Balsamic Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Harvest Salad

I have to admit, I've never been to ALDI Markets. But, after my first shopping trip, I realized it certainly wouldn't be the last! The closest ALDI location was only 2 miles from my house, which is nice and close for me since I seem to be running everywhere with being a mom, after-school activities and sports, blogging, and having a full-time job.

I popped a quarter into the shopping cart (you get it back at the end), and was on my way with my bags in-hand. I did a little research before I went, and ALDI is able to pass savings on to the customer by altering a few things like these. This is fine by me because I have more plastic bags than I know what to do with, so I was happy to bring a few with me to the store. If you happen to forget, they sell paper and large plastic bags at the checkout for less than a dime.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that ALDI offers many organic items, priced much lower another large-name market. I won't say the name, but it rhymes with "soul dudes". :-) Many products were priced significantly less than what I'm used to paying at my typical grocery store (my face lotion alone was $3 cheaper!). I had a full cart of groceries at the end of my shopping trip, and I had spent only $101.46. I can't tell you the last time I had a cart full of groceries for less than $150-200.

Since I am a mom on the go, I am always looks for quick weekday meals that I can prepare ahead of time, and are nutritious for my son. Football practice is 3-days per week, along with games on the weekends so I've needed to be rather creative for our dinners. The boneless pork chops looked just beautiful, so I grabbed a 4-pack of them for $4.47. It's the fall and squash is plentiful, so I was excited to see firm butternut squash (only $1.49!). I picked up a head of lettuce ($1.19) and a honey crisp apple ($.49)to round the meal off. All I needed were a few staple pantry items that are always on-hand. This market had all makings for: Balsamic Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Harvest Salad.

I peeled the squash, scooped out the seeds, and cut into large diced pieces. I arranged on a baking sheet and drizzled with EVOO, salt and pepper, and roasted in a pre-heated 425 degree oven until they were beautifully brown and caramelized. Butternut squash is such a healthy alternative to a heavy carbohydrate like potatoes or pasta, and since it's sweet, I knew it was going to pair really well with the pork. I wanted to use every part of this squash so I rinsed off the seeds and put them on some tin foil with EVOO, salt and pepper. These roasted in the oven for about 10 minutes before getting toasted and nutty-- which was a perfect crunch for the salad!

I seasoned the pork with salt, pepper, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I seared both sides in a hot grill pan w/ EVOO, and popped into the oven (which already had the squash) to finish cooking the rest of the way through (about 6 minutes).

For the salad, I made a simple dressing with balsamic vinegar, EVOO, agave syrup (you can use honey), salt, and cracked black pepper. I sliced the apple thinly, tossed everything together and topped with some of the roasted squash seeds.

What I created was a healthy and balanced meal in about 40 minutes total time! The best part? This meal was enough to feed four people (or my son and I twice!), for only $7.64!!!!!! That's insane!

I hope you try my Balsamic Pork Chops with Butternut Squash and Harvest Salad, and love it as much as we did!

Why Philly Food Girl?  Philly Food Girl was founded in 2014 in an effort to simply centralize all of my food photos. I’ve since had the privilege of becoming one of Philadelphia's top Influencers, and currently have the honor of being named a Food Network Magazine Tastemaker. My passion for all-things-food began as a child, and transitioned into hosting and cooking for loved ones. As Philly Food Girl, I freelance as Creator for local, national, and international brands, and partner with wide range of organizations for events and sponsorships. All of these accolades pale in comparison to my favorite job title: Mom.

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