Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Real Weeknight Dinners: Pork Chops with Orange Sauce, Smashed Potatoes, Salad

So many quick dinner cookbooks cheat! They have ingredients lists which assume at least a half hour of prep or an army of sous chefs at your beck and call. I thought it might be useful to post a collection of what works for us as a true walk in the door, cook for 30 minutes, sit down and eat kind of meal.

I'm going to tag this one as two-handed -- four-handed tags will mark recipes written up for two people to work on, and six-handed for three people. Someday I'll probably also have a "plus toddler" when my girl is old enough to pitch in :).

- 3 oranges
- 2 good-sized pork chops
- chop seasoning (we like Urban Accents' "Chicago Steak and Chop" mix) -- or some salt and pepper and such
- 4 good-sized potatoes
- salad & your favorite dressing (marzetti poppyseed works nicely)
- olive oil
- rosemary
- honey
- cornstarch
- 1/4 cup of milk


1. On your way in the door, flip on the broiler. We have a gas oven, so it is quick to pre-heat -- your results here may vary, but mine is always ready to use by the time I finish getting jackets and shoes squared away. Put the chops on a broiler-safe pan, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with the chop seasoning. Put the chops in the broiler, and set your timer for 8 minutes.

2. Cut the potatoes into eighths or smaller if they're particularly large. Put them in a microwave-safe bowl with hot water out of the tap and microwave it on high for 20 minutes or until soft enough to smash. We like our potatoes chunky and unpeeled, so that's what this recipe will give you.

3. Squeeze the juice from two oranges into a small saucepan and allow to simmer. Cut the orange pulp from the peel of the third orange and dice. If you like pulpy orange juice, you might like pulpy orange sauce, so feel free to add some of this diced pulp to the sauce.

4. Flip the chops when the timer goes off, and give them another dose of chop seasoning before returning them to the broiler. Set the timer for another 8 minutes, or to your preferred level of doneness.

5. Squeeze a little honey and add some rosemary to the orange sauce. Stir in a pinch of cornstarch. Check it every now and then -- when it starts to thicken, turn the heat down to low.

6. Toss your salad with the orange bits (to taste...anything unused is a snack :D). We have been particularly fixed on the refrigerated/produce aisle types of dressing lately, rather than the shelf-stable kind. You can use whatever, of course, but we had ours with poppyseed, and that matched nicely with the orange.

7. When the potatoes are done, smash them up and add the milk with a little dash of chop seasoning and/or rosemary to help tie the flavors together. Mix thoroughly and sit down to dinner!

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