Another Good and Cheap Dinner: Pineapple Pork
I'm a big fan of pork. It's lean, tastes great, can be cooked multiple ways, and is easy on the food budget. The recipe I'm offering today--Pineapple Pork--is especially good for a weeknight. If you want even less work in the evening, you can make the sauce for the pork in advance. Then all you need to do is pour the sauce on the pork, pop it in the oven, and let it bake while you do other things. I use pork tenderloin in this recipe, but you can use whatever cut of pork you have on hand (of course varying the cooking time, depending on what you use). The sauce is a blend of sweet, sour, savory, and salty and is equally good on chicken, if you have any sauce left over. I use canned crushed pineapple in the recipe, which is convenient and economical. If you want more pineapple taste and want to make the dish extra special, feel free to garnish the pork with fresh pineapple slices or chunks. Rice is great with the Pineapple Pork, but baking some pre-cut winter squash in the oven alongside the pork is another easy, tasty option (see below for the squash option). Also, the pork cooks especially well in an air fryer. Just cut the tenderloin pieces in half, pour on about 1/2 cup of the sauce, and "air fry" the pork tenderloin pieces for about 15 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 135 degrees. Then follow the remainder of the recipe directions. The photos below are of the "air fried" version (half of it).
Pineapple Pork -- Serves 4
1 1/2 pounds of pork tenderloin, silver skin and fat trimmed
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of dark brown sugar
1 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup of ketchup
1 tablespoon of grainy Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce
1 cup of crushed pineapple with juice (do not drain the pineapple)
In a large saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk them together. Bring them to a simmer over medium heat, whisking them periodically. Let the sauce simmer for about 15 minutes or until it becomes thick and syrupy.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat a rimmed baking sheet or pan with non-stick cooking spray. Put the pork on the pan, tucking the small, pointy ends of the tenderloin underneath the rest of the tenderloin, so it's roughly even in circumference. Sprinkle the pork with the salt and pepper and spritz it with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Bake the pork for 15 minutes. Then pour about a cup of sauce over it and return it to the oven for another 10 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees (the temperature will continue to rise as the pork rests). Let the pork stand, covered loosely with foil, for at least 5 minutes before slicing it, crosswise, into rounds. Serve the pork with additional sauce, if you like.
16-20-ounce package of pre-cut winter squash
1 tablespoon of melted butter
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 cup of orange juice
Coat a baking dish big enough to hold the squash in a single layer with non-stick cooking spray. Toss the squash in the dish with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange juice. Bake the squash for about 30 minutes or until it's tender.