Cheap Recipe: Quick Pork Chop Casserole

8 Oct

For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This diet-friendly dish is just downright good even when you're not on the wagon...

This dish makes your kitchen smell SO friggin' good...

This recipe is a favorite around my house that I’ve been using for years. It originated as a creation I invented when running out of South Beach Diet recipes that were friendly for Phase 2 of the diet plan. But Hubby liked it so much we’ve been having it on a regular basis for years now, even when I’m not counting carbs.

I am posting the recipe this week because it also fulfills another of the Ingredient Challenge submissions, to use butternut squash playing a savory role in a recipe. Cheryl, my coworker who submitted that ingredient challenge, got to sample leftovers of this after I made it, and approves, although she decided to pick out the pear pieces because she doesn’t like pears.

Chop all ingredients into large bites.

Chop all ingredients into large bites.

I use skin-on pears in the casserole as a higher-fiber substitute for serving a side dish of applesauce with the pork, but it’s a matter of personal taste. You can always leave them out if you’re not digging the whole pear scene.

Begin by preheating oven to 400 degrees. Quarter a yellow onion and separate layers. Toss in a 9″x12″ glass casserole dish. Next, cut 1-2 celery ribs into 1″-long chunks and add to onions. Chop 2 large pears into large bites (do not peel), remove any visible seeds, and add to dish.

Add 2 cups of butternut squash (or sweet potato) cut into large chunks. Like most in-season produce, I like to buy one big squash a month, chop it all, and then freeze it in 2-cupDoing this saves a lot of time on weeknights, which motivates me to actually cook real food more often. Plus, if you buy stuff when it’s on sale and freeze it, you’ll save money, and it’s not a giant investment to begin with anyway.

Pile all the veggies together in a big dish.

Pile all the veggies together in a big dish.

 amounts since they take so long to cut up and I inevitably wind up with more in one round than any recipe requires.

Boneless pork chops.

Boneless pork chops.

Cut 1.5 lbs. thin-sliced boneless pork chops into bite-size chunks. (I use thin-sliced chops because they cook faster than thick chops which means the squash doesn’t dry out before the pork is cooked.)

Arrange the pork on top of the vegetable mixture in your casserole dish. Sprinkle on: 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon sage (or thyme/rosemary if you prefer), 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ginger and 1 teaspoon salt.

Add seasoning and liquid...

Add seasoning and liquid...

Pour 1 cup chicken broth and 1 cup apple juice (or just 2 cups broth, if you prefer) over the casserole. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until pork appears fully cooked. Serve over couscous, noodles or rice with the broth spooned liberally over the top. Or,

Voila!

Voila!

if you are on a low carb diet, you can eat it by itself (that’s how Hubby prefers it anyway, and he’s never dieted in his life).

*This casserole goes really well with Southern-Style Green Beans. Sometimes I cook them on the stovetop while the casserole bakes and then just spread them over the top of the dish when it comes out of the oven!

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