As the C.E.H. (chief executive housekeeper) around here, I finally got around to tackling a chore that’s been long overdue.
Cleaning out the refrigerator.
Not exactly how I had intended on spending my afternoon, but what started as an innocent attempt to discard a few leftovers, ended up as major fridge overhaul.
I won’t show you a before picture of the refrigerator (because that would just be too embarrassing), but I did take some photos of the process. (Did she just say that she took pictures of herself cleaning out the refrigerator?? What a dork!) And I thought I might share some tips with you.
First things first. Empty the refrigerator. You can’t clean a refrigerator with a bunch of food in your way. I started with the interior shelves and drawers and moved all the food to the countertops. Anything green, smelly, or passed it's expiration date went straight to the trash.
After the food was out, I pulled the shelves out of the refrigerator. I guess you could clean them while they are still in, but taking them out allows you to close the refrigerator so it will stay cool.
By the way, here’s what I used for this job.
I mixed about a 1/2 cup white vinegar with 1 gallon warm water and used this solution to wipe down the whole refrigerator. It’s mean, green, food-safe, and deodorizing. What more could you ask for?
Now that the shelves and drawers are out, wipe them down well. Tops and bottoms, inside and out. Don’t forget the cracks and corners. Spills and leaks can get everywhere. I even popped the glass out of the shelves and wiped under the edges. I also used my hand-held vacuum to suck the crumbs out of the bottoms of the drawers. (Man, her refrigerator must have been nasty!)
While all of the hardware is out, wipe down the back wall and bottom floor of the refrigerator, then replace the shelves and drawers.
Before I put the food back in, I wiped down every item.
Really. It wouldn’t make sense to put dirty jars, bottles, and bags back into a clean refrigerator.
Next, I went to work on the refrigerator doors.
First I took out all the jars and bottles, then I removed the shelves from the doors. After cleaning the shelves, I wiped down the doors, replaced the shelves, and put the food back in. Don’t forget to wipe everything off before returning it to refrigerator. Especially the milk jug. Any dried milk on the outside of the carton just flakes off into the refrigerator leaving a mess. And here’s a tip I learned from my mother – be sure to wipe off the tops to your condiments after using them. You know, like the mustard, ketchup or salad dressings. Any drips or splatters are bound to find a way to dirty your refrigerator.
Now, doesn’t that look lovely?
Lastly wipe down the rubber gaskets around the doors. Use your fingers to really get down in all the folds in the rubber. Dust and crumbs like to hide in there. Then you can give the face of the refrigerator the once-over, paying special attention to the handle. I don’t know about you, but two pairs of sticky hands are frequently pulling on my refrigerator door.
I realize that this may have not been the most interesting post to read, so to reward you for sticking through it, I’ll share a super easy and delicious recipe with y’all.
It’s 100% completely mine. I made it up and couldn’t be happier with the results.
Hmm. What will I call it? Hmm. How about…
Tomato Braised Pork Chops
- 3 center-cut, bone-in pork chops, 3/4” thick
- 1 green bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 small onion, cut into strips
- 1, 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 cup water
- Salt & Pepper
- Olive oil
In a large skillet heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil over medium heat. Drizzle chops on both sides with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and give them a good rub. Brown pork chops in hot oil, about 3 minutes per side. (If you’re like me and your chops won’t all fit, just brown them in batches adding more oil as needed.) Remove chops from skillet, add a little more oil if necessary, and saute bell pepper and onion about 5 minutes. To the skillet add tomatoes, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sugar, water, and salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Return pork chops to skillet and spoon some of the tomato mixture on top of each chop. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 1 hour or until pork chops are tender. And believe you me, will they be tender!
I served my chops with roasted, fresh vegetables and boiled cabbage. But I think these would be great over some rice. Hope you enjoy!