I’ve been an avid watcher of the Next Food Network Star every week. Aaron McCargo, Jr. has been a little camera shy, but his food looks really yummy. I decided to try a couple of his recipes out and see if they were as good as the judges thought. I am pleased to say they are! I wish I had the courage to be on camera like the people that have entered that contest. I also wish I could think of recipes as fast as they do too. I’m too organized and like to cook at my own pace to do that. I love to enter contest, but shy away from the video entries. This dinner inspired me to do my own video to enter in the next contest I come across. I promise I’ll post it when I enter and you can be the judge. I love to take pictures of the food as I’m cooking it and of the finished product, but I’m kind of awkward when it comes to videos. I have to admit I did enter a Rachel Ray video contest, but my video was a lot longer then I wanted it to be and it was last minute and rushed. Oh well lesson learned not to wait till the last minute!

I’m glad that Aaron won the title and from the recipes I’ve tried so far I will be watching to see what else he has to offer. I get so frustrated trying new recipes from celebrity chefs because they don’t look like they did on TV nor do they taste good all the time.

Stuffed Pork
8 ounces hot Italian sausage, without casing
4 (6-ounce) boneless pork chops, center cut
Salt and cracked black pepper
1/2 cup onions, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely diced celery
1 (16-ounce) bag stuffing, store-bought
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup oil Chipotle Honey Glaze, recipe follows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saute pan on high heat, brown Italian sausage and drain grease for later use. Set aside.
Make a 1 to 1 1/2-inch wide by 2-inch deep incision into the pork chop and then season with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a large saute pan on medium-high heat; saute onions and celery in sausage grease until brown. Mix into pan: stuffing, apples, and chicken stock with wooden spoon. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Stuff each pork chop with stuffing mixture and then pan sear in hot oil, on each side, for 7 minutes in a large saute pan on medium heat.

Place in oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes. Glaze pork and serve.

Chipotle Honey Glaze

6 ounces Dijon mustard
2 ounces honey
2 ounces chipotle sauce

In small mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until completely incorporated. Brush over cooked pork chops.

Bacon Wrapped Potato
with Honey Scallion Sauce
2 large Idaho potatoes
Canola oil, for frying (about 2 cups)
8 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut in 1/2 vertically
16 toothpicks
1/4 cup softened butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped scallions
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Cut each potato into 8 wedges and parboil until fork tender.

2. In a preheated large saute pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Wrap each potato wedge with 1 strip of bacon and secure with 1 toothpick on each end. Pan-fry in oil until bacon and potato are golden brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes, turning frequently with tongs to brown all sides evenly. Remove and drain on paper towels.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix butter, honey, black pepper, scallions and parsley. Stir with a spoon until fully mixed.

4. Toss potatoes in the glaze. Remove toothpicks and serve.

Sweet and Spicy Coleslaw

(Adapted from The Neelys on Food Network)
2 pounds green cabbage
4 carrots
1 medium yellow onion
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cut cabbage in quarters and remove core. Peel carrots and onion and cut into pieces that would fit through the feed tube of a food processor. Fit food processor with the large-holed grater attachment and push cabbage, carrots, and onions through feed tube to grate. In a large bowl, toss vegetables together.
In another medium bowl, prepare the coleslaw dressing by whisking together the mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne. Toss dressing with the cabbage mixture, and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Some changes I made –

Pork Chops: I used pork loin like Kelsey did and dummy me forgot they cook quicker so I was a little over done, but not too chewy. I cut it in half, pounded it out a little then put the stuffing in and folded it over. I also put the sauce on before I baked it. Doing it this way you need to have the leftover sauce to dip your meat into while eating. Stuffing was ok I liked the apples in there it seemed to keep the stuffing moist instead of dried out. I think next time I would cover the meat in the sauce then stuff it. I also noticed on the show he grilled it, but on the recipe he puts it in the oven. hhmmm might have to try grilling it but that seems messy with the stuffing.

Potatoes: I really liked the sweet sauce with the salty bacon. Check out Birdie’s site at The Saucy Bird she made these as well and used panchetta. Only thing I did different from the above recipe is I threw them in my fry daddy instead of on the stove. Overall they were very good and pretty easy. I was surprised they tasted good the next day as leftovers.

Coleslaw: I was lazy and just bought the packaged coleslaw mix and then made the dressing from above. I would use less sugar it seemed a little too much. I did like the sweetness and after you got a little heat but not too much.

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