Family Time

I feel as though it is important to sit down to a family meal with your loved ones. It doesn’t have to take place every night, that’s nearly impractical. But a properly done family meal, seated at the dining table, is not something to be overlooked. My husband and I work varied shifts during the week, eating hurried meals over the counter, hunched over computers, while talking to doctors, and often leaned over the coffee table while watching a few minutes of tv before bed, only to get up the next day and do it all over again. This makes our family meals even more cherished for me. I love that point where the day slows down and we get to sit at the table, talk about our day, and enjoy a plate of food that was not hurried in any way or manner.

This meal epitomizes family dinner time for me. It’s quick, not complicated, and is full of flavor…almost like you were slaving the day through over the meal. The recipe originates from Giada de Laurentiis, and I’ve made several versions of it, but this one is my favorite by far. It pairs great with mashed potatoes, or in this case, roasted potatoes; add a nice salad, and you are good to go. Family time doesn’t have to be complicated. Enjoy!

Pork Chops Alla Pizzaiola
Slightly adapted from a recipe by Giada de Laurentiis

2 tbsp olive oil
4 one-inch thick boneless center cut pork chops
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced into strips
1 (15 ounce can) diced tomatoes
1 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp drained capers
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth (or cooking wine, if desired)

1. Prep: Take pork chops and generously season with salt on both sides. Let pork chops stand in the fridge for a couple hours, or prep the night before. You want the salt to dissolve into the pork chops. This seasons the pork chops from the inside out. If you don’t have time for this step, you can skip and season immediately prior to using the pork, but the pork chops will not be as tender or flavorful.

2. Heat olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Season pork chops on both sides with fresh ground pepper (no salt, you’ve already done that…unless you skipped that step, then season with salt). Add pork chops to the skillet, and brown on both sides (you don’t have to worry about the pork being done here, we’ll cook them more later, just worry about the crusty brown outside, that’s where the flavor is). Remove the chops from the skillet to a plate standing by.

3. Using the same skillet, with all the browned bits in the bottom, add sliced onions. Lightly season the onions with salt. Cook, scraping the bottom of the skillet, until onions are soft and brown and the juices pulled out from the onions have removed most of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. At this time, add white wine or vermouth to the pan, and, continuing to scrape the bottom of the pan, allow to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

4. At this time, add diced tomatoes, juices and all, to the onions in your pan. Add herbs de provence, crushed red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Stir to combine. Bring to a simmer, continuing to use the medium heat that was set in the beginning of the process.

5. After the mixture comes to a simmer, nestle pork chops back into the mixture in the skillet, and continue to simmer, partially covered, for 10 to 15 minutes more. If there were juices on the bottom of the plate where the pork chops were resting, add these into the pan too when you add the pork.

6. After simmering is done, add capers to the top, cut the heat, and serve with side dish of your choosing.

Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
Loosely adapted from Ina Garten

1 bag of small yukon gold potatoes (approximately 1 1b worth, you can find these small bags next to the other bags of potatoes in the produce aisle of your grocery store)
2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into halves, or quarters, depending on the size of the potatoes. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, rosemary, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss until combined and potatoes are evenly coated.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread potatoes into one layer on the baking sheet. Bake for one hour, periodically flipping the potatoes on the sheet pan, until potatoes are browned and crispy on all sides.


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