You have successfully made it to another Friday! Unfortunately, your budget doesn’t fit the idea of going out for dinner and drinks. This is the time to hit your local Wal-mart or grocery store and find yourself that descent bottle of $3 wine and raid your freezer for a quick and tasty meal that you can enjoy with some friends. The joy of an intimate dinner party with friends has been downplayed in recent years and, in my humble opinion, needs to be revived with a vengeance!
Contradict me all you want by making comparisons to June Cleaver or how much it fly’s in the face of the women’s liberation movement, but I take joy in making a meal for my family and friends. When you can combine that with some nice music, a tasty (not necessarily expensive) bottle of wine, and maybe even a board game or some playing cards, you’ve got a recipe for a fun and fulfilling evening.
Tonight’s plan is to roast a 1lb pork loin, about 2lbs of peeled and chunked yukon gold potatoes and broccoli florets with a bottle of Pinot Grigio. The evenings entertainment may just be enjoying the fall weather on the deck with Deandona, Mr. Man, and their friend, la Boriqua, but it will be fun 🙂 How much did we spend to put together this little meal, you ask? Not a thing today.
We tend to use our freezer for most everything because we know that we like our meats, but that meats are going to be the largest part of your grocery expenditures. Deandona took me to a fantastic little Dominican Grocery store last week when we did the grocery shopping and they had an incredible sale on pork loins. So we bought 3 1lb loins for $3 each and though we didn’t really have a meal planned, we knew that this was a good investment item. Keeping an eye on your local butchers weekly specials will provide you with a way to have items in your freezer that will allow you to be flexible with your menu planning. We always have either a bag of frozen broccoli or mixed vegetables and it is a good idea to have a supply of your favorite starch to ensure your ability to throw something together at a moments notice.
When I got the call this afternoon saying that there would be a guest this evening, my answer- no problem! Here’s the simple and tasty meal that will take roughly an hour to put together.
Photography by Geraldine Terc- All Rights Reserved
1 1lb Pork Loin
2 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes
16 oz Frozen Broccoli Florets
Kosher Salt or Salt from a grinder
Freshly Ground Pepper or Ground Black Pepper
1. The potatoes will take the longest, so if you can prepare them in the morning before work, or even the night before, you will save yourself quite a lot of prep time. Peel and wash the potatoes and cut them into large chunks, not larger than 2 inches square, not smaller than 1/2 inch squared- there is no need to be scientific. Pre-heat your oven to 475 degrees F. Set the spuds to boil on the stove top until they are just fork tender. Once they are ready, drain all of the water and place them into a large bowl with the dill, some olive oil, and some kosher salt. Toss the taters gently until they are lightly coated and place them in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Roast them at 475 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce the ovens heat to 350 degrees for another 35 Minutes and bake until the spuds are golden brown and tasty!
2. Make sure that your pork loin is completely thawed and drizzle it with olive oil. This would be the perfect time to try out that new shiatsu massage technique if you are so inclined, but make sure that the loin is lightly coated with oil. Season both sides of the pork with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Place the roast into the oven along with the potatoes at 475 degrees for 10 minutes and continue to bake along side the spuds at 350 degrees F. for another 35 minutes or until you reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees F. VERY IMPORTANT- allow the pork loin to sit, all by itself, on the counter, being ignored for at least 10 minutes. If you cut into it too soon, you will release all of the tasty juices and have yourself a very dry piece of pork.
3. When you are 5 minutes away from serving dinner, take your frozen broccoli and place it into a pot with a vegetable steamer and some water. Cover and bring to a boil until your broccoli is warmed and a vibrant green color, approx. 5 minutes, then remove it from the heat and uncover immediately.
4. Uncork your chilled wine, serve up the plates, and get ready for a fierce game of scrabble!