Okay, I get it. We are all on a budget these days. And I’ve been eating healthier lately which is a LOT more expensive than eating convenience food. For a while I was spending less and less at the grocery while my waistline grew and grew from all of the delicious carbs and convenience food I was feeding it. When I decided to start working on that waistline, the grocery bill grew instead as I filled the cart with more fresh veggies and lean proteins. Ugh.
Anyway, I wanted to make something healthy-ish (I’m not completely depriving myself, y’all) but still try to impress my family with a yummy supper AND not break the bank. I made enough for four to six portions (even though there were only three of us) and the grand total for the ingredients (not counting things in my pantry like olive oil, salt, pepper and spices) was $28.05. And you’ll have some ingredients left over to use later in the week or to freeze (like the bacon, cheese, shallots, kale and scallions). Now, I don’t normally break down how much stuff costs for y’all but this time, I just wanted to show you how inexpensively you can make an impressive meal for your family or for company.
It IS possible to eat healthy(ish), on a budget, and pretty darn fancy. Now, I’m not going to lie – this is not a beginner recipe. I’m also not saying you need some advanced culinary degree to make it, but if you don’t cook often, it may seem a little challenging. But give it a try on a weekend. It took me about an hour but I cook a LOT so it may take a less experienced cook a bit longer. The good news is you can do almost all of it ahead by making the stuffing or even fully assembling the pork roulades before you put it all together. But once you have those guys in the pan, this comes together in about 15 minutes. So read this all before you get started so you have your plan in place.
This is yet another recipe in which I’m asking you to pull out your butcher’s twine. However, you could absolutely use toothpicks or skewers. It’s just a little more difficult to turn and brown them and there’s a chance of stuff leaking out. In this instance, I literally tied it up like a little present and made a knot in the middle. You can stick them in the fridge at this point or throw them right in your hot pan.
One of the really great things about this dish is you won’t dirty a lot of pots and pans. The stuffing, roulades and sauce all cook in the same skillet. If you are just making the recommended pot of pasta as the side, then you’ll really only have the two cooking pots plus one cake or casserole pan to clean up. Not bad at all and more time to spend with your guests and less time for clean up!
Kale and Sweet Potato Stuffed Pork Roulades (Stuffed Pork Chops) (serves 4-6)
- 6-8 boneless pork loin chops * ($ 8.34 for two packages of four), trimmed of excess fat
- salt and pepper (pantry)
- 4 slices of thick cut bacon ($7.98 per 1 1/2 lb package)
- 2-3 T shallot, minced ($1.78 for a package of two)
- 1 C sweet potato, quarter inch dice ($0.81)
- 1 packed C kale leaves, chopped ($0.98 for the bunch, this was about 1/4 of a bunch)
- 1/4 C olive oil (pantry)
- 1/4 t red pepper flakes (pantry)
- 1/4 lb diced sharp provolone cheese ($2.84 for an 8 oz. package), I bought the stuff from the dairy section but you could get just what you need from the deli
- 2 scallions, chopped, mostly the green parts ($0.98 for a bunch)
- 1/2 stick butter, divided (pantry)
- 3 T all purpose flour (pantry)
- 1 1/2 C low sodium chicken broth ($0.98 for 14 oz can)
- squeeze of lemon juice ($0.50 for one whole lemon)
- handful of chopped parsley (mine was free because it grows like a weed in my herb garden; it was $0.98 at the supermarket)
- 1 lb egg noodles ($1.88)
Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, gently pound pork chops until they are about 1/4 in thick. They’ll be about 5-7 inch across. Set aside.
Dice bacon and saute in large skillet until crisp and all fat rendered. Remove bacon to paper towels to drain, reserving a couple of tablespoons of bacon fat in the pan. Add sweet potato and cook over medium heat until beginning to brown and soften, about 6-8 minutes (add a little water if pan starts to get too dry). Add 1 T olive oil to skillet, then stir in shallot and continue to cook until shallot is translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Add kale with a little salt and pepper and the red pepper flakes. Cook until kale is beginning to wilt and get very green. Remove to a bowl and stir in cooked bacon. Allow to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in provolone and scallions. (If you are making the filling ahead, stick it in the fridge now but take it out about 1/2 hour before cooking to come to room temp.) Taste filling and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Wipe out skillet as you will be using it again in a few minutes.
Preheat oven to 225F.
Salt and pepper each of your chops on both sides. Place about 1/4 C filling on each chop, leaving about half an inch on three sides and a little more on the fourth side. Roll towards the wide margin and close each roll with toothpicks or tie with butcher’s twine – a weird product that you rarely need but comes in handy when you do. (If you want to make these ahead, you could put them in the fridge at this point. But you need to take them out to come to room temp at least a half hour before cooking.)
Bring a large pot of water to boil while you heat 2 T olive oil in your skillet over medium high heat. Add pork roulades to skillet, seam side down, and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until nice and brown on all sides. When roulades are browned on all sides, remove to a small oven safe pan and place in oven while you make your sauce. Add noodles to boiling water at this point.
Melt 2 T butter in your skillet (yes with all the lovely brown bits from the pork roulades) over medium heat. Add flour and stir constantly until raw smell of flour has cooked off, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly stir in chicken stock and bring to a simmer until slightly thickened (about 2-3 minutes). Squeeze a little lemon juice in (maybe 1 T) and give sauce a taste. Add salt and pepper as needed and turn off heat.
Remove pork roulades from oven and set them on a cutting board to rest for a few minutes.
Drain pasta and return to hot pasta pan with remaining butter along with some salt and pepper and a bit of your parsley. Stir to combine.
Cut strings or remove toothpicks and slice pork roulades diagonally. Serve on a bed of egg noodles, topped with a little sauce and garnished with parsley. You could absolutely also serve a green veggie or a salad with this to really round it out!
*To adapt this to be kosher, you could totally make this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts and leave out the bacon and cheese). I’ve made it this way myself before and it is absolutely delicious.