Growing up, I recall on many occasions going to the grocery store with my mother and observing her madness when planning family meals. Unlike mom, my meals are planned a week in advance and I use lists. Mom went to the grocery store equipped with her wallet and shopping cart and planned dinner right in the store. Planning in the store allowed her to shop wisely with what was on sale. Getting more bang for her buck.
Things weren’t always easy in our house, but I never noticed. Mom always had a hot meal on the table. Of course when you look back and think about those times you ate corned beef hash over rice or fried eggs and bologna over rice, you never considered that a struggle. That was just dinner. And damned good dinner.
Since then, things have gotten easier. But one thing mom still does; She buys meat in bulk when it’s on sale. Will we ever need 20 chicken legs and thighs… probably not. But she buys in bulk and portions it out after cleaning it into Ziploc bags with the date and contents. It’s also the reason that she possesses two freezers…
As I cleaned the family pack of pork chops I bought on sale at the local butcher, without thinking, I portioned 2 pork chops per foil packet and placed it in a labeled Ziploc freezer baggie.
Mom would be proud.
During Hurricane Sandy, as it has been reported, those of us that were home waiting out the storm ate like the world was ending. There was no time like “Armageddon” to eat everything in the fridge.
Cue the Pork Chops.
I have never seen BR get so excited over dinner. My constant need to have something different left him craving something simple and comforting for dinner. Fried pork chops with a baked potato was happening! And because the meal needed some veggies, boiled carrots and roasted sugar snap peas.
It was a dinner that required no recipes, just instinct. I seasoned the pork chops with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper and pan fried them in a cast iron skillet. The cast iron skillet gets really hot and produces a great sear on the chops.
Thanks to the new microwave (moms rule), I had tender, fluffy baked potatoes in minutes sprinkled with sea salt and a pat of vegan butter. The carrots boiled in a tiny bit of vegan butter and sprinkled with sea salt. The sugar snap peas were roasted in olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.
We ate this hearty dinner. And we ate it like it was our last meal on earth.
Also, it’s a very rare occasion that BR has dinner and doesn’t have seconds. Miracles! But dinner was rib sticking and easy to put together. As we were digesting and polishing off yet another bottle of wine, mom called to check in and told us she just had an amazing dinner.
She had grilled pork chops and baked potatoes.
Never take for granted the seemingly little things that your family does for you! It was those days mom would call from work to tell me to defrost something from the freezer that showed me the value in being prepared for anything. And there was no time like the Hurricane when things weren’t readily available but I had a freezer full of possibilities.
Many thanks to my mom for teaching me to always be prepared!