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Update on Drive-Thru Battle

I thought you would all love an update about my battle against going to the drive-thru. I have still not gone yet, but I have brought (or one would say bought) out the big gun. I have tried out a new stew, and I have made something that seems so simple, but new for me and the family.

Back in the day, I would pass by the store shelves for a sweet and sour sauce. My training tells me that it really is only a few components here and there, so why would I not make it? I will tell you why: ease of use.

It is so much easier to grab that jar, dump it in, and go from there. I once had a good friend remark to me that it was ironic that I was a chef, yet I sometimes grabbed for that shit er… stuff from the convenience shelf. That is just it. Convenience.

Have I let you all know that I have lost over 35 pounds in the last 3 months by cutting out HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) from my life? Surprise! That means that I have dropped the soft drinks, and anything that even remotely smells of manufactured sugar.

What the hell does that have to do with what I am speaking of? Everything. The drive-thru is filled with HFCS. Labeled as “Sweetener”, “Glucose-Fructose”, “Modified Sweetener”, or other various incarnations – this is the obesity epidemic that I believe North America is battling.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not here up on a soapbox. I merely like to point out to everyone that while I still eat bacon and eggs every day, I eat mounds of fat, fries that would make most people horrified, I still have lost 35 pounds. I even did it eating at drive-thrus. The secret? Just the sandwich. Meaning, skip the fries, and the drink. Have the sandwich.

That aside, we are trying to beat the drive-thru habit. What I am about to post is nothing really superstar. In fact, some may laugh at me for it. You know what? It tastes fricken good. I don’t even really have a recipe for it, but I will try and recreate it here. You will even see the system D that I need to use in the house.

A nice pan of this!

A nice pan of this!

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops with Fresh Oranges

Serves 4


  • 4 x 2.5 cm cut pork chops
  • to taste kosher salt
  • to taste freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced thinly
  • 60 mL rice vinegar
  • 200 mL ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 200 mL freshly squeezed orange juice
  • (Zest from the 4 oranges)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 30 mL low salt soy sauce
  • 60 mL palm sugar, chopped


  1. Season pork chops with salt and pepper.
  2. Sear pork chops with a smidgen of oil over high heat; remove when brown.
  3. Lower heat to medium, and with pan drippings, sweat onion and peppers until they are tender.
  4. Mix vinegar, ketchup, sugar and salt together; add to pan.
  5. Mix freshly squeezed orange juice with cornstarch; add to pan and cook, stirring, until the cloudiness clears.
  6. Add the pork chops and orange zest to the pan.
  7. Cover and simmer for up to an hour, or until the pork chops are tender.
  8. Once the pork is tender, remove from pan, add soy sauce and palm sugar to the sauce, stir and serve the sauce over the pork chops.

So, there is nothing that is really earth shattering there, is there? There are a few Asian flavor profiles, but the wife is saying the kitchen smells awesome.

When you have no cover for your large pan, here is a System D moment:

System D at its Finest - Anything can be a cover

System D at its Finest - Anything can be a cover

Best of all, another system D moment: I have these oven mitts that look like this. I still use them, I just use them backwards. Man.

Hey! They are still good, just turn them around! LOL

Hey! They are still good, just turn them around! LOL

Do you have a go-to dish to break the drive-thru? How about your system D moment? I would love to hear about it in the comments.

{ 4 comments… add one }

  • sippitysup December 11, 2009, 2:13 pm

    I agree whole heartedly about HFCS. It’s such an easy change to make and the benefits are real. GREG

  • jasonsandeman December 11, 2009, 2:17 pm

    @GREG – You are right. The change can be difficult if you do not know all the nefarious forms of HFCS. That is another post though. :)

  • Denise December 12, 2009, 10:24 pm

    So where do you find ketchup without HFCS?

  • jasonsandeman December 13, 2009, 6:32 am

    @Denise – Your best bet here is to buy brand name and stay away from those bargain no-name brands. I have a bottle of Heinz that includes “liquid sugar”. What that means is sucrose, which is the same as table sugar. I hope that helps.

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