After days of my mind going completely blank anytime I sat down to write something I finally got some inspiration! Yesterday was a lovely, quiet, relaxed sort of day and I was inspired to spend some time in the kitchen coming up with a new dish. I had picked up 2 packs of lovely, lean butterfly cut pork loin chops, perfect for making stuffed pork chops. So stuff them I did!
Ever since the first time I watched "Under the Tuscan Sun" I have been semi-obsessed with Italian cooking. It's only half-kidding to say we eat enough garlic to be bug proof. Garlic actually has many many health benefits, but that's another blog, another day. Yesterday was sort of magic in the way it came together. Both of the men-folk (Chris and our "adopted" 20 year old, Travis) were out of the house and for the first time all summer, all 3 kids were being good at the same time. T.V. off, music on and turned up loud, I got into house cleaning mode and was very satisfied with the results. Great, great mood, amazingly good karma for cooking!
I took each pork chop and with a meat mallet I pounded them out to about 1/4" thick, then stuffed them with a mix of petite diced tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, sea salt and shredded mozzarella, then rolled them in Italian seasoned breadcrumbs and baked. Made mini-shell pasta in a garlic white sauce to go with and green salad, so pretty on the plate for the few minutes it was there!
I had a few days of no real inspiration in the kitchen and some poor reviews on my attempts so I had been feeling sort of discouraged. To be able to pull last night's meal off can only be attributed to the zen-like feeling around my house yesterday. So, I suppose the moral of this story is take advantage of those zen-like moments to recharge your karma and creativity and find your culinary inspirations! I love traditional Italian and Mexican style cooking and a lot of down-home Dixie food and draw a lot of my inspiration from those bases.
Andiamo a mangiare! (Italian for Let's Eat!)
Italian Stuffed Pork Chops
6 Butterfly Cut Pork Loin Chops
1 28oz can Petite Diced Tomatoes THOROUGHLY drained.
1 C Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/8 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 C Minced Garlic
2 tsp Sea Salt or Mineral Salt
1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1/4 C Finely Minced Onion OR 1 tsp Onion Powder
2 C Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Preheat oven to 400. Grease a 9x13 baking pan and set aside. Mix filling and set aside. Using a meat mallet, pound each pork chop to approximately 1/4" thick **Tip - when pounding out meat, wash a plastic grocery bag with soap and water, turn inside out and cover meat to keep from slinging raw meat juice everywhere. Now put the breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet. Fill each chop with about 1/2 C of tomato mix, then set in breadcrumbs, press down, turn over, press down and move to baking pan. Drizzle with with just a little E.V.O.O. Repeat for each chop. It's ok to crowd them in the pan a little. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil and bake for 15-20 minutes to crisp the tops.
Garlic White Sauce
1/2 C Butter or Margarine
2 TBSP Minced Garlic
1 TBSP Lemon Juice
3 TBSP Cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
3 C Milk
Melt butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat, add garlic and stir slowly for 1 minute. Stir in cornstarch, salt and pepper. Slowly add milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil, boil for 1 minute - STIR CONSTANTLY. Serve over your favorite pasta!
Grazie! Venite tutti indietro, hai capito? (Thanks! Y'all come back now, y'hear?)