Herb-Crusted Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots

herb pork chop

Easter dinner with my family has traditionally been a large, heavy meal consisting of a honey ham, mac and cheese, green bean casserole with cream-of-something, and banana pudding full of so much sugar that I’m still surprised my teeth didn’t fall out! Now that my husband and I are focusing on a healthier lifestyle, Easter dinner looks very different this year.

Instead of ham, I am using pork chops since they are so versatile. One of my favorite ways to prepare pork chops is to do a light mustard dressing and herb crust with almond meal and fresh herbs from my garden. It gives the pork a tangy, complex flavor while keeping it simple and healthy. If you are grilling this Easter, also check out my recipe for smoked honey dijon rack of pork!

I went to the farmer’s market this morning and picked up carrots from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and organic spinach as side dishes. Roasted or sautéed veggies with herbs and olive oil are perfect. If you need to dress up (disguise) vegetables for little ones or picky spouses, my Italian roasted brussels sprout recipe works great too.

What is your favorite Easter dinner recipe?

Herb-Crusted Pork Chops with Roasted Carrots

  • Servings: 4
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil or coconut oil cooking spray
  • 2 pounds of organic boneless pork chops
  • 1/4 cup of dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup almond meal/flour
  • 2 tablespoons each of fresh thyme and rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound organic baby carrots
  • 1/8 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme for carrots (finely chopped)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish and cookie sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. I use olive oil or coconut oil spray.

Mix dijon mustard, garlic, and honey together. Salt and pepper the pork chops and brush both sides with the mustard mixture.

Mix almond meal/flour, salt and pepper, and fresh thyme and rosemary together. Dip the mustard coated pork chops in the flour mixture and make sure to coat well. Set the pork chops aside for 10-20 minutes to allow the flour to adhere to the meat.

While the pork is resting, wash and trim ends of carrots. Place carrots in baking dish and add olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat.

After the pork has rested, spray and heat a pan on the stovetop. To get a bit of a darker crust, lightly brown the pork chops and then put them in the oven. I find that the almond meal can get a bit soggy if I do not brown them first.

Once the pork chops are browned, place on a cookie sheet and bake them (along with the carrots) for approximately 30-35 minutes until done.

Enjoy and have a lovely Easter weekend!

pork chops with herbs

 

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Italian Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels SproutsIn the rush to get your masterpiece of a main course done, it is easy to forget the side dishes.You can’t have a holiday dinner without side dishes! In my house, I have to have at least two to make the food trifecta: meat, veggie, carb. Somehow, the universe is in order when I have all three!

The perfect accompaniment to my smoked rack of pork is Italian Roasted Brussels Sprouts. I use this basic Italian recipe on a variety of oven roasted vegetables and they all turn out great! It makes a quick, easy, and healthy side dish to any lunch or dinner. Enjoy and Winedown!

Italian Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Servings: 6
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound brussel sprouts
  • 1/8 cup high quality olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Personally, I prefer Pam with canola oil. It doesn’t burn like other cooking sprays.

Wash and trim outside leaves from brussels sprouts. Place sprouts in baking dish and add olive oil, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper. Toss well to coat. Place brussels sprouts in oven for approximately 35 minutes until roasted brown and tender.

Sprinkle extra Parmesan cheese on top if desired.

Smoked Honey Dijon and Herb Rack of Pork

Easter is fast approaching, and if you are like me, you will be cooking up a large meal for family or friends. Why make a boring ham when you can easily make my smoked honey Dijon and herb rack of pork!

I am a Southern girl, but my passion is Italian cooking. The best way to combine Italian recipes and my Texas heritage is to BBQ or smoke the meat! It gives the meat a nice intense flavor while still preserving the savoriness of the mustard and herbs. This is one of my favorite recipes to make for family style dinners or holidays. It feeds a lot of people and makes excellent leftovers!

And I can’t forget the wine! La Crema Chardonnay is a nice selection for smoked meats. It complements the smokey flavor and also adds depth. I have to say it is one of my favorite Chardonnays. Enjoy and Winedown!La Crema California

Smoked Honey Dijon and Herb Rack of Pork

  • Servings: 8
  • Prep Time: 50 minutes
  • Cooking time: 180 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 pound rack of pork
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic OR
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic finely chopped

Directions:

Rinse pork with cold water and pat dry. Place pork rack on cookie sheet and trim excess fat. I buy the Costco rack of pork because it gives me the best bang for my buck. You could also go to your local butcher and ask for a smaller rack of pork if desired.

Sprinkle both sides of pork with salt and pepper and allow meat to come up to room temperature. While pork is resting, combine Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, honey, dried thyme, and garlic in small bowl. Mix well.
Slather half of the mustard mixture on one side of the pork. Cover meat well. Turn rack over and slather the rest of the mustard mixture on pork. Let set for 20 minutes while preparing Big Green Egg smoker.Honey Dijon Pork Prep
Bring Big Green Egg (or smoker of choice) to 250 degrees. FYI, you can also roast the rack of pork in the oven at 250 degrees, but you will not get the added “smoked” flavor. I read that you can add a small pan of water and wood chips to your oven to mimic the smoke, but I have never tried it.

Place rack of pork on indirect heat. Smoke approximately 3 hours or to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for medium. Take pork off Big Green Egg and wrap in foil. Let pork rest 30 minutes.

Carve rack into individual pork chops. I use Shun knives in the kitchen and the Shun carving knife is great for cutting meat. I cannot live without a decent knife in the kitchen. They are expensive, but well worth the money!

Buon appetito! Look for my Easter side dish posts in the next few days!

Honey Dijon Rack of Pork

Happy New Year!

Let me first say, Happy 2013! I can’t believe a new year is already upon us.

After a busy holiday season we decided to have a quiet, romantic NYE at home complete with steak, lobster, brown butter risotto, and a nice 2002 Cakebread Merlot. It was such a wonderful wine that I wish I had another bottle to celebrate New Year’s Day!2 We decanted the bottle and it was perfectly smooth by dinner. I love that Cakebread wines are well-balanced and can be consumed alone or with food. The Merlot was a nice addition to the filet mignon and even the lobster. If you like brown butter and risotto, Giada De Laurentiis has an excellent recipe. I did not put the lobster in with the risotto, but it was just as good. I received one of her cookbooks for Christmas and I am looking forward to making many more of Giada’s recipes!

Unfortunately, we did not make it to midnight, but I was perfectly happy sharing good food and good wine with my honey 🙂 2012 was full of many great things for us, but  here’s to being healthier, happier, and discovering new adventures!

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