Cooking In College: Seasoned pork chops with quinoa

Photos by Keldon Irwin

Contrary to many college students’ beliefs, one does not need to be a wealthy chef to eat well.

While many college diets are likely to be primarily comprised of caffeine, instant noodles, alcohol, Subway, drunken nachos and more caffeine, setting aside a few hours to cook something will not only ease one’s mind, but it will also ease his or her caffeine-knotted stomach.

With the addition of a few extra items, most kitchens have the essentials necessary to bake this seasoned pork chop recipe.

Requiring only about 45 minutes of prep time, this recipe offers a timely method for preparing quality food. And with the oven doing most of the work, its definitely possible for the average cook.

If the pork to be cooked is not yet thawed, now is the time to do so.

After thawing the meat, mix Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, ketchup, sesame seeds, olive oil and lemon juice into a large mixing bowl or wide glassware tray. Ensure the container is large enough for two pounds of meat and all seasoning sauces that will be used in this recipe.

Optionally, three cloves of garlic can be mashed and added to the liquids mentioned above. Garlic is easily mashed by firmly pressing the garlic with a fork.

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Add the pork to the large mixing bowl or glassware tray, tossing until all of the meat is covered in the sauce. While this only needs to marinate for 15 minutes, it can be seeped longer if a stronger flavor is desired.

If you wish to marinate the meat for an extended period of time, cover it and put it in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees while meat is marinating.

With the oven preheating and the meat marinating, take some time to prepare the rest of the meal.

Slice 1 whole bell pepper into thin strips and chop 1/2-3/4 cup of onions, then mix them into the marinating ingredients. Next, use all romaine hearts and any additionally desired salad ingredients to prepare the side salad and set it aside in the fridge. After rinsing one large broccoli stalk, cut it into uniformly sized pieces and put them into a microwave safe bowl.

With the oven steady at 400 degrees and the pork marinated, place the meat, bell peppers and onions into a glass baking pan. The meat shouldn’t be in contact with the edges of the pan. Otherwise, the pork in the center of the dish will not be cooked as thoroughly as the meat lining the edges.

Spread the sauce, onions and bell pepper slices as evenly as possible across the top of the pork. This ensures that the veggies will crisp evenly.

If the meat is 1-2 inches thick, it should be cooked thoroughly after 30-35 minutes of baking. If it is 2-3 inches thick, it should be done after 35-45 minutes.

While the main course is in the oven, prepare the quinoa. This should only take 15 minutes, so use caution when deciding how soon to start this.

Check on the meat at 30 minutes. Slice the thickest piece and look at its center. The meat should appear consistent and it should pull apart somewhat easily.

If the meat is not finished cooking, put it back in the oven for 5-10 minute intervals until it is thoroughly cooked. Once it is finished, pull it out and let it cool for five minutes.

After adding two tablespoons of water to the bowl of sliced broccoli, cover them with a wet paper towel and microwave them for 2.5-4 minutes. This is a very effective shortcut to steaming broccoli that still produces a great end product.


The pork can easily be served two ways. Either it cans be sliced into bite-size pieces and tossed with the quinoa or it can be served as a whole piece with quinoa on the side.

Easily feeding four people this recipe is a great alternative to beer, coffee and nachos.


Seasoned pork chops over quinoa

Start to finish: 1-2 hours

Servings: 4 large servings



2 pounds pork chops

Seasoned in:

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 tbsp. ketchup

1 tbsp. soy sauce

1 tbsp. sesame or teriyaki sauce

1 tbsp. lemon juice or lemon pepper (to taste)

2 tbsp. olive oil


3 cloves mashed garlic cloves

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 sliced yellow, red or orange bell pepper

3/4 cup quinoa or brown rice

1 large stalk broccoli

1 large romaine heart

salad dressing

Nutrition information per serving:

650 calories

40g fat

100g carbs

4g fiber