Ultra Crunchy Pork Chops

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** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

I can’t even remember how I got to this other blog, but boy am I glad I did! These pork chops were FANTASTIC. The inside was juicy and tender and the outside was crisp and flavorful. Really the perfect combination. I’m not sure I will ever be able to go back to a can of bread crumbs. That’s how good these were. The other great thing about this recipe is that it requires no frying and minimal oil. Just enough oil to crisp up the bread crumbs. I served this with roasted asparagus (tossed in EVOO, garlic, salt and pepper) and mashed potatoes. I know the mashed potatoes are a shocker, we never have mashed potatoes, LOL. What can I say, we like our starches!

Ultra Crunchy Pork Chops
(Source: Cooks Illustrated Feb 2008, as seen on SugarandSpice)

Ingredients:
4 boneless center-cut pork chops, 6 to 8 ounces each, 3/4 to 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
4 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into 1 inch pieces (I used whole wheat bread)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tbsp)
3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
Ground black pepper
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme leaves (I used dry)
2 tbsp. minced fresh parsley leaves (I used dry)
1/4 cup plus 6 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large egg whites
3 tbsp. Dijon mustard
Lemon wedges (I skipped the lemon wedges)

Directions:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees.

Pulse bread in food processor until coarsely ground, about eight 1-second pulses (you should have 3 1/2 cups crumbs). Transfer crumbs to rimmed baking sheet and add shallot, garlic, oil, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Toss until crumbs are evenly coated with oil. Bake until deep golden brown and dry, about 15 minutes, stirring twice during baking time. (Do not turn off oven.) Cool to room temperature. Toss crumbs with Parmesan, thyme, and parsley.

Place 1/4 cup flour in pie plate. In second pie plate, whisk egg whites and mustard until combined; add remaining 6 tbsp. flour and whisk until almost smooth, with pea-sized lumps remaining.

Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spray wire rack with nonstick cooking spray and place in rimmed baking sheet. Season chops with pepper. Dredge 1 pork chop in flour, shake off excess. Using tongs, coat with egg mixture; let excess drip off. Coat all sides of chop with bread crumb mixture, pressing gently so that thick layer of crumbs adheres to chop. Transfer breaded chop to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 3 chops.

Bake until instant-read thermometer inserted in center of chops registered 150 degrees, 17 to 25 minutes. Let rest on rack 5 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

Cajun Chicken Pasta and Paula Dean’s Cheese Biscuits

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** This post was imported as a part of my top 30 from my old blog – What’s Cooking in the Orange Kitchen**

My friend was raving about this delicious dinner she had, so, of course I asked for the recipe. The funny thing was that when I was making my weekly menu and writing out my grocery list I realized that I had the EXACT recipe in my “to try” folder. Great minds think alike I guess. Her liking it was the kick in the butt I needed to make it.

Cajun Chicken Pasta
Recipe from allrecipes.com-

4 ounces linguine pasta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, sliced into thin strips
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons butter
1 green bell pepper, chopped [I used orange bell pepper instead]
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
4 fresh mushrooms, sliced [I omitted because I forgot to get them, oops]
1 green onion, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream [I used half and half]
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
DIRECTIONS
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguine pasta, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
Meanwhile, place chicken and Cajun seasoning in a bowl, and toss to coat.
In a large skillet over medium heat, saute chicken in butter until no longer pink and juices run clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers, sliced mushrooms and green onions; cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce heat, and stir in heavy cream. Season the sauce with basil, lemon pepper, salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper, and heat through.
In a large bowl, toss linguine with sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Paula Dean’s Cheese Biscuits (from The Lady and Sons cookbook)

2 cups self rising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup crisco [I used butter flavor]
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder and sugar together with fork; cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Add cheese. Stir in buttermilk all at one time just until blended. Do not over stir. Drop by tablespoonfuls (or and ice cream scoop, I used my Pampered chef scoop) onto well greased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.