Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Pork Loin with Acorn Squash and Green Beans

I'm pretty sure my mother thinks that everything I cook and eat is either fried or loaded with sugar. That, my friends, simply isn't true. Case in point...

...pork chops with acorn squash and green beans.

Ok... so it's not the fanciest meal ever. Really, it's almost as basic as a good meal comes. But it's healthy! ...and pretty damn delicious, if I may say so myself. You've got a good serving of lean protein, a nutrient-rich starch, and a vegetable. Can we say balanced? Plus, at only 450 calories total (estimated, of course), it's practically guilt-free, haha. :)

The most complicated part of cooking this meal is splitting the acorn squash open, haha... it's definitely an upper arm workout (at least for me)! But cooking the squash is a cinch... this is one of the few things I prefer to cook in the microwave, believe it or not. In the oven, I've had squash bake for an hour and still come out firm, but it comes out buttery soft after 10 minutes in the microwave. I place the halves cut-side down in a baking dish (after scraping out the seeds and "guts", of course), cover tightly with plastic wrap, and microwave for 5 minutes, then I turn them over, place a teaspoon of butter in each half, cover, and microwave again for another 5 minutes. Voila... delicious, un(hardly)adulterated acorn squash, just the way God intended it.

And the pork? I think simple is an understatement. I cut all the visible fat from the chops, lightly spray each side with olive oil cooking spray, and season both sides with a little kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and rosemary. Then I cook them over medium-high heat in a dry pan, 6 minutes each side, turning twice and covering during the last 6 minutes of cooking. And I must admit... when it comes to the green beans I am a dirty, dirty cheater. I bought a small bag of pre-washed fresh green beans, microwaved them in the bag for 5 minutes, and tossed with 2 teaspoons of butter, a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper.

Dane doesn't care for squash, so I mashed some yukon gold potatoes with a little milk, butter, and salt and pepper for him. If I hadn't been seriously craving squash I would have eaten the potatoes myself... I love the buttery, creamy texture of yukon golds... definitely my favorite potatoes to mash.

I'm no Rachel Ray, but this is definitely a recipe I keep in my half-hour recipe box. Quick, healthy, satisfying, simple... a keeper, if you ask me.

And see, mom? Wedding diet acceptable. :)

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