April is officially here, which brings opportunities to brighten up your family meals with colors such as oranges and greens that are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Roast baby carrots with a pork loin, make a simple, tasty sauce for an asparagus side dish, and for a really fun dessert try this Fruit Pizza Recipe!
Asparagus like other green vegetables is high in antioxidants which help protect our cells from harmful agents. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, an essential nutrient involved in blood clotting and bone health, and also contains potassium, a mineral that can help lower high blood pressure.
Fresh Baby Carrots should be smooth and firm with deep color. This vibrant orange vegetable is free of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, low in calories, and high in vitamin A. Carrots contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant, and are essential for eye health, boosting immunity, and fighting inflammation. Also hidden in this vegetable are retinol, biotin, and lycopene, which all are contributors to healthy, softer skin.
When purchasing Green Kiwi, look for those that are slightly firm with rough and fuzzy skin. Kiwis contain antioxidant nutrients vitamin C and vitamin E which both protect our cells and are important for immune function and health. Kiwis also contain fiber and potassium which support heart health and vitamin K, and traces of calcium and phosphorus, all of which contribute to bone health. An adequate intake of vitamin K may help with the prevention of osteoporosis.
Pork Loin Roast with Veggies
Recipe and photo adapted from myplate.gov
2 cups onions, cut in wedges
2 cups potatoes, diced
2 cups peeled baby carrots
2 T vegetable oil, divided
1¼ lb pork loin
1 T brown sugar
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
1.Wash hands with soap and water.
2.Preheat oven to 400°F.
3.In a bowl mix veggies with 1 T oil, salt, and pepper.
4.Lay veggies around the edge of a 9×13″ pan and put in oven.
5.Use a small bowl to make the rub. Mix the brown sugar, garlic, ½ tsp pepper, and ¼ tsp salt in the bowl.
6.Sprinkle the rub over the loin. Press gently so the rub sticks to the roast. Wash your hands after handling the raw meat.
7.Heat the remaining 1 T vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the loin. Brown the sides of the meat. Turn after about 2-3 minutes per side.
8.Transfer the pork to the center of the pan with veggies. Bake for about 40 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145°F. Check the temperature after 30 minutes in the oven.
9.Remove from oven. Let set for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Asparagus with Gremolata Sauce
Recipe and photo adapted from myplate.com
2 cups asparagus, washed & trimmed
2 T butter
2 tsp lemon peel, grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 T fresh lemon juice
1.Cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling water until tender, about 4 minutes.
2.Drain: rinse with cold water to cool quickly, and drain again.
3.Pat dry; wrap in a paper towel and then plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4.Melt butter in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat.
5.Add lemon peel and garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
6.Add asparagus and toss to coat.
7.Sprinkle with lemon juice. Sauté until asparagus is heated through and coated with Gremolata sauce, about 3 minutes.
8.Transfer to platter. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.