After an entire week of eating bean and vegetable soup (not complaining!), I went for a change and grabbed a couple pork center loin chops. I've been happy eating less meat, and I made sure to buy the smallest package of two, which cost $2.09. They were about a half inch thick and a third of a pound each. Instead of making my awesome pineapple pork stir-fry, I went an easier and less labor-intensive route.
I put a cup of brown rice and a crushed dried chili pepper into two cups of boiling water in a 1 qt pot, then set to simmer for 45 minutes. This is generally about six modest portions of rice.
Then, I heavily sauted a sliced medium onion in my steel frying pan. I didn't fully caramelize it, but it was more brown than yellow. When it was done, I put the onion on a plate and set it aside.
I patted the pork chops dry with a paper towel, then put them in the hot pan for a few minutes to brown. I sprinkled rosemary on the tops, then flipped them over, sprinkled with pepper, put a cover on and turned the heat down to low.
Then I made salads from bagged mix, baby spinach, walnuts, habanero cheddar cheese, button mushrooms, and dried cranberries, topped with a little light ranch. All together the salads cost a little less than $1 each, and we'll eat them daily while we have the components. The greens and mushrooms were on sale this week, and I've always got walnuts and cheese.
When the chops were done cooking, I plated them, then poured a half cup of Chardonnay (about 1/40 of a $15 box of Almaden) into the skillet to deglaze it. I turned the heat back up a bit and reduced the sauce down to about two tablespoons, then poured it over the pork chops.
The chops were juicy and delicious! The rice and onions were a good accompaniment for the pork, and the salads rounded out the meal. This was a great dinner for two for $5. Each person's meal cost $2.50 and had about 600 calories. If the rice is made earlier, this meal takes a half hour to make.