Cooking & Living in Small Spaces with Style


Pepper Crusted Rump Roast of Lamb

Meats, Lambshirley byrdComment

Eat more lamb! That thought drifted into my mind as I approached the butcher’s department of the grocery store. I satisfied that idea with a rump roast of lamb. It’s the top back part of the lamb and is full of flavor. It’s also quite easy to roast. The simplest method is to pan fry or rather seer its exterior and finish it in the oven. And like any roast, one doesn’t want to overcook it!

A Christmas Menu Idea For Two (or four)

Appetizers, Beef-Pork-Poultry, Holidays, Meats, Desserts-Snacksshirley byrdComment

Often after having experienced a very social Thanksgiving dinner (or not), I look forward to a quiet Christmas dinner. The menus for my Christmas dinner sometimes included ham baked with cloves and pineapples and a range of complimentary sides. Sometimes, . . .

Pistachio-Crusted Pork Loin Roast

Meatsshirley byrdComment

Dress up a pork loin roast with a crust of pistachios, adding more texture and flavor. Slow cook the roast to release and enjoy its juicy mild flavors. If you’re feeding a small or large group of people on a limited budget, the pork lion roast is a perfect choice.

How To Roast Chicken Thigh Quarters

Beef-Pork-Poultry, Meatsshirley byrdComment

By now, if you’ve been following me, you know I LOVE roasted anything! Roasting is just easy to do. But most importantly, the roasting intensifies the flavor of the food with every bite an absolute palate pleasure.

Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Acorn Squash

Meatsshirley byrdComment

I used a sweet Italian bulk sausage and sweet onion to compliment the sweet flavor of this sweet dumpling acorn squash. You can of course use a white acorn squash but I simply love the colorful tripes of the deep green and cream. Anyway, to that I wanted to keep a kind of confetti look and added an orange bell pepper. Well, when it’s fall, some orange simply must be in the mix!

Skillet Jambalaya

Meatsshirley byrdComment

After that deliciously wonderful New Orleans Style Bloody Mary from James Gaffney, photographer, my thoughts and appetite turned to one of my most favored Big Easy dish: Jambalaya. It’s so easy to make, very hearty and filled with wonderful flavors from fresh vegetables and meats, as well as seafood.

Pan-Fried Chicken Breast Tenderloin With Celery Gravy

Meats, Poultry, Beef-Pork-Poultryshirley byrdComment

This is an easy, quick and tasty recipe to make.  Similar to my recipe No-Flour Pan Fried Pork Chop, Gravy and Vegetables, well seasoned chicken brest tenderloins are pan fried in oil and butter.  The vegetables include onions, garlic and celery which were first sauteed in the oil and butter.  Canned creamed celery soup provides the gravy which is given additional flavors from whip cream. 

No-Flour Pan Fried Pork Chops, Gravy and Vegetables

Meatsshirley byrdComment

I've found that a fresh, well-seasoned pork chop with just salt and pepper and paprika, than seared and simmered in chicken broth is just as delicious.  The vegetables are first sauteed in olive oil and butter, after which the pork chops are introduced to the left over oil and butter.  A wonderful gravy is made with chicken stock.  All the ingredients come together at the end, simmering for just a few minutes.    

Pan Roasted Italian Sausages And Vegetables With Rosemary

Meats, Vegetablesshirley byrdComment

Fresh butcher-made Italian sausages, hot and regular, add the key flavors for this dish.  I found these fresh butcher-made Italian sausages to have little fat compared to pre-packaged Italian sausages by popular brands.  Yet, the butcher-made Italian sausages were filled with spices and flavors. 

Faux Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Meatsshirley byrdComment

If you can't get to Chicago for this famous hot dog and you can't find all of the right ingredients, then fake it!!

How To Cook A Tomahawk Ribeye Steak

Meatsshirley byrdComment

Grill it, sautee it and finish in the oven.  So easy to make for such a delicious reward to enjoy.

One Corned Beef Brisket, Three Food Dishes

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

One Corned Beef Brisket, Three Food Dishes: corned beef with roasted vegetables, corned beef sandwiches, and corned beef hash with eggs-- for the lovers of leftovers!

Parmesan Breaded Chicken Cordon Bleu

Meatsshirley byrdComment

No short cuts here which makes this recipe for a parmesan breaded chicken cordon bleu a weekend project.  The beauty is that it can be made a day or two ahead before just popping it into the oven to bake.  So choose to try it.  Just add a bottle of wine, your favorite music and invite your signifcant other or a friend to join you.

The chicken is thinly flatten, layered with ham and cheese, rolled in breading and then baked.  Chicken is tender and you can really taste the cheeses.  I've added a white wine sauce that also carries a creamy, cheesy flavor.

Deep-Dish Chicken Pot Pie

Meats, Poultryshirley byrdComment

Made for hearty appetites, this deep dish chicken pot pie has a double crust.  It's loaded with chicken and vegetables:  broccoli, celery, onions, and carrots.  A simple chicken broth is enhanced with roasted garlic (recipe: How To Roast Garlic Bulbs) and just salt and pepper.  One of the best part is that this deep dish chicken pot pie is also healthy!

Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas For One

Food Talk, Desserts-Snacks, Beverages, Meats, side dish, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrd2 Comments

Dining alone for Thanksgiving this year?  So am I.  And I shall enjoy my Thanksgiving Dinner to the max with my girl, Susie, a Portuguese water dog.

My Thanksgiving dinner menu depends on how I feel and is often based on one of three basic menus that I follow or alter.  Here are the three menus to inspire you.  Follow a menu or make a substitution with your own favorites. Most important is to just have fun!!   

5 Comfort Foods For Cool Weather

Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwiches, seafood, Vegetablesshirley byrdComment

Comfort food:  Consoles.  Gives a feeling of well-being.  Provokes nostalgic memories of happy times.  Whether it's sugar or carbohydrates, with the arrival of cool weather, comfort food can warm the body.

Bake A Tasty Juicy Rock Cornish Hen

Meats, Poultryshirley byrdComment

Many years ago, in place of turkey I started alternating winter holiday dinners with rock Cornish hens.  The Cornish hens tasted, well, okay--just okay but sometimes even dry.  One year, I started basting the hens in the run-off juices of the butter and the hen.  To my amazement, they were best rock Cornish hens I had ever cooked.  

Sausage Beans Roasted Vegetable Soup

Soups, side dish, Meats, Salads-Soups-Sandwichesshirley byrdComment

What makes this sausage, beans and roasted vegetable soup so delicious?  Red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic are roasted, then blended with a vegetable broth and seasoned with a herb bouquet garni--creating a beautifully rich yet subtle flavor-filled soup base.  Sweet Italian sausage and a Vidalia onion add a layer of sweetness and texture along with cannellini beans.

Pan-Charred Pork Chops With Chipotle Butter

Meatsshirley byrd2 Comments
Pan-charred pork chops with chipotl butter

Pan-charred pork chops with chipotl butter

Keep It Simple, Sweetie is the best way to cook a very nice piece of extra thick pork chops.  In this pan-charred pork chop with a chipotle compound butter the mild flavor of the pork is boosted with a char flavor, then complemented with flavors from chipotle pepper compound butter.  I char the pork chops on a Calphalon grill pan and then complete the cooking in the oven.

For this dish I bought a fresh cut 1-1/4" thick pork center pork chop with the rib bone in

Pork center chops boin-in

Pork center chops boin-in

About Pork Center Cut Pork (from thekitchn): 

  • Other names: Center-cut rib chop, pork chop end cut, pork rib cut chop, rib end cut, rib pork chop

  • Where it's from: The rib section of the loin, from the shoulder to the middle of the loin (the rib bones attached to these chops are actually baby back ribs).

  • What it looks like: Large eye of lean loin meat and no tenderloin meat. There is a bone running along one side and sometimes a layer of fat on the outside. Rib chops from the blade end have more fat and connective tissue than chops from the shoulder end.

  • What it tastes like: The chops are very tender, have a little more fat than loin chops, and have a mild flavor.

  • How to cook it: Since the meat on these chops is lean, quick cooking like grilling, broiling, or sear-roasting are the best methods. Brining first will help keep these chops moist and tender.
    There are four types of cuts for rib chops. For additional information, check out "A Complete Guide To Pork Chops Meat Basics".

The Recipe
Serves 2
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Tool needed:  grill pan


  • 2 Fresh cut pork center cut pork chops with the rib bone in

  • Salt, preferably sea salt or Kosher salt

  • Fresh crushed black pepper

  • Light (pure) olive oil

  • Chipotle pepper compound butter

  • Sliced spring onions (optional garnish)


  1. Wash the pork chops and pat them dry. Allow the pork chops to reach room temperature, about 20 minutes.

  2. Generously sprinkle salt on one side of the pork chops. (This step is very important! The salt helps to bring out the flavor of the pork, as well as aide in tenderizing and keeping it moist.) Sprinkle on the crushed pepper. Lightly cover with olive oil. Gently press the ingredients into the pork chops.

  3. Turn the pork chops over and repeat the above steps.

  4. Set your grill pan on your gas or electric burner and set the temperature to high. Get the pan very hot. I always look for a little smoke to emit from the pan.

  5. Place each pork chop in the grill pan. Do not move the pork chops after you first place them in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on the first side. Three minutes if you want a light char. Turn the chops over and sear for 3 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven for 8 minutes, only 8 minutes!!

  6. Take the pork chops out of the oven and transfer to a warm platter or plate. Allow to rest for at least 5-6 minutes. Note that the pork chops will continue to cook during this resting period. If you want to check for doneness , gently make a small cut along the bone and "peak." It's important not to cut into the meat which will allow any juices to escape and render a dry pork chop.

Note:  If you purchase a 1" thick pork chop, sear to get a char as noted above.  But reduce the cooking time in the oven by about 1 minutes.  Better to have an under-cook pork chop that can be returned to the oven than an over-cooked pork chop that is dry!

To Serve:  Top the pork chops with chipotle pepper compound butter.  Garnish with sliced spring onions.

See just how easy pan-charred pork chops is to make:

This is a 3-minute (light) char:

Pan-charred pork chop light

Pan-charred pork chop light


This is a 4-minute (dark) char pork chop:

Pan-charred pork chops dark

Pan-charred pork chops dark


Chipotle Pepper Compound Butter

The pan-charred pork chop flavor is wonderfully enhanced with the chipotle pepper compound butter.  It's easy to make with just a few fresh ingreidents, such as Italian flat-leaf parsley, garlic and the crushed smokey hot chipotle pepper.   I like to make it a day or two ahead.  Click on the link to get the complete recipe.

Chipotle pepper compound butter

Chipotle pepper compound butter

Then Enjoy!

Pan-charred pork chops with chipotle butter

Pan-charred pork chops with chipotle butter

Hey!  If you like this recipe, let me know.  Please.  
Just click on the like button below.  Or better yet, share your thoughts in the comment box below.


You may be interested in more pork recipes:

Sausage Cheese Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Desserts-Snacks, Meatsshirley byrdComment

Warning!  You'll need a plate or large napkin held close under the chin while eating these juicy sausage and cheese stuffed roasted sweet mini bell peppers.  

Inside each pepper is a spicy sausage mix with the nutty flavors of Gruyere cheese and Parmesan cheese. Another layer of Gruyere cheese tops the pepper and is then sent back to oven for melting. 

Sausage cheese stuffed mini sweet bell peppers

Sausage cheese stuffed mini sweet bell peppers

A great substitute for the Gruyere cheese is provolone cheese which also melts and pulls like a stringy cheese.  Just remember, Parmesan with it low water content doesn't melt well.  Carry it with a cheese that does melt will still allow you to enjoy it.


About mini sweet bell peppers

Vine sweet mini bell peppers are hybrids of bell peppers. But they have fewer seeds and are sweeter. The flavor is mild and not hot. They range in sizes 1-1/2" to 4" in colors of yellow, orange and red. The peppers have a wonderfully crunchy texture, a delicious snack to just eat raw. On the other hand, they're great in almost any dish. Usually available year round, I found a bag of them at a Costo Store.

Check out this You Tube Video and see just how easy it is to make these sausage and cheese stuffed sweet mini bell peppers:

The Recipe (yields 12)

Primary Kitchen Tools:  6-cup cupcake pan, 6 - 4-1/2" square parchment paper sheets, Skillet
Pre-heated oven 400 degrees


  • 12 mini sweet bell peppers, washed and each approximately 2" long

  • 8 ounces spicy bulk sausage

  • 1 shallot, minced

  • 1 very large garlic clove, minced

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, grated

  • 1/3 cup Gruyere cheese, grated (reserved for topping off mini peppers)

  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

  • 1 Tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional if you want more heat)

  • Salt and pepper to taste (optional)


Mini Bell Peppers:  Line each cupcake holder with one square parchment paper.  Fill each cupcake holder with two mini sweet bell peppers.  Place the filled cupcake pan on the center rack of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the bell peppers are soft.  (15 minutes should yield a soft bell pepper but with some firmness.  Twenty minutes will of course yield much softer bell peppers but not mushy.) When peppers are cooked, set the pan aside and allow the peppers to cool.  

Onions and Garlic:  While the peppers are baking, melt butter in a skillet, then sautée onions and garlic until the onions are transparent, about 1-1/2 minutes.  Set onions and garlic aside on a dish.  Add sausage to skillet, turning and breaking it up into small pieces while cooking.  Remove sausage to a bowl when done.

Cheese mix:  Mix the 1/2 cup of Gruyere cheese and the 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese in a bowl.

Bringing It All Together:  To the sausage, gently mix and stir in each ingredient, the onions and garlic; the cheese mix; and the parsley.  Cut off the top for a cap and scrape out any seeds, as well as the inside ribs.  Using a small narrow spoon, stuff each pepper up to about a 1/8" of the top.  Using the reserved Gruyere cheese, add about a teaspoon or more (or just use your fingers) to the top of each pepper.  Put the caps back on each pepper.


038 MSL Mini-Bell-Pepprs-Sausage-V6-Enjoy-Resized1920-0630.jpg

You may also be interested this snack/appetizer: