Weeknight Dinner: Lemon Basil Porkchops with Creamy Potato Salad

Suzie Q and DS have been vacationing in our home state of Colorado now for about a week and a half with my twin nephews – Alex and Jack. My sister Krissy had dropped the boys off at my parents house, and on the way back she and her husband Pat came to visit. We had a blast showing them our town – taking them to all our favorite spots (D’Vine Wine Bar? Check! Johnny’s Little Bar? Check! Velvet Dog Rooftop Patio? Check! Barley House? Check check check!).IMG950463

Cheers!!

 

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Johnny’s Little Bar = Our CLE Slice of Heaven

When they arrived, they brought many gifts – one being Suzie Q’s weird looking red plant that I soon named Mr. Kennedy. Now, prior to my sister arriving with Mr. Kennedy, I had REMINDED Suzie Q of just how terrible I am at keeping plants alive. For example, my beloved houseplant, Ernie Squared, has been around since my senior year of college (circa 2008). It has died at least six times. And magically come back to life whenever Suzie Q or one of my sisters visits. I’m pretty sure they’re just using the same pot and switching it out with alive plants so I don’t feel too sad when I’ve killed Ernie … again. 

 

Despite these warnings, Suzie Q sent along this plant to come and live with us while they were vacationing. Her exact instructions were as follows:

  1. Water Mr. Kennedy every day.
  2. Don’t let the water sit in the pot. 
  3. Don’t over water Mr. Kennedy.
  4. Set Mr. Kennedy in the windowsill so he gets sunlight.

Now, these seem like simple instructions but alas… 10 days later and this is what Mr. Kennedy looks like:

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Mr. Kennedy Loves America

Sorry. 

Mr. Grumpy was not surprised when Mr. Kennedy ended up dead. He pointed out that perhaps those times I watered Mr. Kennedy and the water sat in the pot like a pool was a factor. But, what he DIDN’T know is this happened everytime I tried to water Mr. Kennedy, so I just dumped all the water out, down our drain. Lots of dirt was lost during this process. We also forgot to put him in the windowsill for a good three to four days. Now, I haven’t given up on him just yet, but it’s looking pretty bleak. Lesson learned? Never ask us to babysit your houseplants. And probably your children, too. 

Now, the OTHER thing Krissy and Pat brought when visiting were Saratoga Springs famous salt potatoes. Oh. my. god. These are my favorite things on the planet. Basically, you get 5 pounds of potatoes and like a pound of salt and you cook ’em up in a big pot of water (skin on, duh!) and enjoy the happiness.

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I decided to make good use out of my latest stock in salt potatoes, and made Mr. Grumpy creamy potato salad. And pork chops. He was in man heaven. 

First, let’s start with the potato salad. You can snack on it while making the pork chops. Don’t judge me.

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I adapted this recipe from one I found on the blog GoDairyFree.org. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2.5 lbs salt potatoes (if you aren’t lucky like me, you can just use Yukon gold)
  • 2/3 cup Hellman’s mayo (we use the kind with olive oil)
  • 2 tbsp non-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbsp chopped fresh baby dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (about 2 large stalks)
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion (about 1/4 large onion)

First, boil your potatoes covered, leaving the skin on. If you do not have salt potatoes, I would suggest putting about 1/2 cup of salt in your water (assuming you’re using about 4 qts water). My potatoes boiled for 20 minutes, as the package directed. Once they’re done cooking, let them cool. But do not put cool water in your pot. It will remove the salt from the skin, and that is the best part. 

While those are cooking, make the sauce. Combine sugar, salt, pepper, mustard, mayo, apple cider vinegar and milk. Cut up your celery and onion. Cut your potatoes into small pieces – I cut mine into quarters, and then sliced one more time so they were about the size of a square hashbrown. Be careful when you’re cutting that you don’t rip the skin off all the potatoes. Can you tell that’s my favorite part? Combine potatoes, celery, onion and the creamy sauce in a mixing bowl. Let that chill in the fridge for about an hour before you serve it. (This makes delicious leftovers!)

Now, we can’t just eat potatoes for dinner, right? RIGHT! So, of course I made Mr. Grumpy one of his favorite dinners – Lemon and Basil Porkchops. We discovered this recipe on Reservations for Two, and have been making it ever since. We’ve adapted it a bit since then. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 4-5 center-cut pork chops
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or as our market was spelling it today: Pasrely. I wish I were joking)
  • Zest and juice from 2 lemons
  • 1/4 tsp McCormick’s Lemon & Pepper Seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

(We make five porkchops so Mr. Grumpy can have leftovers)… 

First, in a shallow dish combine bread crumbs, salt, pepper, lemon zest, basil and parsley. In another shallow dish, squeeze out the lemon juice. Next, sprinkle your pork chops with the lemon & pepper seasoning and some sea salt. Next, dip each one in the lemon juice, and then in the breadcrumb mixture. Make sure you press the pork chop into the breadcrumbs to really get them stuck on there.

Preheat your oven to 400. Next, heat about 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, place one porkchop in and brown each side (about 2-3 minutes on each side). Add more olive oil each time you place in a porkchop, otherwise your pan will dry out. 

Next, place the porkchops on a baking dish, and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. If you want them super crisy, finish them off in the broiler. 

And… voila! Enjoy your meat ‘n’ taters, people! 

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