By Edan Goode
My four children do the dishes in our house. They alternate having “girls’ day” and “boys’ day” where one boy, for instance, unloads and the other boy loads. They fight over whether it’s really their gender’s day or not, that’s how much they hate doing dishes. I treat this as a learning experience, telling them they’ll need to know how to do dishes when they grow up. But really, it’s because I hate to do dishes.
That’s why I’m always looking for meals that can be prepared in one vessel, be it a skillet, pot or casserole dish. I came up with this recipe recently when I had potatoes and apples that had seen better days and needed to be cooked up fast. It was all done in one rectangular, glass baking dish and it was a big hit with the family. Here’s how I did it:
- Four medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- Pork chops (boned or boneless-as many as will fit in the dish) no more than 1/2 inch thick
- 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 apple, quartered (or more if you have a lot of baked-apple-lovers)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. Spray the bottom and sides of the baking dish with non-stick spray.
3. Place the potatoes on the bottom of the dish, distributing them evenly. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top.
4. In a shallow dish, (large enough to dip a pork chop in) mix the Panko crumbs and ranch dressing mix.
5. Put the mayo in a small bowl. With a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on just one side of each pork chop, then dip that side into the Panko crumbs, pressing to make sure the crumbs adhere. Place the pork chop, crumb-side-up on top of the potatoes. Repeat with each pork chop, arranging them so they all fit in the dish and don’t overlap.
6. Place the apple slices, peel-side-up, in between pork chops.
7. Cover the dish loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes, add another 15-20 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops. Cut into one chop to make sure it isn’t pink in the center. If it isn’t, and the potatoes and apples are tender, dinner is done!
8. Remove the foil, turn the dish around for even heating and bake until the crumbs start to turn golden and the pork is done.
Serve by removing the pork chops to a plate. Take a spatula and scrape up the potatoes, turning them over so that the browned underside is up, on the plate. Serve the apple slices on the side. Unfortunately, I don’t have a finished photo of the dish to show you. The picture came out blurry. But it was golden brown and tasted so good!
I served this with a salad of mixed greens, diced celery and small cubes of a firm, smoked cheese (almost like a crouton) with a balsamic vinaigrette (1 part Balsamic vinegar to 3 parts olive oil). It was the perfect accompaniment. My son who says he hates pork chops, had seconds! That’s how good it was. And clean-up was easy, making the kids happy.
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