working on upgrade of pork chops,rice, cream of mushroom

Well, nothing like starting a part-time job outside of the home to slow down blogging! I just finished my second week, so hopefully I am settling into my new schedule and will post more often again.

The other night, I made that old stand-by: pork chops baked on a bed of rice and cream of mushroom soup. My husband loves it – and it certainly qualifies as “comfort food” for all of us brought up in the 50s and 60s. Although, I suspect that it still makes frequent appearances at dinner tables. It is so easy! BUT – I am getting bored….

So far, this is what I do: four bone-in regular (versus thick-cut) pork chops. [on Manager’s Special sale at Shaw’s, of course!]

I always use bone-in chops for this.They add flavor, as well as entertainment at dinner for those who like to knaw on bones. 🙂

4 pork chops
3/4 cups long-grained rice
1 can Campbell’s Healthy Choice ™ cream of mushroom soup
1 cup water
3 medium carrots, chopped about an inch thick
1 cup frozen peas
salt and pepper

I mix the soup and water right in the casserole (9×12 or so), then add the rice and spread around, then the carrots and peas.

For the first time, I browned the chops first, first seasoning them with salt and fresh ground pepper. I think it made the chops more flavorful and more tender. The browning seals in flavor and moisture and helps keep the chops from being steamed versus roasted, I think.

Place the chops on the other stuff, and sprinkle with paprika. Then, cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes or until done. It can sit for a bit in a warm oven, too, if folks aren’t quite ready for dinner.

Fresh mushrooms are an option that I have used before. Cream of celery soup with the fresh mushrooms is good, too. BUT – I need some seasoning ideas… Perhaps a curry flavor?? Nah – that would be too weird a change for comfort food – that would be a whole new recipe sans cream of anything soup. Anyway – I’ll keep thinking on it. Be nice to spice it up a bit (so to speak).

Tonight I am doing roast chicken – butterflied and cooked at 500 degrees. I have about 2 1/2 lbs of yukon gold potatoes sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch tossed in 1 Tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper in the bottom of a broiler pan lined with oiled foil, with the chicken on the top part of the broiler pan – rubbed a bit of olive oil on the chicken, too and sprinkled with pepper. This recipe is courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. The taters roast up basted in the fat from the chicken above it. VERY yummy! I am going to steam asparagus (on sale at Farmland til Sat 3/25) to accompany.

When butterflying the chicken, I cut the backbone out. I’m saving that to make chicken stock, along with the carcass of the rest of the chicken after it is consumed. Or, maybe I’ll do one stock with the carcass and use the uncooked backbone to supplement a veggie stock… Decisions, decisions!