Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Parmesan-Crusted Pork Chops and Alexia Potato Sides

Parmesan-Crusted Baked Pork Chops

I was such a crab apple today. Seriously. It was one of those days I'm sure those around me wish I had stayed in bed. Or at least worked from home so I didn't have to spread my grump.

My routine has been thrown off by the weather and other annoyances. It never fails to put me in a sour mood.

Tomorrow will be better. I'm already planning a workout. Plus, I'm seeing a movie with a friend after work. It's hard to be a grump when you have a workout plus time with friends to look forward to. Hopefully No Strings Attached is as good as I have heard it is. I just want it to be mindless and entertaining.

My day actually turned around for the better once I walked through the door this evening and remembered I put pork chops out for dinner.

I am shocked that I've never shared these pork chops. Could that really be? I guess I did link to them, but I didn't dedicate a post to them.

I've been making these forever and I love them. They're kind of like a dressed up shake and bake. But better. My favorite baked pork chops.

On the side was a new-to-me side: Alexia Roasted Red Potatoes & Harvest Vegetables. I received it for free from the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program.

Alexia bag

I don't often opt in for these kinds of things, but I am already a big fan of Alexia products and couldn't wait to try some of their newer stuff.

I've previously tried their sweet potato fries and I've mentioned how much I like their rolls. They make frequent appearances with soup.

This side tasted very similar to Green Giant's Steamers with potatoes and peas. It takes a bit more time, but the vegetables aren't as mushy and the sauce isn't as runny. Plus, it has a better ingredients list.

The package says it's two one-cup servings and I got just less than that, which brings me to what I didn't like so much.

It's not a exactly vegetable side dish for the whole family. At $2.89 (on sale), it's not something I would want to buy two bags of to feed a family of four. I could make my own, similar tasting dish for MUCH less.

What it has going for it — besides being delicious, of course — is the ease of it. Perfect for a single person or a couple looking for a fuss-free side dish that tastes better than your typical bag of frozen vegetables.

Let's take a closer look:
Alexia Roasted Red Potatoes & Harvest Vegetables

Overall, something I'd buy again if it it's on sale and I have a coupon.

Parmesan-Crusted Baked Pork Chops
Serves 4. Adapted from Bon Appetit.

1 1/2 cups fresh breadcrumbs (I made mine from stale hotdog buns. HA!)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (or any herb, really. The recipe actually calls for sage)
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
2 large eggs
1/4 cup all purpose flour
4 boneless center-cut pork loin chops (each about 1 inch thick)
2 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine breadcrumbs, cheese, herbs and lemon peel in pie plate. Whisk eggs in medium bowl. Place flour on plate; season generously with salt and pepper.

Coat pork chops with with flour, shaking off any excess. Then, dip them into eggs. Finally, coat them with the breadcrumbs.

Melt butter with oil in heavy large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork chops to skillet about 2 minutes per side or until browned.

Transfer skillet with pork to the oven. Bake until pork chops are crisp on the outside and meat thermometer inserted into pork registers 150°. Mine took a little less than 10 minutes. I would start checking them after 5 minutes, but they might go as long as 20 depending on the thickness of your chops.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The cat in the box


I couldn't resist a non-food post today. Last weekend I forgot to bring bags with me to Aldi, and I didn't want to buy bags at the checkout. I saw this box that once had tortilla chips in it and used it to haul home the groceries.

My cat loves when I bring home boxes. She flips out — in the best, funniest way possible. And for some reason, last week was one of the very rare times where she tolerates her photo being taken.

So, I bring you: Bella's Guide to Exploring a New Box.

Give it a good sniff because, you know, it smells different than anything already in the house.

Rub your face all over it so you can make it smell like everything else in the house.

Roll around in it to test out its size.DPP_0023

Examine all potential exits.

Enjoy the box.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Hot Dogs with Poblanos, Pepper Jack and Tomatillo Salsa


At 441 calories and 28 grams of fat, this is not the leanest meal in the world. Especially considering that doesn't even include the fries.

But I couldn't help myself. In fact, I made this a week ago and I'm still thinking about it.

It was just that good.

I even sprung for the fancier hot dogs. Honestly, though, the hot dog didn't matter much buried under all of that peppery, cheesy goodness. The tomatillo salsa, which is my favorite salsa, was just the icing on the cake.

If you want it a little leaner, Applegate Farms has a uncured all-natural organic beef hotdog that I've bought and liked before. Haven't tried them since they changed their formula and packaging though. I can find them at my local health food store.

I did leave off the cojita cheese, but I don't think it would have added a whole lot. Since I stuck very closely to the recipe, check it out at