Maple Dijon Pork Chops… Meal Plan

What’s for dinner?  Everyone’s hungry and they’re all looking at you.  And it’s the same story every day.  It all starts out well enough, but before you know it, it’s time to eat and you’re left empty handed and in the hot seat.  Every night around 5 o’clock, you are going to need something to eat.  Stop letting it catch you by surprise.   

Making dinner is the new shopping for life insurance or writing a will.  No one wants to think about it until it’s too late.  Don’t make it harder than it needs to be.  Some very wise words about meal planning ran on Epicurious recently.  Simple, easy, and time and energy efficient, Meal Blueprints are a great way to save money and reduce your stress and food waste. Here’s how it goes.  1)  Assign a category to each day and stick with it.  Categories could be “Vegetarian,” “Poultry,” “Take Out,” “Freezer,” “Fish,” and “Ethnic,” for instance, but you can plug in whatever suits you.  2) One day a week, you sketch out a meal plan using the categories, such as Monday: Vegetarian, Tuesday: Casserole, Wednesday: Instant Pot.  (Bonus points if you scan your pantry, fridge, and freezer beforehand and let that guide what you plug into the categories.)  3) The meal plan prompts what you pick up at the store.   The takeaway?  Easier planning and a future you that’s a lot less stressed.  And… you are eating dinner at home.  Here’s a link to the entire article, if you want to know more.  It’s a good read and it really will help you get dinner on the table easier every night.

Now an easy make ahead you can pull off in little to no time. This simple recipe is from Gimme Some Oven.  I made it using pork chops, but you could also use a tenderloin.  The recipe makes 1 cup of marinade, which is enough for 2 pounds of pork.  When dinnertime rolls around you can bake, grill, slow cook, or Instant Pot your meal.  I decided to use a cast iron pan on the grill, so I went outside and enjoyed the beautiful day while I cooked. Here’s a link for more information on other cooking methods, or if you want to check out some other really good marinade recipes, as well.  

Cook once, eat twice.  Make an extra batch for your freezer at the same time you are making tonight’s dinner.  Follow all instructions the same, except stash the second batch directly into the freezer, where it will keep for up to 3 months.  When you are ready to use, transfer back into the fridge for 24 hours, or until completely thawed, then cook as desired.  Easy, right?  

Maple Dijon Pork Chops

  • 2 lbs. thick cut pork chops (or tenderloin) 
  • grapeseed, avocado, or vegetable oil for pan 


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup coarse grain Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • optional:  1-2 tablespoons finely-chopped fresh rosemary

Combine all ingredients for marinade in a zip-top bag and mix well.  Add pork and toss until the pork is evenly coated.  Press extra air out of the bag and seal.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.  Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade.  Heat grill to medium high.  Lightly coat a large cast iron pan with oil and heat until oil shimmers and pan becomes hot. Add pork and sear until brown; turn and continue to cook on other side until it reaches an internal temperature of 145º F.    

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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