Weekday dinner inspiration: Smothered Pork Chops With Mustard and Thyme Butter and more

Mon | Sweet and savory

Start the week with grilled salmon, wild rice and string beans. Before cooking the fish, brush it with brown sugar, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. Just a few minutes on each side and it'll be done. Look for a quick-cooking wild rice or you'll eat dinner long after everyone wants to. Roast or steam the green beans.

Tues | Make it Mexican

Black Bean Tostadas are this week's meatless dish. Bonus points, too, for being cheap. Saute garlic and chopped onion in oil. Add two cans rinsed and drained black beans and some ground oregano. Toast or fry flour tortillas and pile on the beans, garnish with shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream. Your pantry and crisper might yield other options such as roasted red peppers, chopped green peppers, fresh cilantro. Fresh fruit on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Grab a bird or two and serve them with Penne and Gorgonzola. For the pasta, saute sliced red onion in a generous amount of olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. To the skillet, add the cooked pasta, a handful of toasted walnuts and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese. Scatter chopped fresh parsley over all, if you'd like.

Thurs | Birthday bash

If you've got something to celebrate tonight, do it with Smothered Pork Chops With Mustard and Thyme Butter (recipe below). Serve with soft rolls and spinach salad with tangerine slices to brighten the heavy-ish dish.

Fri | Pizza, French-style

Crusty French Bread Pizza is a snap to put together to end the workweek. Split the bread and toast in the oven slightly. Remove and slather with pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and toppings of your choice. (We like pepperoni and olive.) Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted, 10 minutes or so. Load up a green salad with veggies and a favorite dressing.

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Smothered Pork Chops With

Mustard and Thyme Butter

Mustard and thyme butter:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse-grain mustard

Leaves from 4 sprigs of thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried

1 tart apple

8 ounces potatoes, washed and unpeeled

1 onion, thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup unsalted butter

4 thick pork chops with bones, partly trimmed of fat

1 1/4 cups dry white wine or hard cider

To make the mustard and thyme butter, mash the ingredients together, form into a log and wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper; chill.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Halve and core the apple and cut it into wedges about 1 inch thick at the thickest part. Slice the potatoes into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Toss the potatoes with half the apple and half the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Put in the bottom of an ovenproof dish (which should be big enough to fit the chops in a single layer). Dot with half the butter.

Melt the rest of the butter in a frying pan. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and quickly brown them on both sides (you just want to color the meat; don't cook it through). Put the chops on top of the vegetables and apple and put the rest of the apple and onion on top. Deglaze the frying pan with the wine by pouring it into the pan and letting it bubble while you scrape the juices that have stuck to the pan. Pour this over the chops. Bake for 45 minutes, turning the onions and apples occasionally so that they get a good all over color, until cooked through. Serve a couple of slices of the flavored butter on top of each serving. Save the rest of the flavored butter for another use.

Serves 4.

Source: Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry (Ten Speed Press, 2009)

Weekday dinner inspiration: Smothered Pork Chops With Mustard and Thyme Butter and more

02/24/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 3:30am]

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