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~One-Skillet Scalloped Potatoes & Pork Chop Dinner~

IMG_3536We all love a one-skillet dinner.  It's family-style eating at its best.  Theres more.  A skillet that goes from stovetop to table cuts down on cleanup time too -- we all appreciate that.  One-skillet dinners are usually not overly complicated, but, when you're seriously in a pinch (you know, those stress-filled times -- time and patience ran out, an ingredient got left at the grocery store, or, a popup snowstorm made for bad traveling), if it can be made with a few pantry ingredients and a package of pork chops or chicken breasts you've had tucked in the freezer, it's a welcome stress relief -- FYI, there's no shame in an occasional save-the-day convenience-food recipe.

'Tis the season to add a new snowstorm dinner to the repertoire:

IMG_34802  tablespoons butter or oil

4  1/2"-3/4"-thick bone-in pork loin chops

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

3  cups water

1/2  teaspoon ground nutmeg

2  teaspoons dehydrated minced garlic

2  teaspoons dehydrated minced onion

3/4  teaspoon coarse-grind pepper

2  5-ounce boxes Betty Crocker Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

2 1/4  cups cream (Note:  half-and-half or milk may be substituted, but, cream really makes for a rich delish dish .)

IMG_3483 IMG_3486 IMG_3486 IMG_3486 IMG_3486 IMG_3486~Step 1.  In a wide-bottomed 3 1/2-quart enameled casserole or 3 1/2-quart chef's pan with straight, deep sides, melt the butter over low heat. Place the chops in pan and lightly season with freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend -- go light on the salt.  Increase heat to medium.  Sauté chops until golden brown on the first side, about 10-12 minutes.  Flip chops over, lightly-season second sides, and sauté until golden on second side, about 8-10 minutes.  Turn heat off.  Transfer chops to a plate and set aside.

IMG_3501 IMG_3501 IMG_3501 IMG_3501 IMG_3501~Step 2.  Add the 3 cups water to the pan.  Using a spatula, gently loosen the flavorful browned bits (the fond) from the bottom of the pan.  Add the spices: the nutmeg, the dehydrated garlic and onion, and, pepper.  Open the two boxes of scalloped potatoes and stir in the seasoning packets, followed by the cream -- don't add the potatoes just yet.

IMG_3518 IMG_3518 IMG_3518 IMG_3518 IMG_3518 IMG_3518~Step 3.  Over low heat, stir constantly until the majority of the lumps from the seasoning packet mixture have turned the mixture into a smooth sauce, about 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Add and stir in the dehydrated potatoes.  Adjust heat to medium-high. Stir constantly until mixture reaches a boil, then, lower the temperature to a gentle but steady simmer.  Continue to cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick and potatoes are almost cooked through, about 14-15 minutes.  Place the still warm pork chops atop the potatoes.  Cover the pan and continue to simmer gently until potatoes are cooked through and pork chops are steaming hot, another 14-15 minutes.  Remove from heat, allow to rest 5-10 minutes, then serve. 

An in-a-pinch family-style pantry-cooking recipe at its best:

IMG_3538One-Skillet Scalloped Potatoes & Pork Chop Dinner:  Recipe yields 4 hearty servings.

Special Equipment List:  3 1/2-quart enameled cast iron casserole or 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides & lid;  1-quart measuring container; 2-cup measuring container; spatula

6a0120a8551282970b026bdeb699da200cCook's Note:  I know I'm not alone on this point,  C-19 has changed what I store in my pantry -- truth told, it's not bad, just different.  In preparation for those potential lockdowns that could happen at any time, I've stocked several boxes of Rice-a-Roni, four boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese, a big box of Hungry Jack instant mashed potatoes, and, a few boxes of Stovetop stuffing mix and Betty Crocker cheesy scalloped potatoes. Thanks to them being staples in my mom's pantry, I knew these easy-to-make convenience-food side-dishes not only have a long shelf life, they're tasty.  Here's  ~ How to Doctor Up a Box of Scalloped Potatoes ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)


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