Blast from my past.
I’m going to do something I don’t do very often on here. I am going to give you a tiny glimpse into my childhood. As a blogger, sometimes I sit down with a plan of what I know I want to say and I get right to it. Other times, I jump all over the place and I am surprised at the rabbit trail my writing goes down. Today is a “rabbit trail” day. I don’t even know why I am telling you all of this, except that I went through the trouble of typing it all so I figured I might as well share it. Besides, I thought maybe someone out there would connect with this tiny memory and it would make them smile.
The memory I am going to share with you dates all the way back to my elementary years, when I was about yay big…
… so if my memory is slightly off just know that this was about 30 years ago and I was in grade school. This random memory came back to me because of the most simple ingredient in this recipe, the apple. It’s funny how a simple thing like an apple can bring back a whole days worth of memories in an instant, but food has a way of doing that sometimes, doesn’t it?
I grew up in Lansing, Michigan, where over 900 million pounds of apples are produced each year. It’s true! I counted. 😉 Just kidding. I don’t know where they came up with that number, but I do know that Michigan apples are sold all over the USA in mass quantities. Apples are to Michigan what oranges are to Florida. At the top of the list of things Michigan is known for is its lakes and its apples…. well, that, and the fact that the state is in the shape of a left and right hand with its upper and lower penninsulas. (Thank you Wikimedia for this perfect illustration)
A trip to Uncle John’s Cider Mill.
One of the field trips basically every Michigander kid would take in their elementary years was the trip to the Uncle John’s Cider Mill. If the Cider Mill wasn’t close enough to where you lived in Michigan you would at least go to an apple orchard or pumpkin patch of some kind. Of course, you can get apples all year long, but there was just something about heading out to the Cider Mill in October that felt right. Pumpkins, apples, corn mazes, a big barn. It all just screamed “OCTOBER!”
The cool thing about Uncle John’s Cider Mill was that you actually got to watch (and smell) how apple cider is made. They make it right in front of you. Basically, it was a loud, messy process that involved large presses, big cloths, some ramp stair thingies, and a whole bunch of other stuff I didn’t know anything about. When I say “messy” I don’t mean the workers were sloppy. They weren’t. It’s just that you can’t squish the life out of apples in large quantities without things getting wet and chunky somewhere in the process. You get me? They have changed things over the past 30 years, so the system is not exactly the same as I remember, but here is a video I found on YouTube of the process more recently…
When I say they used “cloths” back in the day, I mean, great big blanket things that would resemble cheese cloths. You can check out this quick clip here of an “Amish Cider Mill” to get an idea of what that looks like…
The smell was unmistakable and I always walked out of there thinking I was glad I didn’t have to be the guy making the apple cider. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s fascinating and all. It’s just not something I would want to get up and do everyday. I wasn’t a huge fan of apple cider or donuts, so that probably didn’t help.
My favorite part of the whole Cider Mill experience had nothing to do with apples, actually.
After a couple of minutes of watching their machine do its thing my attention drifted. The one thing I remember best at the cider mill wasn’t the apples. My favorite memory was the piano that played by itself. Really! It was a perfect distraction for a kid who didn’t care anything about apple cider or donuts. I had never seen anything like it before and once I saw it I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. While everyone else was busy learning how to make the perfect apple cider I was trying to figure out how a piano plays by itself.
I was able to find a video someone shared on Youtube of the piano in all of its glory. The piano in this video is exactly as I remember it. I get that the cider mill needed an upgrade on their apple press, but I was happy to see this piano still doing the same thing it did 30 some years ago. Here is the piano…
Uncle John’s Cider Mill is not paying me to say anything about their place. Just thought I would put that out there.
Okay, so where was I going with all of this?
Oh! Yes! Apples. The thing about always having more than enough apples is that you forget that it is special. I mean, there are only two times of the year that I think to make anything out of apples… the beginning of the school year or the beginning of Fall. Well, here we are… It’s Fall now, and that means it’s time to start cooking with some apples.
A dinner recipe that uses apples.
I never cared much for apple cider, but I am sucker for anything baked with apples. Maybe it is just me, but there is something warm and nostalgic about baked apples. This recipe takes the taste of baked apples and brings them to your stove-top for a quick and easy dinner you’ll love.
If you just picked some apples at your apple orchard, and are looking for a dinner to try them out on we have got you covered with this Autumn Apple and Onion Pork Chops recipe right here. Use as many, or as few, apples and onions as you like. The sweetness of the apples and onions, cooked in a bit of syrup, pairs perfect with these lightly seasoned pork chops.
Three little things about this recipe real quick and then I will get to it…
- The lemon-pepper seasoning I used was Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper seasoning, but you can use any kind.
- The maple syrup I used was Spring Tree Pure Maple Syrup, but that’s just because it was the cheapest one in my store. Any pure maple syrup will do.
- The combination of garlic powder with Mrs. Dash Lemon Pepper seasoning that is used in this recipe is perfect. Even if you don’t make this recipe, you should try sprinkling your lean meat with just those two seasonings some time and cook it in a little oil. It’s delish!
I hope you will love this one.
Here is what you need:
Here is what you do:
Trim fat off of the pork chops.
Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with garlic powder and lemon-pepper seasoning.
Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook pork chops in oil about 3-4 minutes or until browned. Flip and cook other side an additional 3-4 minutes or until pork is fully cooked. (more or less time depending on the thickness of your pork chops)
Meanwhile, peel and slice the apple and onion into thick slices.
Transfer pork to a plate.
Cook the apple and onion in the juices in the pan from the pork. Pour syrup over the top of the apples and onion and mix together until coated. Allow to cook 3-4 minutes or until the apples and onions are tender, flipping once or twice.
Serve 1/4 of the pork (about 3 ounces cooked) with 1/4 of the apple/onion mix. The exact measurement of the apple/onion will vary depending on the size of the fruits/vegetables.
Makes 4 servings.
One serving is 3 ounces cooked pork and 1/4 apple and onion mix.
One serving is 6 WW SP.
- Serves: 4 servings
- Serving size: 3 oz. cooked pork & ¼ apple/onion mix
- Calories: 276
- Fat: 8 g
- Saturated fat: 2 g
- Trans fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 11 g
- Sugar: 9 g
- Sodium: 155 mg
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 31 g
- Cholesterol: 87 mg
- 1 pound thin sliced lean pork chops
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-2 medium apples
- 1-2 onions
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Trim fat off of the pork chops.
- Sprinkle both sides of the pork chops with garlic powder and lemon-pepper seasoning.
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook pork chops in oil about 3-4 minutes or until browned. Flip and cook other side an additional 3-4 minutes or until pork is fully cooked. (more or less time, depending on the thickness of your pork chops)
- Meanwhile, peel and slice apple and onion into thick slices.
- Transfer pork to a plate. Cook the apple and onion in the juices from the pork.
- Pour syrup over the top of the apples and onion and mix together until coated. Allow to cook 3-4 minutes or until the apples and onions are tender.
- Serve ¼ of the pork (about 3 ounces cooked) with ¼ of the apple/onion mix. The measurement of the apple/onion will vary depending on the size of the fruits/vegetables.
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*SmartPoints® calculated by Meal Planning Mommies; Not endorsed by Weight Watchers International, Inc. All recipe ingredients except optional items included in determining nutritional estimates. SmartPoints® values calculated without Weight Watchers Zero Points fruits and vegetables using the WW Recipe Builder.