2-Day Meal Plan 1

Serves 4 | Difficulty: Medium

Share this

Cover photo for 2-day meal plan 1 showing 2 plates of pork chop over rice with a side of cabbage slaw and tomatoes

This one’s for pork chop fans and meal preppers. We’re working with the SAME core ingredients for both dishes, but they’re bringing totally different flavor vibes: Lemongrass Pork Chop and Air Fryer Tonkatsu!

Whenever I can whip up two totally different dishes using the same ingredients, it’s like winning the foodie jackpot. Less effort, double the deliciousness – I call it foodie math! The secret to achieving this is in the sauces.

We have a sweet umami and citrusy nuoc cham dipping sauce for one and a spicy and tangy mayo dressing for the other. Yum!

Prepping for Success

For this plan, a little prep goes a long way. Marinate the meat and prep the veggies a day ahead. Given the hardiness of the vegetables, you can even start prepping them up to 3 days in advance.

Key Highlights

  • Don’t skip the meat seasoning step. It’s where the flavor really kicks in. The first recipe needs at least 2 hours of marination. A lazy hack? Leave it overnight for an extra flavor boost – totally worth it!
  • Give those pork chops a good pounding – it tenderizes it and helps it cook faster since it’s thinner. Pound it with a meat mallet or the back of a knife until it reaches 1/4-inch in thickness.
  • Toast those panko breadcrumbs! It’s the secret to getting that perfect golden-brown crunch without drying out the meat.

The recipe steps are a tad longer this time, but that’s because I want to make sure you get the best results. I promise you it’s not as complicated as it seems.

The trickiest part might be tracking down lemongrass at your local grocery store. Look for the paste version in the herb aisle and fresh lemongrass in the produce section, especially at Asian stores.

When it’s time to cook, you’ll be sitting down to dinner in just 10 minutes.

Optional Carrot Prep

Julienned carrots are entirely optional – they can be a bit of a pain to chop. If you have a nifty julienning tool (like this one) or a food processor with a grater disc, they’re a breeze. Alternatively, you can shave off some long, thin strips using a vegetable peeler and toss them into your salad.

Leftover Storage Tips

If you don’t need all 4 servings, the Lemongrass Pork Chops store nicely in the fridge for up to 2 days. As for the extra tonkatsu, hold off on air-frying them. Store them separated by parchment paper. When you’re ready to eat, pop them in the air fryer.

First time here?

Check out my Getting Started guide to learn how to use this meal plan.

Prep Summary

  • 1.125 lb cabbage shredded
  • 1 small carrot shredded or julienned
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 small Thai chilies sliced thinly (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 2 large tomato cut into wedges
  • 1 lb pork chops (4 pieces) 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 lb pork chops (4 pieces) pounded into 1/2-inch thickness
  • Make lemongrass seasoning paste and marinade (see recipe)
    • Pork needs to be marinated 2 hours in advance

  • 1 lb pork chops (4 pieces) pounded to 1/4-inch thickness
  • 9 oz (about 1/2 lb) cabbage shredded
  • 0.5 small carrot shredded or julienned
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • 2 small Thai chilies sliced thinly (adjust to your spice preference)
  • 1 large tomato cut into wedges
  • Make lemongrass seasoning paste and marinade (see recipe)
    • Pork needs to be marinated 2 hours in advance
  • 1 lb pork chops (4 pieces) pounded into 1/2-inch thickness
  • 9 oz (about 1/2 lb) cabbage shredded
  • 0.5 small carrot shredded or julienned
  • 1 large tomato cut into wedges
  • 3 cup panko breadcrumbs toasted (see recipe for instructions)

Blanching vegetables serves 2 purposes: (1) It prevents loss of flavor, color, and texture—extending the “life” of the vegetable throughout the week, and (2) it gives us a head start in the cooking process for stir-fries. Stir-frying generally only takes 5 minutes. If you start from raw, some pieces won’t cook as evenly as others (especially hardy vegetables like broccoli). Blanching pre-cooks each piece of veggie so you will have a consistent tasting stir-fry every time. This is a well-known technique used in many Chinese restaurants!

Here’s how:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil (about 6 cups) and add 1 Tbsp kosher salt. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl on the side.
  2. Blanch vegetables for the time indicated on the recipe/prep summary. The countdown starts when the water comes back to a boil, so don’t overcrowd! Once done, immediately transfer the vegetables with a sieve to the ice bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking process.
  3. When vegetables have cooled, drain well and transfer to a storage container or Ziploc bag. Use a salad spinner to remove excess water for leafy greens or use clean hands to squeeze out remaining water.
  4. You can repeat this process with all the vegetables using the same pot of water. Bring water back to a rolling boil before starting a new batch. Replenish ice to ice bath as needed to keep water cold.

Chopped Aromatics

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge to keep maximum freshness. Use them within 7-10 days. If you suspect it has gone bad – the color has changed (e.g. turns brown), there is visible mold, the texture is mushy – toss them. Always err on the side of caution to avoid food poisoning.

Chopped Veggies

Store in meal prep containers or in the bags they come with in the crisper drawer. If a vegetable has a high-water content and tends to go limp quick, wrap it with a paper towel before storing it in the fridge. The paper towel absorbs excess liquid that will prevent it from wilting or turning mushy.

Meat and Seafood

As a general guideline, vacuum seal seafood if you won’t be using it within 2 days of purchase. For this reason, I always place recipes with seafood earlier in the Meal Plan Menu. For meat, vacuum seal if you won’t be using them within 4-5 days of purchase or the product’s “best by” date. Vacuum seal ASAP to keep maximum freshness. Vacuum sealed meat and seafood keep for over a week without any issues. However, if you know you won’t be able to use it within the week, date them and pop them in the freezer for later use. They are good for up to 6 months before their flavor and texture start to lessen.

If you do not have a vacuum sealer, wrap fish and meat tightly with saran wrap, then wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Store in a Ziploc bag, squeezing as much air out as possible. Date them and pop them in the freezer for later use.

Use different cutting boards for your proteins and veggies. Always wash and disinfect knives when switching from meat to veggies to prevent cross-contamination. It goes without saying that you should clean your produce before consumption and preparation.

During prep, always start with food cooked at the lowest temperature first, working your way up. For example, chopped scallions are often used as garnish and will be consumed raw, so chop them before potatoes (which you will cook so the risk is lower). Likewise, you would prepare salad greens first.  

The same principle applies when keeping them in the fridge. Don’t stack raw chicken above fish – any juices from the chicken that trickle into the fish would pose a risk. Should the chicken be contaminated with salmonella, the time and temperature at which you would cook fish to perfection is not enough to kill the bacteria.  

Meal 1

Storing leftover lemongrass

If you used whole lemongrass stalks, peel off tough outer layers and cut off root end. Vacuum seal and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. No vacuum sealer? Place lemongrass stalks on a baking sheet, leaving space between them. Then place in the freezer for 1 hour until frozen. Then transfer to an airtight Ziploc bag and remove as much air as possible before sealing.

Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Lemongrass Pork Chop with Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce*

Tender, juicy pork chops infused with aromatic lemongrass and served with a sweet and savory nouc cham dipping sauce. Paired with fresh cabbage and tomatoes for an easy and delicious meal!
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Rest Time2 hours
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Course: Main Course, Rice Dish
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • mortar and pestle or food processor

Ingredients

  • 1 lb pork chops (4 pieces) pounded into 1/4-inch thickness
  • 3 Tbsp cooking oil

Seasoning paste:

  • 3 stalks lemongrass white parts only and tough outer leaves removed, minced or pounded into a paste*
  • 1 small shallot minced or pounded into a paste
  • 3 cloves garlic minced or pounded into a paste
  • 1/2 tsp whole white peppercorns pounded or grinded

Marinade:

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar use 1 Tbsp if you prefer less sweet
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Nouc Cham Dipping Sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice preferably fresh squeezed
  • 5 tsp sugar
  • 2 small Thai chilies sliced thinly (adjust to your spice preference)

To serve:

  • 9 oz cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 small carrot shredded or julienned
  • 1 large tomato cut into wedges
  • 1 stalk scallion thinly sliced (optional)
  • cilantro for garnish optional

Instructions

  • Combine marinade ingredients in a shallow bowl or container. Add ingredients for Seasoning Paste into a food processor or mortar and pestle. Blend or pound into a rough paste. Add it to the marinade and mix well.
  • Add the pork chops to the marinade. Evenly coat each with marinade. Cover tightly with cling wrap or lid and marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight in the fridge for the best results.
  • Heat a pan over medium heat and add 1-2 Tbsp of oil. Scrape off any residue paste from the pork chop (it will burn in pan), then pan-fry the pork chops for 2-3 minutes on each side or until they are cooked through and have a golden-brown color.
  • While the pork chops are cooking, prepare the Nouc Cham Dipping Sauce.
  • Serve the Lemongrass Pork Chops hot with steamed rice. Pair with shredded cabbage, tomato wedges, and a garnish of cilantro and scallion if desired. Drizzle the Nouc Cham Dipping Sauce over the pork chops and vegetables, or serve it on the side for dipping.

Notes

You can substitute with 3 Tbsp lemongrass paste. I recommend using Gourmet Garden that comes in the tube.

Meal 2

Do you love crispy pork katsu but hate the deep-frying mess and guilt? Me too!

That’s why I’m so excited to share this amazing recipe with you. It’s one of my top favorites because it gives you that extra golden crispy crust and juicy pork with only 1 Tbsp of oil per cutlet. Yes, you read that right. Only 1 Tbsp of oil!

Success Tips

  • Do NOT use any air fryer inserts. I know some of you like to keep the air fryer basket clean, but you’ll really need the hot air to circulate through the bottom to crisp up.
  • Let the katsu cool in the basket itself before cutting to prevent the bottom crust from getting soggy. If you have a larger wire cooling rack, you could also use that.
  • Use panko breadcrumbs and not regular Italian breadcrumbs. They are much lighter and crunchier. Most grocery stores carry panko breadcrumbs these days in the same aisle as you would find breadcrumbs, but check the “International” or “Asian” aisle as well.
Print Recipe
No ratings yet

Air Fryer Tonkatsu with Cabbage Slaw*

Crispy delicious Japanese Pork Cutlet (Tonkatsu) without the guilt! This recipe only uses 1 tablespoon of oil per cutlet per serving. Paired with a tangy spicy mayo slaw and tomatoes for a complete meal.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Fusion, Japanese
Keyword: 30-minute recipes, Japanese pork cutlet, pork katsu

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients

  • 3 cup panko breadcrumbs toasted
  • 1 lb pork chops 4 pieces, pounded into 1/2-inch thickness
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 4 Tbsp tonkatsu sauce

Batter:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tbsp kewpie mayo
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch plus more if batter is too thin – should be thick enough to stick onto the filets

For the slaw:

  • 9 oz cabbage shredded
  • 1 large tomato cut into wedges
  • 1/2 small carrot shredded or julienned

For the slaw’s dressing:

  • 2 Tbsp Kewpie mayo
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp ketchup
  • 0.5 tsp sesame oil (optional)

Instructions

To make toasted panko:

  • *(Can be made ahead)* Heat a wok on medium high heat with 4 Tbsp oil. Add in the panko and keep stirring with a spatula to toast until golden brown. (About 2-5 minutes. See picture.) Transfer to a large shallow container to cool. Cover and store in the fridge until needed.

To make the rest of the dish:

  • Whisk the batter together in a shallow bowl until fully incorporated and set aside.
  • Grab a fork or meat tenderizer and puncture holes across the pork chop. If your pork chop is thicker than 1/2-inch, pound it to flatten it. Season each side of with about 1/8 tsp of kosher salt and a pinch of pepper.*
  • Preheat your air fryer to 375F. Dip the pork into the batter. Let the excess drip off, and then pat the pork chop firmly into the panko so that the panko sticks. Coat all sides with an even layer and shake off any excess crumbs.
  • Spray the basket with cooking oil, lay pork chops in an even layer. Spray another layer of cooking oil onto the pork chops, then air fry for 8-10 minutes flipping once in between cooking.
  • Gather your ingredients for the slaw. Combine the dressing in a small bowl.
  • Turn off the air fryer and let the pork chops cool in the basket for 5 minutes. Transfer to chopping board and slice them into strips (about 1/2-inch wide) with a sharp knife.
  • Plate the pork chops over steamed rice with your cabbage slaw. Drizzle tonkatsu over the pork chops and dressing over the slaw. Enjoy!

Notes

If you don’t have a meat tenderizer, you can also use the backside of a heavy chef knife’s blade to pound the pork chops.
Season Early: If you can season meat 12-24 hours ahead, you will yield juicier results. This allows the salt to penetrate the meat to not only season the meat inside-out but to also denature some of the proteins.

If you enjoyed this meal plan, please share it on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or your favorite social media platform!

Shopping List

ingredientquantityunitcategorynoteslist type
brown sugar2Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
fish sauce0.25cupcondiments and spicespantry
honey1Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
ketchup1tspcondiments and spicespantry
kewpie mayo3Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
rice vinegar1Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
sesame oil0.5tspcondiments and spicespantry
soy sauce1Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
sriracha1tspcondiments and spicespantry
sugar1.7Tbspcondiments and spicespantry
tonkatsu sauce0.25cupcondiments and spicespantry
baking soda0.25tspmisc. dry goodspantry
cornstarch2Tbspmisc. dry goodspantry
panko breadcrumbs3cupmisc. dry goodspantry
cabbage1.125lbproduceshopping
carrot0.5smallproduceshopping
garlic3cloveproduceshopping
lemongrass3stalkproduceor 3 Tbsp lemongrass paste (Gourmet Garden brand)shopping
lime juice2Tbspproduceshopping
scallion1stalkproduceoptionalshopping
shallot1smallproduceshopping
tomato2largeproduceshopping
thai chilies2smallproduceor red pepper flakes (adjust to your spice level)shopping
whole white peppercorn0.5tspcondiments and spicesshopping
egg1largedairy and misc. refrigerated itemsshopping
pork chops2lbmeat and seafood8 piecesshopping

Other 2-day Meal Plans

Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required Fields are marked *

Hi, I’m Ariel 

I’m a foodie with a simple philosophy: why should amazing food be reserved for the weekends alone? I’m all about making every meal delicious because, let’s face it, we only have so many meals in our lifetime.

My mission? To take the stress out of cooking with easy-to-use meal plans so you can enjoy mouthwatering recipes any day of week. Join me on this tasty journey and let’s savor “more taste, less waste” in every bite!