A “Mommy Meal” is a meal that makes your kids look at you like with the kind of affection you can only count on from your dog. I’ve never won a beauty pageant but I imagine it’s like the adulation beauty pageant winners and CEO’s get all the time. Although it’s not enough to make me put on a bathing suit with heels, or run Walmart (I’m sure they’ll call soon) I admit; I love the adoration – even from the dog. I remember giving it when my mom cooked.
Mommy meals make you feel like you’re in your mom’s house. You walk in, savor the aroma of your favorite dish, plop down on the couch and know you’re home.
It’s the food you crave when you grow up and move away because it conjures up a mental image of you; happy, cared for, loved and without bills. In our house food was love. We got a lot of food/love and so did anyone who happened to stop by.
For me, a mommy meal is a slow roasted meat dish, so tender it falls from the bone. That’s how my mom used to cook. She liked slow roasting because you could put something in the oven at 2 or 3 and by five or six it was tender perfection. It’s an easy way to cook too, you just put everything together, cover it with a lid or aluminum foil and let it bake for hours. You can keep doing what you want and when dinnertime rolls around you are praised as a culinary demigod.
One of my favorite dishes is stuffed pork chops. I bake them on a bed of onions and apples…sprinkle the chops with tenderizer, stuff them, top them with seasoned bread crumbs, strips of bacon, and let them cook. You can add baby carrots to the pan and have a one pot meal. When you pull it out of the oven, it’s moist and tender enough to eat with a fork. It’s perfect with glazed carrots or baked butternut squash and cranberry sauce. (I cooked it in my apartment oven (formerly known as Satan because it burned 18 innocent cookies) and it turned out great, so there’s no need to think you need convection or a magic wand, because you don’t.
I made it tonight and if my Italian mom had been here she would have said, “Oh Frenzy, dis issa really good… How you made it?” A few of my friends have asked that question too, so here’s the recipe:
Mommy Meal Stuffed Pork Chops – All the Love – No Bathing Suit or MBA Involved
1 package pork or chicken flavored Stove Top Stuffing (don’t mock me, I like Stove Top, it’s really easy, plus you can add things to it.)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped celery (optional)
6 thick boneless pork chops (about 1 1/2 inches thick so you can stuff them. Costco has good ones)
6 strips of bacon (I used kielbassa tonight because I was out of bacon and it worked but I took it off for the picture)
3 medium to large apples (I use Granny Smith, but any kind will work)
3 medium to large brown onions
Seasoned bread crumbs, Progresso are good
Prepare the package of Stove Top according to directions. For this recipe you can add 1/2 cup of dried cranberries and diced celery to the mix once it’s prepared. Spray a large baking pan or glass dish with Pam spray. Peel the onions and slice them in half then lengthwise so you have long strips of onion. Place the onions in the pan. Next peel and core the apples. Slice them about 1/4 inch thick, add them to the pan mixing them together with your hands.
Slice the pork chops along one side and create a pocket so you can place the stuffing inside. Sprinkle the chop lightly with tenderizer inside and out, then take several spoons full of stuffing and stuff it inside the pocket. When it’s full, press it together and lay it on its side on top of the apple-onion mixture. Repeat with each chop.
Next sprinkle the top of the pork chops with seasoned bread crumbs. I just use Progresso Italian Style Bread Crumbs. Next take the bacon slices, cut them in half and place them on top of the stuffed chops sprinkled with bread crumbs. (The bacon fat drips onto the chops, keeping them moist and adding more flavor.) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake at 350 for about 3 hours. Chops should be golden brown. You can remove the bacon when the chops are done and place it underneath the chop when serving because who doesn’t love bacon?
Serve with Roasted butternut squash or glazed carrots and cranberry sauce. Feel the love.