As part of our menu planning practice around here, we also have some food rules. We’re pretty picky about proteins — meat is always hormone and antibiotic free; ideally, it’s pasture-raised; and in a perfect world, I know which farm it’s coming from. Given these specifications, the meat we buy is slightly more expensive than your average grocery store offerings, but we make it count by balancing it out with plant-based meals, trimming portion sizes, and stretching the same cut across a couple of meals.
Sunday: I thawed a package of pork loin chops and two pounds of ground beef from my ButcherBox for the week. I’m looking for new ways to use the workhorse that is ground beef, so I riff on a recipe from one of my favorite cookbook authors, Yotam Ottolenghi, and stuff poblano peppers with a mix of quinoa and ground beef seasoned with cardamom, mint, and dill.
Monday: A simple pasta puttanesca and green salad for Meatless Monday; it dawns on me that the puttanesca sauce — tomatoes simmered with olives, capers, anchovies, and loads of garlic, would be really good over a flattened, pan-seared chicken breast. Note to self.
Tuesday is quick seared pork chops, sliced and served with a sauce made by stirring together equal parts mustard and Greek yogurt. Over farro and wilted spinach.
Wednesday is another breakfast for dinner; this time we make omelettes with some of the veggies in the fridge that need using up. We cook off the rest of our bacon and heat up two leftover stuffed peppers for good measure.
Thursday: I’ve gone too many nights without one of my favorite flavor combinations — sesame-ginger-soy, so we made a stir-fry (recipe below) with pork and mustard greens, which I love for their peppery nature. I served it over brown rice, but also imagine this stir-fry would be excellent over sesame soba noodles.
Friday: It’s burger night! But in an effort to bring all sorts of different flavor profiles into the kitchen, I seasoned the meat with cumin, coriander, and some fresh mint and parsley and stir together a tzatziki sauce to spoon over the top. I like these patties and the tzatziki over bibb or chopped romaine; the kids take theirs with pickles, ketchup, and whole wheat buns.
Stir-Fried Pork and Mustard Greens
This recipe makes good use of the ButcherBox pork loin chops. By cutting them into small pieces and cooking them quickly on high heat, then adding the remaining ingredients, the pork stays super juicy while absorbing the flavors added during cooking. Serve over brown rice or your noodle of choice.
1 large bunch mustard greens, tough ends trimmed
8 ounces pork loin chops, patted dry and cut into ½-inch matchstick pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and shredded with the large holes of a box grater
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 small bunch scallions, cut thinly sliced on the bias (green and white parts; roughly ¾ cup chopped)
1 tablespoon canola or peanut oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
Sesame oil, for drizzling over the top, optional
Chili crisp, for drizzling over the top, optional
Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the mustard greens, pushing down to submerge them in the water, and blanch until bright green, about two minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the greens to a strainer. Scatter ice cubes over the greens and spray with cold water. Once cool, drain well, squeezing the liquid out of the greens.
2. Roughly chop the greens, place in a bowl, and set aside.
3. Place the pork in a medium bowl and toss with the salt. Let sit while you prep the ginger, garlic, and scallions.
4. Stir the soy sauce and honey together in a small bowl and set aside.
5. Heat a dry wok over high heat for about two minutes. Add the canola oil, swirl to coat the wok, and when it shimmers, add the pork.
6. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the pork is cooked through and only a tiny bit of pink is showing. Add the ginger and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring.
7. Add the scallions and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the chopped mustard greens and the honey-soy mixture and cook, stirring, until everything is well-combined and hot, about 2 more minutes.
8. Remove from heat and serve. Drizzle sesame oil and chili crisp, if using, over the top, followed by a sprinkle of sesame seeds.
You can check out the other installments, Braised Beef, Taco Tuesday, and How To Switch Gears – A Month of Meat, Week One and Embracing the Freezer, Whole Spices, and Doubling Recipes — A Month of Meat Week Two here: Intro/Week One / Week Two.
Leigh Belanger is a cookbook author, teacher, and writer/editor. Her most recent cookbook, called My Kitchen Chalkboard, about streamlining dinner for busy families without sacrificing interesting food and cooking, was released in May 2018.