For quick, weekday meals after a long workday, I frequently opt for any easy recipe using the grill pan. After cooking all day for others, it’s often a challenge to match the level of the meals that I spend all day preparing for clients. Here, I prepared grilled boneless pork chops and sweet potato salad to serve four. This may seem like an elaborate dinner for a busy weeknight but with some simple prep done in the morning before you head out the door, this meal can feel and taste like it took a lot more effort to produce. Here’s the roundup: Before leaving for work — make the brine and store pork chops. Peel the sweet potatoes and store in sealable bag with water. Once home — boil, shock and drain the sweet potatoes. Chop, toss and dress veggies. Finally, grill the chops, then allow to rest and serve.
The bright, fresh flavors of the salad pair nicely with the simple grilled pork chops. A refreshing finish would be some simple mixed berries drizzled with balsamic glaze over your favorite sorbet, such as lemon or coconut.
There you have it, a perfect mid-week meal with simple steps that allows you to relax and enjoy a cool, fall evening.
Eat Well… Be Well!
By Jim Huff
– 4 5oz Boneless Pork Loin Chops
– 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
– 1 15 oz can Black Beans
– 6 medium Scallions
– 1 large Green Bell Pepper
– 1 small Jalapeno 4 cups Mixed Lettuce Greens
– 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing
– 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
– 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Bavarian Spice
– 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
– 4 tablespoons Kosher Salt
– ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
– 1 ½ cups Ice Cubes
- 4 tablespoons Kosher Salt
- 1 tablespoon Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Penzey’s Bavarian Spice Blend
- 1 ½ cups Ice Cubes
- 4 5oz Boneless Pork Loin Chops
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 4 medium Sweet Potatoes
- 1 large Green Bell Pepper
- 6 medium Scallions
- 1 15 oz can Black Beans
- 1 small Jalapeno
- 1 bottle Trader Joe’s Cilantro Dressing
- ½ teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
- 4 cups Mixed Lettuce Greens
- Morning prep:
- For brine — Heat water to a boil in microwave. Add salt and sugar and stir until dissolved. Add seasoning (I used Penzey’s Bavarian Blend) and stir. Add 1-1/2 cup of ice cubes and 1 cup of cold water. Check for taste, if it tastes like the ocean, then you are good to go. If not, add more salt and stir until it dissolves. Blot chops with paper towels and place in a resealable plastic storage bag; pour brine over chops. Seal and place bag in a bowl, then store in refrigerator.Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1 ½” cubes. Place cubes in a resealable plastic storage bag filled with cold water, then store in refrigerator.
- Dinnertime Prep:
- Remove chops from brine, rinse with cold water, and place on paper towel. Allow to reach room temperature before cooking. Drain the sweet potatoes and add into a pot of cold water. Bring to boil and salt water to taste. Cook 10-12 minutes until fork-tender but not mushy. Set up ice bath.
- While the sweet potatoes are cooking, drain and rinse black beans, then pat dry. Chop the pepper into 1/2” cubes. Thinly slice the scallions. Seed, derib, and finely chop the jalapeno.
- When potatoes are done, immediately add to ice bath to stop cooking, then drain and place on paper towel lined platter to dry. Preheat grill pan. Grill chops for 2-4 minutes per side depending on thickness, turn 90º to create crosshatching grill marks. (I cook these to 135º on instant read as I like slightly pink centers). Remove and place onto platter, keep warm for 5-8 minutes.
- Toss all the vegetables together and dress with cilantro dressing, if desired garnish with whole fresh cilantro leaves. Serve over a bed of 1 cup of mixed lettuces.
About the Chef
Chef Jim Huff is the brain behind the Traveling Culinary Artist; a NYC based personal chef service which has been known to cause the welcome side effects of improved healthy eating habits, more quality ‘family time’, and fast food withdrawal syndrome in some people. The mission of the Traveling Culinary Artist is to provide services that will support and benefit individuals and families by creating tasty mealtime solutions for today’s busy households with all the savory flavors of home. Chef Huff is also a longtime MasterCook user and collects table pieces for entertaining at home. To find out more about Chef Jim, visit his website: Traveling Culinary Artist.