Time for some OktoberFest pork chops and spätzle
For most Americans, adopting a “perfect eating pattern” that requires an immediate and complete diet makeover seems overwhelming. This is why most dietitians and health professionals encourage Americans to start with small and simple changes that are sustainable over the long term. Also, most dietitians advise that there is room in a healthy eating pattern for sweet treats and other indulgences. They encourage Americans to choose nutritious foods like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, lean meats and legumes, while limiting and being mindful of sodium and empty calories from unhealthy fats and sugar.
Three simple strategies that can increase the nutritional value of your of overall diet are cooking most of your meals at home so you can control the ingredients, filling your plate up with mostly fruits and vegetables, and filling your grocery cart with food products that have the least processing and contain ingredients that you know. Another strategy is swapping ingredients in your cooking and baking to make your favorite dishes and indulgences more nutritious. There are plenty of simple ways to substitute more nutritious ingredients for unhealthy fats and sugar while not compromising taste.
This meal swaps evaporated milk for cream, whole wheat flour for white flour, and olive oil for butter that’s used in traditional recipes. The swaps add heart healthy fat, fiber, and vitamins and minerals and decreases unhealthy fat.
DIRECTIONS (Serves: 4)
1. Wash and dry 4 apples and then slice each apple into 4 sections (discard the core.) Place the apple slices in a microwave safe dish.
2. Dice 1 medium white onion. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large frying pan, add the diced onion and a sprinkle of salt; cook over medium until they become translucent. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp. of olive oil in the same pan, add 4 pork chops (3-4 oz. each), brown each side over medium-high heat for 2 minutes and then reduce the heat to medium. Add to the pan: 12 oz. of beef broth, 8 oz. of pre-sliced, fresh mushrooms, the cooked onions, and 1 tsp. dried rosemary. Cover and continue cooking.
4. Add ½ tsp. nutmeg and 2 tbsp. water to the apples; mix, cover and then microwave for 8-10 minutes.
5. While the pork and apples are cooking, bring 1 large pot of water to a boil and prepare the dough for the spätzle (homemade noodles) by combining 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. salt, a dash each of pepper and nutmeg in a large bowl. Mix in 4 eggs and 1 cup milk and then stir until the batter is smooth and elastic.
6. Make a slurry by mixing 2 tbsp. each of whole wheat flour and COLD water and then pour the slurry in with the pork along with 12 oz. of nonfat evaporated milk. Mix well and then simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
7. Using a rubber spatula, drop 1/4th of spätzle batter through the holes of a colander into the boiling water. The spätzle will cook quickly; it’s done when the noodles float! Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and set aside. Repeat until the batter is cooked.
8. Serve each plate with 1 pork chop, topped with gravy, 1/4th each of the spätzle and apples, alongside a small tossed salad.
Notes: The recipe for the gravy can be used in place of canned creamed soups.