Pork Tenderloin on a Stick!

Sometimes getting the family to try something new requires creativity. Maybe it's not the ingredients; perhaps it's the presentation. Take these lollipops for example. My son Luke "doesn’t eat pork." This from a kid who devours all the bacon at every breakfast buffet we encounter. I'd rather he eat pork tenderloin – it's crammed with protein and devoid of all that visible bacon fat. Enter pork tenderloin on a stick!

In this dish, I coat the pork with an intense blend of chipotle chile powder, cumin, oregano, and turmeric. It's pretty spicy, but my kids like fiery food. If your family is spicy-shy, reduce the amount of chipotle powder or substitute chili powder.

The dunking dip is a fabulous blend of mango, onion, citrus-based ponzu sauce, fresh lime, and cilantro – it's actually the perfect partner for the pork because it cuts some of the heat from the spices. Finally, putting the pork on ice-pop sticks turns an already fabulous meal into a fun feast.

Note: Since the pork is already cooked when you add the wooden sticks, that can be a job for the kids!

Pork Tenderloin Pops
Cooking spray

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut crosswise into 8 equal pieces (about 1-inch thick each)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 cups diced fresh or frozen and thawed mango
1/2 cup chopped white onion
3 tablespoons ponzu sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juice and zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
8 ice-pop sticks or craft sticks

Coat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and preheat to medium-high.

Season both sides of the pork pieces with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, and turmeric. Mix well. Rub the mixture all over both sides of the pork. Add the pork to the hot pan and cook for 3 minutes per side, until slightly pink in the center.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine the mango, onion, ponzu sauce, garlic, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, and 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest. Puree until blended and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the mango sauce to individual bowls (for dunking the pork) and top the sauce with cilantro.

Insert ice-pop sticks (or metal or wooden skewers) into each pork piece and serve alongside the mango sauce.

Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 208
Total Fat: 4 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 19 grams
Sugars: 15 grams
Protein: 25 grams
Sodium: 566 milligrams
Cholesterol: 65 milligrams
Fiber: 2 grams

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.

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