Pork chops are juicy, flavorful, and hella cheap. Look for bone-in pork chops. Although the boneless chops may be enticing because of the shorter cook time, you're sacrificing a lot of flavor by removing the bone.
I subscribe to the Food52 mac 'n cheese religion – simple is best and every so often, everyone deserves a big pot of gooey, cheesy goodness without messing with a roux.
Cost: Approximately $4.50 per serving* (This price doesn't include dried herbs, oil, and other common pantry items.)
Skill Level: Easy
Time to Make: 40 minutes
MACARONI AND CHEESE
16 ounces elbow noodles
10 slices American cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar
Cayenne powder and salt to taste
4 bone-in pork chops
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Dash of cumin
1/3 cup fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon water
Half a lemon
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Flaky sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
Prep Ingredients: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, prep the rest of the ingredients. Zest and juice the lemon for the pork chops. Thoroughly wash the cilantro. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Juice the remaining lemon half and keep separate. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and leave out at room temperature.
Make the Dressing for the Pork: In a food processor, combine the garlic cloves, juice and zest of the lemon, dijon mustard, and the water. Pulse until smooth. Add the extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream and pulse until combined. Add the cilantro and pulse a few times briefly until roughly chopped. Season to taste and with salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin. Transfer to a small bowl.
Make the Tomatoes: In a small bowl, add the halved cherry tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Add the juice from the half of the lemon and toss to coat. Chill until ready to serve.
Prepare the Mac 'n Cheese: Once the water is boiling, add the elbow noodles and cook until al dente. Drain and wipe out the pot.
Return the pot to the stove and add the heavy cream and season with salt and cayenne powder. Cook over medium high until very hot. Once hot, add the 10 slices of American cheese. Stir continuously until the cheese has melted. Add the shredded sharp cheddar and stir until combined. Stir in the drained elbow noodles and stir to coat. Taste and season as you like. Cover and keep warm on a very, very low simmer, checking every so often to keep the macaroni from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Make the Pork: Heat a slick of olive oil over medium high until very hot. Add the pork chops, cooking in batches if necessary, and cook for 4-6 minutes until well browned. Flip and cook an additional 4-6 minutes. Once the pork reaches 135ºF, remove from heat and rest for 10 minutes.
Before Serving: Toss the arugula and tomatoes in a medium bowl and drizzle with the remaining extra virgin olive oil.
To Serve: Bring the pork chops, pork dressing, macaroni and cheese, and arugula salad to the table and serve family style. Enjoy!
Designer and photographer living in NYC. I work at 2U, shoot for Time Out New York, and love to cook delicious recipes in my spare time!