Smoked Gouda & Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops

Last week flew by and we tried out the Smoked Gouda & Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops last Sunday but I never got around to updating  until now. Which is ok, because coincidentally instead of trying something new this weekend, we chose two previous favorite recipes from our Sunday dinner adventures thus far and took the ingredients over to my brother and sister-in-law’s house along with my parents to share what we’ve been up to in the kitchen.

Because we wanted to play it safe when bringing new people into the fold of our tradition, we picked two recipes we had tried and loved and knew our family would enjoy- the Jalapeño Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken from a few weeks ago, and last weekend’s Smoked Gouda & Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops that I hadn’t yet posted about. It all works out; now I can finally post about the pork chops and it’s not technically late since we also had them this weekend. :)

The Smoked Gouda & Bacon Stuffed Pork Chops were another suggestion we received by email from our subscription at AllRecipes.com and decided to try out. We currently live in an apartment complex that does not allow gas barbecue grills, so last weekend we were unable to grill the pork chops outside as the recipe recommended and used our George Foreman grill. Not ideal, but it worked and the dish was good. This weekend, though, because we were at my brother’s house, we had access to an actual barbecue… and let me tell you, the difference was amazing! We thought we enjoyed the pork chops last weekend, but we had no idea how much we truly enjoyed the recipe until we cooked them the recommended way on the gas grill instead. While it seems pretty obvious that a true barbecue vs. a George Foreman would equal a better turn out, I can’t stress enough how much difference it made. If you have the means to barbecue these pork chops, do it!

The gouda cheese was the star for me on this dish. In fact, I loved it so much I kind of wish there had been a bit more… but then again, I adore cheese. Perhaps a light sprinkling of freshly shredded gouda on top of the pork chops the last minute or two of grilling would’ve been good? No seasoning or special treatment of the pork was necessary; it was all in the stuffing portion. Of course as mentioned already, the pork turned out juicier and more full of flavor when barbecued on a gas grill vs. the George Foreman, which made the overall dish that much better because the stuffing didn’t have to work so hard to sell the meal.

We wimped out yet again with side dishes and went with our tried and true steamed asparagus with butter and white wine along with seasoned steamed red potatoes to try out on my family. Since I was preparing the meal over at my brother’s house, I just used whatever seasoning my sister-in-law had on hand in the pantry for the potatoes. I used a little olive oil, butter, garlic powder, seasoning salt, and oregano to season them. They were great! The asparagus wasn’t quite as crisp as it has been for us in the past, but I think it had to do with the fact that we were steaming triple the portion we normally steam for just ourselves and we didn’t adjust properly or it didn’t steam as well in such a large batch. Overall, everything was very well received and my whole family was asking for the recipes.

In non-food news, the Karpiuks have been incredibly busy, and there are lots of new changes on the horizon. 10 minutes before the start of the first day of Gen Con, I received a call and was offered a fantastic permanent teaching contract for a school district on the north side of town. (We currently live on the south side.) Gen Con ended and I was at my new job at 7:30am the very next morning, without any downtime in between to process the excitement of our convention success. I am now two weeks into the new school year and loving my job immensely, but not so much loving the commute. In the morning it’s around a 40 minute drive, but in the evening going home it’s at least an hour and usually an hour and 10 minutes or more. The problem is that I have FANTASTIC days at work but then spend so much time dealing with crappy traffic for an hour coming home that by the time I get home I’m grumpy. I don’t like that! So… what to do?

With Lucas’ job allowing him to work from home, we’ve decided it’s only logical to move closer to my job. And the sooner the better! Thanks to our friend Chris, we’ve found a great place in the same neighborhood and we’re planning a move-in date for mid September, which is less than a month away. Between the new full time job, the success of lots of soap and crochet orders for GEEKSOAP to work on every evening when I get home, starting to prep for a move in less than a month, and a long weekend trip to Atlanta, GA for Dragon Con coming up in less than 2 weeks, there’s A LOT on our plates right now besides food. (See what I did there?) Did I also mention that Lucas and I are ready to start a family, too? It’s all a little dizzying, but also incredibly exciting at the same time. We’ve had to wait on a lot of things for such a long time now, and suddenly it’s all going to happen at once.  We knew everything would eventually fall into place if we were patient; 2010 is going to be our year, and we are SO incredibly thankful for all of the amazing opportunities that have presented themselves all of a sudden. Looking forward to what the future will bring. :)

Stay tuned for unpredictable posting during all of this craziness, but definitely some updates and photos of our trip to Atlanta in a few weeks, the new place, and everything else as we can get to it. :) Thanks for all of your support!