So here we are at the third day of the Aldi Supper Challenge...cooking dinners consisting only of ingredients that can be purchased at Aldi. So far, it has been a really fun experience. I've enjoyed trying new recipes and making up some of my own (with a little inspiration from others of course!).
Pan-fried Pork Chops topped with Black Bean Salsa, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, and Greek-inspired Pasta Salad
Everything you'll need from Aldi for the Pork Chops:
Thin cut Pork Chops
Black Bean Salsa we made on Monday (Recipe in Day 1 Blog post)
*Note: Almost every recipe I've done calls for Salt and Pepper to taste. I don't mention it here because I'm assuming everyone has Salt and Pepper. Aldi does sell it!
This recipe is very quick and simple. My husband is good at making Pork Chops this way, so I always ask him to do it. You simply place about a cup of flour in a plate and mix in salt and pepper. Heat about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a flat pan over medium to medium-low heat. Wash the meat and towel dry. Then coat both sides of each pork chop with the flour mixture. Add to the pan and cook until done...about 7-10 minutes on each side...just watch it. It doesn't take long, but varies depending on meat thickness. When it is done, transfer to a plate and top with the pre-made black bean salsa.
Everything you'll need from Aldi for the Roasted Sweet Potatoes:
3-4 small sweet potatoes (sliced thinly)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon Oregano
Zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 to 2 minced garlic cloves
*You'll want to get this going well before you cook the Pork Chops.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. After you slice the sweet potatoes, toss them in a large mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Spread in one layer on a roasting pan or cookie sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes.
Everything you'll need from Aldi for the Pasta Salad:
Penne Pasta (or whatever shape of pasta you like)
Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
1 large Zucchini
Plain Greek Yogurt
For the sauce: 1 cup Greek Yogurt
Half a container of Feta Cheese
1 Teaspoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Oregano
Zest and juice of half a Lemon
1 clove Fresh Garlic
Salt and Pepper
Place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.
For the rest: Half a package of pasta (boiled by instructions on the package and drained)
(Don't make the mistake of not drizzling the pasta, while in the strainer, with olive oil!
You don't want it all sticking together!)
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
handful of Arugula
handful of Grape Tomatoes split in half
handful of Olives (chopped)
roasted Zucchini ribbons (see note below)
Sliced Fresh Mozzarella
*Use a carrot peeler to make the Zucchini ribbons. Once you reach the seeds, stop. Put core of the zucchini in a ziploc bag to throw in the freezer. That way, you'll have it for zucchini bread, or something equally delicious later.
*Throw those fancy ribbons on top of the sweet potatoes in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, just like this:
Can't get much easier than that, right?
In the same large mixing bowl you used to coat the sweet potatoes, mix the pasta with the other ingredients (including the roasted zucchini that you removed once done) and the sauce.
Transfer to a plate, place the mozzarella slices beside it, drizzle with olive oil, add more tomatoes, olives, red onion, and arugula, if you want to. and top it all with a little more pepper.
*A note on Olives. As a past Olive-Hater (i've mended my ways), I understand there are mixed feelings about olives out there. There is a lot of Greek inspiration in my cooking and therefore, a lot of olive use. So from now on, in my recipes, I will call them Optional Olives (Don't you love alliteration? I do!). Just to show you that you can make the recipe with or without olives...totally your preference.
For some strange reason, while I was making the pasta salad, this song played on my Ellie Goulding Pandora station:
George Michael, anyone??
I started to name my recipe the Careless Whisper Pasta Salad. But then decided against it. But it reminded me of a hilarious Youtube video that my friend, Jay, shared with me a few years ago. It's called Sexy Sax Man and features a guy named Sergio Flores randomly serenading people out in public with his Saxophone...playing the general tune of this song over and over and over.
I will warn you. It's a tiny bit risqué, and I try to keep my blog PG rated. But it's also really really hilarious in a strange strange way. View with discretion. :)
I'm not going to say a lot to close this post, because, I mean what can I even say after Sexy Sax Man? I was happy with how this meal turned out. I think it's my favorite so far. It's not too time-consuming to make either. The black bean salsa was pre-made and the pasta salad can be pre-made as well. I would say this would be a good combination to make for a busy weeknight. So, until next time....(insert Careless Whisper tune!).