I like prowling grocery stores for clearance items. You never know what you will find.
Some of my recent clearance finds have included cans of mango nectar for .16 each, cocktail rye bread, cans of seasoned black beans, and random variety of beers by the bottle at the liquor store.
This week, I found boxes of Giada De Laurentiis Pork Chop Milanese Box Kits at Target. I see Target carries her expansive line of food products and I have never tried one so I grabbed a kit for only $1.74 (regularly priced $3.49).
The box comes with pouches of lemon thyme risotto, seasoning mix, and seasoned breadcrumbs. You must add your own meat and suggested lemon wedges. Since I already had boneless-skinless chicken breasts in my kitchen, I substituted them for pork chops and pounded them flat myself.
I made a few more adaptations:
- Sautéed diced onion along with the arborio rice before adding the water and seasoning pouch.
- Added some extra grated parmesan cheese to the finished risotto
- Instead of following the directions to coat the meat in the seasoned breadcrumbs, egg, and again in the seasoned breadcrumbs, I went the more traditional route. I first dredged the meat in flour I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then, I dipped in the egg and into the box’s seasoned flour. Then, I placed the breaded cutlets in the freezer briefly to set up.
So, how did it turn out?
Not bad. The rice really did have a tart lemony flavor that didn’t taste artificial. Although this is real arborio rice, it looks more like minute rice. This may be due to the rice’s seasoning pouch which includes a lot of dried herbs that appear anemic and lend an Uncle Ben’s appearance. Also, the cooking method instructs you to toast the rice, add all of the water, and simmer until cooked (stirring occasionally).
The breading was actually fine in texture. I found it tasted bland and had to add a lot of salt to the cooked cutlet. If you use this kit, I’d suggested seasoning the meat and also adding salt to the breading. I didn’t love the dried thyme and basil which added kind of a noxious flavor. Not inedible, but a little one-note, though you might like them. Spritzes of fresh lemon juice helped counteract these flavors.
Acceptable, especially for the clearance price. The rice tasted better and more natural than it looked and was the most flavorful component to the kit.
Would I buy it again?
No. I like my homemade cutlet breading better because I can season it exactly the way I like. To make this dish, you have to set up your own breading station anyway, so it won’t much extra effort to seasoning your own flour and breadcrumbs. I keep it simple with the flour mixture, but might add salt, pepper, minced fresh parsley and grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs.
Her original Pork Milanese recipe is on the Food Network website.
Have you tried any interesting grocery store clearance items lately?
I picked up a little jar of pesto from her line the other day at Target but then put it back on the shelf. Not quite ready to pull the trigger on the full price item, I guess. Your knowledge of what to add to the prepared mix to make it even tastier is a good thing to note—I am the same way—I am always doctoring things up to make them more to “my” liking. I always look at those clearance racks–the last thing I bought was coffee that was reduced because it was a seasonal flavor.
I understand! And pesto is usually expensive in general. I almost bought the discounted coffee. I saw a bag of pumpkin spice and just couldn’t pull the trigger. What type did you get?
I’d love to find these odd single brews on clearance !!! I am always hunting for single interesting beers for making mustards and sauces. I think your finished dish really looks delicious, and for $1.74 I’d definitely have tried it too.
Same here! Target had a bunch of them recently. The remaining ones were finally marked down to a couple dollars.