Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Shake it baby!

This week I was craving another one of my old favourites from my mom's home cooking. Breaded pork chops in Shake n Bake.

Ok, it's chicken and not pork.
But their southern accent is simply adorable.

I don't know why, but I never really cook pork. Even though I love it. Especially breaded. My mom used to do breaded pork chops sometimes for dinner with Shake n Bake. As a side she would either make some quick Alfredo noodles or vegetables au gratin and mashed potatoes. Since I don't eat enough vegetables, I decided to do the latter.

This is a pretty simple meal to make, but it takes a long time to prepare of you don't have proper tools. For example, I have a small kitchen with small pots. So, I had to cook my vegetables and potatoes in two batches because I could only fit half of them at a time. Also, if you want to save time, buy the frozen vegetables California mix which has cauliflower, broccoli and carrots. You can also use instant mashed potatoes, but I always prefer the real thing. (Instant mashed potatoes feel like it sticks in my guts like plaster.) This is also a great complete dinner if you want to feel a family and a couple of guests. You should have enough food for everyone.

So here's how I did it.


Ingredients:


  • 1 kg (~2.lbs) of pork chops
  • 1 envelope of Shake n Bake mix for pork
  • 1 bag of California mix frozen vegetables
  • 1 envelope of Bechamel sauce mix
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 bag of shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • 4 potatoes
  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt + pepper

Directions:


The first thing I always start with is to wash and prepare the vegetables. In this case, I just need to wash the potatoes.

Of course, I wouldn't be able to do it without good ol' Spudmeister here.

Then peel and cut them into large cubes. This will make them easier to boil.


Put the diced potatoes in a large pot and fill with water until you get about an inch of water above the potatoes. Turn on the heat to high and boil them until they start to become soft.


On the side, steam your veggies until half cooked. They should still be a little hard when you poke them with a fork when they're done.


When your potatoes are done, drain the water and set them aside in a large bowl. Add the butter, onion powder and salt and pepper to taste. Then start mashing!



For the vegetables, put them in a Corningware or glass baking dish.


Now make that Bechamel sauce as indicated on the envelope. All you should have to do is heat up the milk in a saucepan and add the mix and whisk it until it becomes thick and creamy.


When the sauce is ready, pour it on the veggies. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix.


Finally, cover the whole thing with the cheese.


Heat up your oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and stick it in there and let it bake until the cheese starts to turn golden on the top. Then take it out and set aside to cool down a bit.


Now for the pork. Cover a large metal baking sheet with aluminum paper and grease it up a little with some cooking spray or a bit of oil, margarine or butter. Next, open up that package of pork and sort of clean up the pork chop with some cold water. To do this, don't rinse the meat under the water. Instead, simply pass your hand in running water and wipe it all over the meat. This should remove any pieces of bone stuck on the meat and also help the Shake n Bake stick better.


Pour the breading mix in one of those little plastic bags it comes in, then put a pork chop in there and shake.

Champion Jack Dupree says "Shake baby shake!"

Do this for every pork chop and you should have just enough for 6 chops or about 1kg or 2lbs. Then lay those chops on the baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit  for exactly 20 minutes.


When the timer's up, take them out and let them cool down a bit and you should be ready to serve.


Since I make that food for my lunches at work, I managed to take a picture of my lunch in all it's glory in the fanciest workplace china money can buy!

My coworkers are so jealous of my food.
They see me eatin', they hatin'.

This made quite a hearty meal, and it made a lot of food too! I should have enough to last me all week and then some. I'll probably have to invite a friend over for dinner to be able to get rid of it all. Who's hungry?

When I made this I was so out of it. I was very distraught and so many things went wrong. First, when I was making the B├ęchamel sauce, I wasn't paying attention and the milk burnt at the bottom of the saucepan. It took me forever to scrub that out later. Then, when I was putting all the ingredients in the dish, I put the cheese over before adding the spices. So I had to remove all the cheese which, by the time I realize my mistake, had started to melt over the hot vegetables and sauce. And when I finally added the spices, I unscrewed the cap on the nutmeg container instead of just lifting the little plastic flap to use it as a shaker and when I turned it over, almost half the nutmeg fell in the vegetables. I had to scoop it all out and there was still a lot left. So, it ended up tasting a bit more nutmeggish than anticipated. It was still good though. The rest turned out fine. I mean, it's pretty hard to screw up mashed potatoes or shaking meat in a bag. This just goes to show that things don't always go well when I cook. In fact I can be a little clumsy. I also have a hard time doing multiple things at the same time. Anyway, I'm really glad this is over with and that I finally have food for my lunches!

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