Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
BROWN SUGAR-MUSTARD PORK LOIN ROAST
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon country-style Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried, crushed rosemary
1 (2-pound) pork loin1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow baking sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Combine brown sugar, mustard, vinegar and rosemary in a small bowl. Brush mixture over entire surface of pork and place on prepared baking sheet. Roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in center registers 140 to 145, about 35 to 40 minutes.
3. Remove from oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Makes 8 servings, enough for dinner for 4 of this recipe, and leftovers for 4 servings of one of the recipes below.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 158 calories, 22 g protein, 2.4 g carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 101 mg sodium
PORK RAGU OVER PENNE
8 ounces penne pasta
4 slices center-cut bacon
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (28-ounce) can diced
1/4 cup tomato paste
10 to 11 ounces cooked pork loin, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of lightly salted boiling water until al dente; drain.
2. Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet; transfer to a plate lined with paper towel. Add the onion, garlic and celery to the skillet; cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the basil, tomatoes and tomato paste and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer; continue simmering until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the pork and cook 2 minutes (until pork is heated through.) Remove the skillet from heat.
3. Crumble the bacon and stir it and the Parmesan into the sauce; toss with the penne and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 467 calories, 35 g protein, 59 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 9 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 843 mg sodium
CUBANO (PRESSED SANDWICH)
4 (3-ounce) Portuguese-style rolls, split
2 tablespoons country-style Dijon mustard
4 ounces thinly sliced Jarlsberg cheese
2 ounces thin-sliced deli ham (about 12 slices)
8 slices dill pickle
10 to 11 ounces cooked pork roast, cut in very thin slices
1. Coat the cut surfaces of the rolls with the mustard. Top each bottom half with one fourth of the cheese, ham, pickles and pork; close the sandwiches.
2. Coat a grill pan with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Add the sandwiches, working in batches if necessary, and weight the top of the sandwiches with a heavy skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, until the undersides are well-marked, and turn the sandwiches over. Repeat, cooking until the undersides are well marked and crisp and the cheese is melted. To serve, cut each sandwich in half. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 359 calories, 29 g protein, 48 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 6 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 1239 mg sodium
TIP To keep the cooked pork moist, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap before placing in a bag or bowl in the refrigerator.