Orange & Pistachio Crusted Pork Loin Chops

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Every once in a while, I come across a recipe online purely by accident and think that is sounds so absolutely delicious that I have to make it that very night.  Normally the recipes are dessert-related or starch-related, and I end up using the recipe as a guideline to inspire my own method that fits more to my taste.  However, I found the recipe for these pork chops on Eating Well completely by accident.  They had some of my favorite ingredients – pistachios and oranges!  And the recipe is healthy and nutritious – yay!

Bonus points: There’s only 7 ingredients including salt, pepper, and oil, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make these little guys!  Extra yay!  I always get excited for 30 minute, healthy meals, especially after a long day of work, classes, dragging my ass to the gym, and everything else I have to do.  Eating Well really blessed us with this recipe, you guys.

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I didn’t really change much to the recipe, except that I used pork loin chops instead of a whole pork loin, and I chopped my pistachios and garlic by hand instead of with a food processor – 1. because I don’t like cleaning food processors, and 2. because I don’t have a food processor.  Also, I scrapped their wild rice and green bean sides, opting for a simple wild rice blend I mixed with a little butter, garlic powder, and salt and a green salad with mixed greens, feta, cranberries, apples, and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette.  It was a perfect meal, and the wild rice and salad can be made while you’re preparing and cooking the pork!  With my last semester of college starting on Monday (!!!) I’m really looking forward to finding and developing more recipes that can be made in less than an hour, with minimal dishes.

My ONLY complaint about this recipe is that, if you have leftovers, while the pork chops still taste great, the pistachios lose some of their crunch from the moisture in the fridge.  However, I don’t really like leftovers in general, so my opinion doesn’t have much merit.  Also, slightly-chewy pistachios crusted on pork is still a much better lunch than my usual quinoa salad or sandwich.  Take some, lose some.

Note:  You’re going to be searing these porky chops and then placing them in the oven to finish.  I seared them in a pan, and then placed them on a sheet pan to finish, but next time I think I’ll sear them in an oven-safe cast iron, cover them in the marmalade and pistachio mixture, and then place them back in the cast iron to finish in the oven – then it becomes a one-pan dish!

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Any ideas for healthy 30ish minute meals?

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Old Friend by Pinegrove

(Crockpot) Light Zuppa Toscana

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I have been surprisingly social all weekend.  I went to a football game on Friday (we won!) (Go Wolfpack!) and then my roommates and I spent the rest of the night with Schofferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen and Cards Against Humanity.  If you have never played Cards Against Humanity, let’s just introduce you to their slogan : A party game for horrible people.

And that it is.

Just take a look at their website.  Or check out this and this.

I also spent my Saturday night bar hopping with one of my best friends/pseudo cousin.  Except that I had to drive home so my bar hopping experience was mostly just me getting leaned on by a bunch of drunk people.

Good times right?

The whole drinking and Cards Against Humanity thing ties together because:

1. Most of the time, if you’re playing Cards Against Humanity, you are simultaneously drinking.

And 2. When I told my roommate, “The only two games I know how to play are beer pong and Cards Against Humanity.  What does that say about me?”, his response was, “You’re an evil alcoholic.”

So there’s that.

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And now about Zuppa Toscana.  It is that delicious soup at Olive Garden with sausage, potatoes, and kale.  The broth is lightly creamy and a little spicy.

It is also 220 calories for a bowl of it at Olive Garden.  That doesn’t seem tooooo bad, until you consider that it has 15 g of fat and 990 mg of sodium in it.  And when you consider that you’re going to have another bowl of it.  And a glass (or two) of wine.  And probably some type of pasta.  And that salad, which also doesn’t seem too bad until you see that there are 150 calories, 10 g of fat, and 760 mg of sodium in it. Also, don’t forget that you’re going to eat like, 4 of those bread sticks (140 calories, 2.5 g fat, 460 mg sodium)

Holy shit, what is in this stuff?

Anyways, I definitely recreated the recipe and lightened it up quite a bit.  I calculated it all up and it was about 350 calories per serving.  The recipe serves 4, so you get quite a big serving of soup for less than 400 calories.  Also, you just throw it in a crockpot.  So easy guys.

Ahem.

*thunderous applause*

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*The recipe was originally from Fix it and Forget it, but has been changed dramatically*

Ingredients:

6 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 c. whole milk or half and half

2 carrots, grated

3 russet potatoes, sliced

4 cups kale, chopped slightly

1 lb. turkey Italian sausage

Dash salt and pepper

Sprinkle of garlic powder

Sprinkle onion powder

1/4-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling

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Grate 2 carrots into your crockpot.

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Pour in chicken broth.

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And the whole milk/half and half.

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Slice up your potatoes.

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Add them to your broth.

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Brown the sausage.

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Add it to your broth.

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Sprinkle your spices!

Cook for 3-4 hours on high, stirring every once in a while.

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1 hour, I REPEAT, 1 HOUR before serving, stir in kale.  If you do it any earlier, it will be grossly soggy.  Do you want soggy kale?  Do you?!

No.  You really don’t.

Serve with a light homemade salad and some whole wheat rolls.  Sprinkle it with a little parm.

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Yum yum yum.  This is definitely going to be my fall favorite.

Bonus: It’s gluten free naturally!

It doesn’t taste exactly like the Olive Garden version, but it’s pretty damn close for a light version.  Sometime (when you feel really naughty) go ahead and use regular chicken broth, cream, and pork Italian sausage.  Or just go to Olive Garden and really go all out.  I’m normally not a fan of chains, but I still love Olive Garden every once in a while.

But just make this, okay?

XO Sara

Healthy Lunch Week 1: Cheese, Cracker, and Hummus Plate

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Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is having a fabulous and safe Halloween!  Look for my next post for a fun fall treat and my homemade Halloween costume!

But for now, why don’t you take a look at my new series (is that the right word?) that I will be doing on my blog!  Since I am always coming up with new easy, healthy lunch ideas, I’ve decided to start posting one every week to hopefully inspire you all to eat healthy!

My goal is to try to fit in a whole grain, a dairy item, protein, and a veggie and/or fruit.

If you guys have any sort of ideas or requests that you would like to pitch, just comment or email me!

Now to start:

I started with cheese and crackers because everyone likes those.  I added some hummus and carrots because why not?  They’re healthy.  They’re delicious.  They win.

Hummus always wins.

Nutritional facts:

Brown Rice Triscuits with Salt and Pepper (1 serving, 6 crackers)…130 calories, 5 grams fat

Lower fat cheddar cheese (1 serving, 1 ounce)…50 calories, 2 grams fat

Baby carrots (1 serving, 8-10 calories)…15 calories, 0 grams fat

Hummus (1 serving, 2 Tbs.)…50 calories, 2 grams fat

1 glass orange juice (1 serving, 8 ounces) (not pictured)…110 calories, 0 grams fat

Total: 355 calories, 9 grams fat

*Try not to worry about 9 grams of fat.  It may sound like a lot, but the fat in hummus in all healthy olive oil fats like monosaturated fatty acids.

*If you are worried about 110 calories for orange juice, you can go for a lower cal option like Trop50, iced tea, or water.  However, as long as you keep the juice to 8 oz. it is good for you!  Under 400 calories for one meal is a good deal.

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And who can resist this?  It looks delicious!  And easy!  I can dig it.

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And if you’re still hungry, add some grapes, an apple, or a banana.  They always seem to fill me up for few calories!

Tune in next week for another healthy, delicious meal!

XOXO Sara