Pork Chops can be found on sale quite often and typically for under $3 a pound.  So here’s one of my childhood favorites that uses leftover pork!  By using rice and a homemade tomato sauce - this is a filling one-dish meal that will leave you satisfied and keep your budget on track!


And ... If you don’t want to take the time to make a quick sauce, you can certainly use a can of condensed tomato soup.  Once I realized how simple it was to throw together a quick tomato sauce - I’ve never looked back.  So I’ve included a few sauces that I’ve experimented with along the way - they all work!


The reason I refer to this as a “Binding” Tomato Sauce is because you need something with some thickness to give you the best experience for this casserole.  Because it’s a one dish meal - you can’t really go back and thicken it up after it’s done baking.  So with the recipe(s) below - aim for a somewhat thick sauce.  Whether you use flour or corn starch is up to your personal preference in my opinion.  I don’t want to confuse you by giving you various recipe options ... it’s more to show you that the sauce isn’t one recipe that I always use ... often it’s determined by what ingredients I have handy and if I’m in the mood to dice onion.


Sauce #1 Ingredients: ... Depending on how much you are serving and how saucy you like your casseroles, you may want to double this recipe.


  1. - 2 teaspoons corn starch

  2. - kosher salt, to taste

  3. - 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

  4. - 2/3 cup milk

  5. - 3 teaspoons tomato paste* 

  6. - *Hint:  You can substitute a 5.5 ounce can of tomato juice and cut the milk back to 1/2 cup  or add another teaspoon of corn starch and keep the other amounts the same

  7. - 1/2 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules


Directions:


In a 2 to 4 cup glass measuring cup, whisk corn starch, salt, chicken bouillon granules and milk until smooth.  Add butter and tomato paste.  Stir to combine.  Place in the microwave for 30 seconds, remove and stir.  Heat at 30 second intervals until thickened.  The reason I choose a larger measuring cup, and a glass one at that - is that dairy can heat and spill over the sides very quickly!  Checking and stirring at 30 second intervals keeps all of this under control.  Once it’s done - taste for seasoning, set aside.


I have also used this variation:  This will yield more sauce than recipe above


Sauce #2 Ingredients:


  1. - 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  2. - 1 onion, diced

  3. - 4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

  4. - 1/4 cup dry white wine  (I like Sauvignon Blanc)

  5. - 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

  6. - 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules


Directions:


In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium or medium-low heat.  Once the butter stops foaming, add the onion and sauté until translucent.  Add flour and whisk together until it forms a paste and cook for a minute or two to get the flour taste out.  Add white wine and let it come to a bubble and simmer for a minute or two.  Add tomatoes and chicken bouillon granules.  Cook until thickened.  Taste for seasoning and set aside.


FYI - You could also use Tomato Soup For One recipe - it’s a thinner consistency.



To assemble the Pork Chop, Rice and Tomato Casserole:


Preheat over to 350 degrees.  Our baking dish was small enough to fit inside the toaster oven.  Spray the baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.


In a baking dish, layer 3 cups (12 ounces by weight) of previously cooked rice.  Over top of that layer diced previously cooked pork chops (our totaled about 9 ounces).  Next, layer chopped raw white onion.  Pour tomato sauce (recipe above) over the top.  If you want the sauce to go down into all the layers of rice, pork and onion - stick a fork into the casserole and kind of wiggle it around in spots all around the casserole.  This has always worked for me.  Or take the time to layer sauce in between the rice, pork chops and onion, etc.


Cover the casserole in aluminum foil.  At this point you could put the casserole into the refrigerator to cook later in the day.  If doing this, add 10 minutes to the baking time.  If cooking right away, place the covered dish into the oven for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.  Allow the casserole to briefly rest and serve!