Thursday, December 29, 2011

BBQ Pork with Orzo Broccoli Casserole

This southern-inspired meal is the perfect comfort food for a cold winter night.  I absolutely love BBQ sauce, even though it is essentially just sugar and salt.

Skinny Pork? 
Pork gets a bad reputation for being high in fat, but there are leaner cuts that taste just as good, especially when seasoned well!  A "Lean" meat is one that is under 10 g fat per serving.  Pork tenderloin is considered an extra lean cut with under 5 g fat per serving (about the same amount as skinless chicken breast).  Other lean varieties include: boneless loin roast and boneless loin chops.

BBQ Sauce...
When shopping for BBQ sauce look for the natural varieties.  Many of the most popular BBQ sauces use high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), often as the first ingredient.  Dinosaur BBQ, Stubbs BBQ, and Annie's are a few that I know that don't use it.  Look for smaller, locally owned products as they often won't use high fructose corn syrup.

The Lowdown on High Fructose Corn Syrup:
Try to limit the amount of HFCS in your diet as your body digests it differently than regular sugar.  Table sugar is a 50/50 combination of fructose and sucrose while HFCS has a higher fructose ratio.  Fructose does not trigger the release of insulin in the way that glucose does, meaning higher blood sugar levels, potentially leading to Type 2 Diabetes.

 Making your own BBQ sauce is fairly easy and takes no time.  Many of the items can be found in the pantry and you can add your own flair to your homemade sauce.

Heavenly BBQ Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1/2 Cup ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Wrights Hickory flavoring
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients together and simmer for 5-10 minutes.  Spread over chicken, pork, or burgers for a smokey, yet sweet sauce.

Orzo Broccoli Casserole
Makes 12 Servings

1 pound of orzo pasta
3 cups of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup skim milk
1 can of cream of broccoli soup*
1 tsp garlic powder
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
Pepper, to taste

*Can be substituted by adding flour, olive oil, and 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions:  Preheat the oven to 350.  Cook pasta as directed.  Combine all ingredients except parmesan cheese in a 9x13 baking dish.  Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake for 30 minutes.  '

Nutrition Facts: 1 cup of casserole
205 calories, 39 g carbohydrates, 9 g protein, 2 g fat, 3 g fiber, 190 mg sodium


  1. I have been looking for a something different to make this holiday weekend. I think I will give it a try. I like the note on HFCS. Definitely an ingredient to avoid.