Chinese takeout-that quick fix for dinner that is a nice treat…even if it does leave you hungry a couple of hours later! We are lucky to live right around the corner from a great Chinese restaurant that does take out so quick and delicious they have to insulate their bags because they are too hot to handle. We can’t even open the containers at home without using pot holders! It’s a good thing hubby isn’t too good at using chopsticks are else he would probably burn himself, but by the time he gets it down it’s the right temperature! I’m always ok, for I spend the first few minutes mixing my sauces! We don’t order takeout too often, not exactly the healthiest of choices, and I have no self-control around hot crab rangoons. When we do, we usually end up eating all the good stuff first- the chicken, shrimp, or beef, only to be left with some plain fried rice or lo mein noodles? Do you do the same? Do you save the rest or just toss it? This recipe is my go to enjoy with any leftover Chinese rice or noodles.
Orange Pork Chops: This recipe is a good one to get started right when you get home, then it will be ready before you know it and it doesn’t require that much effort. (Also good for that orange that has been hanging out!) Let’s get started:
In a skillet, drizzle olive oil and brown 6-8 boneless pork chops,seasoned with black pepper (you can use bone-in, but these come out so “fall off the bone” tender you will just end up having to pick bones out the sauce!). Make sure to not crowd the pan or else the chops will steam more than brown. Remove chops and drain pan. Stir together 8 oz beef broth or stock, 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar or plain vinegar, 1 TBSP brown sugar (dark or light), and 1/4 cup of orange juice. Pour a little mixture in bottom of skillet and put chops and any juice back in skillet. Add 1 chopped green pepper. Pour remaining mixture over pork chops in skillet. Cover and simmer on medium low heat for 30 minutes. Turn to low. Add 1/8 tsp of orange zest and segments from 1 orange or 1 small can mandarin oranges in a pinch. (Don’t forget Tuesday’s Tip orange trick: Put orange into boiling water, cover for 5 minutes. Makes segments easier to remove. Save the orange “essence” water for tea! Use orange peel as bird feeder.) Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes. Remove lid. Add 1/4 cup more orange juice. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 5-10 additional minutes until sauce is to your desired consistency. That’s it! Easy wasn’t it?
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What other citrus fruit would be good? Use pineapple chunks and juice for Hawaiian style chops. What spices could you add to change the flavor? Ginger is a good one. Chinese Five Spice powder adds some zip, too. What vegetables could you add? Carrots are a nice addition, think orange glazed carrots! Don’t enjoy pork chops? Substitute chicken and lessen cooking time. Like stir fry? Use the sauce with flank or skirt steak. In a hurry, cube the pork chops. It not only shortens the cooking time, but if you add any leftover rice or noodles near the end, you have a one pot meal.
FOOD FUN: Did you know that the famous Chinese takeout dish, Chop Suey, is an American creation? (There is even National Chop Suey Day, August 29th!) Chop Suey translates to “odds and ends”…or leftovers! It was and is a good way to use up all the odds and ends of vegetables. Talk about the power of leftovers. Some trivia as you serve up dinner. Do you know what the iconic Chinese food container or box is called? An Oyster Pail. It dates back to the 1890’s and yes, they were used to transport shucked oysters. When oyster prices increased, manufacturers were left with an excess supply of pails just as a certain “to go” food was becoming popular. The rest as they say is history.