Simplify dinner with five-ingredient pork chops


One of my goals this year is to simplify my life. First project: the master bedroom closet. My husband was my willing accomplice in dis-assembling our bedroom closet on New Year’s Day. Yes, we wasted no time in my closet goal pursuit.

Down came all the shirts, pants, skirts, jackets and my garage sale score: a 1960s Persian lamb and mink collared fur coat (thank you Friday Flyer for listing all the Canyon Lake garage sales each week). After hanging all those clothes in the garage, next out were the shoes, boots, hats and purses.

I thought I was done, but much to my dismay, I discovered at the bottom of my closet even more things. I still had to move out my sewing machine, photo albums, workout leg bands (so that’s where they were), empty notebooks (don’t ask) and other random items.

My husband took down the old racks and rods while I followed behind and removed screws. Over the next day, I patched and painted. The empty closet was now a clean and freshly painted blank canvas ready for closet inserts.

In case you were wondering, my closet re-do has nothing to do with Marie Kondo. So many friends are watching Kondo’s show “Tidying Up” and they love it. But I have yet to see it, and frankly, I’m afraid to watch it.

“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” is a TV show on Netflix that features author and organizational expert Marie Kondo. The series follows her as she tries to help people declutter their homes and their lives with her innovative KonMari method of tidying.

I love the idea of organizational tidying up, but I also know myself. I’m a little bit of a clutter queen. My husband affectionately calls me a “stacker.” Yes, I have stacks of books, stacks of magazines and stacks of clothes. And apparently, stacks of empty notebooks, but we won’t talk about that right now.

My closet overhaul came to a halt when we unpacked several damaged pieces of shelving in the closet kit. Plus, I discovered “antique white” is not white at all. It’s yellowy beige. Just no. It all got packed up and taken back to the store for a refund.

We ordered a different closet system online and waited for that to be delivered. The home improvement store, which shall remain nameless, accidentally canceled our order. So, we wound up waiting another week. Meanwhile, my husband and I would run out each morning to the 40 something degree garage, aka “meat locker,” to fetch our outfit of the day.

After nearly a month with no bedroom closet, we finally received the inserts and installed them over the weekend. In re-stocking my closet with clothes and footwear, I also took the opportunity to purge the things that, in Marie Kondo’s words, no longer brought me joy. Or, no longer fit.

All this closet kerfuffle called for simple dinners this month. This week’s easy-peasy recipe is from Southern Living magazine. Not only is this a dish of just five ingredients, it also clocks in at less than 30 minutes to prepare. Winning! And I have more time to admire my new closet.

Five-Ingredient Jalapeno-Basil Pork Chops


Serves 4


  • 1 (10-oz.) jar jalapeño pepper jelly
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 (1-inch-thick) bone-in pork loin chops
  • Sliced jalapeno (for garnish)
  • Salt and pepper


In a small saucepan, combine the pepper jelly, wine, and basil and cook over low heat, stirring often, until jelly melts and ingredients are combined, about 5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and let jelly mixture cool completely. In a gallon-size Ziploc bag, place pork chops and 3/4 cup of the pepper jelly mixture. Reserve extra marinade for later. Turn bag to coat chops. Seal bag and let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes, turning bag occasionally. Alternatively, let chops marinate in the refridgerator overnight.

Preheat grill. Before cooking, remove chops from the marinade, discarding marinade and bag. Salt and pepper chops to taste. Grill chops over medium-high heat with the grill lid closed, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Check doneness with a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of chops. It should register 160. Serve chops with remaining pepper jelly mixture and garnish with fresh sliced jalapeno.

To make Jalapeño-Basil Chicken: Substitute four skinless, boneless chicken breasts for pork chops.