Are you ready to make quick, healthy meals?
You know I love slow cooker recipes but sometimes I forget to think about dinner first thing in the morning. Or I get so busy with Nate that it doesn’t occur to me that I need to make a meal for Joe until 3:00 pm.
Nate and I sit down together for dinner around 5:00 pm. Daddy eats when he gets home from work, and quite often I cook something just for Joe. He likes pork or chicken for dinner. I’ve been eating pretty darn meatless lately so our meals can be drastically different.
I don’t have the luxury of lots of prep time for meals anymore. If it’s going to get done, it’s got to be simple and quick especially if I am making two different dinners.
Like one 15 minute episode of Baby Einstein on the iPad. (Oh, how I was opposed to TV for babies until Nate and I watched a 3 minute clip of Sesame Street on my iPad. He held still. He was entertained. And he didn’t fuss. Not one bit. I don’t turn on the TV at all during the day but I love modern technology, my iPad, and YouTube. Nate’s happy. And I can throw together dinner.)
Back to the food –
I am grateful for all the time I spent meal planning before Nate was born. As my friend Helen says, now I can “run the meal plan in my head” without having to write anything down. And it’s a life saver. I mentally inventory my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and whip up a meal.
This meal was born on one of those 3:00pm days. No time for the slow cooker so I opted for my Le Creuset braiser (much like a dutch oven, only thinner). I seared off the chops, sweated some onions, and threw in some mushrooms and brussels sprouts, popped the covered dish in the oven and called it dinner. Joe called it some of the best chops he’s ever had. We were both happy.
I have since made the same dish and added brown rice and some stock. The rice soaks up all the flavor from the other ingredients and is some of the best rice I’ve ever had.
When you’re in a pinch for dinner and need an easy one pot meal try one of these combos:
- organic chicken thighs, wild rice, sliced carrots, and herbs de provence
- thick cut pork chops, brown rice, cabbage, sprinkled with fresh parsley before serving
- beans, quinoa, and greens – coming soon to SS&GF; you’ll love this!
Other things to consider:
- start with onions and garlic to build flavor
- utilize dry herbs if you don’t have any fresh ones on hand
- make parsley a refrigerator staple to add a fresh finish to slow cooked meals
- if using a quick cooking vegetable, like broccoli or spinach, add it toward the end of the cooking time
What are your favorite tricks for quick, simple meals?
Serves: serves 4 - 6
- extra-virgin olive oil as needed
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 4 - 6 pork chops
- chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 large onions, sliced thin
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 pound brussels sprouts, cut in half or quarters if large
- about 1½ teaspoons fines herbs
- 2 - 3 cups cooked brown rice, wild rice, or quinoa
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use only enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a braiser or dutch oven. Heat over medium heat. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear porks chops then remove from the cooking vessel and cover to keep warm.
- Cover the bottom of the cooking vessel with stock. Add onions, cover, and sweat until onions are soft. Add grated garlic and cook until fragrant.
- Return pork chops to cooking vessel and add mushrooms, brussels sprouts, and fines herbs.
- Cover and place in oven for 30 - 45 minutes, until pork chops and brussels sprouts are tender.
- Serve hot with your choice of grain.