Thursday, June 30, 2011

Onion and Herb Pork Chops

Since going vegetarian for 95% of my meals about 10 months ago (the beef jerky I've been eating the past couple days doesn't count!), one of the things I miss most is a nice juicy pork chop.  Pork chops are one of my husband's favorite, too, so he is always happy when he sees or smells them cooking.  His favorite is my corn flake crusted baked chops, but last night's went down pretty well!  I had my tofu and tried to get him to eat some of it, but he won't do it.  Silly boy:)  Also listed is my recipe for tomato and nopales (cactus) patties.

What you will need:
Bone in thin pork chops (for however many people)
Soy oil (about 1/4 cup per chop)
Mrs. Dash Onion and Herb no salt no msg seasoning (2 tsp per chop)
Salt (optional: 1/4 tsp per two chops.  I don't use any salt in this)

Mix the soy oil and seasoning (and salt if using) in an appropriate sized bowl that will allow all the chops to sit in the marinade.  Place the chops in the oil mix and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  After an hour, take the bowl out, flip the chops, and place back in the refrigerator for another hour. (Chops on right, my tofu on left)

When chops are finished marinating for the two hours, remove from the refrigerator and prepare them for baking.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Take the chops one by one and sear them in the pan...about 10 seconds on each side, until lightly grayed.

Once seared, place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray (I always line mine with foil to make cleanup easier!).  Place in the oven and cook for 15 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops.  Check the temperature around 12 minutes, then cook to 155 degrees. (Again, my tofu on the left)

For the tomato and nopales patties (for 2 to 3 people):
8oz stewed tomatoes in their own juice
8oz freshly strained cubed or diced nopales (or you can use frozen prepared nopales)
1 package of Ritz crackers (original Ritz gives a nice buttery flavor, but you can use wheat, too)
*nopales = cactus pads*

Cook the stewed tomatoes and nopales for a few minutes with a pinch of salt until the nopales are tender.  Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

While the tomato mixture is cooling crush or blend the Ritz.  Pulse in a food processor until bread crumb consistency.  You could also put the Ritz in a Ziplock bag, seal, and then crush with a rolling pin.

Once the Ritz are blended and the tomato mixture has cooled a little, pour the Ritz into the mixture and stir until combined.

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat then spray with a little cooking spray.  Spoon a couple TBS of the tomato mixture into the center of the pan and press down with the back of the spoon to form a small patty.  Allow the patty to cook for a couple minutes, then flip the patty and cook the other side for a couple minutes.  You want both sides to be browned and somewhat crispy!

 I served the chops and tomato patties with a spinach and cheese tortellini in a homemade buttered tomato sauce.  There were two chops on the plate, but I forgot to take the pic until after my husband had already eaten one of them:)  He has little patience when it comes to his meat!

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