December 20, 2007

Healthy Meal: Spanish Pork Chops with Cornbread Stuffing and Cherry-Rioja Gravy

I’ve been anticipating this recipe for a LONG time. I’ve mentioned how I taught myself to cook by watching Food Network? I used to tape shows and watch them at night when I was bored. I couldn’t cook all the stuff I taped, especially because I was living alone and was bad at cooking for one, so I generally cooked once and then ate leftovers for 4 days. So I would add recipes that looked good to my Food Network recipe box, and eventually get to them. What I mean by eventually is that, more than a year and a half later, I still have recipes in there from that first month I started teaching myself to cook. This is one of them.

I’ve been avoiding it a bit because it requires corn muffins/cornbread, which is generally pretty unhealthy. Plus, I didn’t want to make or buy a ton of it and then have it sitting around so it would be unhealthy for a week. However, today I tapped into the true magic of Daily Plate and discovered that, by searching for corn muffin, I could look for results with the fewest number of calories. I chose Thomas’ Toast-R-Cakes Corn Muffins, which have 110 calories in each. (Not that bad when you consider that a corn muffin from Dunkin Donuts has 510 calories… sorry Topher. I looked online and found that Gristede’s carried them, and even went to the trouble of calling up my Gristede’s to see if they had them in stock. They did, so this is what I made.

I tried to take it without the flash at first but it just came out too dark to see… our apartment needs better lighting. Anyway, this shows the colors and whatnot. However, here is what to note from the picture: do those two sides of the plate look like they go together? I think not. One side is bright and colorful and party-ish, like Mexican food. I want to pair the stuffing with tacos or something. The other side looks all somber and stately. I want to pair it with mashed potatoes instead. Unfortunately, while both parts of the recipe were good, they just didn’t come together to make a meal.

Grilled the pork chop on the Foreman instead of pan-frying then baking; I used one tablespoon of margarine to start the sauce. I subbed Trader Joe’s no sugar added organic strawberry preserves instead of the black cherry preserves, but I threw some black cherries on top (which tasted good and made it look pretty!). Doubled the peppers, onions, and celery because I like veggies, and sauteed them in one tablespoon of olive oil. Finally, throughout the recipe I cut the beef stock in half and used water for the other half. Less salt!

654 calories for the pork chops and stuffing (recipe here)
No calories for my glass of cherry seltzer 🙂

Review: 3/5
Both halves were decent, but they just didn’t go together at all. Plus, with my high expectations for the meal, I was really let down. On the plus side, it was very quick and easy (25 minutes from pulling things out of the fridge to sitting down and taking the picture), and the flavors were good enough that I’d make them again – but only if I paired them with different items.


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