Greetings! Welcome back! So, how did your family like the spinach-pasta toss? Was it a success? I love that recipe, because it’s a great way to get my kids to eat fresh spinach. The canned stuff always looks so . . . yuck!
As I told you last time, the weekends are when my family sits down for a meal together. When it comes to deciding what that meal will be everybody in the family gets a say. My husband will throw ideas out, my son will also (his vote is usually for mac-and-cheese and hot dogs, or for chicken nuggets), as will my stepdaughter and I. And we just keep tossing ideas out until something sounds good to everyone. Lately, my stepdaughters vote has been for her current-favorite: Caesar-Parm Pork Chops.
I can’t tell you how many times I heard, as a kid, “never be afraid to try new foods, because you never know what you will like.” Thanks to those words from my mom and grandma I tried a lot of things as a kid that I might not otherwise have allowed to cross my palate. And now I find myself saying that to my stepdaughter also. Like many kids, (and adults-myself included) she has some preconceived notions about some foods, so sometimes I won’t tell her what a particular new food is until after she tries it the first time. That’s how I got her to eat fresh spinach. Now she loves it!
So, the first time I made this recipe Adrianna, my stepdaughter, was at our house for the weekend. I was nervous about making it, because she can sometimes be a finicky eater. She’s gotten a lot better over the last few years. New foods aren’t quite so scary to her anymore, which makes me super happy. She loves pork chops, but I wasn’t sure how she’d feel about the Caesar salad dressing. She’s a Ranch girl. As we all dove into the latest new recipe I asked her if she liked it, and if I should make it again. With a mouthful of pork chop she said “yes!” Hooray!!!!
This recipe is easy to prepare. It can also be a little messy too, but the messier the kitchen the better the meal, right? Just look at a kitchen in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner prep. Ha! It comes, once again, from the Kraft Food and Family magazine, this time from the Spring 2011 issue.
COOK pasta in large saucepan as directed on package, omitting salt.
MEANWHILE, heat large nonstick skillet on medium heat 5 min. or until very hot. Top chops evenly with 2 Tbsp. dressing and 1/4 cup cheese; press cheese into dressing to secure. Add chops, cheese-sides down, to skillet; cook 4 min. on each side or until done (160ºF). Transfer to plate; cover to keep warm.
DRAIN pasta; add to skillet with spinach and garlic. Cook and stir 1 min. or just until spinach is wilted. Stir in remaining dressing, cheese and tomatoes; cook and stir 1 min. or until heated through. Serve with chops.
When I make this I buy 4 chops, which means I also have to double the measurements for the other ingredients.
The recipe says “top the chops with dressing.” I like to do both sides with the dressing and cheese. That’s the part where it can get a little messy, trying to flip over dressingy pork chops without getting it everywhere. Thank goodness for paper towels.
I don’t measure the dressing or the cheese when coating the chops. I just squeeze the dressing directly onto the chop. If it’s not enough to coat evenly then I add more. If it’s too much, I use my brush to put it on another chop. As far as the cheese goes, I pour it all onto a paper plate and press the dressing-coated pork chops into the pile. Whatever cheese is left over I pour from the plate into the pasta.
My chops have never, never, never come out looking like the picture, but they sure do taste delicious, and that’s really all that matters, right?
I hope your family enjoys this recipe as much as my family does. It’s a great variation on hum-drum pork chops. Next time I will share with you my favorite recipe (aside from my grandmas) for Chicken Noodle Soup . . . big chunks of chicken and wide egg noodles. Yum!