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Pork takes center stage

Preparation keeps cook hopping with this calorie-conscious meal

Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry Pan Sauce and Butternut Squash has a lot of appeal as an attempt to add a new dish to the low-calorie hit parade.

It wasn’t made without a snag or two, however. I ran into problems at the store right away. I got the last pork tenderloin and couldn’t find the squash purée. I did locate frozen squash which served as a substitute. Since purée is described in the dictionary as a smooth, creamy substance of liquidized or crushed fruit or vegetable, then that’s what I had even if the package wasn’t labeled that way. A passing butcher located the pork for me. Saved.

Once back from the store, I began to follow the steps toward a finished supper.

1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with nonstick spray and set over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the pork with ½ teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. Add to the skillet and cook until browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.

That was easy. I ended up with seven pieces of pork though, not eight. And then ...

2. Add the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the cranberry sauce, orange zest, thyme, and pork along with any accumulated juices; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the pork is cooked through, about 8 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine the squash purée, pumpkin pie spice, and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a microwavable bowl. Dot with the butter. Microwave on high 30 seconds. Stir, then microwave, stirring twice more, until heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Somewhere between step 2 and 3, I realized I needed four pairs of hands. If I simply had measured out the ingredients before I started cooking, I would have saved myself some scurrying. My advice is to get out all pans and dishes, all utensils, and do the measuring so you’re ready to just grab what you need at the appropriate time, before you start out.

4. Divide the squash purée evenly among 4 plates and top evenly with the pork and sauce.

The cookbook suggests serving with 2 cups of steamed green beans seasoned with salt and pepper to taste and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. I did this. It was a good addition.

For my review, I can say I really liked the pork, but wanted more of the cranberry taste. And, I’m not a big squash fan. In the future, I’ll substitute sweet potatoes, such as Betty Crocker’s boxed sweet potato pouches.

Nutrition Facts: 210 calories, 3 PointsPlus: 5 grams fat, 320 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar and 2 grams protein. Serving size ½ cup.

Don’t you think if you use pumpkin pie spice, the squash should taste like pie? Hmmm.

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