We were talking with a friend the other day and she mentioned she was having Shake ‘n Bake pork chops for dinner.

It will probably come as no surprise that Shake ‘n Bake is not something I would normally have in the cupboard.  I love baked and/or breaded things.  It just wouldn’t cross my mind to buy a pre-made breading mix.  It’s a bit of the curse of the cook.  I often have to remind myself that I don’t need to grow the wheat and mill the flour and bake the bread to make a sandwich.  A shortcut is using all-purpose flour.

But I digress.

Thing is, the Shake ‘n Bake pork chops sounded really good.  And since I had pork chops, bread crumbs, and almost every known herb and spice, I figured I could make a reasonable facsimile.

First thing I did was do a web search to see exactly what was in Shake ‘n Bake.

Shake ‘n Bake’s Original Pork flavor includes as ingredients: enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate Vitamin B1, riboflavin Vitamin B2, folic acid), salt, partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oil, sugar, contains less than 2% of paprika, dextrose, dried onions, spice, caramel color, yeast, annatto (color), and natural flavor.

There’s not enough of anything in there to kill ya, but I figured I could do better…

I’ve probably had Shake ‘n Bake at some time, but I don’t really recall.  It’s not something I would have had as a kid – I was out of the house by the time my mom started using “convenience foods” – and since I always worked in a restaurant or kitchen of some sort, it just wasn’t something I thought of.  I do remember the commercials, though!

So fast-forward to 2010.

I started off with panko bread crumbs because I wanted crunchy, and looking at the pictures online, it looked like there should be a lot of crunch.  I added just a tad bit of flour, and then salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.  I have annatto seeds, but I didn’t need the coloring – or the caramel coloring.  I needed a bit of oil, but didn’t want to add oil.  Instead, I added a drop of mayonnaise.  I flashed back on my mom making a baked cornflake-crusted chicken where the chicken was dipped in mayo and then rolled in crushed corn flakes.  It was really good.

Shake ‘n Bake instructions say to dip the pork in water or milk and then into the bag with the coating mix.  I decided to use mom’s mayonnaise coating and then bread the chops.  Just a really thin coating, then lots of crumbs. Into the oven at 425° for about 25 minutes.

It worked.

For those Shake ‘n Bake purists?  Well…  I doubt my chops came close to Shake ‘n Bake perfection.  I’ve seen the pictures on the internet, and you can easily see the difference in the picture above.

But the chops really did come out good.

Oh…  I almost forgot.  Side dish…

I steamed artichokes and since I had the mayonnaise out, I mixed some with a teaspoon of chopped capers, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of pepper.  It made a great sauce for dipping the artichokes.