Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Little Bit of Freezer Cooking: Provencal Pork

I was pleasantly surprised at all the freezer meals I had a while back when I took inventory of my freezer.  But, I had the big box full of uncooked pork in there, and no prepared pork meals in my freezer.  On Thursday I picked up a bag of red potatoes at Aldi, and since then I have been contemplating what to do with them.  Then, I remembered one of my favorite pork meals needed red potatoes.  It also needed onions, which I had on hand, and stewed tomatoes, which I had stocked up on last month when I got them for $0.25 a can at Kroger.  Here is the recipe for Provencal Pork:

Ingredients: (for one family dinner---I tripled the recipe)

1/4 cup butter, divided
2 lbs boneless pork chops, cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
2 medium onions, sliced
1 15oz can stewed tomatoes
1 1/2 lbs potatoes (I used red, but I've made it with russet before)
season to taste
parsley to garnish (my husband also decided to sprinkle it with some grated parmesan)

My husband enjoys knives--especially when he just sharpened them, and I dislike touching raw meat, so he was more than happy to do the slicing for me.  First he cut up all the meat.  Then the onions and potatoes.

First, you cook the meat down in half of the butter.  I add some seasoning at this step also, and some of it cooks into the meat and some stays behind in the juice.  Then remove the meat from the pot, leaving the juice behind.  Cook down the onions in the juice until they begin getting tender.  Then add the stewed tomatoes, and any more seasonings you like.  I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning.  Heat to boiling, and then let it cook for 5 minutes.

Next, its time to assemble. Place the pork on bottom. Add the onion and sauce mixture on top of that. Then place a layer of potatoes on top of that. Sprinkle the parsley on top. Wrap in in foil. If you want to eat it then, bake for one hour at 350*.

That is the finished product of what we ate for dinner.  I made two more pans, using foil square cake pans.  These sell in three packs for around $1 each, and are the perfect size for our family, but that may change when my baby starts eating the same food we eat.  Find a size that works for you.  Here are the extras:

These I wrapped in foil and then placed them inside a gallon freezer bag.  In the bag I placed an index card that said what it was, the date, and instructions for preparing it.  Once it is thawed, the bake time is the same.

Doubling and tripling simple recipes is a great way to get started placing some meals in your freezer to have for more hectic days.  I spent no extra time in the kitchen, and dirtied no more dishes, but now there are two nights when I can just throw one of these in the oven (You can bake them from frozen if you forget to thaw them. I've done this and I put in on for about two hours at 300*).  These types of meals (made in the disposable trays) also come in super handy if you would like to share a meal with some one who is sick or has had a baby, which is a frequent occurence at our church =)  Having meals ready has let me share more, when I might not have found time to make an extra meal with two small children of my own.

Oh, and by the way, this may not seem like a very kid friendly dish but my three year old LOVED it.


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