Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Quick gourmet meals in the middle of the week are my favorite! This one is done in as little as 35 minutes. Excited? I'll get you more excited! These vegetables are not only off the hook delicious, they also help to pack in 7g of fiber, and make the meal look pretty, wouldn't you say? At 500 calories, this won't break your calorie bank either.

Recipe credits go to Curtis Stone, but I did make a few adjustments in oil and the portion of the meat to bring the calories down from 650 per serving. I was also more realistic with the cooking time, because I'm nice like that.

Cider-Dijon Pork Chops with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples

Time: 35 Minutes
Serves 4 


4 boneless pork loin chops (each about 5 ounces, and 1-inch thick)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoons unsalted butter

Vegetables and Apples
1 pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams), peeled and cut lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 2-inch pieces
2 Pink Lady or Fuji apples, cored and cut lengthwise into eighths
1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into eighths
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the pork from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and place in the oven until very hot.

To cook the vegetables and apples: In a large bowl, toss the sweet potatoes, apples, fennel, and rosemary with the olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables and apples on it. Roast, turning the ingredients over halfway through, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are nicely browned and tender.

Meanwhile, cook the pork: Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, then add the chops to the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown and barely pink when pierced in the center with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a platter (reserving the oil in the skillet) and let stand for 5 minutes.

Return the pan to medium-low heat, add the apple cider, and bring to a simmer, scraping up the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Whisk in the mustard and simmer for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid slightly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter to lightly thicken the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Divide the sweet potato mixture among four dinner plates. Place a pork chop alongside the vegetables on each plate. Drizzle with the pan sauce and serve.



A Pasta Recipe for Slow-Pokes Like Me: Spaghetti with Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta


Lately I’ve been cooking a lot of quick meals, even though that’s not necessarily my style. Many of my friends know me as the home chef who essentially slaves in the kitchen for hours on end, and it’s not because I make over-complicated food. I’m just pretty laid back and bring a super relaxed attitude with me wherever I go, which works great for those braises that take a few hours in the dutch oven anyway.

But a slow-cooking home chef has to get food done quickly sometimes, right? Otherwise how would I ever have time for clients and work, let alone the gym, or runs on along the beach? So below, I present you with a quick and delicious pasta on this night that I’m going to the gym. Faster home chefs could probably piece this one together in 20 minutes, but I over-estimated the time to 30-minutes for slow-pokes like me!

I think it’s important for people to know that healthy food is an achievable feat even for the busiest of us. This meal could probably be in your belly faster than running out last-minute to pick up fast food for your family. What was the clean up like? For those of you with a fast food addiction, don’t let these two pans overwhelm you. My clean up was was finished in less than 10 minutes. Dinner  + clean up in 40 minutes is proof that we can simplify and “healthify” our lives at the same time. Sometimes it just takes a little meal planning and thinking ahead to do so.


Spaghetti with Sautéed Sweet Potatoes and Ricotta

Serves 4-6
Time 30 min

1 lb spaghetti
3 tbsp olive oil
1.5 lb sweet potatoes (2 medium), cubed into 1/2-inch pieces
3 shallots, sliced
1.5 tbsp, fresh rosemary, chopped
1/3 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 cup ricotta
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Cook the pasta per package directions. Reserve 2/3 cup cooking water, drain pasta, and set aside.

In a large pan, or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover, and cook stirring every 1-2 minutes to avoid scorching the sweet potatoes, about 8-10 minutes. Add rosemary and shallots and cook until potatoes are tender, 3-5 minutes longer.

Add cooked pasta and reserved water to sweet potatoes. Stir in grated parmesan. Serve pasta with a few dollops of ricotta, and season with salt and pepper to taste.