My mother was the perfect hostess. She and my father loved to entertain and hosted so many dinner parties at our house for friends and family; our house was the gathering place, for sure. My sister and I were often recruited to be the “servers” and were taught how to set tables, serve food properly, replenish water glasses, etc. Looking back on it, it was a lot of fun really as the guests would tease us or offer compliments.
Mother didn’t serve fancy meals, but they were colorful, flavorful, fresh and fairly traditional. When she wanted to prepare something suitable for a large group, one of her go-to-dinners was this baked pork chop served with baked potatoes, a large tossed green salad and horseradish carrots; I’ll post the latter recipe at a later date closer to the holidays. These dishes were relatively easy to prepare en mass and were well received by her guests.
Pork chops can be a little tricky because they are easily overcooked. The best way to evaluate doneness is to use a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat. By USDA standards, pork must reach an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees. The thickness of the chop, whether it has bone-in or is boneless, and even the color of the baking sheet all influence baking times. So use your thermometer just to be safe!
I’ve added the Sweet Apple Pear Slaw for contrast and a unique touch. We all love applesauce with pork chops, so why not a lovely little slaw made by grating apples and pears in the food processor and simply tossing them with apricot preserves. So yummy!
- Baked Pork Chops with Sweet Apple Pear Slaw
- 1/2 cup low-fat evaporated canned milk
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4 pork chops — center cut, bone-on, 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick (about 1 pound each)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Cooking Spray
- 1 medium apple, grated
- 1 medium pear, grated
- 2 Tbsp low-sugar apricot preserves (I use Smucker's Simply Fruit)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour canned milk into a shallow dish. Combine bread crumbs, garlic, salt and pepper in another shallow dish.
- Immerse pork chop into the milk, coating well. Then dredge in bread crumb mixture, coating both sides well. Repeat with remaining pork chops.
- Heat oil in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add breaded pork chops to the hot skillet and brown on each side about 1-2 minutes per side.
- Place seared pork chops on a baking sheet, coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches between 140-150 degrees in the thickest part of the meat with an instant-read thermometer. (Time will vary depending on the thickness of the pork chop, so start checking at 20 minutes). Avoid overcooking.
- Transfer the cooked pork chops to a plate and pour any pan juices over the top. Tent loosely with foil and let the chops rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.
- For the Slaw: Combine apple, pear and apricot preserves in a small bowl. Spoon on top of each pork chop when ready to serve.
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