Skip the crowded restaurant scene this weekend and enjoy a gourmet dinner at home with today's flavor packed recipe for two.  You're going to love how the two-for-one marinade saves you time in the kitchen, yet still delivers an extra punch of flavor to both your protein and vegetables.  So you'll get the "wow" factor you crave, minus the fuss.

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Steamed Green Beans
Total Time: 35-40 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25-30 minutes

What you'll need:
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 scallions, sliced
1 tablespoon orange zest (optional)
1/2 pound pork tenderloin 
1/2 pound green beans
1 tablespoon sesame oil

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, garlic sauce, ginger, garlic, scallions, and orange zest; mix well.
3. Place pork tenderloin in a large plastic bag.  Pour marinade over the tenderloin; seal bag.  Let pork marinate in the refrigerator for a few minutes or up to an hour.  
4. Remove tenderloin and place in baking dish.  Set marinade aside. 
5. Bake pork for 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160 degrees F. 
6. While tenderloin is cooking, place marinade and sesame oil in a medium skillet or Wok; bring to a boil. 
7. Add green beans and cover until tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Stirring occasionally.   
8. Serve with pork.  Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from
Delight your senses with the succulent taste and smell of Tarragon Pork Chops and Maple Sweet Potatoes.  With so many luscious flavors and textures packed onto one plate, this mouthwatering meal will put the cherry on top of your weekend sundae.  

Tarragon Pork Chops
Total Time: 25-30 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20-25 minutes

What you'll need
2 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops 
1 tablespoon minced fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup half and half

1. Season pork chops with a sprinkle of tarragon, salt and pepper. 
2. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet until hot.  Add pork chops and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Remove pork chops from pan and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. Reduce heat to medium-low.  Add garlic and shallot; cook, stirring occasionally for about one minute. 
4. Stir in white wine, while scraping up browned bits from the bottom of  the pan. 
5. Stir in half and half; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
6. Return pork chops to the skillet. Cover and simmer over low heat until chops are light pink in the center, about 5 minutes. Stir remaining tarragon into the sauce during the last few minutes of cooking. 
7. Place porks chops on a plate and top with sauce. 
Maple Sweet potatoes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup whole milk

1. Boil potatoes until they are tender, about 20 minutes.  
2. Add maple syrup and milk. Mash until potatoes reach desired consistency.
3. Serve with pork chops and enjoy!
Tarragon Pork Chop recipe adapted from 
Every once in awhile it's nice to get out of my usual beef, chicken and turkey routine and enjoy a nice piece of pork.  And I love this particular recipe because it's sure to deliver a juicy and flavorful piece of meat.  

I'll be serving the Easy Pork Chops with a side of baked Garlic and Parmesan Cauliflower.   Yum!

Easy Pork Chops
Total Time: 25 minutes + 60 minutes to marinate 
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

What you'll need
2 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)

For the Marinade
3 ounces pineapple juice
3 ounces apple juice

For the Basting Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika 

1. Pierce porks chops with a fork and place them in a medium mixing bowl.  Pour marinade over the pork chops and marinate in the refrigerator for at least one hour. 
2. In a small bowl, mix together olive oil, seasoned salt and paprika to create the basting sauce.
3. Remove pork chops from the marinade and brush both sides with the basting sauce. 
4. Place pork chops on a broiler pan and broil, 4-inches from heat, for about 8 minutes on each side, basting again after turning.  
*Note -- if you are using bone-in pork chops you will need to broil them for 15 minutes on each side. 

5. Let pork chops rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
Garlic and Parmesan Cauliflower 
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes 

What you'll need
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 tablespoon Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
parmesan cheese 
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Add cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper to a plastic bag.  Seal bag; shake well until cauliflower is evenly coated in oil and seasonings. 
3. Transfer cauliflower to a small baking dish.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. 
4. Remove cauliflower from the oven.  Sprinkle with parsley and parmesan cheese.  Mix well.  Bake again for 3 to 5 minutes. 
5. Serve with your pork chop and enjoy!
Today's dinner for two looks gourmet, it tastes gourmet and it's easy on your wallet -- under $6 easy.  That's $3 a person for a delicious restaurant-style meal.  Now that's what I call budget friendly!

Lemon-Basil Pork Chops
Total Time: 25 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
2 boneless pork chops
3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon  
2 tablespoons olive oil 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
2. Combine breadcrumbs, basil, salt, pepper and lemon zest in a shallow bowl. 
3. Add lemon juice to a separate shallow bowl.

4. Dip pork into lemon juice, then into breadcrumb mixture, pressing breading into both sides of the pork. 
5. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Saute pork until both sides are browned, about 5 minutes. 
6. Place pork chops on a roasting pan.  Roast uncovered until pork registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 minutes. 
7. Let pork rest for 5 minutes before serving. 
The side dish
I'll be serving the Lemon-Basil Pork Chops with a side of Italian Zucchini and Yellow Squash.  Since the vegetables require a longer cook time than the pork chops, I prepare the zucchini and squash ahead of time and place them in the oven at the same time I roast the pork chops.  This way the vegetables end up being done just as the rest time for the pork chops is complete.  

Italian Zucchini and Yellow Squash 
Total Time: 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes

What you'll need
3/4 zucchini, thickly sliced
3/4 yellow squash, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil 
shredded parmesan 
red pepper flakes
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Place zucchini, yellow squash and olive olive in a Ziplock bag.  Shake well until zucchini and squash are evenly coated in oil.  Season with salt and pepper.
3. Spread vegetables on a baking sheet.  Roast for 10 minutes. 
4. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes.  
5. Serve with a side of Creamy Aioli.  Enjoy!
Recipes adapted from Cuisine Tonight Quick & Easy Italian Magazine 
In case you missed how to make the Creamy Aioli from yesterday's post, here it is again. 

Creamy Aioli 
Total Time: 2 minutes
Prep: 2 minute
Cook: 0 minutes

What you'll need
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
1/2 cup mayonaise 
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic 
1/4 teaspoon paprika

1. Stir together mayonnaise, garlic, paprika and lemon juice.  Mix well.  Serve.
Today's featured one-pot meal combines pork, chorizo sausage rice and vegetables to create a mini fiesta in every bite.  However, the real party comes after dinner when you have little to cleanup and lots of time to enjoy your evening. 

Tex Mex Casserole
Total Time: 32 minutes
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
4 ounces ground pork
1 chorizo sausage 
10 ounce can diced tomatoes and green chilies
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup uncooked Spanish rice 
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese 
1/2 cup water 
1 tablespoon olive oil 

1. In a medium Dutch oven or pot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add ground pork and chorizo sausage. Continue to break up meat while cooking for approximately 5 minutes. 

2. Add red bell pepper, diced tomatoes and green chilies (I like to use Rotel), rice and water.  Mix well. 
3. Bring mixture to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Let simmer for 20 minutes. 
4. Add cheese and corn.  Mix well.  Heat for an additional 5 minutes. 
5. Serve and enjoy!
* Tip -- if you'd like to make this dish a little spicier add 1 teaspoon of chili powder when you are browning the ground pork and chorizo sausage. 
It's one-pot meal week at Reservation for Two, which means I'll be showing you 5 terrific no-fuss, no-mess meals.  

What I love about one-pot meals
One-pot meals are wonderful when you want to get in and out of the kitchen quickly.  Also, knowing that you only have 1 pot waiting to be cleaned, offers a great sense of mealtime serenity.  And of course, taste never has to suffer as a result of the lack of pots and pans that you're using.  All of the recipes that I will share this week are hearty and flavorful.  

My first one-pot, 2 serving meal is Creamy Rice and Broccoli Pork Chops.   
This is my sister Kelly's recipe, and I love everything about it -- it's creamy, delicious and easy. 

Creamy Rice and Broccoli Pork Chops 
Total Time:  30 Minutes
Prep Time:  5 Minutes
Cook Time:  25 Minutes

What you'll need
2 bone-in thick cut pork chops
1 can 98% fat free cream of chicken soup
1 package of Lipton Chicken flavor rice
1 cup frozen broccoli florets
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Warm olive oil in a medium dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat.
2.  Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper.
3.  Add pork chops to the pot.  Brown on both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side. 
4.  While the pork chops are browning, mix together rice packet, cream of chicken soup, broccoli and milk.  Pour over the top of the pork chops.
5.  Cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes depending on the thickness of the pork chops. 
6.  Once pork chops are cooked through, serve and enjoy!
In honor of a great American classic jingle -- Chili's Baby-Back Ribs, I'm making barbecue baby-back pork ribs for two.  I'm sure I'll be singing "I wan't my baby back, baby back, baby-back ribs" all evening now, but it will be worth it!

The Side Dish
I'll be serving my baby-back ribs with sweet and savory sweet potatoes.  Until about a month ago I hated sweet potatoes, but suddenly I've become obsessed! Especially with this recipe. 

I get tonight's meal started with the steaming of the ribs. 

Baby-Back Pork Ribs
Total Time: 65 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 60 minutes

What you'll need
1 slab baby-back pork ribs 
2 cups barbecue sauce 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
2. Peel off the membrane from the bottom of the ribs ( * Tip -- you can ask your butcher to do this when you purchase the ribs and often times they will).
3. Place rib slab in a roasting plan.  Fill pan with water until about half the rib cage is submerged.
4. Place ribs in the oven.  Cook for 1 hour. 
5. Remove ribs from the oven and stick a fork in the meat to check if they are done.  If fork goes in easily the ribs are done.  If not, put ribs back in the oven for another fifteen minutes.  Continue with the fork test until ribs are cooked through. 
6. Coat ribs with barbecue sauce (if you made my barbecue chicken recipe you should already have leftover sauce); serve. 

* Tip -- If you want to make the outer skin a little crispier you can also throw the ribs on the grill for about 5 minutes after you remove them from the oven. 

Funny story about ribs
The first time I made ribs it was a complete disaster.  I didn't cook them long enough nor did I remove the membrane all the way, and they were tough (tough in texture and tough to eat).  My husband was very sweet about it though, and tried to act like he liked them.  I finally spoke up and said "these are awful," and he looked at me with an 'oh thank god, does this mean I can stop eating these now' face.  Much to his relief, the ribs ended up in the garbage.

After a bit of practice, and some advice from my Dad, I finally got this recipe and cook time down, so hopefully you won't suffer the same fate. 

Ok, back to the meal.  While the ribs are steaming in the oven I make the sweet potatoes. 

Sweet and Savory Sweet Potatoes
Total Time: 40 minutes 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes

What you'll need
1 sweet potato
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar

*Note -- 1 sweet potato will generously serve two, which makes this side dish extremely easy on your wallet!

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Peel off the outer skin and cut sweet potato in half length wise.  One half will be used for the sweet seasoning and the other half will be used for the savory seasoning. 
3. Dice sweet potato into small cubes.
4. Tear off two 12-inch sheets of aluminum foil.  Place half of cubed sweet potatoes on each sheet of aluminum foil. 
5. Fold up foil to create a foil packet.  Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to each packet.  
6. Sprinkle one packet with seasoned salt and the other with brown sugar.  Mix well. Close up foil to seal in potatoes.
7. Place each packet in the oven for about thirty minutes.  Remove potatoes once they are soft and cooked through. 
8. Either mix the potatoes together or serve separately. 

Once the ribs are steamed and the potatoes are cooked, dinner is served.  Enjoy!

Please also enjoy some meal time entertainment with this "blast from the past" Chili's commercial.  It's a classic!