Pesto Stuffed Baked Pork Chops

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!

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