Baked-in comfort...

by - Monday, August 07, 2017

Don't you love fried food? But the smell wafts all the way upstairs to our bedroom and hangs around for a couple of hours. My husband and daughter insist I am the only one to detect this. It's not only the lingering scent that's a problem though. Many of my personal fried favorites are also my ultimate comfort food, yet a healthy lifestyle frowns upon those picks. Finding other ways to salvage culinary crunch, I've become a huge fan of the oxymoron known as oven "frying". 

Though I have to admit it's not the same, the crispy coating and juicy center is absolutely achievable. One way to insure that crunch is by using panko crumbs. But not just plain panko by itself, you have to mix it up with some shredded cheese and seasoning. And a magic ingredient? Guaranteed juiciness is a job for mayonnaise. Yup, mayo! Let's cook a little something in the oven...

Crispy Oven "Fried" Pork Chops

4 boneless pork chops
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 cup shredded cheese (cheddar or a blend)
3/4 cup plain panko crumbs
1/2 teaspoon Mrs. Dash
1/4 teaspoon salt & pepper (or to taste)

1) Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Cover a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean-up later) and spray with non-stick canola oil.

2) Combine panko, cheese and seasonings in a shallow bowl. Mix together well. Generously spread each chop with mayonnaise. Drop chops in the panko bowl and pat on both sides with the mixture to evenly coat. Place coated chops on the baking sheet.

3) Pop in the  oven and bake for about 25 minutes. If the chops are very thick (1" or more), add another 5 minutes to the bake time. The cheese will melt and panko become a crispy golden brown when finished with a satisfying juicy center.

This coating is great for so many different things. I use it often on chicken breasts, tenders, shrimp and fish. Try coating vegetables with it too. Zucchini sticks are especially yummy! 

So you really can have your crunch and eat it too. It just has to be baked-in comfort... xoxo-Sonya

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