The days are quickly getting shorter as we head into one of the busiest times of year: the cold-weather holiday season.
There aren’t enough hours in the day as we plan for holiday meals, shop for holiday presents, go to holiday events and continue to do our weekly chores.
Quick suppers are easier during warmer months, when we can head for the grill with meat and seasonal vegetables. In cold weather our bodies crave hearty meals with meat, starches and vegetables.
January and February are great months to experiment with new recipes that take some extra time, but right now we want food that is simple, quick and filling.
Let’s define simple as something you can get on the table, into the oven or pull together in 30 minutes.
Chili is a favorite along with macaroni and cheese. Taco casserole and stir-fries fit the bill, as does hearty beef and vegetable soup. Shepherd’s pie is another favorite: make a double batch of mashed potatoes one night so the next night you have them ready to layer in your shepherd’s pie.
Quesadillas are a quick meal that even kids like, and you can forget the meatballs if you are in a hurry; cook ground meat in a skillet before adding it to tomato sauce and serving over pasta for a filling dish.
For steaks that will cook quickly and create enough drippings for gravy, opt for cube steaks (it’s OK to use a packaged gravy mix).
Before you know it, you will have plenty of food to feed yourself and/or your family without breaking a sweat.
Pork gets a dollop of sweetness in this recipe from tasteofhome.com, which comes together in 30 minutes.
Hawaiian Pork Chops
4 boneless pork loin chops ( ¾ inch thick and 4 ounces each)
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/3 cup chopped green pepper
1/3 cup thinly sliced onion
1 can (14 ½ ounces) reduced- sodium beef broth
1 can (8 ounces) unsweetened pineapple chunks, undrained
¼ cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons cold water
Hot cooked rice, optional
1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Cook pork chops until lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Remove and keep warm.
2. In the same skillet, sauté green pepper and onion in remaining 1 teaspoon oil until almost tender, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, pineapple, ketchup, brown sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Return pork to the pan. Reduce heat; cover and simmer until a thermometer inserted in pork reads 145 degrees, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pork and keep warm.
3. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into skillet. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Serve with pork and, if desired, rice.