I really thought that back-to-school would help our whole family get back on schedule and bring some order to our lives. Ha! I’m beginning to realize that with four kids, chaos and loudness IS our order. That is the new normal. This means that making dinner is like trying to cook with wild dogs biting at your heels. (SMALL wild dogs, that is.) Often I try to make things simple and just put random things on a plate: have a few grapes, some cheese, a piece of meat, and yogurt. But if wild chaos is the new normal, I need to learn how to embrace it and cook in the midst of the wild dogs or maybe even (gasp!) ask for their help. Which is exactly what I did for this dinner featuring Pork Schnitzel and Spaetzle. It is a unique dinner and simple, but with multiple steps, the kind of thing I usually avoid with kids.
I hit up my local Randall’s where I found Smithfield All-Natural Pork Chops. You can use this coupon from Safeway’s Just 4U portal for $1 off (while supplies last) OR you could get lucky like me and find several great products on clearance. BOOM! I picked up both the pork chops and a pork roast since the prices were so good! I really wanted to try Pork Schnitzel and Spaetzle again, two German recipes that I really love. I haven’t made either for the kids and thought they would really love them and knew just the way to get at least one of them involved.
Pork Schnitzel requires tenderizing and pounding out the meat and what kid DOESN’T want to bang on a slab of meat?? Especially with this handy brass knuckle meat tenderizer, which was a gift from a roller derby wedding shower. Cooper watched in confusion and horror, which kept her from grabbing onto my legs—her favorite place to be when I’m cooking.
Though breading and frying usually dirties up a lot of bowls, this recipe cooks really quickly and the pork itself is cooked as a whole chop, so you’re not having to cook things in batches. I breaded up the four chops and let them cook for 4-5 minutes per side. Normally they would be a little bit thinner, but it was Sawyer’s first time using the tenderizer, so I let it slide. The spaetzle is a little more labor-intensive, but totally worth it. Both boys ate it all, but Cooper proved a bit more finicky. Maybe next time. Also? I have been mispronouncing spaetzle my whole life. I always said SPAYT-zell. It’s more like SPET-shlee. WHAT.
Overall, this was a unique dinner that I was able to make with four kids running around. It made me feel brave, like maybe I can really make a home-cooked meal every night, even if Rob isn’t home to help wrangle. Cooking something unique like Pork Schnitzel and Spaetzle also made me feel a bit like I was getting my groove back. (Even if I needed to rent a new movie to distract the wild dogs during some of the cooking process.) Until I looked at the kitchen after the kids went to bed. Womp womp.
But it was worth it! (I say that from the couch where I’m still avoiding the dishes.) Every now and again with kids, you need to shake things up even if that means putting on a movie and letting your kid beat meat on the counter and avoiding the big mess in the kitchen. Need a recipe? Shake it up with Spaetzle and Pork Schnitzel with Smithfield All Natural Pork.
- 4 Smithfield All Natural Pork Chops (boneless)
- salt & pepper
- 1 eggs, beaten
- 1⁄4 c. milk
- 1 c. flour
- 1 c. bread crumbs (I used Italian)
- About 1/3 cup of oil to fry (enough to cover bottom of pan)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- chopped parsley
- Pound the pork until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. In separate shallow bowls, put flour in one bowl, mix the egg & milk in another, and the bread crumbs in the last. Heat the oil to medium/medium-high in a large skillet or non-stick pan. Dredge each chop in flour first, then egg/milk, and then into the crumbs. If needed, press the crumbs into the sides. Drop into the oil and cook 3-4 minutes per side.
- Garnish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and chopped parsley.
- 1 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 T butter
- Set a large pot of water to boil.
- In one bowl, mix the dry ingredients and in another, beat the eggs and milk. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ones a bit at a time, stirring to combine. Press the dough through the holes of a colander or a slotted spoon, a little at a time--don't overcrowd the pot! You'll have to work in batches.
- Cook 5-6 minutes as it's floating to the top. Remove from water and pat dry on paper towels. When it's completely dry, cook the spaetzle in batches with butter until brown and a little crispy for 5-6 minutes.
- I like mine extra crispy! Don't be afraid to let them get brown.