Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Another Year, Another Resolution to Cook More: Day 1

Pork chop with apples and onions
Over the holidays I got to talking with my family about New Year's Resolutions. So many of us attempt the same resolutions: to eat healthier, to exercise more, etc. Such resolutions can seem so daunting. How will I keep up with my resolution when I didn't last year? I personally feel the same way. However, I like that a new year provides an opportunity to reflect and make new goals. Doesn't the word "goal" sound much nicer than "resolution"?  So I decided to make a small goal for myself and a larger goal. Studies have shown that when we make small weekly goals for ourselves, we stick to them better. My larger goal is to cook more at home and dine out less frequently. In addition to being a healthier and more cost-effective means of eating, I also love cooking. Cooking is a huge stress reliever for me, but I often convince myself that I don't have the time. However, within the 45 minutes it takes for the delivery guy to show up, I know I could easily have cooked a meal. 

But how to commit to such a task? I decided to start with a small goal of eating all of my meals at home for 1 week. This goal was a little more feasible for me because I have been on break from school. However, I am hoping that this week-long exercise will become more of a habit and will trickle over into the next weeks and months. So I plan to blog about my progress during this week-long experiment. This won't be in real-time (I started Wednesday, January 8 after I got back from traveling), but I hope you enjoy reading about my "home cooking adventure".

When I got home from my 2 week holiday spent in Virginia and Miami, where I indulged in good food, drink and company, I really wanted to cook some simple meals with plenty of veggies. While some might try to balance their holiday diet by eating several salads a day, I prefer a fuller meal. I wanted a lean protein and some veggies on the side. Wanting to try something other than chicken or fish, I looked to pork. Boneless loin pork chops are actually fairly low in fat (see image to right). Something about pork chops and apples sounds so comforting. I came across Martha Stewart's simple recipe, which was super easy to makeAll you need is pork chops, apples, onion, beer, oil, butter, salt, and pepper. I used granny smith...

You start by seasoning the chops and then browning them in a pan over high heat for 5 minutes on each side. You set them aside and then saute apples and onion for 8 minutes. You deglaze the pan with some beer (I chose an IPA that I like so I could drink the rest) and then return the chops to the pan to finish cooking. Et voila, succulent porks chops with delightful apple and onion mixture on the side.

Browned pork chops just out of the pan.

Sauteed apples and onion.

Pork chops returned to the pan to finish cooking.
While the pork chops are cooking, you can roast some veggies to go alongside. I've said it several times before, but this is my favorite way to cook vegetables. Roasting caramelizes the vegetables, bringing out sweetness. I added some rosemary, salt, and pepper to my brussel sprouts and carrots. 

Roasted brussel sprouts and carrots with rosemary.

Final product. 
And while this isn't an Ina Garten recipe, I have to steal her trademark, "What could be better than that?!" Day 1 was complete and I was feeling good about having these leftovers for lunch tomorrow.


Jenny C said...

I make a similar version of this but with apple cider vinegar and cinnamon. Add raisins and it's even better! And I never have an hour to marinate the pork but it still turns out yummy.

Ariel said...

Awesome tip! I love to see different variations on recipes - and grilled chops sound delightful.

Malia said...

Yum! I'll have to make this at my apt! :)