My Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Last year when I created my bridal registry I went back and forth on adding a Le Creuset Dutch Oven. The little dream-chef voice in the back of my head kept saying, “add it, add it!” I was hesitant because I knew it was a total splurge item and I already had a pretty full list. I wasn’t sure if I would receive it or if it would take the place of a many smaller items that I really needed. In the end, I decided to add the 5.5 qt Le Creuset Dutch Oven anyway. I knew there was a good chance that I would receive gift cards at my bridal shower and I could use them to buy this dutch oven. The month of our wedding my co-works threw me a bridal shower and bought me my dream shower gift!

Before adding this dutch oven to my registry I did do a good amount of research on it. I wondered if it would be worth the money and what size I should get. I also noticed that most of my favorite chefs on The Food Network and The Cooking Channel used them. It was this article that ultimately lead me to the 5.5 quart round dutch oven. Now that I have been using this Dutch oven for a while, I would say that it is a good size. We are currently a family of two and most of the meals I make in this Dutch oven yield enough for left overs.  It’s not too small or too big. It seems like just the right size for me, but I don’t think this size would be big enough for “one pot meal” for a family of 5.

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My #1 reason to buy a Le Creuset Dutch Oven is because it is so versatile. I have used it to make soupchili, chicken pot pie, all different types of sauce and pasta. I’ve also used it to sautee large batches of veggies to put in casserole type dishes. There are still so many dishes I want to try to. I would love to make bread or roast a chicken in it as well. It has really become my go-to pot to cook with.

I am a huge fan of oven safe cookware. It really gives you a lot more options when you’re preparing a meal. The Le Creuset Dutch oven is no exception; it’s totally oven safe. It transfers from stove top to oven with no problems (including the lid). I always start my chicken pot pie in on the stove and transfer it to the oven. I have also made really tasty bolognese sauce (blog in the works) which I put in the oven and was stunned with how well it turned out.

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I love how easy to clean my Dutch oven is! I always let my Le Creuset {and all of my cookware} cool completely before I clean it. Although the website says it is dishwasher safe, I always hand wash it with soap and a soft sponge. On days that there is some stubborn, stuck on food, I will let it soak in soapy water for a while. With any new {and pricy} cookware, it’s a good idea to read the manufacture warranty before trying any cleaners other than dish soap and a sponge.

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My Dutch oven has got quite a bit of use in the last five months. Although it has some minor scratching inside {you shouldn’t use metal spoons} it still looks great. I’ve burned sauce and chili in it, but it has cleaned well and left no signs of damage. It’s super heavy duty, heats evenly, so I feel a great quality of this product helps to justify the price tag. If this dutch oven isn’t gifted to you, then it’s definitely an investment, but I am confident I will be using this pot for many years to come.

Although I went with the 5.5 quart Dutch oven there are so many sizes and shapes to choose from. There are smaller options for smaller or single house holds and large size for bigger families.  If I were to get a second Dutch oven I think I would go for a larger, oval shape to better fit chicken or roasts. I feel like there is a size {and color} for everyone!

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Classic Marinara Sauce for Two!

Hi blog friends! Thanks for stopping by again. Today, I want to share a quick and simple recipe that I think everyone should know how to make — Marinara Sauce! This sauce can be served with pasta, meatballs, on pizza, eggplant parm, chicken parm and so much more. I use this recipe as a base to all red sauces I make too. Like many of the dishes I make, this one starts with olive oil, garlic and onions. I really believe that if you always have these three ingredients, you can whip up a tasty meal with whatever else you have in your kitchen.

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Tea Kettle / Stand Mixer / Spoon Rest (similar)/ Pot/ Mason Jar (similar)/ Backsplash

I first started making my own sauce my junior year of college. I could often be found making a pot of sauce and baked ziti before my 8am class. Although I didn’t do very much meal prep in college, I did find it easy to make a head some dinner here and there so I could heat them up quickly after late classes. A girls’ gotta eat, right?

One of my first blogs ever was about my homemade sauce {check it out here} and reading that blog now is kind of funny. In that post I mention that oregano was my least favorite dried seasoning, but now I would say that I love oregano and don’t care for parsley. Sometimes I even leave parsley out. I also find it really funny that I mentioned I was making Mike {who is now my husband} strawberry shortcakes with homemade whip cream. He was the pickiest eater in college! I totally forgot that there was a time he ‘hated’ strawberries until I re-read that blog. Boy have times changed!

Now that I’ve taken you on a trip down memory lane, let’s get back to my current recipe! Although I haven’t changed much since I first started making sauce there is one change that I think was for the better. I almost always add very finely chopped or grated carrots. Carrots really cut down on the acidity of red sauce. I am a bit prone to heartburn and acid reflux. I have found that when I add carrots to my sauce it is much less likely upset my stomach. If you’re in the same boat, I definitely suggest you give carrots a try!

Disclaimer: I am participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. All opinions/recommendations are my own.

Classic Marinara Sauce

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2-3 small garlic cloves, finely minced
2-3 tbsp carrot, finely grated
14.5oz can petite diced tomatoes, unsalted*
8oz can tomato sauce, unsalted*
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp salt (more to taste)
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper
*Can substitute 1 28oz can of unsalted tomato sauce/puree

Directions

-Saute onions in olive oil over medium/low heat until they’re fragrant and translucent, about 5-7 minutes
-Add carrots and saute for another 5-7 minutes
-Add garlic and sautee for about 3 minutes
-Stir in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and seasonings
-Once sauce starts to bubble, bring down to a simmer for 30 minutes or up to two hours.

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Easy Boneless Pork Chops

Hi friends! Thanks for stopping by my blog again. Today I am sharing a dinner recipe that I have actually been avoiding for quite some time. One of my husband’s favorite dinners is pork chops which happens to be one of my least favorite. Pork chops are one food that always stand out in my mind as bland and dry. My mom is the best cook I know, but growing up I always cringed when she said she was making pork chops!

College was the first time I really started experimenting in the kitchen. I was always interested in trying new recipes and let’s face it, I had plenty of time to do so. I made pork chops for Mike a few times in college. I believe one was in a fancy blackberry reduction. I can’t even say I was really trying to win him over because back then he was a total plain Jane in the food department!

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For the last few months Mike has been asking me to make pork chops. I finally caved-in because I was running out of ideas for new recipes to try and found myself staring at the meat/poultry display at the food store. I decided to buy a 3 pack of organic, boneless pork chops from Stop and Shop. When I got home I did a little bit of research on how to cook pork chops. I find most of my recipe inspiration from magazines or Pinterest photos (not usually the recipes themselves). Once I see a picture I like to try to figure out what the ingredients might be or how I can use that photo as my starting point.

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For this specific dinner I kept the ingredients simple. I also decided to cook these pork chops the same way I have cooked filet mignon. Sear both sides on the stove top then pop the pan in the oven. It’s super important that to use a good quality, oven safe pan for easy transfer from the stove top to oven. It’s easy to forget that a pan was in a very hot oven and reach for the handle. I have burned my hand really bad by accidentally grabbing the handle. To prevent that from happening again I put a “pot holder” on the pan handle right after it comes out of the oven (similar to this).

Disclaimer: I am participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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I love sweet potatoes and I have finally perfected what I think is the best seasoning ever. Cut up the potatoes however you like (cubes, discs, slices) then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika and herb de Provence. THE BEST!

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Pan-seared Boneless Pork Chops

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

3 boneless pork chops, about 1-1 1/2 inch thick
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (plus more to oil pan)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dark brown sugar
1 clove garlic, pressed

Directions

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees
-In a zip-top bag, marinate pork chops with EVOO, garlic and seasonings for 20/30 minutes.
– Heat no more than 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO in an oven safe pan (pork chops will be well coated in oil to begin with) over medium heat
– Sear pork chops for 4-5 minutes per side (if your pork chops are thicker than 1-1 1/2in you will probably need to increase the time).
– Transfer pan to oven for 10 minutes

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