Italian Baked Pork Chops

As promised, I bring you another one skillet dish!  This is probably one of my favorite one skillet dishes because its really classy and delicious, but simple and easy.  It would be great for a group of people because its cheap too!

I came up with this dish thinking about toppings for pork chops.  I used the generic name of Italian-baked chops because it uses some classic italian flavors like tomato and garlic.  It really is a great way to serve pork.

I’m trying out a new format with more pictures, so let me know if you like it.

These are the only ingredients you need to make a delicous baked pork chop meal.

2 pork chops

2 shallots, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes (I prefer the ones with garlic and basil)

1 – 2 Tablespoons for olive oil

1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Pasta, as you like

Step 1:  Sear the pork chops

The pork chops look strangely different because they are.  My boyfriend prefers this dish with smoked, bone-in chops, and I prefer it with lean, bone-out chops.  So, this dish is versatile in that effect as well.  First liberally salt and pepper each side of the chops.  Then warm the olive oil over medium heat and add the chops, searing on each side for about 5-7 minutes.

Step 2: Add the shallots and garlic.

As you see, I added the chopped shallots and garlic directly to the pan.  Mix them around the pan.  This will lap up the delicious pan drippings, making the dish even tastier.  Cook them in the pan for a good 3 minutes, until fragrant.

Step 3:  Add tomatoes and vinegar.

Deglaze the pan by adding the red wine vinegar.  Then add canned tomatoes, juice and all.  Season with salt and pepper liberally again.  Turn the pork chops one last time, and turn the heat down to a light simmer.  Let this savory mixture cook on low for 20 – 30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Step 4:  Add some pasta, if you’d like!

Lastly, I like to add a little pasta to sop up the yummy sauce.  It doesn’t need much, though!  A 1/2 a cup per person is plenty.

Skillet Baked Ziti

More skillet recipes!  I love one-dish recipes.  Mainly because I hate cleaning pans.  Admittedly, this is not my recipe.  This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated.  But this recipe brings ziti to a new level.  The folks at America’s Test kitchen have outdone themselves this time.  In other words, this dish is easy and irresistable.

America’s Test Kitchen has put many of their own tricks in this recipe, so I just follow it.  The best part is actually cooking the pasta in the tomato sauce.  The pasta soaks up the delicious flavor of tomato and really adds something to it.  However, resist the urge to cook the pasta all the way in the sauce.  Otherwise, when you finish the dish in the oven, you will get gummy, soggy pasta.  If you follow that simple suggestion, you can’t go wrong with this recipe!

1 tablespoon olive oil
6  garlic cloves minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 cups water
12 ounces ziti (3 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 475 degrees.  Combine oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in 12-inch, ovensafe nonstick skillet.  Sauté over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add crushed tomatoes, water, and ziti.  Generously season with salt and pepper.  Cover and cook, stirring often and adjusting heat as needed to maintain vigorous simmer, until ziti is almost tender, 15 to 18 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat.  Stir in cream, Parmesan, and basil.  Sprinkle mozzarella evenly over top of ziti. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until cheese has melted and browned, about 10 minutes.

Tomato Skillet Chicken

I love meals you can make in a skillet.  They are usually quick and simple, so they are great for those days you don’t feel like working hard to make a good meal.  This recipe is especially nice because I utilized lean meat (chicken) and brown rice with vegetables – so it is good for you too!

Skillet chicken

Although this is a skillet recipe, you cannot just throw everything in at once.  There is a special order that makes the meal work.  I have outlined the steps below to make it even easier.  It usually takes 30-40 minutes to make, depending on your rice.  You can also marinate the chicken for longer if you prefer, I simply didn’t have time to leave it set overnight.  It is easy to personalize this dish as well.  You could easily swap out a different type of meat or a different type of vegetable.

Approximately 1 lb of chicken strips of breast (usually 2-4)

1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette

1 Tablespoon of oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes

3/4 cup of brown rice

1 cup of water

1 Tablespoon fresh cut basil

1/4 cup of grated low-fat swiss or mozzarella cheese

Step 1: Place chicken in a plastic bag with vinaigrette.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Warm oil in a large skillet or saucepan.  Cook marinated chicken in the pan.  The pan should seem too large for the chicken.  It’s ok, there is a reason for this.  Place chicken to the side when it is fully cooked.

Step 3: Place garlic and canned tomatoes (juice and all) in the pan.  It’s alright if there is still some drippings from the chicken.  That makes it more delicious! Cook until fragrant.  This should only take a minute.  Add rice and water.  Bring to a boil.  Then, add basil and reduce to a simmer.  Cook and let rice absorb the liquid.  This will take a different amount of time, depending on the type of the rice you have. Mine took about 30 minutes.

Step 4: When rice is nearly done, uncover and add chicken.  Sprinkle cheese over top and let melt.  Serve and enjoy!