Tuesday, June 15, 2010

30 Days Gluten Free Quick & Easy Meals: Day 9 - Erin's Easy Pork Chops

Welcome to 30 Days Gluten Free Quick & Easy Meals!

Today's post is written by Erin author of the blog, Gluten Free Fitness.

Day 9 - Erin's "Not Really a Recipe" Pan Cooked Pork Chops

I am not known for my recipes. If anything, I am known for my lack of recipes.

I have a belief that cooking is much less intimidating when you look at a recipe as a guideline rather than “you must do this with this ingredient and it is set in stone or you explode!”

Perhaps I also tend to the dramatic at times.

When you are thinking about creating an easy gluten free dinner, the last thing you want to worry about is if you have an obscure ingredient. If you learn a technique of cooking one item, you can then use that same technique to cook other items as well.

This is a very easy method of pan cooking a protein source (in this case boneless lean pork chops) and creating a sauce to go with that meal.

For the pork chops:
  • Season both sides of the chops with spices you like. I used a rub that I mix and keep on hand in the pantry-a combo of garlic powder, cayenne, onion powder, sea salt, cracked pepper, paprika, and just a touch of stevia powder. You can certainly use a prepared pork rub (check labels for hidden gluten) or simply salt, pepper and a bit of garlic powder would be just fine. Don’t stress, use what you have on hand.
  • Preheat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive, or what you have on hand) Cast iron skillets are super versatile and a great addition to your kitchen if you don’t already have one. And they’re cheap.
  • Sear the pork chops over medium high heat for approximately 5-6 minutes per side, dependent upon the thickness of your chops.
  • While the chops are cooking, gather the ingredients for your sauce. I am a big fan of sauces made like this, in various forms:
A combination of vinegar, a no sugar added fruit preserves, and some spices.
  • This night I had apricot preserves. I grabbed that out of the fridge. I noticed I had some feta cheese, so I grabbed that too. Out from the cabinet came the apple cider vinegar and we’re ready to roll.

  • When the chops are ready, remove them from the pan and let them rest.
  • Reduce the heat to low. The cast iron will retain the heat very well.
  • Add to the pan the preserves (about ½ cup or so, depending on how much sauce you want to make,) and as it melts in the pan use a wooden spoon to move it around and scrape up all the good browned bits from the chops.
  • Add about ½ cup of vinegar, and about ¼ cup of feta cheese. Stir until all combined, and it comes to a bubble. The vinegar will reduce and the sauce will get thicker. Add a couple shakes of garlic powder and sea salt.

  • Taste it. Don’t burn your tongue. Adjust flavors if you need to. If you want less intense flavor you can always add a little water.
  • Return to chops to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Those 5 minutes are enough time to steam up some broccoli, and boil some quick cooking rice if you’d like.

(My food photos are horrific. We were too hungry to wait to try again, so these had to do.)

Enjoy! You can use this same method for cooking poultry, beef, or even fish. Use whatever flavors you have on hand to make your sauces. Easy-peasy, quick, inexpensive, and naturally gluten free!


About Erin:
Nutrition, fitness and fun. These three things guide Erin in her journey through this world. She holds her Master’s degree in Physical Therapy, and Bachelor’s in Health Science. More importantly, she was diagnosed with celiac disease for over 5 years ago. She is an advocate of solid gluten free nutrition and sound fitness habits to improve quality of life and health. On her blog Gluten Free Fitness, Erin writes informative articles that make it easy to implement healthy habits and have a great time while you do it. Check out Gluten Free and Fit 101 for lots of great information to get you started on a gluten free and fit lifestyle.


Stay Tuned for Day 10 in 30 Days of Gluten Free Quick & Easy Meals. Tomorrow will feature a comforting tomato soup with herbed croutons from Ellen of I am Gluten Free.

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