Two entrees, one blog post

It's been a busy couple of days, lots of housework, getting the back to school stuff purchased and organized to avoid the last minute rush. Hence I'm going to do a short synopsis of the last few days.

After my meal time neglect this last weekend (okay I didn't totally neglect my family, but they didn't eat well or healthy, though I didn't hear complaints about it), I felt a need to make them a proper meal on Monday but admit I was still unable to come up with any good ideas for what to make. My brain was still in non-functioning mode.

Sometimes this kind of brain freeze results in a quick, throw-the-pizza-in-the-oven type meal. This time, however, I had company in this state, in my neighbour, who also couldn't think of what to make for her family for dinner that night. So we went shopping together, off to our local Farm Boy, with all of our children in tow.

I ended up picking our recipe for the night, though I don't know where this meal originated from, it is just something my mother used to make occassionally, pork chops in tomatoes and mushrooms with cheese.

Sautee some pork chops, whatever kind you like, though I find the bone in, slightly fatty kinds give more flavor, having seasoned them with salt, pepper and a bit of dried oregano. When they are browned, set them aside and sautee up some chopped onions, garlic and sliced mushrooms (canned actually works fine here if you don't have fresh.) Season with salt and pepper then add a generous amount of dried oregano to the vegetables. When you can smell the oregano, pour in one can of diced tomatoes, with juices and mix well. Add the pork chops back into the pan, covering with the tomato mixture. Bring to a boil - you want to reduce some of the tomato juices and cook the porkchops through at the same time. It shouldn't take more than a few minutes for this, and you don't want to overcook the pork. You have to trust that your pork chops are cooked through even though they show pink in the meat - afterall, you are cooking them in tomato juice so they are bound to pick up some color. (This is another reason to go for the more fatty, bone in style chops - they are more forgiving of being over cooked than a leaner cut, which will dry out much more quickly.) When the chops are almost done, add generous amounts of sliced or shredded cheese (mozzarella and cheddar work best here) over the chops and cover just long enough to let them melt. Serve with rice to soak up the sauce and the cheese.

I served mine with corn on the cobb, though really it would be fine without an extra side.

(Sorry about the picture - I was in a hurry so didn't get a chance to clean the plate or present it better. With two hungry kids waiting impatiently for their dinner I'm lucky I was able to get a picture at all!)

I wasn't suffering from the same lack of ideas for Tuesday's dinner, though I was limited to the parameters of pre-soccer, easy to digest, high energy, style. And I inspired my neighbour to make the same thing this night as well, Pasta Insalata Caprese. Having tried the salad and not been wowed by it, I still wanted to try the pasta version. I still had some basil left over from my garden, so I purchased some fresh cherry tomatoes and little balls of bococcini.

Again, I wasn't wowed, I wasn't even thrilled by this. I think it needed garlic, alot of garlic, and after a few bites from this bowl, I added a huge amount of grated parmesan cheese. It needed it.

The bococcini was good, all melted and goey, though once it cooled off it was rather rubbery. The tomatoes were okay, a nice brightness in what was otherwise a bland pasta.

Oh well, next time I'll just make regular spaghetti before soccer.

No pictures for last nights dinner though. Last night we went and enjoyed dinner at the yearly Greekfest. If you live in the Ottawa area be sure to get there - it ends on the 20th but will be back again next August for 3 weeks of food and music.

Now to figure out what I'm going to make for dinner tonight, the last soccer night of the season!

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