Fall pork dinner with Mexican accent


Pork tenderloin cut into slices 1 inch thick can be used instead of pork chops.

If you have extra squash, freeze it for another meal.

Microwaving the squash first makes it easier to cut.

If pressed for time, microwave ½ cup green beans and serve instead of the squash.


Prepare ingredients.

Start Mexican Pumpkin.

Make pork.

Finish pumpkin.


Here are the ingredients you’ll need for tonight’s Dinner in Minutes.

To buy: 1 bottle ground cumin, ¾ pound boneless pork loin chops, 1 package frozen, diced onion, 1 bottle honey, 1 small acorn or butternut squash or sugar pumpkin, 1 package frozen corn kernels, 1 jalapeño pepper, 1 tomato or one cup canned, cubed tomato.

Staples: Olive oil spray, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, salt, black peppercorns.

Wine tip: The spicy, savory pork dish would go nicely with an aromatic white viognier (VEE-own-YAY).

For a new seasonal twist, try Mexican Pumpkin. This time of year is when pumpkins, gourds and squash fill the stores. The unusual flavors of cumin-scented pork and pumpkin combine to make an autumn treat.

We usually think of pumpkins for pies or a sweet vegetable mixed with brown sugar. In Mexico these squash are used as a savory vegetable. It’s best to cook with a squash such as acorn or butternut variety or one known as sugar pumpkin. This dish is made in the microwave oven to cut preparation and cooking time. To make prep time easier, look for fresh or frozen acorn or butternut squash already peeled and cubed.

Cumin Pork

Olive oil spray

2 teaspoons ground cumin

¾ pound boneless pork loin chops

½ cup frozen, diced onion

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

½ cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

2 teaspoons honey

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a nonstick skillet just large enough to hold the pork in one layer over medium-high heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Rub the ground cumin onto both sides of the pork chops and add to the skillet along with the onion. Brown the pork for 2 minutes, turn and brown second side 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid and continue to sauté pork 5 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees. Remove meat from pan and put onto a plate.

Add the vinegar to the pan and reduce the liquid by about half while scraping up the brown bits in the bottom of the skillet. Add the broth and honey and reduce the liquid again by half, stirring to combine the ingredients. Slice the pork, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and serve the sauce and onions on top. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 307 calories (24 percent from fat), 8.2 grams fat (2.1 grams saturated, 3.6 grams monounsaturated), 120 milligrams cholesterol, 39.1 grams protein, 16.5 grams carbohydrates, 0.9 grams fiber, 254 milligrams sodium.

Mexican Pumpkin

1 acorn or butternut squash or sugar pumpkin (for 2 cups ½-inch cubes)

1 cup defrosted corn kernels

1 tablespoon seeded and chopped jalapeño pepper

1 cup tomato cubes

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Wash squash and poke several holes in the skin. Wrap in a paper towel and microwave on high 5 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds with a spoon.

Place the squash, cut side down, on a work surface and slice off the skin. Cut the flesh into ½-inch cubes. Place in a microwave-safe bowl and add the corn kernels, jalapeño pepper and tomato cubes. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes. Add the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Toss well. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 188 calories (29 percent from fat), 6 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 3.7 grams monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 4.7 grams protein, 34.6 grams carbohydrates, 5.9 grams fiber, 21 milligrams sodium.