rice, then it should be your only solution on the go.

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Tai Pei Chicken Chow Mein

This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

With the holidays approaching, I’m trying to save every dollar that comes my way. Since having the shrimp fried rice from Tai Pei, I’ve been wanting to try the other flavors they offered. I find Tai Pei to be so affordable and the price was even better because I had a coupon! So, I found myself back down the frozen food aisle. After using the store locator, I opted for the Chicken Chow Mien which I planned to eat during a quick lunch.

Tai Pei Chicken Chow Mein
Tai Pei’s Chicken Chow Mein comes in a bowl with all the ingredients you need.

What I loved most about this entree—which shocked me—was the quality of the chicken in the dish. I could  taste the freshness and I could tell there were no artificial ingredients used. This stuff is the real deal. From the taste, to when I broke the chicken pieces apart with my fork, the quality was consistent. It was a treat! I didn’t need to add anything extra to this entree because it was flavorful enough. It’s low in calories, the vegetables were cooked well and it comes with a savory soy sauce for flavor. I definitely think this will be the perfect dish if you’re on the go like me. Everything is ready-made, full of flavor and the preparation is low maintenance, making it easy to enjoy.

Tai Pei Chicken Chow Mein Entree
A few minutes in the microwave and you’ll be able to dive into this delicious dish!

If you want to know more, let’s chat tomorrow, November 9 at Tai Pei’s Twitter party. You can join in, ask questions and share some thoughts of your own. All you have to do is tune in at 1 p.m. Make sure you follow Tai Pei on Twitter first though!

Additionally, our readers have the opportunity to win a $100 Walmart gift card from now until November 15 when you enter their sweepstakes below.
Tai Pei Sweepstakes

I-C will randomly select 10 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.

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Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice

This post was sponsored Tai Pei, all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

The past few days have been completely about traveling and events and not enough eating. It’s as if I wasn’t myself. So, I was looking for great taste in a quick package that could solve all my problems. It’s important for me be able to heat something up quickly as the days fly by, that still has quality ingredients. As I settle back into my schedule, Tai Pei is making it convenient to not miss any meals or time. Not only was it easy to find, but I can keep it in the fridge or freezer, ready to consume in minutes and at my leisure.

I purchased Tai Pei at at my local supermarket. I found a wide range of options in the frozen food aisle, I chose the Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice. This coupon gives you $1 off any Tai Pei single serving bowl so if you’re a big fan of Asian Food, I recommend it. In fact, my plan is to try out the other frozen entree’s soon, especially since it was so easy to make and I consumed it even faster. You can find where to purchase Tai Pei near you by using the store locator.

Tai Pei Shrimp Fried Rice

At first, I was concerned as to how this would heat up and if it would be a sufficient serving size for me. The packaging is very eye catching and I was looking forward to it being just as colorful on the inside. I was happy to find that the food was exactly as pictured, once I removed the lid. The shrimp was surrounded by baby corn, peas, carrots and rice. I heated up the dish for 2-3 minutes with the lid on, which is what the instructions suggested. It even showed me exactly how the food should look once ready.

I decided to add my own duck sauce to the mix but tried the shrimp fried rice without it first. I appreciated the serving bowl the food came in, it was the perfect amount for one. Next time I’m on the go, I plan to bring one of these with me and don’t plan on sharing. I loved that the ingredients were fresh; I didn’t expect that from something in the frozen food aisle. Pairing it with my own duck sauce was a great idea too. This provided the quick and easy lunch I was looking for. My day was made, just like that.

Shrimp Fried Rice

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Serving up Smiles

One thing that is fascinating about food, is how it connects us across cultures, lifestyles and platforms. When I learned of enCourage Kids Foundation and their Serving up Smiles event, I was reminded of this ever bonding connection.

Serving up Smiles is an evening of fine cuisines provided by New York’s best, with an incredible line up of restaurants like Mastro’s, Bryant Park Grill and Butter. This event, directly supports programming for enCourage Kids, who are a resource to families and children affected by numerous health challenges. The enCourage Kids foundation provides an outlet for those affected to laugh, grow and experience life outside of the hospital. Families that are apart of enCourage Kids foundation are invited to attend Serving up Smiles, including donors, local supporters and now, we’re personally inviting you.

Make yourself Valuable,” is what Michael Jenkins, Chef de Cuisine at Butter told us when we sat with him to discuss his longevity in the industry. As one of the few faces of color, his vision for representation immediately tied to enCourage Kid’s mission to be as inclusive as possible.

Intrigued by the intensity at Butter, Chef Jenkins has been writing his own story in their kitchen for the past 11 years. He shared with us about how his favorite part of cooking was creating something so beautiful, with his own two hands, that would be destroyed in a matter of minutes. There is something to be said about how selfless the work of a Chef is and Chef Jenkins shows us that daily through his work and certainly through his participating in Serving up Smiles which he’s been apart of since it’s inception.

Serving up Smiles will be held on October 23rd at Chelsea Piers and is the brainchild of Executive Director, Michele Hall-Duncan. We had the opportunity to sit with Michele and talk about how this food driven event plays a huge part in the success of enCourage Kids Foundation.

Chef Josh Capon
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

Could you tell me more about enCncourage Kids Foundation?

We started as a WISH Foundation, 32 years ago. The founders saw a kid that was sick and decided they would grant that child a wish and then began doing so all around the country. We did that for a while but as wishes became more expensive for us to execute, we started looking at other programming, specifically in hospital programming. One of our programs, the escape program, allows children and families to participate in different activities like go to 6 Flags Great Adventures , movie dates in the summer for them, and a our enCourage Kids Night at Citi Field which serves at least 800 people.

We hosted almost 100 escape events last year and this year we’re celebrating 21 years of Pediatric Hospital support where we were given 15 million dollars to support over 850 projects in hospitals. The majority of our work is in the hospital, really supporting the pediatric team as these children go through surgeries and other life changes.

Serving up Smiles Event
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

It was impactful year for enCourage Kids Foundation, How did you end up starting Serving up Smiles? What is to be expected at the event?

We used to do this auction, and we hosted it for 25 years. It was back in the day when the athletes didn’t have their own charities yet, we had models and celebrities in attendance and then the climate changed. The athletes started doing their own events and it really started becoming labor intensive. When I took over as ED, I was invited to go the South Eastern’s chapter’s Red Ball and it was a tasting event. I loved this! It was just so much fun trying the different foods and I thought it would be great to do something similar.

We have an amazing band, Live Wire Entertainment,  and it’s really a fun event for the guest. They have the opportunity to talk, walk around and get to know one another and still participate in the auction which opens up a week before. The chef’s love it and we try to make an effort to go back and support them after the event, and our board members actively support them as well. Giselle Dean Miller, who’s Vice President of Special Events, does a great job finding the chefs and sharing our story with them and bringing them on board.

Serving up Smiles
Photography by Elizabeth Veneskey

How do you try to make the culinary aspect apart of the event once guest leave?

We have fun favors for the event that we do every year which are culinary inspired. We gave away these custom cutting boards and last year we did a whisk and everyone really loved them. Our auction is also full of culinary inspired experiences, trips, and restaurant related activities.

For more information about enCourage Kids Foundation, visit their website. Tickets for Serving up Smiles can be found here and if you’re unable to attend, you can still participate in their Silent Auction.

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eataly-downtown-i-ravioli

As a busy New Yorker, coming across a ravioli bar like I Ravioli at Eataly Downtown is ideal for my day-to-day. While I normally frequent their Flatiron location, I happily accepted an offer from the Eataly team to visit their second location. I had never been to Eataly Downtown so I was excited to see what was in store, literally.

Though I was guided to the bar upon arrival, I loved that there was a pathway on the floors that was leading the way. Now, you never have to worry about getting lost in the hustle and bustle of lunch since it takes you directly to where you need to go. Before approaching the bar, you get to see the chefs making the fresh pasta and the variety of options. Both chefs present on my visit seemed happy to chat about what they were making for the day, and knew plenty about each variation shown. They explained the process and how quickly it would be for me to get my meal. After the chef made a few suggestions on his favorites, I was ready to try them out for myself.

eataly-downtown-i-ravioli-station
Photo by Tanya Maithai

The menu was pretty easy to choose from and so was having a glass of Rosè while I waited. The ravioli comes stuffed and there are a number of sauces available as well so you can pick your favorite day (based by sauce) to come grab your bite to eat. It wasn’t even three sips later, when my order was already up for me to grab. It was really quicker than a New York Minute, which is perfect for someone always on the go. Should you have some time to spare, there was ample seating to enjoy.

I ordered the prosciutto stuffed ravioli with the sauce of the day which was a mushroom, arugula and beef sauce. To my surprise, I was also invited to try the Pesto Trapanese, as well as, the Carbonara sauce over a bed of ravioli. I was already enjoying the pasta I ordered but the Carbonara had come to steal the show. It was creamy, with the right amount of cheese and sauce to compliment it. I found myself digging my fork back and back again into the bowl.

eataly-downtown-i-ravioli
Photo by Tanya Maithai

The best part about the experience at I Ravioli at Eataly Downtown was that you could take ingredients home with you and recreate what you’ve had. From fresh pasta to the sauces, everything is suddenly available to you for the days you won’t have time to run in for lunch. Again, completely ideal for any ravioli lover, especially one who wants to bring the taste of Eataly, home.

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