Trouble With Toast

Publix Apron’s Simple Meals: Take One | April 8, 2009

Many devoted food fans–myself included–often find themselves lacking the time and motivation to really cook the way they want.  Certainly, on the weekends it is possible (and fun!) to play around with elaborate recipes and time-consuming cooking methods.  But what if you have to work late, then run to the grocery store, then pick up the dog from daycare, then throw dinner together, then get to bed at a reasonable hour so you can get to the gym before the sun comes up?  That is a totally normal day for me.  And it is VERY tempting to just order a pizza or grab a burrito, even though it is more expensive and less nutritious than cooking at home.

Recently, Publix (a grocery store chain here in the south, for those not in the knows) unveiled a program called Apron’s Simple Meals.  Each week, they focus on a recipe that is “quick to prepare and wonderful to eat” (according to the website).  There are in-store cooking demonstrations, complete with tastes of the finished dishes.  The recipe cards are easy to read, complete with ingredient lists (divided by grocery store sections) and even necessary tools/utensils.  And the featured recipe’s ingredients are right there, all in one place, toward the front of the store.

After listening to Publix’s aggressive radio campaign, I decided to see if it really delivered tasty meals in less time.  I went to my local Publix and picked out three recipe cards.  I shopped for ingredients, which was definitely easier using their organization system (note to self: try this when creating your own grocery lists).  Then it was back home to test out recipe number one: “Blackberry Pork Chops, Horseradish Mashed Potatoes, and Green Beans.”  The full recipe as it appears on the card can be found here.

In terms of the green beans, I totally deviated from the recipe and just popped a bag of Steamfresh green beans in the microwave.  Shut up, they’re good.  Otherwise, I followed the recipe to the letter.  And?

Shockingly, the pork chops were really good.  The meat ended up a perfect medium (there was very little pink, but they were still moist).  The components of the blackberry sauce were really fragrant and interesting and took away from the sweetness of the fruit.

I had a lot of guilt about these potatoes, given that they were packaged.  But, the horseradish gave them a good kick, and the sour cream and butter smoothed them out and added some richness.  If you had more time on your hands, you could certainly whip up a batch of homemade mashed potatoes using the same flavors.

Overall, my fiance and I enjoyed the meal.  The recipe card said that it would be ready in 30 minutes, and it was.  Could I have come up with a similar meal on my own?  Sure.  Does a relatively experienced home cook need such uber-detailed instructions?  Nope.  But I feel like the Publix Apron’s Simple Meal card delivered exactly what it promised–the inspiration, ingredients, and instructions for a fast and easy dinner.  I definitely enjoyed spending some extra time with my man and my critters as a result of being finished with cooking so quickly.

Here’s the pork chop recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork loin chops (3/4-inch thick)
    2 teaspoons Montreal steak seasoning
    olive oil cooking spray
    1/4 cup blackberry preserves
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon lemon juice
    dash cinnamon
    dash curry powder
    1 cup fresh blackberries (optional, rinsed)

Preheat grill. Sprinkle both sides of pork with steak seasoning. Coat both sides of pork with cooking spray; place on grill. Close lid (or cover loosely with foil).  Grill 4–5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 160°F (for medium). Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.

Combine remaining ingredients (except blackberries) in small saucepan. Bring just to boiling on medium, stirring occasionally, to liquefy preserves. Cover and remove from heat.

Ladle sauce over pork chops and garnish with blackberries. Serve.

blackberry-pork-chops

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8 Comments »

  1. Yeah, I don’t think I would be down with the packaged potatoes but good for you for at least testing them out. As far as the chops, they look great. If you take one part of this meal and add it to the rotation, I think you have a win.

    Comment by Lemmonex — April 8, 2009 @ 12:08 pm

  2. After hearing the constant publix commercials regarding the meals – i was also intrigued. I’m surprised at how well everything turned out! Now you have inspired me to try out one at my local publix! Thanks!

    Comment by Jo — April 8, 2009 @ 3:07 pm

  3. Lem: I was in such a hurry, I knew it was either a) buy the prepackaged potatoes, or b) have no starch with my dinner. No contest, really. Next time, I’ll recreate the chops with a homemade side dish.

    Jo: Yeah, I was surprised, too. I think the recipes are at least a good starting point for creating a tasty meal. Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by bettyjoan — April 8, 2009 @ 6:21 pm

  4. I’ve been a fan of these for a while. I’ve had a few funky ones but there is a lemon/chicken/caper/aparagus pasta one that is one of my favorite things I have ever made.

    Comment by Amanda Romano Marshall — April 9, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  5. Amanda: Oh, I’ll have to look for that one! I’ll be posting two more of the recipes this week. I tweaked the other ones a little more to my liking, but overall I’m really pleased with the concept and the results.

    Comment by bettyjoan — April 12, 2009 @ 9:57 pm

  6. Love your steamfresh substitutes, I’m not judging you! 🙂 I’ve seen the Publix folks cooking in store but haven’t taken the opportunity to try a recipe. This looks and sounds good though, I might have to pick up a recipe card next time!

    Comment by Jessica — April 18, 2009 @ 2:27 am

  7. Thanks, Jessica! You’ll have to let me know how it turns out if you try one of the Publix recipes.

    Comment by bettyjoan — April 22, 2009 @ 2:51 pm

  8. My favorite is the chicken picadillo, roasted peppers, and fried plantains. More importantly, I’ve discovered that real pay off for the Publix recipes is that I’ve been able to easily add them to our normal “rotation”. They are so easy to fix, “interesting”, and yummy that I’ve started picking up the main ingredients as staples.

    Comment by Lynne — August 8, 2009 @ 1:30 am


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