Spinach & Goat Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops.

It is taking me a while to learn to cook for just two since becoming “empty” nesters.  Lately, it seems, we order in, go out, eat simple, or eat leftovers for days and days and days when I do cook.

I still try to make a nice meal on Sunday, even if it is just the two of us.  This past Sunday, I decided to make stuffed pork chops with a pack of (just two!) beautifully thick, center cut Iowa Chops I had picked up.

Instead of the usual bread stuffing, though, I wanted to do something different.  So after perusing the web and finding a number of interesting combinations, I came up with a combination of fresh iron-rich spinach, creamy goat cheese, garlic to kick it up, and ruby red roasted red peppers for their beautiful color and flavor.

It made a beautiful, delicious, and healthier stuffing for our chops, and I served them on a bed of zoodles (spiral cut zucchini noodles).

How do you like to stuff your chops?!  Hope you’ll give this version a try.  Simply double or triple depending on how many you are cooking for if you are fortunate enough to be serving a crowd.

Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Chops


  • 2 thick boneless Pork Chops (I used Iowa Chops*)
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 cups fresh Spinach
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup goat cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt



Steam spinach in microwave with 1 Tbsp. water for 1 minute on High until wilted.  Drain, and squeeze water out.  Add chopped roasted red peppers, minced garlic, and goat cheese.  Stir to combine.

Cut a slit in each pork chop to create a pocket, being careful not to cut through to other side.

Spoon half of spinach mixture into the pocket of each pork chop.

Mix breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, parsley, and seasoned salt in shallow dish.  Press stuffed pork chops  on both sides into the bread crumb mixture to coat.

Heat oil and butter in skillet over medium/high heat.  Add pork chops, and cook 4-5 minutes until nicely browned.  Flip over and brown on other side until now longer pink in the middle.  (If chops are extremely thick, you may want to put chops in preheated 375 degree oven for an additional 10 minutes once browned.)

*Iowa Chops:  The notorious “Iowa Chop” is a seriously thick and succulent pork chop cut from the lower back of the hog just behind the rib.   The thickness (1.25-1.5 inches) of this chop led it to be coined “The Iowa Chop” in the 1980’s by the Iowa Pork Producers Association.


Cheers & Hugs,

(P.S. If you are a subscriber and seeing this twice, sorry for the inconvenience!  I somehow scheduled it to publish in an incomplete state last evening, so have updated.  Thanks for reading!)

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese.

Summer is such a glorious time of fresh bounty.

Salads become meals made from fresh fruits and vegetables.  Like this yummy salad I made for lunch one day with some plump sweet and tart blueberries, crunchy pistachios, protein and fiber-rich edamame, and creamy crumbled goat cheese piled on a bed of greens.

All of this drizzled with a honey red wine vinaigrette is heaven in a bowl!

What is your favorite summer salad?  There are so many wonderful combinations and possibilities!

Fresh Blueberry, Pistachio, & Edamame Salad with Goat Cheese


  • Mixed Greens (Kale, Arugula, Spinach Swiss Chard – any of your faves)
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Pistachio Nuts, shelled
  • Edamame, shelled
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Green Onions, chopped (optional)
  • Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing (homemade or your fave – this is how I make mine – it will make more than you need for one salad) 
    • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
    • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
    •  Tbsp Honey
    • Salt & Pepper


In a bowl, place a handful of mixed greens.  Top with fresh blueberries, pistachios, edamame, goat cheese, and green onions (if desired).  Drizzle with Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing.


Cheers & Hugs,

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 2

This weekend we celebrated the 25th birthday of a very special young lady in our lives –  our son Nick’s girlfriend, Liz.

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese

For the special picnic we were invited to, I made a batch of my almost famous guacamole, a plateful of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and this YUMMMMMMY Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds and Goat Cheese.

spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 1

Drizzled with an easy homemade balsamic vinaigrette, the crispy fresh spinach, sweet juicy strawberries, crunchy candied almonds, and the creamy goat cheese just SING when tossed together!

Easy – fresh – delicious – beautiful – summery – this is a Five Star Salad you are going to want to try, and your family and friends are going to thank you for making.

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Candied Almonds & Goat Cheese*

Ingredients:spinach strawberry salad with candied almonds and goat cheese 1

  • 1 lb fresh baby spinach (approx)
  • 1 qt fresh strawberries (chopped)
  • 6-8 oz. fresh goat cheese (crumbled)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 large clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp coarse ground pepper


Prepare candied almonds by combining sliced almonds and sugar in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently for several minutes until the sugar begins to caramelize.  Keep stirring until all the almonds are coated, and then spread in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Cool completely.  Once they are cooled, break them into chunks for little clusters of crunchy sweetness.

Prepare balsamic vinaigrette dressing by whisking together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

When ready to serve, combine spinach and chopped strawberries, candied almonds, and crumbled goat cheese.  Toss with balsamic vinegar, and serve immediately.

You could easily substitute your favorite greens for the spinach – perhaps arugala, romaine….  You could substitute the sliced almonds for walnuts or pecans…..  You could also substitute blue cheese or feta for the goat cheese.


Cheers & Hugs,

*Recipe slightly adapted from Veggie & the Beast

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing

Strawberry Spinach Salad 1

Looking for a bright, light, fresh summertime salad?  How about fresh baby spinach leaves, slices of juicy ripe strawberries, chunks of creamy goat cheese, and crunchy candied walnuts all drizzled with a sweet and tangy poppy seed viniagrette?  It just screams summertime!

Strawberry Spinach Salad 2

Since we were talking about strawberries this week, I couldn’t resist making this when asked to bring a salad to Liz’s birthday party last evening.

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Candying the walnuts is a cinch and homemade dressing makes it so much fresher.  This salad is super easy and bursting with flavor.


Strawberry Spinach Salad with Homemade Poppy Seed Dressing


  • Large bunch or bag of fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup candied walnuts
    • 1/8 cup powdered sugar
    • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
    • pinch of salt
  • Poppy seed dressing
    • 1/8 cup white vinegar
    • 1/8 cup sugar
    • 1/4 tsp shallot or onion powder
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp ground mustard
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds


  • Prepare candied walnuts:
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Mix dry ingredients in small bowl.  Set aside.
    • Blanch walnuts in a small saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes, and drain.
    • Mix sugar and walnuts together, and spread onto baking sheet.
    • Bake 10 minutes until golden.
  • Prepare dressing:
    • Whisk together vinegar and sugar until sugar is pretty much dissolved.  Add in shallot powder, salt, ground mustard.
    • Whisk in olive oil.
    • Stir in poppy seeds.
  • When ready to serve, toss spinach leaves with poppy seed dressing thoroughly.
  • Stir in sliced strawberries, goat cheese, and candied walnuts.
  • A protein can be added for a full meal (i.e. chicken breast slices, steak slices, salmon chunks

Happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend, and have fun doing things at life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,


Penne with Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese

Ohhh was this D E L I C I O U S !
Penne with Butternut Squash plated
My sweet friend, Janet, brought us over some butternut squash from her garden the other day.
I was excited to try something new with it, and found this amazing recipe from Giada at the Food Network.
I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand, so Score!  A simple (and no meat) dinner last night.  I added a big, green tossed salad, and we were set.
(My guys do prefer to have “meat,” but I’ll keep trying with baby steps to slip in alternatives occasionally.)
Penne with Butternut Squash Squash
So seriously – how can you go wrong with…
Penne pasta,
Creamy goat cheese,
Sweet onions and butternut squash roasted to perfection with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper,
Crunchy toasted walnuts,
Fresh, fragrant basil,
and salty grated Parmegiano Reggiano cheese
(well – – – Marty says omit the walnuts and add chicken – – – spoil sport!     Might work – but I LOVED it this way!!)
Penne with Butternut Squash Roasted Walnuts
I just love roasting vegetables.  The way this process caramelizes and brings out the sugars and flavors of vegetables is so amazing!
Penne with Butternut Squash roasted
 So – here is the recipe Giada shares from The Food Network that I tweaked up just a bit.
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 sweet onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
Olive oil, for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound penne pasta (or whatever shape you like)
1 1/2 cups goat cheese, crumbled – or how much ever you like
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Arrange the squash and onion together in a single layer on a baking sheet (I always use baking stones). Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally making sure to not overbake – or squash will become “mushy” when mixed in with pasta.

While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until al dente – about 8 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Mix the pasta, goat cheese and pasta water together and stir until the cheese melts into a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

To toast the walnuts, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until lightly toasted, about 6 to 8 minutes Cool completely before using.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Cheers & Hugs,