Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dinner for Two.. Pork in a bag anyone?

About a week ago, I was with my boyfriend and I wanted to have a nice dinner, just the two of us. We commute about 3 and a half hours to see each other so when we are together, I like it to be special.  I also like to do things cost effectively as I think we all can agree is a great idea when you can do it. I took a long walk and wandered through the forest and found the most beautiful wild flowers and picked several to make a bunch of bouquets to spread throughout the house to set the tone for a beautiful meal. Then, I got into the kitchen.

I decided to make some pork chops using a new technique that I had never tried before. I've used the crock pot, foil wrapping, grilling, and baking in a pan, but I have never tried baking something in a bag. It sounded like a killer idea so I thought I would experiment with it and let you know about the results. Well, let me tell you.. It was a winning idea! The pork came out juicy, moist, and tender. The onions and peppers came out tender and flavorful and the pork paired perfectly with the Parmesean Polenta that I created to go along side.

You can also use this same recipe and technique with chicken using the same recipe if you happen to have chicken on hand at home instead of pork. You could also add different vegetables to the bag if you prefer carrots and celery, you can add those instead or in addition too the peppers and onions. This was a fun experiment and it turned out great. Why not get yourself some kitchen baking bags and try it out yourself! Let me know how it goes by posting a comment!

Herbed Pork Chops

4 medium sized pork chops (bone-in)
1 large baking bag
Pork herb mix (Like the one to the left)
1 tbsp. dried rosemary
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 red pepper; sliced into rings
1/2 white onion; thinly sliced

~Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

~Rub the pork herb mix, rosemary, and thyme into the skin of both sides of each pork chop using your fingers.

~Place the seasoned pork along with the onions and peppers in the baking bag and seal with a twist tie. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. The pork will come out moist and tender and the onions and peppers will marry with the pork to create a delicious broth that you can save and use for soup later on.

~Remove the pork and vegetables from the bag and serve alongside my Parmesan Polenta (recipe below).

Parmesan Polenta

1 1/2 cup polenta
2 cups low fat milk
1 can cream style corn
2 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese

-Heat the milk in a large sauce pan until the milk slightly begins to bubble.

-Add the polenta and herbs to the milk and stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. This will be about 5-7 minutes. Once the mixture begins to thicken add the can of creamed corn and continue to whisk together until combined.

-Remove from heat and add the Parmesan cheese and stir together using a wooden spoon or spatula. This can be served immediately. However, you can also place in a 9 X 11 casserole dish and continue to heat in a 250 degree oven to keep it warm until you are ready to eat if you have prepared this ahead of time and you can eat it when you are ready.

Mental Health Benefit:  This meal was extremely easy because I used only the ingredients that I already had in the house. I found flowers on the property and used what was already blooming around the house to make great bouquets. It was cost effective and sane! That is why I encourage you to use what you have in the house even if it isn't the same vegetables as I use, I know it will still turn out delicious, and why not pick yourself some wild flowers. Really? What could be better than fresh flowers that you cut straight from yours (or your neighbors) yard?

Happy Summer from my kitchen to yours!

~"Too Lovely" Hot Messes in the kitchen


Cris said...

I made Jon and my in-laws your flank steak pinwheels that you and Mike made when you were in town. They were FANTASTIC! And Jon said it was the best steak he's ever had that I cooked! My mother in law raved about them and they were tender enough for my father in law to eat. Thank you for the brownie points on fathers day. Jon wants to add this to the weekly menu!

Hot Mess Cooking said...

Cris! I am so glad that it turned out perfect and so happy that you all had a wonderful father's day! Hey and Jon ate something green! Or at least with green inside it! Huge Victory for you! :)