Italian Baked Pork Chops

Juicy, tender pork chops coated in Italian dressing and a combination of bread crumbs and freshly grated parmesan cheese.Italian-Baked-Pork-Chops-1

I have made a version of Italian baked chicken and decided to test it out on boneless pork chops. It was delicious. Baking the pork chops makes them much healthier than frying them in oil and they are still just as tender and juicy. The dressing gives a great flavor while the freshly grated parmesan cheese adds that little something extra. I used boneless pork chops about 1-inch thick, but feel free to use thinner ones. It will just take less time in the oven. Enjoy this tasty dinner that will be on your table in about a half hour. Make the first bite count!

Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Italian dressing
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
4 boneless pork chops (about 1 inch thick)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place dressing in a medium bowl. Combine parmesan cheese and bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Take each pork chop and dip both sides in dressing and then in the bread crumb mixture. Make sure to press bread crumbs on both sides of the pork chop. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

3. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until no longer pink inside. Serve hot.

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Zucchini and Parmesan Orzo

A perfect side dish combining orzo pasta, zucchini and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.Zucchini-and-Parmesan-Orzo-Recipe-1

And I’m back!!! I know I have been M.I.A. but it’s been a crazy start to the year. I recently started an online Masters program to obtain my certificate as Educational Supervisor and have just received a student teacher in class that I been working with and mentoring these past few weeks. It’s been a little nuts, but now that I have a better hold on my new responsibilities, I’m back and better than ever. I do have some great recipes to share with you, I just hope I get the lighting during the day to take decent pictures. That’s another thing, here in the Mid-Atlantic we have been getting snow, snow and more snow. Not a whole lot of sun to take great pictures and since one my New Year’s Resolutions was to improve my photography, I did not want to skimp.

Anyway, today I present to you a fabulous side dish, Zucchini and Parmesan Orzo. I recently have discovered orzo and pairing it with all sorts of vegetables makes a great side to any meal. This was delicious and would even be a great summer pasta salad eaten room temperature. Or maybe make it a meal by adding some shrimp or chicken. So many possibilities, I encourage you to play and let me know what you come up with. This recipe comes together rather quick and is even better leftover. And I love the pasta/veggie combo, this is the only side you need. So enjoy and, don’t forget, Make the first bite count!

Zucchini-and-Parmesan-Orzo-Recipe-2

Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 (as a side dish)

Ingredients:
1 cup orzo
1 medium zucchini
2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. When bubbling, season the water with salt and then add the orzo. Cook according to the box for Al Dente. Before draining reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain and return to the orzo to the pot.

2. While the orzo is cooking, prepare the zucchini. Cut off each end. Slice in half, lengthwise, and then cut each piece in half again lengthwise. Chop the zucchini into about 1/4 inch pieces.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a medium-sized pan. Once the oil is hot, add the zucchini and season with salt, pepper and the garlic powder. Stir to evenly distribute and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Stir and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. The zucchini should be starting to soften but not getting soggy. Add the reserved pasta water and scrape up the bits from the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the cooked zucchini, butter, and parmesan cheese to the orzo. Stir to combine until the butter and cheese have melted. Serve and enjoy.

Italian Meatball Pizza

Traditional Pizza with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and homemade meatballs for a topping.
Italian-Meatball-Pizza-Recipe-2

My husband is back from his ski trip and loved every minute of it. He also realized I stole a few meatballs I made for him to take on his trip to make this great tasting pizza. Sometimes pizza just needs a little pizzazz and adding toppings is a great way to jazz it up. I cut up some homemade meatballs and placed them on top and it added just enough to give this pizza a little something extra. I made a homemade dough using my bread maker, but I have used the can of dough from the refrigerator isle and it works just as great. So do what’s easiest for you to make this great weeknight dinner. Make the first bite count!

Italian-Meatball-Pizza-Recipe-1

Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients:
Pizza Dough, enough for 1 pizza
1 cup tomato pizza sauce
4-5 Italian meatballs, recipe HERE
4 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon oregano

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking pan or pizza pan and roll out dough to desired thickness.

2. Evenly coat dough with tomato sauce, leaving space around the edges for a crust.

3. Crumble the fresh mozzarella evenly over the tomato sauce. Then sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over top.

4. Cut the meatballs into quarters and evenly space them out on top of the pizza. Sprinkle the freshly grate parmesan and oregano over the top and bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly. If you desire a golden brown top, place pizza under broiler for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully so not to burn. Allow to cool a few minutes, the slice and serve.

Italian Meatballs

Tender, flavorful Italian meatballs in a homemade tomato sauce

Italian Meatballs Recipe-1

My husband just left for his 2nd annual all guys ski trip. I’m certainly sad to see him leave for almost a week, but I know he will have tons of fun. And lucky for him, he has a great wife that loves to cook. I cooked up about 50 Italian meatballs in a tomato sauce for him to take up to Vermont with him. Him and the guys are going to be skiing all day, every day, and deserve to eat home cooked meals when they wrap up their days. These meatballs are great as sandwiches, like my husband and his friends plan one eating them, or even with traditional spaghetti. They freeze great too. So even if 50 meatballs sounds like a lot, make the whole batch, eat what you like and freeze the rest in a sealed container to enjoy at a later date. So tender and flavorful, you will love these Italian meatballs. Make the first bite count!

Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 8-10

Ingredients:
tomato sauce, recipe HERE
4 eggs
12 garlic cloves
2 cups Italian style bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup milk
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground turkey

Directions:
1. In a large pot, make the tomato sauce according to recipe.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, and milk. Once the mixture has come together, add the meat and use your hands to incorporate the mixture into the meat. Try not to overwork the meat, just mix enough until everything is incorporated. Roll out about 2-inch balls (this size will make about 50), or a size of your liking. Place, touching one another, on a foil-lined cookie sheet with a rim. Bake 15-20 minutes or until no longer pink inside.

4. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.