Lunchbreak: Crispy Pork Chops with Asparagus and Lemon Cream

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Christina Lane


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Crispy Pork Chops with Asparagus and Lemon Cream

This hearty “fried” pork chop that comes with a rich, creamy lemon sauce is a perfect hands-free dinner for two. It all bakes on the same sheet in the oven!

While I usually reach for the pencil- thin asparagus spears, the best asparagus to use here is the slightly thicker stalks so that they cook in the same amount of time as the pork chops.

For the pork chops:

1 cup panko bread crumbs

Big pinch of salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg

2 boneless pork chops, about 1 inch thick

Olive oil cooking spray

½ pound thick asparagus spears

1 tablespoon olive oil

For the lemon cream sauce:

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Have a large sheet pan lined with parchment paper ready.

In a shallow bowl, add the bread crumbs, a big pinch of salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

In another shallow bowl, whisk the egg with a splash of water.

Next, dunk the pork chops in the egg, followed by the bread crumb mixture. Use your fingers to press the bread crumbs into the pork very well to make a thick coating.

Place the pork chops on the sheet pan.

Arrange the asparagus spears around the pork and toss with the olive oil.

Spray the pork chops with cooking spray before sliding them into the oven to bake. At 15 minutes, check the temperature of the pork. If it is at least 140°F, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest for a few minutes to climb up to the proper temperature of 145°F. If not, slide it back into the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes.

In a microwave- safe glass measuring cup, whisk together the cream, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, pepper, and Parmesan.

Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds on high, then remove it from the microwave to whisk.

After whisking, microwave the mixture for another 15 seconds or so, until it’s very thick.

Whisk in a few teaspoons of the lemon juice until the sauce is pourable.

Serve each pork chop with half of the asparagus spears and top with lemon cream.

 Baked Spaghetti

After I had my daughter, any dish that included baked pasta was so comforting to me. I don’t know if it was all the carbs, the cheese, or just the warmth of the dish, but I found a new appreciation for baked pasta.

My favorite was a baked spaghetti dish made in a deep- dish pie plate crammed with so many cheeses that I don’t know how my sweet neighbor got it through my doorway. It was excellent.

Here, I’ve scaled it down to a small skillet and tried to minimize the number of dishes required to make the meal. Since we’re browning the meat and tossing the cooked pasta with the sauce in the skillet, we might as well bake the final dish in the skillet, too, right? Make sure your skillet has an oven- safe handle. Also, make sure the cream cheese and ricotta are at room temperature before tossing.

6 ounces spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ pound ground turkey or beef

¼ teaspoon salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups jarred marinara sauce

2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup ricotta, at room temperature (store-bought or homemade)

½ cup shredded mozzarella


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Meanwhile, in an oven- safe skillet, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat. Add the ground turkey (or beef) and cook while breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it’s no longer pink.

Add the salt, pepper, and marinara sauce to the pan, and heat to warm through. Remove the pan from the heat, add the cream cheese and ricotta, and stir to melt.

Add the spaghetti to the pan with the sauce and toss to combine. Evenly sprinkle the mozzarella on top, then slide the pan into the oven.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the pasta is heated through.

Serve immediately. Leftovers firm up when chilled, so reheat them on the stove.



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