A breaded pork chop dinner needn't be swimming in saturated fat and sodium. If you bake instead of fry it, and use the leanest possible cut, you'll do much to lighten up the classic dinner. Bone-in chops often mitigate the drying effect of oven cooking, but if you prefer boneless pork, start with a quick sear to seal in the juices. Breadcrumbs, whether store-bought or freshly made, get jolts of flavor with a small amount of high-quality grated cheese -- preferably with fresh or dried herbs for additional flavor and no extra sodium.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Fill one shallow bowl with flour, then season the flour with salt and pepper.
Whisk two or three egg whites with a spoonful of water in the second shallow bowl. Alternatively, whisk in a spoonful of mustard instead of water to approximate the color and creaminess of the missing egg yolks, without the added cholesterol.
Grate Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and finely chop fresh herbs, if desired. Mix 1 part of the grated cheese with 4 parts breadcrumbs in the third shallow bowl, then mix in a spoonful of the herb.
Line up the three shallow bowls of the flour mixture, the egg white mixture and the breadcrumb-cheese mixture.
Turn a pork chop over in the flour mixture and shake off the excess flour before dipping it in the egg white mixture, again shaking off excess. Press the egg-dipped chop in the breadcrumb-cheese mixture, then turn it over and press the other side into the crumbs.
Repeat with the remaining chops.
Heat a small amount of canola oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Put the chops in the hot skillet and sear them on both sides, about two minutes per side.
Set the skillet in the oven once the chops are golden brown on both sides. Bake for 20 minutes.
Insert a cooking thermometer into one of the chops. When it registers a minimum internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit and all the chops have turned crispy, remove the skillet from the oven and serve the pork chops.
If your skillet isn't ovenproof, remove the chops from the skillet after searing. Set the chops in a large glass baking dish before putting them in the oven.
Use store-bought whole wheat breadcrumbs for extra fiber. Alternatively, pulse stale French or wheat bread slices in a food processor until they form fine crumbs.
If you want to use store-bought grated Parmesan cheese, look for the version with the lowest sodium content.
Serve the baked pork chops with a green salad or cooked spinach, along with applesauce or roasted apples.