Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Other White Meat: Pork Chops

I admit it, I cook a lot of chicken.  It's easy, inexpensive, and nutritious.  However, it's good to switch things up and eat a variety of foods, even your proteins, so you can meet all of your vitamin and mineral needs.  And so you don't go crazy eating the same thing every day.  While both chicken and pork are excellent lean meat choices, they offer a different set of nutrients.

Pork is an excellent source of one of our essential B vitamins, thiamine.  It's recommended that we consume around 1.1 - 1.2 mg of thiamine a day.  It forms part of a coenzyme that is used in our body for metabolism.

Pork just might be the leading food source of thiamine.  A lean pork chop (3 ounces of meat) provides almost 1 mg all on its own.  Chicken, on the other hand, only offers a tenth of the thiamine that pork does, with .1 mg in 3 ounces.

I found a recipe in an old Real Simple magazine for a weeknight meal that includes roast pork chops and butternut squash with kale.  I subbed out the butternut squash for sweet potatoes, since I already had some in the house.

It was all pretty easy and didn't take too much time, maybe 30 minutes of prep and an hour total.

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  
  • Peel and chop up sweet potatoes and toss with fresh sage, olive oil, and a touch of salt + pepper.  Place on baking sheet and cook for 35 to 40 mins.
  • After the sweet potatoes have cooked for 25 mins, heat some olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Lightly season a couple of bone-in pork chops (around 1 inch thick) with salt + pepper.  Cook until browned, around 3 - 5 mins per side.
  • Place the pork chops onto the same baking sheet as the sweet potatoes and roast for about 7 - 8 mins more.
  • While those two are in the oven, get going on the kale.  Heat a little bit more olive oil in the same skillet with some thin garlic slices.  Add the kale and 1/4 cup water.  Use a wooden spoon to toss the kale around until tender, around 5 - 7 mins later.
  • Plate everything and enjoy.

Looks just like the picture from the magazine!
p.s. There was no way I could eat all of that... 2 meals for the price (and time) of 1

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