Last week I mentioned I had been doing some cooking and would have recipes to post in the near future. I thought I’d start by talking about one of these meals. Since it has finally gotten nice and we have enjoyed the weather outside (although this week it’s gotten hot and humid), we’ve been able to spend quite a bit of time outside on the porch. It’s been absolutely delightful. Last week I invited my summer student staff member over for dinner. It has been great to work with Dan this summer. He has quickly become one of those students who helps us as student affairs professionals remember why we do the work we do. His positive attitude is contagious as he comes to work and brings forward ideas. He asks good questions, and since it has been some time since I have had a student employee who is with me on a daily basis, it is a flurry of seeing lightbulb moments. I love it. In my daily gratitude journal, Dan more often than not makes the list of people and things for which I am grateful.
When Dan came over, I decided to fire up the grill. We had two things I loved and one item which did not taste satisfactory to me. I made:
- Vanilla Maple Pork Chops (win)
- Grilled Vegetables (win)
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes (not a win)
I think the grilled sweet potatoes could have a future, but I maybe did not give them the right seasoning or oil or other things which could improve their flavor.
I used a family favorite for the grilled vegetables. When I found my grill on craigslist in April, I knew one of the things I needed to acquire was a grilling basket. I looked at a few different options, but eventually settled on the same grilling basket my parents have. It’s always worked great and is nice and deep, to allow lots of grilled vegetables to be a part of the meal. In this case, I used mushrooms, asparagus, and peppers, but I use a lot of different things to make sure I’m getting vegetables in my diet. By tossing them with Italian dressing, I then put them in the basket and put them on the grill for about 45 minutes, or until they are cooked. Delectable. While they are best right then and there, I’ve also brought leftovers for lunch and reheated them in the microwave to my satisfaction.
Finally, I made Vanilla-Maple Pork Chops. These turned out as good or better than my wildest dreams could have imagined and I will definitely make the recipe again in the future. I used the recipe from TGI Paleo and made them almost spot on. I did grill them instead of baking them in the oven. I seasoned them and grilled them. After they were cooked, I utilized the vanilla-maple glaze and brushed it on the pork chops to add a hint of flavor to caramelize them at the end of the grill. Those around the table enjoyed, with most of us having more than one, which for me, is a great reflection of how people are enjoying the food.
Overall, being outdoors and enjoying good company helped me to feel like it was a good kickoff to the summer starting and deliciousness being had. I’ll definitely make the pork chops and vegetables again, and I’ll keep searching for a way to improve the sweet potatoes!
Vanilla Maple Glazed Pork Chops
6-8 boneless pork chops
1 tsp seasoned salt
4 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 tsp Vanilla
Sprinkle the chops with salt on both sides. Heat the grill. Cook pork chops on 8 minutes per side. Whisk the vanilla, cinnamon, and syrup together. Brush pork chops with mixture, turn pork chops and repeat.