$12 one-pot dinner to the test

I don’t know about you, but right after the holidays, my bank account is a little emptier, while my belly is a little fuller.  Couple that with three Christmas dinners, one New Year’s Eve get together and a New Year’s day brunch and you’ve got one chick who doesn’t know what to make for dinner.  Rachael Ray to the rescue!  Let me explain.  My sister had gotten me a subscription for the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine for my birthday months ago.  It was another not so subtle hint from her that I should cook for her more.  Anyway, the first issue finally came a few weeks back, just in time to give me new dinner ideas.  One that caught my attention was a “$12 one-pot dinner” of glazed pork loin with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes.  Even though I’m not a fan of Brussels sprouts, I wanted to try this recipe, which promised to be cheap and easy to make and with little clean up involved.

The magazine was partially correct.  The total cost of the ingredients was around $18.50, not $12.  I guess food does really cost more here compared to down south.  Even so, we had enough for 6 servings, which works out to approximately $3.09 per serving.  Not bad!  As for the recipe, it was easy to make with only a roasting pan to clean.  The pork was moist, but a bit on the bland side.  Nothing more salt wouldn’t fix.  But I’m still not a Brussels sprouts convert.  I just don’t like that bitter taste.  The sweet potatoes, however, were delicious as always!  How can you go wrong with sweet potatoes?  Although I do think that Rachael Ray (or her people) and I have different definitions of what a sweet potato is (see evidence below).  Looks like yams to me.  What do you think?

Recipe (adapted from Everyday with Rachael Ray):

makes 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs pork loin, tied
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp grainy mustard plus more for serving
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
  • 1 lb sweet potatoes cut into wedges
  • 4 sprigs thyme, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 firm-ripe bosc pear cut into chunks
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Season the pork all over with salt and pepper. Place in the center of a roasting pan.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the mustard, vinegar and brown sugar and brush over the pork.
  4. Scatter the Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and thyme around the pork. Sprinkle with the oil, any remaining mustard glaze, salt and pepper and stir to coat.
  5. Transfer to the oven and roast, tossing the vegetables occasionally, until almost tender, about 30 minutes. (If they stick to the pan, add 2 tbsp. water; stir.)
  6. Stir in the pear and roast until the vegetables are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork registers 150°, 15 to 20 minutes. Tent with foil if the roast starts to get too dark.
  7. Discard the thyme. Let the roast rest for 5 minutes, then thinly slice and serve with the vegetables.
  8. Garnish with more thyme and serve with more mustard.

Notes and Tips:

The pork loin roast I bought was ~1.8lb instead of 1.5lb, so it took an extra 20 minutes to get to medium well done.  I removed the veggies from the pan when there was about 10 minutes left to prevent over cooking.  Because the roast was bigger, I used 1.5 times more mustard, cider vinegar, sugar and oil.  I used 1/2 tsp sea salt to season the pork, which I thought turned out a bit bland.  And I used 1 tsp sea salt to sprinkle on the veggies.


13 thoughts on “$12 one-pot dinner to the test

  1. This looks good! And $18 is not bad for 6 people. I can’t wait to try this recipe. Could you suggest a nice substitute for brussels sprouts, though? I eat them but I can do without.

    PS- aren’t yams also sweet potatoes? 🙂

  2. This looks delicious! I am not a big fan of pork, but I looove brussels sprouts, so I might make it without meat or substitute the pork with something else (chicken maybe?). Thanks for the inspiration!

    • it’s amazing sometimes how little it costs to cook. i find that the cost of one meal out can buy you groceries for a few days if not a week. i’m no longer a student, but i still don’t want to spend all my money on food.

  3. Pingback: Buttermilk ranch chicken « trials in food

  4. I love the late addition of the pear in this — I’m going to have to try it. I already like Brussels sprouts and yams (which are technically sweet potatoes — yams are an African plant that we don’t get in the United States).

    • the pear did add a nice touch of sweetness. thanks for the clarification on the yams/sweet potatoes! i hope you try the recipe and let me know how i can improve it. and sorry for the late response! 🙂

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