Ever since I started working more regular hours since finishing my dissertation, I've been on the lookout for healthy, quick recipes to make during the week. This book definitely fills that need -- almost all the recipes can be on the table in less than half an hour, and all provide both calorie and cost information. And, they're honest about the time committment -- I've made a lot of supposedly "thirty-minute meals" that really take up to an hour. In this case, I found the time estimates to be pretty accurate. I've made a couple of recipes out of it so far, and have been really happy with both -- they provided lots of flavor for minimal effort, and they didn't break the bank either.
First up is this tasty BBQ pork chop dish. Actually, it's supposed to be a pork tenderloin. For some reason, the only pork tenderloin we could find at the grocery was almost $20 (!!!!!), so we went with thin cut pork chops instead. I don't know what was going on with the pork tenderloin, since usually it's an inexpensive cut...in any case, the pork chops were an easy swap and cooked even more quickly. The sauce is sweet and sticky, and really makes basic pork chops interesting. You could also use it on thick-cut chops if you're in the mood for a more indulgent meal -- just cook them a little longer.
The chops are paired with a genius rice recipe. I love white rice as a side dish, but I'm well aware it's not the most healthy choice. Here, the rice is paired with veggies in approximately equal parts, so you're getting plenty of good green stuff without losing the comfort-food quality of white rice. Add a simply-prepared fruit or veggie to complete your plate (I served cubed honeydew melon).
Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants a solid collection of fast, inexpensive, and healthy recipes. You won't find anything terribly adventureous or "out there," but on the plus side that means all the ingredients should be easy to find at any grocery store. These recipes are great for weeknights, or any other time when you want to be able to come in the door and get dinner on the table quickly.
Lucky you -- Sterling Publishing was nice enough to offer up a copy of Woman's Day Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners for one of my readers! If you'd like to win, just comment below with your favorite lighter dinner recipe. Make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win! I'll pick a winner on November 12.
Quick BBQ Pork Chops with Green Rice (adapted from Woman's Day Easy Everyday Lighter Dinners)
2 T ketchup
2 T soy sauce
2 T packed light brown sugar
1 T finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp chili powder
4 thin-cut pork chops
1/2 cup Jasmine rice
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed
2 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced
4 ounces snap peas, thinly sliced crosswise (thaw if frozen)
Olive oil, for the pan
Toasted sesame seeds, to serve
1. Whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and chili powder in a large bowl. Add the pork chops and toss until they are completely coated. Set aside while you prepare the rice.
2. Rinse the rice well, and then combine with 3/4 water and a generous pinch of salt in a small pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer 18 minutes. Don't peek!
3. While the rice is cooking, prepare the pork chops. They'll need about 6-8 minutes, so start them when the rice is about halfway done. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chops and cook 3-4 minutes on each side, or until cooked through (will depend on thickness).
4. When the rice is cooked, fluff with a fork, and then stir in the edamame, scallions, and snap peas. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the pork chops and rice sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds.
I was sent a free copy of this cookbook to review. All recipe testing and opinions are my own.