Marinated Pork Tenderloin with Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree

Last week I learned that you can spiralize butternut squash. I mean. This changes my life. Here is a video on that, completely unrelated to the rest of my post:

You can see that you end up with a lot of leftover squash that you can’t spiralize. So, I had the butts of two large butternut squash and some leftover cores that I needed to use. I’m a little tired of just plain old roasted veggies right now, so I decided to step it up a notch by making a puree. It was inspired by this recipe, which I’m sure is delicious as is, but I tweaked it so it would pair better with the pork tenderloin and marinade I planned to serve with it. The pork, by the way, is a variation on this recipe, which is probably my favorite pork tenderloin recipe of all time.

Let’s take a second to look at some of the nutritional highlights of this meal. Pork tenderloin has a similar nutrition profile to skinless chicken breast, which means it is a very lean source of quality protein. It also happens to be relatively inexpensive (I paid a little over $7.00 for a tenderloin that feeds my husband and I two meals each) and very easy to prepare. Butternut squash is also very healthy; it is a great source of vitamins A, C, and B6, and it is also high in potassium and folate, along with other vitamins and minerals. It also contains a lot of the antioxidant beta carotene and has anti-inflammatory and insulin regulating properties as well. This makes it a great grain-free and potato-free source of carbohydrates. Combine all that with a healthy dose of fresh ginger, which is famous for its soothing and anti-inflammatory effects on the GI tract, along with fresh orange zest and juice, and you can see that this meal is as healthy as it is delicious.

Did I mention that this is also a perfect fall dinner? Last night marked a very important seasonal shift in the lives of desert dwellers: the First Open Window Night. My husband and I took our greyhound on a walk around 8:00 last night and I almost wished I had a sweater. So when we got home we opened all the windows, made a cup of cinnamon spice tea, and luxuriated in the first delicious hint of fall in the air. It was a happy coincidence that we had also eaten a fragrant fall classic for dinner. When we were finishing, Chris looked at me and did his best Gordon Ramsay impression, “What a shame. I wish there was a little more.” I have a feeling there will be plenty more of this meal in the future.

Here are all your marinade ingredients, and what it looks like when you are marinading your pork tenderloin.p1000861p1000862

You can see here the butternut squash going into the oven and coming out, when they are glistening and soft and just beginning to brown.

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And here is the final product:p1000868 p1000867

Marinated Pork Tenderloin Ingredients

  • 1 Pork Tenderloin (whatever size works for the crowd you need to feed)
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1/2 cup marsala cooking wine (or any dry red wine plus an extra tablespoon of honey to be completely SCD compliant)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced sweet onion or shallot
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbes de provence (no salt added)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • zest of 1 orange
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • dash of cinnamon
  • salt to taste

Marinated Pork Tenderloin Method

  • Combine all marinade ingredients.*
  • Place the tenderloin in a small casserole dish or large bowl, and add just enough marinade to cover it half way. Marinate 1-2 hours, turning over halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, place reserved marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes, then reduce heat and let simmer until significantly reduced, about 1 hour.
  • Grill pork tenderloin over medium-high heat for 20-30 minutes, until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part reads at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Let rest at least 3 minutes to continue cooking; then, slice into medallions. Top with a generous spoonful of reduced marinade to serve.

Orange Ginger Butternut Squash Puree Method

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Toss cubed squash with olive oil and a generous dash of salt. Spread out in a thin layer on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet.
  • Roast about 40 minutes, depending on size of cube, until the squash is very soft and just starting to brown in some places.
  • Place squash in food processor along with all other remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

*Note: This marinade is the bomb.com so I purposefully make extra to use later on in the week. It is great on grilled seafood, pork, and chicken. You can even use it as a quick stir fry sauce. Tonight we’ll be using the leftovers to jazz up chicken, pepper, onion, and pineapple kabobs. But, if you don’t foresee another use for it, you can always halve the recipe to prevent waste.

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Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie

I haven’t blogged in a while primarily because I recently got both of Danielle Walker’s fabulous cookbooks and I’ve been cooking everything in them. I’ve been eating lots of good food, but none of it has really been original. If you are paleo or SCD, I can’t recommend her cookbooks enough. Her recipes have never failed us!

However, all of our feasting came to an abrupt halt when my GI doctor put me on a round of hefty antibiotics because he was worried I was forming a new abscess. While he was encouraged by my progress over all, ramping up medication always feels like a bit of a failure on my part. It’s easy for me to start thinking, “did this happen because I let myself get too stressed,” or, “if I hadn’t eaten out that one time a couple weeks ago, would I be feeling better today?” I’ve been learning about meditation and mindfulness, because it is one of the things that people with chronic illness report as being most helpful to them, and I’ve been reading about just how self-destructive these kinds of thoughts are. It is better to react to setbacks with self-compassion and equanimity since we can never know for sure if there was anything we could have done to alter the outcome, and allowing negative and stressful thoughts to control us only further exacerbates both physical symptoms and mental suffering. So I’ve been working on that during this round of treatment.

Anyway, the antibiotics make me so nauseous I can’t even stand to look at most food–much less cook it and eat it. Plus, my GI doc stressed the importance of probiotics while I was on the antibiotics, so I started drinking most of my meals instead. I’ve been making all kinds of smoothies, often times with some hidden veggies or a raw pasteurized egg blended in so it makes a better meal replacement, but the following recipe is my absolute favorite–light and easy on the tummy, and it even helps those of us who are still dealing with summer weather get into the fall spirit. It tastes way better than a pumpkin spice latte when the AC is still running!

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Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup SCD legal yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unfiltered apple juice
  • about 8 ice cubes
  • 1 cup frozen banana chunks
  • 1 tablespoon plain almond butter (optional; it makes the smoothie richer and adds some good fats and a little protein)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Apple Spice Probiotic Smoothie Ingredients

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend! If it’s too thin, add a few more chunks of banana or ice cubes. If it’s too thick, add apple juice until it blends easily. This makes one large meal-sized serving, or two generous snack-sized portions.