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Healthy Bites: Season’s seasonings go with pork tenderloin

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Unless you have been on an extended Mars vacation, you have already seen enough magazine covers with photos of golden-brown turkeys that herald the coming of Thanksgiving. Each magazine holds accompanying stories on how to prepare the bird.

So I'm not going in that direction. Or in the vicinity of cranberries, gelatin molds, pumpkin or marshmallows.

However, I do get friendly with a couple of ingredients popular in this season -- sage (who can enjoy dressing/stuffing without that herb?) and pears. They are components of an entrée featuring... ta-da ... pork tenderloin.

It's virtually a three-ingredient dish, not counting salt, pepper and oil, making it easy enough on any busy cook on any given day, not just the most food centered holiday.

The roast is also on the lighter side because tenderloin is one of the leanest cuts of meat, packed with vitamins and minerals without many fat concerns.

Another three-ingredient recipe for you to try this season is one you already may have made, as I have, a million times. The recipe is still printed on the Lipton onion soup mix box.

I switched from a white potato to sweet potatoes for a healthier changeup. It also came to me that if the seasoning was a dry onion soup packet mix, other dry packets might work.

Experimentation led me to different flavors by using dry Italian and ranch salad dressing mixes.

You can also roast other vegetables in addition to potatoes in the seasoned mixture. Try carrots, squash, onion, mushrooms, peppers, turnips or any combination.

Speaking earlier of sage, here's a little cooking tip: A sprinkling of dried sage over the top of a homemade or frozen pizza before baking lends a compelling taste that makes you go hmmm, what's this? So long, oregano.

Sage-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Pears

Makes 8 servings.

     2    1-pound pork tenderloins

     Olive oil

     Salt and pepper

     Fresh sage leaves

     3     firmly ripe pears, quartered and cored

TRIM tenderloins of any fat and silver membrane; place pork in shallow baking pan large enough to hold it and the pears in single layer.

BRUSH pork with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper; top with sage leaves -- whole, coarsely chopped or torn.

COMBINE pears, 1 tablespoon olive oil and about 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, tossing to coat. Arrange pears around pork.

BAKE uncovered at 350° 40 to 50 minutes or just until pork is cooked through.

Nutrition information: Per 1/8 recipe: 190 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 55 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 24 grams protein.

Italian Roasted Potatoes

Makes 16 (1/2-cup) servings.

     1/3  cup melted Smart Balance buttery spread, butter, or vegetable oil

     1     packet Italian salad dressing mix (Good Seasons is recommended)

     2     pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks

PLACE melted butter or oil and dry salad dressing mix in heavy plastic bag; press bag to mix ingredients well; add potatoes, tossing to coat.

ARRANGE potatoes in single layer on baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray; drizzle any oil mixture remaining in bag over potatoes; bake at 350° until tender.

Nutrition information: Per 1/2 cup: 80 calories, 20 calories from fat, 2.5 grams fat, zero saturated fat, zero cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 1 gram protein.

Reach Judy Grigoraci at jg@suddenlink.net.


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