Pork Chops & Rice Oven Dinner

Another quick supper, this time a one-pot oven dinner, pork chops and rice cooked together. The very first meal I cooked, memorable for reasons good and bad!

How retro is this? Yes, it's a recipe from the 1960s but one that tastes just as good in the 21st century.

Here’s to memories, the ones connecting home-cooked food and real life.

On March 31, 1970, I cooked this easy one-skillet supper. Yes, I really do recall a single meal cooked exactly 39 years ago today, perhaps more than the one cooked yesterday, all because:

It was my mother’s birthday, her 40th.
It was the first meal I ever cooked.
It was a disaster.

But there’s more to the story, one that demonstrates how kitchen disasters can have happy endings and how some times, no matter what is served, meals are not about the food.

Mom had a new job, she was working long hours. That morning, she jotted down her recipe for a standby pork chop supper she’d made herself many times, one so familiar that she left out one itsy bitsy detail: browning the pork chops. Oops. An experienced cook might have realized. Me, I was 11 and following her recipe to the letter.

I baked a surprise birthday cake and frosted it with blue icing, a disaster in its own right. Worse? I forgot the sugar. Oops.

Weary from her day, hungry for real food, Mom arrived home to pale pork and an inedible gooey-blue cake. Still, she was full of smiles and her characteristic hear-it-from-across-the-room laugh.

You see, five years earlier, Mom had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a near-certain death sentence. Turning 40 meant she’d reached the five-year mark of breast cancer survival: she’d beaten the odds. Supper may have been a mess, but Mom – and all of us – had good reason to celebrate.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences.

QUICK SUPPER:
PORK CHOPS & RICE OVEN DINNER

Hands-on time: 15 minutes
Time to table: 2 hours
Serves 4 (easily divided or multiplied)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 thin-cut bone-in pork chops, about 1-1/4 pounds
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice (see TIPS)
  • 4 onion slices
  • 4 rings of green pepper
  • 4 tomato rounds
  • 1-1/2 cups broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
  • Generous salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet until shimmery on medium high. Rinse and dry the pork chops, season with salt and pepper. (Don’t forget this important step!) Drop the chops into the skillet (they should sizzle). Brown each sides, about 3 minutes each, without moving. Set the chops aside.

Stir the rice into the pan drippings, then arrange the chops over top. Atop each chop, layer a slice of onion, a ring of green pepper and a tomato round.

Pour the broth over the rice and around the meat. If the broth is lightly seasoned, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for 90 minutes.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Serving: 158 Calories; 4g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 17mg Cholesterol; 86mg Sodium; 20g Carb; 1g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 8g Protein Weight Watchers Old Points 3, PointsPlus 4
ALANNA’s TIPS Mom used white rice. I use brown rice or a mix of brown and wild rice. Really, any rice will do. She also used an electric skillet, I use a cast-iron skillet. Usually, I cook pork only until it reaches a safe internal temperature of 140F or 150F. In this dish, however, the long time in the oven with plenty of liquid tenderizes the meat so it can be easily cut with no more than a fork.


Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Share a favorite recipe via recipes@kitchen-parade.com.
This recipe is just one in 2009 to celebrate Kitchen Parade's 50th anniversary. For more recipes, see Kitchen Parade by Shirley.
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More Ways to Cook Pork Chops

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Thick Chops with Mustard Crust Coffee Chops Thick Chops with Sauerkraut
~ more pork recipes ~


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This sounds really simple and tasty. Good fodder for addition to my comfort food collection.

One question, though. I'm not a huge fan of cooked bell peppers. (A picky-eater roommate led to overexposure, since they were one of the few veggies she would eat. We made a lot of stir-fries.) Do you have any suggestions for substitution?
 
Great story!...and the recipe sounds good too. I think I'll thaw out some chops...
 
What a lovely story, and how fun that you've shared it with us. I remember making something very similar to this when I was a kid too.
 
LOL ... Every time my brother does a similar recipe with mushroom soup, he reminds me that I used to cook this for him in the seventies. It was a success as I could not cook many things without recipes.
 
Robin - Just skip the pepper entirely, or you might try a poblano pepper which would add a little zip and might be enough different. I suspect that the green pepper, tomato and onion are more for 'garnish' -- ha! -- than for flavor.

Stephen ~ Thanks. Now you know!

Kalyn ~ Do you suppose this was a dish all kids could make and thus did?

Marilyn ~ How far we've come!
 
Oooh! A blast from the past... I found this recipe in Peg Bracken's "I Hate to Cook" Book when I was a newlywed... about 39 years ago!! It really is delicious and has been a standby for a long time. Re Robin's comment: We don't like green peppers, but the sweeter red or yellow peppers are really, really good as substitutes.
 
Love this story. Thanks for posting it. Your mom is a very special lady! I made a cake for my mom once using a store bought angel food loaf cake and icing it with whipped creme tinted a very lovely shade of olive green (institutional green really). There's something about whipped creme that color that just says "culinary risk"! My mom was all smiles. I'm not sure if she ate it though!
 
Mmmm! I will make this tomorrow. I liked your story, too. truly heartfelt and it brought tears to my eyes and a sweet memory to mind of my own mom and my first cake (for my parents' WA.)
Many thanks!
 
I remember making something similar to this when I was a kid, too. I'll have to add it to my recipe rotation. Thanks!

Sally
 
Alanna,
This is right down my alley. Thanks for posting it!
 
Hi again Alanna...
The chops thawed, we had this Sunday night...for commenter Robin: I didn't have any peppers so topped with some the tomato slice, some matchstick-cut carrots and a few leek slices. I also threw some minced garlic and rosemary in with the rice as the path to my beloved's heart is paved with garlic and rosemary...

It was just as good as it sounded...thanks!
best, Stephen
 
What a wonderful story. I hope that my daughter is so thoughtful when she gets a little older! With these busy times, we sure could use more one pot recipes!
 
I have a hunch that the recipe was a Minnesota Extension recipe. You assembled it, and put it in the oven when you left for church, and Sunday dinner was all ready when you returned. Meryl should recall that. It’s the green pepper rings stacked that prompted this memory.
 
O.K. My recipe is from the 1950's!! A neighbor from New England gave it to me. The only difference is no green peppers, and use one large (29oz) can tomatoes. My family loved it.
 
Is it really only a 1/2 cup of rice? mine turned out pretty runny. Thanks!
 
Hi Anonymous ~ I've never had the rice turn out 'runny' - the liquid always gets soaked right up. In fact, once or twice, the rice has gotten a little crispy along the edges, a good thing. It might be a difference in the rice, perhaps the freshness of the rice. So long as the rice is cooked, I'd just cook put the chops aside and then turn up the heat on the rice/liquid and cook it down a bit. And of course, another time, use as much rice as works for you.
 
I was perusing Kitchen Parade for a recipe for crown roast and came upon your first pork chop dinner. I love happening onto Alanna stories!
x
 
I made this in 1974 as a newlywed, I also made this last week for my daughter. When my kids come home, this one of the things they have to have, I also use an electric skillet.
 

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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna