Thursday, September 26, 2013

Pork Chops & Figs

Pork Chops & Figs... As a 20 something myself I understand that it's a funny in between time in life. Some of us have 9-5 jobs, others have round the clock jobs, and some have random gigs here and there throughout the day and week. Some of us have significant others, some have kids, some have just their own mouth to feed 3 times a day. Whatever your situation is, I really urge you to start thinking about food as more than an obligation or a treat. Food should be an enjoyable thing; look - we have to eat every day for the rest of our lives so you might as well come to love it. That being said, one has to be careful not to overindulge on a regular basis and learn when a treat is deserved or not. A random Tuesday night is not generally deserving of an ice cream sundae... ya dig?

Anyways, my point with all of this is that learning how to create and enjoy a well rounded meal is going to make life a lot easier, and more delightful (for you and whoever you have the pleasure of cooking for one day). It does take some planning as I have mentioned before, but that's part of the whole growing up thing right? Taking time to be a bit more thoughtful about your health and your day. For me growing up in a house where we ate a lot of home cooked meals around one table together was invaluable and I hope to be able to re-create that for my future family one day, and it really starts with getting into the habit now. It isn't hard to make a healthful yet Dahlicious meal and as I've mentioned before on the blog, my goal is to share the things I make for breakfast, lunch and dinner to hopefully inspire you all to do the same. I think last night's meal was a good example of this and so I wanted to remind myself, and you wonderful followers, what this whole Dahlicious blog is all about. Healthful, Yummy, Accessible food - Enjoy!

The Meal:
Grilled boneless pork chops with roasted butternut squash, steamed green beans, roasted fig & fresh mozzarella salad

The Pork:
On Sunday I got 2 nice plumpy little pork chops from the butcher that I planned to grill all week and pushed off until Wednesday as other meal ideas seemed to clamor to the forefront of my mind in the earlier part of the week. For these bad boys I simply seasoned them with grill seasoning and then seared both sides for about 3 minutes on high heat. They were each about 1.5 - 2 inches thick so I knew this wouldn't cook them all the way through but I wanted the crusty outside you get from the high heat. Once both sides were good to go, I popped them in the oven (which was already at 375 with the butternut squash inside) and let them finish cooking for about 15 minutes.

The Squash:
First of all let me say I can't believe it's already fall and time to break out the hearty squashes again. I feel like roasting butternuts and acorns last fall was just a week ago - crazy! Anyways, butternut squashes are tricky because the skin takes a bit of work to cut off and being that it's so curved you have to be careful. You can often buy it already cubed which is a fine option. I happened to have time on Tuesday night while chopping other veggies to cut it up ahead of time so that it was easy to throw right into the oven Wednesday night. Generally I cut the whole squash into quarters, then carefully use a knife to remove the skin. Scoop out the inside seeds and cut into small similar sized cubes. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper then into the oven at 375 degrees for about 35 - 45 minutes.

The Green Beans: 
I crave greens and have a hard time ever making a meal that doesn't include some. Last night't were a bit on the boring side but with all of the other sweet flavors in the meal it was nice to have some simple greens. I chopped off the ends and quickly steamed them, making sure they still had a nice little crunch.

The Fig & Mozz:
I am aware this would have been even more greatly enhanced had I had burratta on hand, but a girl can only have so much cheese in her fridge. Anyways, I really love figs but I have never used them in a home made meal myself! Not quite sure what drove the desire to grab them this week but I did, and I sure am glad. Figs can be eaten raw or roasted... or I'm sure other ways I don't even know yet. I chose to roast them, which included cutting them in half long ways, and putting them on the same baking sheet as the butternut squash just in the last 10 minutes of cooking. When I took them out they were soft and creamy and warm, SO DAHLISH! Served with cold fresh mozz and a tiny bit of balsamic it was the perfect addition to the meal.

I love naturally pretty food

I mean these colors are almost a work of art

All in all I think this was a nicely rounded meal - I know it probably looks like a lot for one person, but I made enough for 2 and brought the leftovers to work for lunch... handy right? So if you are a single person out there, no excuses, you too can do it. I promise!

Hope everyone is having an enjoyable week of eating!

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