This is a great new twist on a baked pork chop meal and a terrific use for all that pesto you made following this week’s Fresh Basil Pesto post. It is a new recipe for our family (adapted from allrecipes.com) that everyone enjoyed and I liked the quick preparation. That’s a win-win!
Pesto Stuffed Baked Pork Chops (serves 6)
6 pork loin chops (bone in or out…I chose out for quicker cooking time), 1 inch thick
1/4 feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix feta, pesto, pine nuts in a bowl. Cut a slit lengthwise into pork chop, keeping within 1/4 inch from all three sides. Stuff pork chop with about 2 tablespoons pesto filling and secure with toothpicks.
Mix black pepper, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme in a small bowl. Rub this mixture on both sides of chops and place chops into baking dish. Bake* in oven for 25-30 minutes. Brush with balsamic vinegar and bake another 5 minutes.
*While the pork chops are baking, boil** water and prepare 1 pound of whole wheat penne. When done, toss with 1/2 cup feta cheese and 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt.
**While waiting for the water to boil, slice 1 zucchini and 1 yellow squash into thin discs. Saute in olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) and season with salt, pepper and fresh (or dried) chives.
When dinner is complete, divide pasta amongst 6 plates. Next, layer equal portions of sautéed squash on the pasta. Finish with a pork chop on top and juices from the baking dish spooned over everything. Enjoy!