Eating better food for less and other tales from a no-moneymoon

Friday, August 13, 2010

Pomegranate and Parsley Pork with Spicy Eggplant

Sometimes an entire dinner comes together to participate in my no-ingredient-left-behind policy.

There are two main ways I've found to stop ingredient-wasting pitfalls and both of them play a role in this evening's dinner.

First: keep track of what's in the fridge. I try to keep tabs on "investment" ingredients (condiments, sauces, salty/pickley treats) and cycle them through now and again, in different permutations to keep it interesting. Pomegranate molasses, I'm looking at you.

Second: Make friends with the freezer. Find a great deal on meat but don't want to eat the same chicken breasts all week long? Freeze it. Family packs are great for this, especially when you don't have a family.

So here's how this meal is a waste-saver: I'm using the pomegranate molasses dish-by-dish, I'm freezing the half of the pork loin chop family pack I didn't cook, and all the veggies come from the CSA vegetable dump, which is getting so big as summer comes to a close that I'm going to start freezing some items we don't get to each week.

Pomegranate and Parsley Pork

3-4 lean boneless pork loin chops
1 heaping Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

In a shallow bowl, mix the pomegranate molasses, olive oil and parsley. Add salt and ground black pepper. Slide the pork loin chops in and turn until well-covered with the marinade. Set aside for 10 minutes. Heat a nonstick pan with a little olive oil over high heat. (You can try it without the olive oil, too, but I just find my pan needs a little help to prevent sticking.) Cook pork on both sides. These were thin cuts so they cooked about 3 minutes a side.

Spicy Eggplant

1 medium-size Japanese eggplant
1 teaspoon Ras el Hanout
2-3 scallions, chopped
olive oil

Slice off the ends of the eggplant and cut in half. I cut 1-inch slices, but if you are short on time, go smaller. In a bowl mix the eggplant with the Ras el Hanout. Set aside.

Heat some olive oil (about 1 Tablespoon) in a saute pan over high heat. Chop the scallions and start to saute in the pan. Then add the eggplant on top and cook, stirring, until the eggplant has turned darker and is soft. The scallions will get crispy and the eggplant will be nice and tender.

Salad: lettuce leaves + juice of 1 lemon + olive oil drizzled + sea salt

Standard veggies and lean protein take a trip to Morocco
Pantry items find new ways to the table
Pork family pack's $5 split over two nights = thrifty

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