Thursday, December 18, 2008
I went a bit crazy yesterday...yup I sure I did. I cooked my little butt off. I got home at a reasonably early time and decided that rather than folding laundry (ehhh my least favorite thing to do!) I would cook. And cook I did!
A few days ago, I was doing my weekly shopping at the grocery store.
*My hint for people who are trying to be on a budget. Plan your meals around the things on sale. Once I started planning my menus around the protein that was on sale, I was able to cut my monthly grocery bills in half! Now before I go to the grocery store, I look at the store's ad online and plan my recipes that way. It gives me a better idea of what to eat that week. Additionally, since the stores never have the same cuts of meat on sale week to week, it enables me to have tons of variety in my menus!*
This week pork sirloin chops were on sale. So I decided to create a recipe for roasting them. I used to typically bread my pork and fry and then finish it off in the oven. But then all that breading went straight to my thighs so I decided to change my cooking options a bit. Now granted everyone loves that crust that pork chops get when they have been fried. But I have discovered a new way to keep the moisture in and keep the crust one with half the calories!
Two little words: Roasting and Parmesan Cheese!
If you have a roasting option on your oven USE IT! It is not only for obvious things like Thanksgiving Turkey ROASTS or Pot ROASTS, it can be used for absolutely anything! You see roasting combines your broiler heat and the regular baking option. Giving you the crispy crust from broiling and a tender inside from the heat. For this dish, high heat is necessary for the entire cooking time. Since our pork is a reasonably small cut, not large like say a pot roast is, it will cook fast! So the high heat is necessary to give it that caramel colored crust.
If you have a convection oven, (which I do), in which the hot air in the oven is constantly moved around, USE IT! It will ensure an evenly cooked pork chop in the fastest amount of time.
*Just a note, all of my recipes are based off of a convection oven, unless otherwise stated. So in other ovens it may take longer*
Now for the second secret to a crust...Parmesan cheese. Everyone loves Parmasan cheese on their pasta, but it also does wonders for crusts. It caramalizes and gives a little bit of a crust! MMMMMM Yummy!
I have to say, I really, enjoyed this recipe! It was easy and the flavors were amazing. The mustard and sweetness of the juice and honey really worked well with the pork. It was tender and super flavorful! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Now onto the recipe!
-3 Pounds of Pork Chops *(I used sirloin bone-in chops)
-1/2 cup Honey Mustard *(I had already prepared honey mustard, but you can make your own with just good Dijon mustard and a couple squirts of honey)
-1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder *(If you use regular crushed garlic, it will burn because of the high temperature.)
-2 tpsp apple juice
-1/2 tbsp Onion Powder
-1 tbsp Fresh Rosemary, chopped finely
-1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese *(Just enough to sprinkle on top)
-Salt and Pepper to taste
*Preheat oven to 425-degrees
1. Lay out the pork chops on an oiled baking sheet, with another pan below it. This is done so that the pork can actually roast and the fat will drip down to the bottom. Otherwise it would cook in its own juices and not get color.
2. Season them with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Combine apple juice, all the seasoning and herbs with the honey mustard and mix to combine.
4. With a pastry brush, smear your honey mustard mix on ONE side of the chops.
5. Sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
*Please keep in mind, that cooking times will vary based on your oven, convection cooking and the thickness of the chops. If in doubt, just place a meat thermometer in the middle of the chop, making sure not to touch the bone until it reads 155-degrees. This will ensure juicy chops every time!*
6.After ten minutes, flip your chops over and smear and sprinkle the other side. Place back in the oven for another 7 minutes.
7. There now it's done!
*If your oven cooks really fast like mine does, the second side may not brown up as much as you would like. In that case, turn on your broiler for about 3-4 minutes and they will brown up nicely for you!*
Basil Scented Orzo
I love orzo! And now that they came out with whole wheat orzo, I am guilt free, YEAY!!! I wanted to do something really simple with lots of classic flavors with this pork chop. I was craving pasta but I just wanted something on the lighter side. So this dish was perfect! The tomatos just pop in your mouth and the white wine adds a very clean flavor to the dish.
-1 cup of un-cooked whole wheat orzo (you can use plain orzo too)
-1/2 pint of cherry or frape tomatos, sliced in half
-7 basil leaves in a chiffonade
-1/2 a red onion, finely diced
-1/2 cup of white wine
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-Olive oil to cook
-Salt and Pepper to season
1.Cook the orzo in a pot of boiling water with salt.
2.In the meantime prepare all your ingredients.
*The chiffonade of basil is just a very fancy French way of saying slice for herbs. First, stack your herbs one on top of each other and roll them up like a cigar. Then slice. That's it!
3.Sautee your onions in olive oil on a medium to low flame, you just want them to be tender, no color. Add in your tomatoes, garlic and wine. Let wine reduce.
4. Strain the orzo and toss with onion tomato mixture. *(If it's too dry, add a touch of broth)
5.Add the basil, salt and pepper. Toss to combine and serve with pork.