Category Archives: Pork

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops

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Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

I often hear from people that they just don’t have the time to cook. I tell them about some of the meals I make and they look at me quizzically and say “You cook like that all the time?”

Like you, I have my leftover or takeout nights. Heck, this past week I had a chips and salsa night. But good, gourmet quality meals don’t need to take forever to cook. They can be simple and effortless, yet still restaurant quality that will leave your friends wondering how in the world you do it all.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

Like this recipe. It starts by marinating boneless pork chops in a mixture of bourbon, molasses and brown sugar overnight. An absolute must is to use a quality bourbon with a recipe like this. The marinating process allows the bourbon to impart a ton of flavor to the pork, so use a bourbon that you would also drink straight with no mixers. I’m partial to the Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling, a local to me distillery. It’s smooth with notes of cinnamon and oak that infuse the pork chops in this dish with a wonderful flavor.

Once marinated, when I come home from work the next day, it only takes me about 20 minutes to turn those pork chops into an unforgettable meal. That’s right 20 minutes.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

One of the key ingredients to this recipe is coconut oil. Cooking the pork chops in coconut oil adds a depth of flavor to the bourbon and molasses that simply makes the dish. Using a thick cut pork chop results in a nice amount of renderings left in the pan that makes for a nice base to then saute up a mixture of cut fresh carrots, apples, and rosemary. Of course the bonus is that I only use one pan which also makes for easy cleanup.

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops - Colleen's Kitchen

The rosemary is also an essential ingredient to this dish. First, just the smell of it cooking in the remnants of bourbon, molasses, coconut oil, and pork renderings leaves my mouth watering at the prospect of the food to come. But mostly the aromatic flavor adds yet another layer flavor of complexity to the bourbon, molasses, and coconut oil that completes the meal.

So you tell me. Why avoid cooking when it’s this easy?

Bourbon Molasses Glazed Pork Chops
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 320.5
  • Fat: 13.3
  • Saturated fat: 8.6
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0/4
  • Monounsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 21.5
  • Sugar: 14.6
  • Sodium: 517.3
  • Fiber: 5.0
  • Protein: 21.9
  • Cholesterol: 45.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Thick cut pork chops are marinated in bourbon and molasses then cooked to perfection and served on a bed of carrots and apples in this 20 minute wonder.
Ingredients
  • 2 4-oz. boneless pork chops, thick cut
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • 2 tbsp black strap, unsulphured molasses
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp organic, virgin coconut oil
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh rosemary
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the bourbon, molasses, and brown sugar. Cover the pork chops with the bourbon mixture in a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate overnight, turning in the morning to ensure the chops are evenly marinated on both sides.
  2. Heat the coconut oil in a skillet on medium high.
  3. Remove the pork chops from the marinade, shaking off the excess and discarding the marinade. Add the pork chops to the skillet, reduce heat to medium.
  4. Cook the pork chops for about 4 minutes on each side or until the pork is just cooked through. Be careful not to overcook or the pork will be too tough.
  5. Remove the pork chops from the pan and place on a plate to let the juices set.
  6. Add the carrots, apple, rosemary, and salt to the same pan. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  7. Serve each pork chop on a bed of the carrot and apple mixture. Cut into that beautiful piece of meat and savor every bite!
Notes
The nutritional value of the marinade has been reduced by ¾ since the bulk of it is discarded.

 

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous

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Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

A couple of weeks ago, my local grocery store was hosting a tasting of many of Aidells sausages. Now I’ve had Aidells before, in fact I used their Andouille Chicken Sausage in two of my recipes previously: 3 Pepper Potato and Sausage Skillet and, one of my favorites, Slow Cooker Red Lentil, Sausage and Kale Stew.

And then I tasted their Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage. Wow!

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

The smoky bacon and sweet pineapple combine in perfect harmony. I knew I had to create something with this deliciousness, so I grabbed a package (or two) and headed home to my kitchen.

I start by dicing up the sausage and sauteing it with thin slices of red onion. I only use a little bit of olive oil in the pan as the sausage will release some fat when it cooks that helps keep everything from sticking.

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous - Colleen's Kitchen

Then I add in some chopped, dried cherries and crushed pineapple, toss it with whole wheat couscous and fresh arugula, and that’s it! The entire dish takes about 15 minutes to prep and cook, making it perfect for those busy weeknights.

What’s your favorite Aidells product?

 

Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage with Fruited Couscous
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2 servings
  • Calories: 445.5
  • Fat: 11.9
  • Saturated fat: 3.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.5
  • Carbohydrates: 71.3
  • Sugar: 32.8
  • Sodium: 419.1
  • Fiber: 8.4
  • Protein: 14.8
  • Cholesterol: 42.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Sweet and smoky Aidells PIneapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage combines with red onion, fruit, arugula and whole wheat couscous for an easy, delicious dinner.
Ingredients
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 1 link Aidells Pineapple and Bacon Chicken Sausage, halve lengthwise and diced
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 8-oz. can crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice
  • ½ cup dry whole wheat couscous, cooked according to package directions
  • 1.5 oz. fresh baby arugula
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and onion and cook until the onion is slightly transparent.
  3. Stir in the dried cherries and continue cooking for about 3 minutes or until the onions are starting to brown up.
  4. Add the entire can of crushed pineapple, including juice, and cook for just 1 minute to let the pineapple heat through.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked couscous and arugula.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw

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Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

I love it when experiments go right. I had a nugget of an idea for this recipe for Bourbon Pork Slider with Asian Apple Slaw, and on my very first attempt it was exactly everything I had been hoping for.

I set out to create a burger that was juicy and slightly sweet with a bit of a Thai influence. I decided to use pork tenderloin because I thought it would caramelize up in bourbon beautifully, and boy was I right! Marinating the pork overnight in a mixture of bourbon, brown sugar, and just a touch of soy sauce makes for incredibly tender meat that also turns a gorgeous caramel brown on the grill.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

Pork tenderloin, sliced into medallions and marinated overnight in bourbon, brown sugar and a little soy sauce, turns a beautiful caramel brown on the grill.

For the bourbon, it is absolutely imperative to use a quality bourbon that will impart a great flavor to the pork. I selected Burnside Bourbon from a local (to me) distillery, Eastside Distilling. I love Eastside’s products because they are very particular about sourcing quality ingredients from local growers and crafting a consistent, delicious product. For more of their product, just check out the Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burger that I did last summer using Eastside’s Cherry Whiskey, crafted from locally sourced Hood River cherries.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

I slice the cheeks of an apple into thin slices then cut them into sticks for the slaw.

But the caramelized bourbon pork medallions that form the base of these sliders is just the beginning. For a topper, I created a juicy slaw using gravenstein apples from the tree in my backyard. The ingredient that really makes the slaw, though, is a handful of Thai basil. This variety of basil has a slightly spicy kick, very different from it’s common Genovese cousin.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

Tender, slightly sweet grilled tenderloin is topped by a juicy, slightly spicy slaw.

I sliced the apples into sticks, tossed them with shredded cabbage, carrots and the Thai basil then dressed them with an Asian-influenced dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and a hint of red chile pepper flakes. A bit of black sesame seeds add visual interest and a little crunch to the slaw.

The final result is little bit of heaven: tender, slightly sweet grilled tenderloin topped by a juicy, slightly spicy slaw. This may just be my favorite “burger” creation yet.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5
  • Serving size: 2 sliders per person
  • Calories: 244.8
  • Fat: 8.9
  • Saturated fat: 1.9
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7
  • Carbohydrates: 17.9
  • Sugar: 12.4
  • Sodium: 172.3
  • Fiber: 3.2
  • Protein: 21.1
  • Cholesterol: 53.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Tender, slightly sweet, bourbon infused pork tenderloin is topped by a juicy, slightly spicy, Asian-influenced apple slaw.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lb. boneless pork tenderloin, sliced into ¾" thick medallions
  • 2 medium green apples (Gravenstein or Granny Smith recommended), sliced into sticks
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped Thai basil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red chile pepper flakes
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the bourbon, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  2. Cover the pork medallions with the bourbon mixture in either a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the apples, carrots, cabbage and basil.
  4. Whisk the sesame oil, rice vinegar, chile pepper flakes, and salt together in a small bowl. Pour over the apple mixture and toss well to coat. Set aside.
  5. Preheat your grill then reduce the flame to low. Grill the pork medallions for about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  6. Serve each pork medallion on a slider bun topped by a scoop of the slaw.
Notes
* I have reduced the nutritional value of the marinade by 75% since most of it is discarded.
* I have not included the nutritional value of the slider bun in this recipe as it varies widely by brand. Make sure to include that in your final count.

 

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

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Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

This is the time of spring that I enjoy the most. The time when fresh produce like asparagus and leeks begin to pop up at my farmer’s market, and when I start crafting my summer garden. This year I decided to relocate two of my beds to capture a little more sunshine so I hired a guy to come out and till up the new area. Once I dug the bed frames in, I covered them with some organic compost and sat back to plan the layout.

This year I found all of my plants at a local Master Gardener’s organic plant sale. I highly recommend checking for these sorts of sales in your area, it’s a great way to support a great group, the plants are always top quality, and they have an excellent selection of both common and unusual varieties. I find, though, that when I actually go plant shopping my well laid plans always go awry.

That’s right, I am an impulse plant shopper. My eyes are bigger than my garden beds, unfortunately, and once I get my bounty home I’m always searching for pots or space to dig my treasures into.

My plan this year:

  • 8 tomatoes (2 cherry tomato varieties, 2 romas, 2 red brandwine, 1 purple cherokee, and 1 early girl)
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 crookneck squash
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 cucumbers (pickling and lemon)
  • 6 lettuce
  • green beans
  • 2 basil

 

What I ended up with:

  • 8 tomatoes (3 cherry tomato varieties, 1 roma, 2 red brandywine, 1 purple cherokee, and 1 early girl)
  • 1 spineless beauty zucchini
  • 1 romesco zucchini
  • 1 yellow zucchini
  • 1 crookneck squash
  • 1 patty pan squash
  • 1 delicata squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • 1 mini “Little Finger” eggplant
  • 2 cucumbers (pickling and lemon)
  • 12 lettuce (because they came in 6 packs and I wanted both a red and green)
  • green beans
  • 9 basil (purple basil, lemon basil, thai basil, 6 genovese basil)

 

Yes, I got a little carried away. You can expect to see lots of recipes featuring tomatoes, summer squash and basil this summer, and lots of fall squash recipes later in the year too. And let’s not even talk about all the salad I’m going to be eating.

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

What you won’t see in my garden are leeks, and that’s mostly because these harbingers of spring are in season right now so it’s a bit late to plant them. Much milder than their cousin, the onion, leeks are a great add to recipes this time of year. They are superb with creamy, baby potatoes. I mean, is there anything better than a really good leek and potato soup?

I set out to create a gratin type dish incorporating leeks and, not to toot my own horn, but I think I created a real winner with this Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet. I start by crisping up the bacon, just 2 slices to keep the fat content down, and then I brown the leeks in the bacon grease. That’s really key to the flavor of this dish because the leeks just soak up the bacon flavor.

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet

Instead of the cream and butter traditionally used in a gratin, I use Greek yogurt thinned with an off-dry Riesling wine for additional flavor. I chose an off-dry Riesling because it pairs really well with sharp blue cheese, which is the cheese I chose for this dish. The result is a one-dish wonder that is creamy, deceptively cheesy, tender and absolutely delicious.

What is your favorite vegetable to cook with this time of year?

 

 

Creamy Bacon Leek and Potato Skillet
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 wedge
  • Calories: 259.2
  • Fat: 8.3
  • Saturated fat: 5.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1
  • Carbohydrates: 33.6
  • Sugar: 5.6
  • Sodium: 536.3
  • Fiber: 3.3
  • Protein: 16.1
  • Cholesterol: 20.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Salty bacon flavors a one-pan dish of sweet spring leeks and tender gold potatoes that is cheesy and creamy yet still low in fat and calories.
Ingredients
  • 2 slices thick cut bacon
  • 2 fresh leeks, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced into the light green part
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 oz. crumbled blue cheese (divided)
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • ¼ cup off dry Riesling wine
  • 1 lb. fresh gold potatoes, sliced paper thin on a mandolin slicer
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Instructions
  1. Heat 10" oven-safe skillet on medium heat. Add the bacon (cut in half if necessary to fit in the pan). Cook until the bacon is crispy. Remove and set on paper towels to let the grease dry. Once dry, chop into crumbles and set aside.
  2. Keep skillet on medium heat and leave about 2 tbsp bacon grease in the pan (drain the remainder). Add the leeks and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, 2 oz. of the blue cheese crumbles, wine, thyme leaves, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix and set aside.
  4. Remove pan from heat and remove the browned leeks from the pan and set aside. Arrange about ¼ of the potato slices along the bottom of the pan. Top with ⅓ of the browned leeks,1/3 of the yogurt mixture, and ⅓ of the bacon crumbles.
  5. Repeat 2 more times, layering another ¼ of the sliced potatoes, ⅓ of the leeks, ⅓ of the yogurt mixture, and ⅓ of the crumbled bacon with each layer.
  6. End with the last layer of potatoes, so you should have a total of 4 layers of potatoes and 3 layers of the leeks, yogurt mixture and bacon.
  7. Combine the bread crumbs, parsley and remaining 1 oz. of crumbled blue cheese then sprinkle this mixture over the top of the potatoes.
  8. Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 1 hour covered at 375F then remove foil and bake 15 minutes more.
  9. Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into 4 wedges and serving.

 

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Tenderloin and Bean Soup

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Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Tenderloin and Bean Stew - Colleen's Kitchen

Here I was thinking that spring had spring and warmer weather was finally on the way in the Pacific Northwest. Oh how mistaken I was.

Rain has been pounding the area this week, leaving me with a bit of cabin fever. Luckily, I like to play in my kitchen and a soup in the slow cooker is perfect for a dreary, wet day such as we’ve been having.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Tenderloin and Bean Soup - Colleen's Kitchen

For this soup, I decided to use boneless pork tenderloin because it plays so well with the juxtaposition of sweet and spicy flavors. Slow cooked in the crockpot, the tenderloin becomes amazingly tender and juicy. Coupled with tiny hearty navy beans and fresh baby spinach, it’s a soup that you’ll want to make again and again.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Tenderloin and Bean Soup - Colleen's Kitchen

I like to pair this soup with a side salad of baby spinach, pears, red onion and a light vinaigrette, along with some warm, crusty bread. I think fresh, warm baguette with a dab of butter is a pre-requisite for just about any soup. Is there anything better than sopping up the broth with a piece of fresh baked bread? Delicious!

What are you making in your kitchen today?

 

 

Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Tenderloin and Bean Soup
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 6
  • Serving size: 1½ cups
  • Calories: 249.9
  • Fat: 4.5
  • Saturated fat: 1.1
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.5
  • Carbohydrates: 29.5
  • Sugar: 7.7
  • Sodium: 135.4
  • Fiber: 8.8
  • Protein: 20.9
  • Cholesterol: 163.2
Recipe type: Soup or Stew
Cuisine: Pork
Put your slow cooker to work with this sweet yet spicy soup of rich pork tenderloin and tender navy beans.
Ingredients
  • ½ lb. raw boneless pork tenderloin
  • 1 cup dry navy beans, cooked
  • ½ red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp red chile pepper flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 4 cups homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • generous pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 3 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
Instructions
  1. Place pork tenderloin in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Add in the cooked beans, onion, molasses, honey, worcestershire sauce, red chile pepper flakes, and garlic. Stir in the broth, salt, and sage. Cover and cook for at least 8 and up to 10 hours.
  3. Remove tenderloin from crockpot and use 2 forks to shred to a fine pulp. If desired, do a rough chop to create even smaller pieces.
  4. Mix the shredded tenderloin back into the soup. Add in the baby spinach leaves and stir well. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes then serve.
Notes
I like to use dry beans because the sodium content is so much lower and it is so much less expensive than their canned counterparts. To reconstitute or cook the dried navy beans, bring the dry beans to a boil in 4 cups of water. Continue cooking at a very gentle boil for 45-60 minutes. Drain, place in a container and cover with fresh water. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

 

Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

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Black Bean Rice Cakes

And we have reached the last dish resulting from that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew and about $35 worth of groceries that I bought.

For this last dish, I combined some leftover stew with cooked brown rice, frozen roasted corn, cheese and an egg to bind the mixture. I then formed the mixture into a 4 patties and baked them at a high heat for about 10 minutes on each side until they were crispy. For a final touch, I topped the cakes with thick sauce of avocado, yogurt and cilantro.

Black Bean Rice Cakes

How easy was that? And the meal is calorie and budget friendly. Yes, it is that easy to eat healthy on a budget.

What topic would you like me to see tackle next on this healthy eating on a budget theme?

 

Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 2 cakes + ½ cup sauce
  • Calories: 418.6
  • Fat: 17.0
  • Saturated fat: 4.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.8
  • Carbohydrates: 55.0
  • Sugar: 3.5
  • Sodium: 287.4
  • Fiber: 15.4
  • Protein: 22.0
  • Cholesterol: 150.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Left over black bean stew is transformed into crispy, oven-baked rice cakes with a creamy avocado yogurt sauce.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • ¼ cup shredded, light Mexican cheese blend
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 1 small haas avocado, pitted and peeled
  • ¼ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
  • juice of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
  2. Combine the stew, rice, corn, egg, cheese and salt.
  3. Form into 4 equal size patties and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  5. Puree the avocado, yogurt, cilantro and lime juice.
  6. Serve each rice cake topped with a dollop of the avocado yogurt sauce.
Notes
The bulk of the fat in this dish comes from the avocado which is a healthy fat but still should be consumed in moderation.

 

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing

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Black Bean Burrito Bowl

First order of business, have you entered my giveaway for a 3 day juice cleanse from Suja Juice? Click here to enter today!

And now back to your regular programming…

In my continuing experiments with that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew I made and the rest of my groceries I bought for about $35, I bring you the easiest weeknight meal I think I’ve ever made: a Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing.

Black Bean Burrito Bowl

I love eating burritos in a bowl instead of a flour tortilla because it saves so many carbs and calories. One large tortilla can have as many as 300 calories! Sometimes more!

Here, I simply layered everything you might put inside a traditional burrito: leaf lettuce, some of that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew, corn, tomato, a little bit of shredded light cheese, and avocado. I then whipped up a simple dressing out of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt, lime juice and cilantro. The result? A quick, easy, no cook meal that is also satisfyingly delicious.

To recap, here’s what I’ve made so far from those groceries I bought for about $35:

  1. Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  2. Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash
  3. Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos
  4. Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
  5. Black Bean Rice Cakes with Avocado Yogurt Sauce

What tips do you have for eating healthy on a budget?

Black Bean Burrito Bowl with Yogurt Cilantro Dressing
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Calories: 336.9
  • Fat: 11.9
  • Saturated fat: 3.2
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.2
  • Carbohydrates: 51.5
  • Sugar: 4.7
  • Sodium: 204.7
  • Fiber: 22.1
  • Protein: 24.3
  • Cholesterol: 107.5
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Leftovers from my Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew top a deliciously easy burrito bowl with a tangy yogurt-cilantro dressing.
Ingredients
  • 3 leaves red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup roasted frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • ¼ cup shredded light Mexican cheese blend
  • ¼ of a Haas avocado, sliced
  • 2 tbsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
Instructions
  1. Place the lettuce in a bowl.
  2. Top with the stew, corn, tomato and cheese.
  3. Arrange the avocado slices over the salad.
  4. Puree the yogurt, lime juice and cilantro until well blended. (I recommend an immersion blender!)
  5. Drizzle the yogurt cilantro dressing over the salad and eat!

 

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

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Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed working on this recipe. It is simply delicious!

I was in a small bake shop/bistro that I adore and happened to see the cook patiently brushed a tray of delicata squash slices with oil and sliding them into the oven. I imagined the roasted, crunchy texture these sweet slices would have after roasting. And suddenly, the idea of using delicata squash as the base of a nacho-like dish popped into my head.

I mean, why not? You can coat the squash with something to give it a nice heat. I used a mixture of olive oil to crisp up the texture, chipotle to bring the heat, and lime juice to throw a very subtle citrus flavor in. Make sure to leave the skin or rind on the squash when you slice it. First of all, it makes for a pretty presentation, but also the skin of the delicata is very edible. It’s papery thin and very tasty.

Brushed with a glaze of olive oil, chipotle and lime juice, slices of delicata squash crisp up beautifully in the oven.

Brushed with a glaze of olive oil, chipotle and lime juice, slices of delicata squash crisp up beautifully in the oven.

 

The squash crisps up beautifully on a baking sheet. I baked it on parchment paper as you see in the photos purely for presentation purposes. The parchment paper doesn’t allow for the same level of crispness so I don’t recommend it. Just use a baking sheet very lightly greased with olive oil, and make sure the squash is arranged in a single layer.

Once the squash cooks up, I gather the pieces into a loose pile in the center of the baking sheet, just as I would a pile of tortilla chips. I then top it with some of that yummy, easy Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew and a bit of shredded cheese and bake it for a wee bit longer. The combination of the roasted chipotle on the delicata and the spiciness of the stew create a delicious new depth of spicy flavor.

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos

Once crisped up, I like to top my delicata with typical nacho toppings.

Once the stew heats through and the cheese melts, I then top my creation with typical nacho toppings: lettuce, avocado, and tomato. I also like to add some nonfat, plain Greek yogurt instead of the traditional sour cream, and a sprinkling of cilantro. The result is a dish that is smoky, sweet, and spicy all at the same time. It’s truly a must try!

And don’t forget this is one of my budget dishes. That’s right, all the ingredients for this dish were purchased in that week’s worth of groceries for about $35. When it’s this cheap and delicious to eat healthy, why wouldn’t you?

Where do you get your kitchen inspiration?

Spicy Delicata Black Bean Nachos
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Calories: 317.7
  • Fat: 17.3
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7
  • Carbohydrates: 33.7
  • Sugar: 6.7
  • Sodium: 148.8
  • Fiber: 16.5
  • Protein: 16.7
  • Cholesterol: 57.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Smoky, sweet and spicy all at once, this dish is a deliciously healthy spin on traditional nachos.
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • juice of ½ lime
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely minced
  • 1 Delicata Squash, seeds removed and cut into ½" slices
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup shredded light Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ½ Haas avocado, diced
  • 2 leaves of red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • ¼ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Whisk together the oil, lime juice, and chipotle pepper.
  3. Lay the squash pieces on a baking sheet in a single layer and brush one side of each piece with half of the oil-lime-chipotle mixture. Turn the pieces over and brush the other side with the remaining mixture.
  4. Bake the squash for 7-10 minutes on each side for a total of 15-20 minutes, until the pieces are slightly crispy.
  5. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and push all the squash pieces into a pile in the center, just like you would if you were making tortilla chips into nachos.
  6. Scatter the black bean stew across the squash pieces then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for 5-10 minutes more or until the beans are warmed through and the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with pieces of tomato, avocado and lettuce.
  8. Serve topped with Greek yogurt and a sprinkling of cilantro.

 

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

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Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

I have to admit that in all my culinary adventures I haven’t experimented with delicata squash much. And now I know what I’ve been missing.

I think what I love most about this sweet little squash is the thin, tender skin that is entirely edible. It roasts up perfectly and makes a beautiful addition to anything from stews to salads to this stuffed dish.

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash

I used leftovers from that Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew I made last week as the basis for the stuffing in this dish. It lends a great smoky, spicy flavor that contrasts wonderfully with the sweet delicata squash. And did I mention that this is one of my budget dishes?

That’s right, for less than $35 I bought groceries for a work-week’s worth of meals that will actually yield enough leftovers for work lunches as well. The trick to eating healthy on a budget is meal planning. Plan your meals out for the week and look for common ingredients, or staples, that you can use throughout the week. You’ll reduce waste and increase your economies of scale.

Tune in next week to see how I turn a delicious delicata squash into nachos. You won’t want to miss this one!

 

Southwest Stuffed Delicata Squash
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: ½ squash
  • Calories: 325.5
  • Fat: 5.0
  • Saturated fat: 1.9
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2
  • Carbohydrates: 66.6
  • Sugar: 3.3
  • Sodium: 143.8
  • Fiber: 11.0
  • Protein: 16.8
  • Cholesterol: 57.5
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Tender delicata squash is stuffed with spicy black bean stew, rice, and more for a healthy, budget-friendly meal for two.
Ingredients
  • 1 1-lb. delicata squash, sliced in half lengthwise and seeds and pulp removed
  • ½ cup cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 cup Slow Cooker Smoky Bacon and Black Bean Stew
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • ⅓ cup frozen roasted corn
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 oz. shredded light Mexican cheese blend, divided
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Combine the rice, stew, cilantro, tomato, corn, onion and ½ oz. of the cheese in a medium bowl.
  3. Stuff each half of the squash with the rice-stew mixture and place in a shallow baking dish.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Remove the foil, sprinkle the remaining ½ oz. of shredded cheese over the tops of each squash half.
  6. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

 

Brussel Pancetta and Quinoa Skillet

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Brussel Pancetta and Quinoa Skillet

Sometimes, in my kitchen experiments, there are happy accidents. I set out to craft a recipe, I throw a wee bit of this and a dash of that in, and then give it a try. And then I make it over and over again, tweaking this and that, until I have it just right. But not this time.

Brussel Pancetta and Quinoa Skillet

Have I mentioned how much I love my new Analon skillet?

I pulled out my gorgeous new Analon skillet and magic happened. First I browned up the pancetta, which is an Italian style of bacon. Now I know what you’re thinking: how can pancetta possibly have a place in a healthy lifestyle?

You’re right, pancetta is extremely high in fat, one standard 2 oz. serving has 16 grams of fat. Yikes! The secret is to use it in a smaller amount in order to infuse the dish with the salty flavor but minimize the amount of calories and fat that it contributes. I use just 1 oz. in this dish that serves 2 people.

Brussel Pancetta and Quinoa Skillet

You’ll notice that I don’t add any salt to the dish, and that’s because the pancetta and parmesan are already salty enough.

The pancetta lends a salty, smoky flavor to the shredded brussel sprouts, which I add in after the pancetta has browned up a bit so that they get coated in the renderings. Once the brussels cook up, there’s nothing left to do but mix in some cooked tricolor quinoa, which adds a healthy dose of protein to the dish, as well as a handful of tart dried cranberries and a bit of shredded nutty parmesan cheese.

That’s it. It’s really that easy. And, the dish was so scrumptiously good on my first attempt, I decided not to tweak it further. I mean, why mess with perfection?

The entire meal takes about 20 minutes to prep and cook, which is perfect for one of my typically busy weeknights. Plus, the dish is so pretty in the skillet. I love kitchen magic.

What’s your favorite go-to weeknight meal?

 

 

Brussel Pancetta and Quinoa Skillet
 
Author: 
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 2
  • Serving size: 1 serving
  • Calories: 404.4
  • Fat: 13.5
  • Saturated fat: 4.4
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3
  • Carbohydrates: 56.1
  • Sugar: 15.2
  • Sodium: 54.1
  • Fiber: 3.9
  • Protein: 17.7
  • Cholesterol: 20.2
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Tender brussel sprouts combine with salty pancetta and hearty quinoa for a quick, easy and gourmet weeknight skillet meal that even a novice can master.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup homemade, salt free chicken broth
  • ½ cup tricolor quinoa, rinsed in cold water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 oz. cubed pancetta (about ¼ cup)
  • ½ lb. fresh brussel sprouts, halved and very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese (about ¼ cup)
Instructions
  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa; stir, cover, reduce to low and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook about 2-3 minutes until the pancetta is lightly browned.
  3. Add the brussel sprouts; stir to coat in the oil. Continue cooking until the thickest pieces of the sprouts are al dente, about 5 minutes.
  4. Stir the cooked quinoa into the brussel sprout-pancetta mixture. Turn the burner off and add the cranberries and parmesan cheese.
  5. Stir to combine and serve immediately.
Notes
To prepare the brussel sprouts, trim off any dead spots on the stalk. Cut the sprout in half lengthwise then place each half cut-side down on the cutting board. Thinly slice each half into ribbons.