Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I'm bacccckkkkk! Pork Chops, Smashed Potatoes and Zucchini!

Pork Chops, Smashed Potatoes and Zucchini

Did you miss me??!? I know, I know...it's been close to a year since I've blogged anything. Life got crazy for a while and something needed to give. I decided that I needed to give up blogging for a while until things got more manageable in my life. I'm not promising daily blogging just yet, but I will promise that I won't be a total stranger anymore. 

I'm pretty sure that part of my inspiration to start blogging again was sparked by my recent decision to have Cody's Fresh Foods start delivering weekly fresh organic produce to our house! I know it makes me a giant dork, but to have mysterious fresh ingredients dropped off on my porch every Saturday morning is exciting to me!! It's like my own personal version of Chopped!!! I don't know what I will get from week to week, but I know that it will be fresh and delicious! I get to experiment and figure out new, interesting ways to use that weeks ingredients. 

Here's a sneak peek of what I had to work with this week:

This time of year is always difficult for me because Bryan works a lot, so the kids and I are usually on our own for dinner. It's hard to not fall into the easy trap of making chicken nuggets or mac n cheese for the kids and fixing myself something quick and easy. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm getting my butt back to blogging!!!!! It holds me accountable for making decent meals...

Today I realized that I had tons of possibilities for side dishes and absolutely nothing in the house for a main dish. Isabella had drama class, so I headed over to Roma's Food Imports to see what the butcher had that looked good. I picked up some pork chops and knew the rest would come together easily.

I was recently given the opportunity to try out Filippo Berio olive oil through my membership in the BzzAgent program. The joke was on them though, because I've been using this olive oil exclusively for YEARS. It's actually the only one I buy! I was MORE than happy to accept the bottle they sent me in the mail and share the coupons with my friends! I actually use olive oil daily in every meal that calls for oil, unless it specifically calls for vegetable oil, which is mostly when I'm baking.

There isn't too much in the way of a recipe for this meal, but I'll do my best to explain.

For the pork chops:
  • 4 center cut boneless pork chops
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced
  • small can mushrooms
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons Filippo Berio olive oil
For the potatoes
  •  2 lbs small red potatoes 
  •  2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (to add to the boiling water)
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Filippo Berio olive oil for drizzling

 For the zucchini:

  • 4-5 small zucchini
  • 1 tablespoon Filippo Berio olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the pork chops you'll want to grab a large non stick skillet. Heat about 2 tablespoons of Fillipo Berio olive oil in the bottom and set your heat to medium-high. Liberally salt & pepper your pork chops and add them to the pan. You'll want to let them cook until they are browned on the first side, then flip and repeat for the second side. The first side took about 4-5 minutes for me. 

While the first side is browning up, bring a pot of water to a boil with about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and 2 smashed cloves of garlic (this will help flavor the potatoes). Once the water comes to a boil, add the baby potatoes with the skin on and cook until fork tender.

Once you flip them to the second side, slice up about half of a red onion and add it to the pan with the pork chops. I normally would use fresh mushrooms, but I didn't happen to have any on hand today. I keep canned mushrooms in my pantry for just this kind of situation, so I tossed in a small can of mushrooms as well. Reduce the heat once the second side is nice and golden brown. You'll want to leave it at around medium-low heat for the remainder of the cooking time. Start to finish, my pork chops took about 15 minutes. If you are unsure if they are done,  you should always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Pork chops are done when they reach 160 degrees.

Occasionally give the onions and mushrooms a stir, but just let it all hang out in there. It will be fine.

While your pork chops are finishing up, drain the potatoes. Drizzle a pan with some more Filippo Berio olive oil and place all the potatoes on the pan. Smash with a potato masher, the back of a fork, or you can even cut them if you prefer. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Drizzle the top of the potatoes with a little more olive oil and then sprinkle a small amount of fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees while the rest of the meal comes together, or just until the cheese is melted. 

I always let my meat sit for a few minutes before cutting and serving to allow the juices to redistribute and prevents it from drying out.  I took the pork chops, onions and mushrooms out of the pan and onto a plate and then cooked the zucchini right in the same pan so it picked up all the great flavor from the pork. 

I gave it another small drizzle of olive oil and then tossed in 4-5 small sliced zucchini. Hit them with some salt, pepper and a clove of minced garlic. I like my zucchini to be golden brown, but not mushy. I cooked them on medium for about 4 minutes and they were perfect! Still had a little crispness to them, but were not hard.  

This meal came together quickly and was VERY good! 

I promise to not be a stranger anymore....


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