Here is my routine most weeknights:
I come home and drop my laptop bag in the dining room while making the requisite old lady “oof!” noise, then I head up stairs. After changing into some variety of flannel, fleece, or super fuzzy, très chic ensemble, I go downstairs in search of food. If I’ve come home late, my eyes scan the fridge frantically for the easiest thing to eat as fast as possible. Sometimes this is leftovers, but on the days when leftovers are not to be found…it’s time to get creative.
When I’m tired of eating vegetable hash with ground beef as my “emergency dinner,” I turn to easy preparation of pork chops or chicken thighs. This meal showcases one of my favorite spice blends: Chinese Five-Spice Powder from The Spice House (a Chicago and Milwaukee chain owned by Penzeys). It’s so simple that you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes, then be able to throw your feet up and watch as much 30 Rock as you please–ideally while someone else does the dishes.
Chinese Five Spice Pork Chops – Serves 2
Prep time: 2 minutes (it’s so fast!)
Cook time: 4-5 minutes
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 boneless, skinless pork chops (about 4 ounces each)
a liberal quantity of Chinese five-spice powder– just get out the shaker
a sprinkling of ground sage, sea salt, and freshly cracked pepper
Take the pork chops out of the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes (you can skip this step but cook just a bit longer). This can be done while you’re checking the mail or something- multitasking!
On the stovetop, heat coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Allow skillet to heat up while you put the raw chops on a plate and sprinkle both sides with spices, beginning with a generous coating of five-spice powder. Add a pinch of dried sage, then season with salt and pepper to suit your tastes. Pat chops to gently work in spices.
Place chops in hot skillet and cook for 2 minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until cooked through. Place on a clean plate, cover with foil, and allow to rest for five minutes or so. Then…unveil and enjoy!
Note: you can easily steam broccoli while cooking away. Pour enough water to fill a sauce pan up one inch and heat over medium-high. Chop rinsed broccoli crown into florets. Once the water is boiling, add broccoli and cover. Cook for about eight minutes then remove and drain. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the finished broccoli.