As many of you have already heard via Facebook & Twitter, I, Kimberly A. Morales, a.k.a. Poor Girl, finally got a job. A real, permanent, full-time, this-might-actually-pay-my-bills-once-I-catch-up JOB!!! Though I received the offer a few weeks ago, I held off on announcing it because I wanted to make sure that nothing would stand in the way of such amazing news. No more temping, no more worrying about things like holidays or illnesses cutting into my paycheck because I didn’t have basic things like holiday or sick pay; I’m like a citizen of the world again, and though I know no job is perfect, I’m ecstatic & grateful to be employed.
But I can’t get too carried away just yet. I have a long, hard road ahead, filled with catching up on some seriously delinquent rent & utilities, and getting back to whittling down the debt that put me in the “poor girl” situation eons before these last two painfully difficult years. I’m definitely not out of the woods yet, especially since my first 3-4 paychecks will all go to my landlord, but dammit, I have a job! Every once in awhile I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming, and apparently I’m not because I can feel & see all the tiny little bruises that come from the disbelief. Yesterday was my first day of training and there will be much more of that in the next couple of weeks, but it’s real, folks! I’m employed!
Because I’m still dealing with my broken toe/metatarsal issues and had a lot of post-yard sale clean-up & Christmas decorating to do, I held off on having my celebratory dinner until this evening. As many of you regulars know, I love celebrating momentous occasions with some fabulous dish, and this is definitely qualifies as one. But because I’m working only with serious bare bones food until at least the middle of January – minus some good stuff I still had in the freezer – I didn’t want to break into said good stuff until I had a good reason to do so. I had some nice boneless pork chops in the freezer and plenty of crisp, juicy Braeburn apples in Big Bowl, so I thought I’d make something delicious with this classic ingredient combo. But I didn’t want to make the usual pork chops & applesauce (insert Peter Brady impression here); I wanted something different with a bit more kick and pork & apple fajitas seemed like the perfect solution.
I’d been flirting with the idea of making this dish for awhile and I’m glad I finally made it happen. It’s hearty and tasty, the crisp sweetness of the apples accented by brown sugar creating the perfect accompaniment to the cumin-spiced pork & aromatic veggies. The dish is special enough to be celebration dinner-worthy, but easy enough to whip up quickly on a weeknight. And because the pork has been sliced into strips and mixed with plenty of veggies and fruit, this is not only a flavorful dinner, but a filling one that will serve at least three people generously. This is a great way to remember to think outside the box – or the plastic-wrapped meat package – to make the most out of the little bit you have.
Pork & Apple Fajitas (makes 3-4 servings; total cost per serving: $3.50! Take that, Chevy’s!!!)
1 small red onion, sliced into strips
2 apples (Braeburns, Fujis, or even Granny Smith would work well), sliced into 1’2″ thick sticks
1 1/2 c bell pepper strips
2 T olive oil, divided
1 T butter
2 T brown sugar
1 t ground cumin
1/2 t garlic salt
6-8 flour or whole wheat tortillas
Fajita fixins (salsa, sour cream, cilantro, shredded cheese, etc.)
Toss the apples & brown sugar together in a medium bowl and set aside. Season the pork with the cumin & garlic salt. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then add the seasoned pork. Stir fry for 4-5 minutes, until the pork is no longer pink on the inside, but not tough.
In the meantime, heat a separate skillet and add the remaining oil, followed by the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat until they just begin to turn fragrant, then add the peppers. Sauté until just cooked through and the onions are slightly browned but still a bit crunchy. Remove from heat, place the pepper & onion mixture in a bowl, and set aside.
In a smaller pan, melt the butter and add the brown sugar-tossed apples. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until just softened but still crisp. Add the apples, onions and peppers to the pork and stir together over medium heat until everything is combined & warmed through. Spoon generous portions onto individual plates, serve with warm tortillas and your favorite fajita fixins, and enjoy!