Dinner By Dagny

Not just food, food with flavor

Spinach Feta Stuffed Pork Chops with Baked Rice Pilaf and Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus

My husband goes through diet phases – sometimes it’s the warrior diet where he only eats once a day, other times it different Men’s Health diets.  I’m not a big believer in diets.  I want to eat what I like, therefore I usually cook what I like.  But sometimes these two conflicts resolve themselves nicely.  The spinach feta stuffed pork chops are only 240 calories.  Even if the pork chop is a little bigger than those used in the recipe and they are a little more stuffed, they still come in at about 300 calories. They are juicy and tasty too.

I figured rice would be a could side dish, but wanted to spice it up a little bit.  I usually have brown rice around as a staple and there are some smoked, unseasoned almonds in my cabinet that I thought I could use so I went in the rice pilaf direction.  I didn’t find 1 recipe that I liked so I took inspiration from a couple of different ones including Alton Brown’s Rice Pilaf, Curried Rice Pilaf and a Basic Baked Brown Rice Pilaf.  I like the baked cooking method in Alton Brown’s recipe but knew that 15 minutes wasn’t going to be sufficient for brown rice.  Adding an extra layer to the rice pot is a pretty common in the Caribbean, but usually it is banana leaves not a towel. And just to reassure everyone, the towel does not catch fire.  It came out hot, but no visible scorch marks.

And lastly the vegetable.  While there was spinach in the pork chop, and red peppers and onions in the rice pilaf, I still wanted a vegetable side.  I asked for suggestions from the people I was cooking for and I got asparagus and mushrooms.  I was pretty sure those ingredients went well together, but there is nothing quite like a quick Google search to figure that out.  I pretty closely followed this buttery pan roasted mushrooms and asparagus recipe.

I think it is important to note that I made 14 pork chops last night (12 stuffed and 2 plain).


14 garlic cloves, minced


2 (16 ounce) packaged frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry

3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

9 tablespoons cream cheese

rind and juice of 2 lemons

14 boneless center-cut pork chops, trimmed (I go to Harris Teeter for these as their butcher cut is nice and thick.  Generally, grocery stores cut them thinner and they are hard to work with)

6 tablespoons brown mustard

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

5 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 large shallots, minced

1 red pepper, minced

2 cups brown rice

2 3/4 cup chicken stock

3 strips orange zest

pinch of saffron strands steeped in 1/4 cup hot water

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted

3 bunches asparagus

2 packages sliced baby portabellas

1/2 red onion

Spinach Feta Stuffed Pork Chop Directions

1.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat

2.  Saute 6 garlic cloves and spinach until moisture evaporates.  Add Adobo for seasoning

3.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cheeses and rind

4.  Combine remaining 6 garlic cloves, juice, mustard and oregano in a bowl.  Stir well

5.  Cut a horizontal slit through thickest part of each pork chop to form a pocket

6.  Stuff pork chop with spinach mixture (approximately 1/4 cup spinach) into each pocket.  Sprinkle with Adobo

7.  Brush mustard mixture over upward facing side of the pork chops

8.  Broil 6 minutes on high

9.  Flip pork chops.  Brush mustard mixture over pork and broil additional 4-5 minutes until done

10.  Put any leftover spinach mixture into small casserole dish and bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees

Baked Brown Rice Pilaf Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  In wide, lidded saucepan, melt butter over medium low heat

3.  Steep saffron strands in 1/4 cup water

4.  Add shallot, red pepper, garlic and season with Adobo

5.  Sweat the onions and peppers until aromatic, stirring constantly

6.  Add the rice and stir to coat.  Continue stirring until rice smells nutty

7.  Add chicken stock, orange zest, saffron and water, and bay leaf

8.  Bring to a boil

9.  Stir once, then cover pan with moistened dish towel.  Place lid on pan and fold towel corners over lid

10.  Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from oven, and let sit, covered, for additional 10 minutes

11. Remove lid from rice and turn onto platter.  Add toasted chopped almonds and fluff with fork

Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus Directions

1.  Slice 1/2 red onion

2. Chop asparagus into 1 inch pieces, only including the first 2 or 3 inches starting from the tip (that is the most tender part)

3.  In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter and about 2 tablespoons olive oil

4.  Add in vegetables and saute for about 15-20 minutes.  Stir ever few minutes to make sure all the vegetables cook thoroughly


Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this meal.  The toasted almonds added that something to the perfectly cooked rice.  The pork chops are quite large, so 1 is enough for either 2 normal size portions or 1 large portion.  And the vegetables were tasty as well.  The leftover spinach mixture did not go untouched.  The leftovers were stuffed into a red pepper for gentle roasting later.


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One thought on “Spinach Feta Stuffed Pork Chops with Baked Rice Pilaf and Sautéed Mushrooms and Asparagus

  1. Dinner last night was fantastic! Thanks for the calorie count – this meal fits perfectly into my post run/eat healthy/ it’s almost time for summer bod metntality.

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