Weekday dinner inspiration: Smothered Pork Chops and more

Mon | Go meatless

Potato Pierogi With Sauteed Apples and Cabbage is a Real Simple idea that will get your week off to a delicious start. Look for frozen pierogi in your freezer case and prepare according to the package instructions. To make the side, saute sliced onion in olive oil for about 5 minutes then add cubed apples (we like fall's bright honey crisp variety). Cook another minute, then add shredded cabbage, a few splashes of apple cider vinegar and salt and black pepper. Offer sour cream with the pierogi.

Tues | Smothered with bacon

Do not be put off by the length of the instructions for Smothered Pork Chops (recipe below). The techniques are simple for this stove-top dish. I promise you'll clip and save after you make it. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Prepare Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches by mixing shredded meat from two birds with 1 to 2 cups of your favorite barbecue sauce. Pile the meat high on pillowy rolls and top with coleslaw. Serve with fresh corn and melon slices.

Thurs | Soup's on

Toss frozen cheese tortellini and baby spinach leaves into simmering chicken broth for Spinach and Tortellini Soup. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Breadsticks and green salad on the side.

Fri | Fish fry alternative

Serve Oven-Baked Fish tonight with a pasta salad studded with blue cheese crumbles. Soak firm white fillets in buttermilk, then dredge through seasoned bread crumbs. Bake on a greased baking sheet in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway.

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Smothered Pork Chops

4 bone-in pork chops (6 ounces each, 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick)

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra as needed

2 onions, halved and thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme or 1/4 teaspoon dried

2 tablespoons water

3 ounces (3 slices) bacon, chopped fine

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon minced parsley

Pat the chops dry with paper towels, then season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until just smoking. Brown the chops on both sides, about 5 minutes, then transfer to a large plate.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the skillet and return to medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the water, scraping up any browned bits, then transfer to a bowl.

Add the bacon to the skillet and return to medium heat, cooking until crisp, about 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate, leaving the bacon fat in the pan (you should have at least 2 tablespoons but if not, substitute vegetable oil for the missing bacon fat).

Whisk the flour into the fat left in the skillet and cook over medium-low heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the broth, scraping up any browned bits. Return the chops to the skillet and cover them with the onions. Add the bay leaves, cover and simmer over low heat until the pork is completely tender, about 30 minutes.

Transfer the chops to a serving platter and tent with foil. Continue to simmer the sauce until thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves, stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the sauce over the chops and sprinkle with the crisp bacon before serving.

Serves 4.

Source: The America's Test Kitchen Cookbook (America's Test Kitchen, 2006)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Smothered Pork Chops and more 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:30am]

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