I've had a major revelation this week: I'm not much of a cook, but now that work has slowed down and I have more time to be domestic, I've realized that I actually like to cook
. I've never disliked cooking, but I've never been overly fond of it either; I've just thought of it as a means to an end, not as something particularly enjoyable. But evidently I do enjoy cooking as long as I have enough time not to feel rushed while cooking!
The dinner I made for us last night is quite possibly my most impressive culinary feat yet. I was already marinating pork chops in a tequila lime sauce, so I decided to search online for a Southwestern pork recipe. I found one here
. See the recipe I actually used below, since I modified it some because of the ingredients I had and because I had to scale up the recipe since I had a lot of pork to cook. It was AMAZING, and I don't even like pork (or I didn't think I did until last night)!Southwestern pork chops
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 9 thick pork chops (not sure how much they weighed; it was a big thing of pork chops from Sam's Club), marinated in tequile lime marinade (but I think I could have skipped the marinade and probably will in the future)
- 1.5 cups of long grain rice
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 4 tsp chopped fresh cilantro (I didn't really measure, just guestimated!)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp taco seasoning
- 1 can green Mexican salsa (found in the Hispanic food section, I think my can was 7oz)
- 1 can corn, drained
- 2 cans chicken broth (I think it was about 4-5 cups maybe?)
- 1 can tomato sauce (I used a 15oz can of plain tomato sauce, though I think it would be tasty if you got one of the Southwestern-flavored tomato sauces)
- 1 medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped into small-medium pieces
- 1 cup Colby & Monterrey Jack cheese (to be honest, I probably used more than one cup since I think cheese makes everything better)
- Heat oil in frying pan.
- Brown pork chops on both sides. (I just had them browned slightly, about two minutes or so each side.)
- In a baking dish, combine rice, chicken broth, tomato sauce, corn, green salsa, bell pepper, and spices. (I did this in advance during Jocelyn's naptime, and put it in the fridge until I started making dinner.)
- Place browned chops over rice mixture.
- Cover and bake for 1.5 hours at 350 degrees.
- Uncover and sprinkle with cheese.
- Put back in oven for a couple minutes until cheese is melted.
In Lee's words, "This is a restaurant-quality dish!" Plus Jocelyn loved the rice, even though it was a little spicy, so it worked for the whole family. (She wasn't too interested in the pork, though, and just filled up on rice and veggies.) As for me, this is the first meal I've had in Raleigh that made me feel like I was in South Texas when I closed my eyes and just savored the flavors. I love the food in Rio Grande City, so that's the highest compliment I can give!