Seared Pork Chops with Roasted Squash Salad and Cucumber-Tomato Medley

Seared Pork with Roasted Squash Salad and Cucumber-Tomato Medley

Overview …

My weekly menu plan for this Wednesday called for:

  • Protein: Pork Chops
  • Starchy Side: Squash
  • Vegetable: Cucumber

The pork dishes in this menu plan have all turned out nicely, so the temptation to repeat one was great. The little voice inside me though was giving me a guilt trip reminding me that I had to try something new, even on the very last dish of this 6-week menu plan.

During this past weekend I had a little extra time to peel, cube & roast a butternut squash specifically for this Wednesday’s starchy side. The tender morsels waited patiently in our fridge for a couple days until they got called out for dinner duty; more details below.

Truly out of laziness, I simply needed a vegetable, any vegetable, for the final dish of my menu plan, and thankfully a lone organic cucumber was available and ready to fill the gap nicely. Combined with a nice red plump tomato the trio of this menu was complete.

Roasted butternut squash ready for some extra dressing

Roasted butternut squash ready for some extra dressing

 

Pan-Seared Pork Chops

Finding myself dragging my heels a bit mid-week, I was having a hard time getting in the culinary mood. Thankfully I found a simple recipe by Martha Stewart for Pan-Seared Pork Chops that fit the bill very well. Super-simple and quick to prepare, I had no trouble putting together and plating our organic chops in record time.

By far the most essential and flavourful part of this main was the gravy. Of course it’s no secret, but here it is for the saying regardless; if you pan-fry or sear ANY meat please do yourself the very essential pleasure of removing the meat, deglazing with something fun (like wine, or maybe some wine), add some butter and season well for absolutely delicious results.

Seasoned organic pork chops being seared in a non-stick pan

Seasoned organic pork chops being seared in a non-stick pan

 

Roasted Squash Salad

This last Thanksgiving I had a vivid moment of culinary inspiration. It was a distinct craving for squash that drove me to roast one butternut and one acorn variety (peeled and cubed), cool them in the fridge for a couple hours, mix them gently with mayonnaise, minced green onions, some dijon and a few seasonings, and voila … my new favourite “potato” salad was born.

For the last dish of my first menu plan I wanted to pay tribute to that successful culinary moment with a 1-squash butternut version of that fun creation. Thankfully it was just as good as I remembered it and not surprisingly there were no leftovers to speak of.

One of my favourite creations ... roasted butternut squash salad with a mayonnaise and dijon mustard dressing

One of my favourite creations … roasted butternut squash salad with a mayonnaise and dijon mustard dressing

 

Sliced Cucumber and Tomato Medley

When I was in elementary school, I had the good fortune to participate in an exchange program with students from Belgium. At the tender age of 12 years old I had the lucky chance to spend two weeks in Belgium with a lovely family, enjoying some very special and deliciously different foods.

One of the moments I distinctly remember was when the lovely Mom of my host family brought out a “salad” composed almost entirely of sliced tomatoes seasoned with a mild vinaigrette and little else. At that time in my young life I remember being shocked at the idea of eating nothing but tomatoes, however at the same time I was delighted at the beautiful presentation.

Although it did not appeal to me at the time, my present-day version of this simple and delicious dish is a tribute to that special moment. It opened my eyes at a very young age to the idea that every kind of food is an ingredient with it’s own lovely potential to shine … thank you Mrs. De Haas!

Sliced cucumber and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette

Sliced cucumber and tomatoes in a simple vinaigrette

 

The End of the Beginning

My very first menu plan has finally come to an end. I’ve reacquainted myself with many cooking methods that were previously unfamiliar or even unknown to me just a few weeks before. The look on my children’s faces when they try something for the very first time and are surprised to discover they actually enjoy it … simply beautiful. More to come!

 

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