5-Day Meal Plan: We have ways of making you love pork chops

My name is Allison Robicelli, and I am a chef, cookbook author, food writer, entrepreneur and mother of two crazy boys. Even though I’m a pro in the kitchen, when you’re a modern woman juggling career and kids, dinnertime can be hard, because I would rather repeatedly slam each of my fingers in a car door than have to cook. Seriously, smash them up good and busted so I can never make dinner again.

Fortunately my professional skills have given me an edge in creating meals that are not only healthy and affordable but also specifically designed for me to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible during the workweek. With some advance planning and clever kitchen hacks, you too can make dinners that look so good that everyone on Instagram will believe you have your life completely under control.

This week’s menu

  • Toasted ciabatta turkey salad sandwiches with fennel, apples and grapes
  • Boneless pork chops with roasted apples and fennel
  • Kentucky Hot Browns
  • Tuscan pork with broccoli rabe, balsamic grapes and portobello mushrooms
  • Mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon and spiced portobellos

More: 5-Day Meal Plan: Early summer flavors in your bowl


Boneless pork chops are one of my favorite items because they seem to always be on sale and are incredibly versatile if you know what you’re doing with them. Sadly many people don’t, which is why they have a reputation for coming out dry and sad.

This can easily be avoided by placing them in a brine the moment you bring them home:

  1. Put 1/2 cup of salt and 2 tablespoons of sugar into a 2-quart container or large bowl.
  2. Add about 1 cup of boiling water, and stir to dissolve.
  3. Drop in some ice cubes to cool the hot water immediately, then add the pork chops, fill the container all the way up with cold water, and toss around a bit to help distribute the salt solution.
  4. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to use on day 2.

A favorite dinner hack is to buy meats from the deli counter, particularly house-roasted turkey breast. If your supermarket carries only the processed version, check the rotisserie section for a half breast, and then carve it yourself into thick slices.

Shopping list


  • Family pack boneless pork loin chops (between 8 and 12)
  • 1-1/2 pounds roasted turkey breast (ask the deli person to slice on the thickest setting)
  • 1 (8-ounce) package bacon


  • 4 large Granny Smith apples
  • 1 bunch red seedless grapes
  • 1 bulb fennel
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • 6 large portobello mushroom caps
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 medium red onion


  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1 small container plain Greek yogurt
  • Butter
  • 1 (5-ounce) container shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bag shredded Italian blend cheese
  • 1 bag cheddar cheese
Bread and starch

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta, sliced
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 1 pound elbow, shell or spiral macaroni

Staples from the pantry

  • Mayonnaise
  • Flour
  • Honey
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Red wine
  • Olive oil
  • Oregano
  • Smoked paprika
  • Brown sugar

More: The ultimate pantry list that will get dinner made night after night

Keep reading for this week’s delicious recipes.