40 days and 40 nights – that’s how much time I spent eating in restaurants while away over the holidays and beyond.
That’s a lot of eating out, and more than I’m used to because I normally prefer to cook at home and eat out only on occasion.
A relatively small fridge in a hotel room can only hold so much. It’s great for juice, coffee cream, breakfast stuff like yogurt and snacky items but since there was nothing to cook on I got to try out all sorts of restaurants. So if anyone is going to Palm Springs or Las Vegas I have a whack load of recommendations.
What’s funny about all of this is that when I told my friends, I found out that most of them thought it was great. Turns out they’d prefer to eat out in restaurants rather than have to cook. At first it was fun but then it felt a bit strange not having to do anything. No shopping, no preparation, no cleanup, no nothing. I started to miss it. I ended up going to grocery stores, buying what I could that would be easy to assemble in a hotel room which was mostly salad items. And picking up ready made stuff for picnics – which is another way of eating out
It was a good test. I got to try a lot of good restaurants and miraculously ended up gaining only a few pounds which could have been a lot worse but I’m reversing the damage – I’m just about back to where I was. Luckily I did a lot of walking, swimming and some running while away.
So when I got home 3 weeks ago I decided to cook all meals at home (except for when a friend took me out for a belated birthday celebration and vice versa). I decided to stick with simple, wholesome feel-good, healthy (mostly) comfort meals. A lot of steamed or oven roasted vegetables, fish, chicken, lasagna, soup and I brought my slow-cooker (crock-pot) out of hiding. I’ve been making a whole lot of stuff in that.
Here’s a recipe which is easy to make, rich in flavour and simply delicious.
Slow Cooked Maple Dijon Pork Chops
4 bone-in (preferably) pork chops
1 large yellow onion, chopped
6 tbsp pure maple syrup
4 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Heat up the oil in a large skillet over high heat. When hot, add the pork chops and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of chops over high heat (about 2 minutes per side) then transfer to your Crock Pot.
Lower the heat to medium low and add the onions. Cook until onions are just starting to soften then add the cider vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 more minutes and then pour sauce over chops in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Serve chops drizzled generously with sauce.
active time ~ 10 minutes
total time ~ 7 hours