On Tuesday night, JT let me pick up takeout for dinner. I'd been craving cheap Chinese (I have to clarify because we also love Asian vegetarian food -- which is not so cheap) since Saturday and needed my rare MSG fix.
So last night I knew I had to make up for it. I had pork chops, pears, and blue cheese ready for a recipe I'd found from Whole Foods. I love getting their recipes straight to my inbox. They have so many delicious ideas to use fresh food! You should really sign up for their emails if you haven't already.
My only problem? My pears were not so fresh any more. They were a little overripe, to put it gracefully. But for once, I wasn't panicked. I thought of a good Thanksgiving-like flavor profile and it ended up working out really well with the pork chops. Then I used my excess blue cheese to create a very alliterative salad. Even more ambitious still, I thinly sliced some sweet potatoes into chips and roasted those up.
We didn't eat until 8:30 after late workouts, but it was delicious and we have lunch all set for a few days. Here are the recipes for my ambitious weeknight creations.
Pork Chops with Cranberry Apple Salsa
adapted from Whole Foods' Grilled Pork Chops recipe
(serves four, or two for dinner and a few lonchies)
1/4 cup dijon mustard
4 pork chops
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 handful dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup chicken stock
Place pork chops, 3 T of dijon mustard, and 2 cups of water in a gallon Ziplock. Mix well and place in refrigerator for 2-4 hours. (I did an hour and a half) When it's time for dinner, preheat your grill or grill pan to medium high and coat a second sauté pan with EVOO or butter and add apple, onion, celery, and cranberries with black pepper. Cook until onions are translucent and ingredients are beginning to soften. Pour about 1/2 cup of chicken stock over ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a simmer, checking frequently and stirring when needed occasionally. Let the juices cook down and infuse in the ingredients, about fifteen minutes or so, or until fruit and vegetables are softened.
Meanwhile, drain the pork chop marinade from the bag thoroughly and combine 1 T of dijon mustard with about 2 T of EVOO in a small bowl. Brush mixture on one side of pork chops and place that side down on the hot grill pan. Brush the other side while first side is cooking. Watch for golden brown grill marks and then flip and cook until it's done.
Serve topped with the cranberry apple salsa and enjoy!
Baby spinach with blueberries, blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 cup blueberries
1 handful blue cheese crumbles
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
freshly ground black pepper
In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, and black pepper. Using a fork, whisk in EVOO until vinaigrette has emulsified. In a salad bowl, combine spinach, blueberries, and blue cheese. Toss with half of the dressing, adding more if needed so the salad doesn't become too soggy. Top with additional blue cheese, if desired.