Maple- Mustard Pork Chops w/ Winter Squash Puree

Cover recipe-  Cooking Light, Maple Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree: March 2010

This month’s Cooking Light cover features:  “Healthy, Quick, Comfort Favorites:  Recipes that are Ready in a Hurry.”  The article talks about a simple 1-2-3 system for stocking the fridge and pantry with easy-to-find foods.  1.  Stick with 10 minute meats & seafood (choose things that can cook quickly), 2.  Shop for low-fuss veggies (choose pre-cut or frozen varieties to save chopping time)  3.  Add a side of fast-cooking whole grain (couscous, quinoa and precooked brown rice in a pouch).

I must admit that this cover recipe- Maple- Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree– didn’t appeal to me all that much.  Pork chops have never been a very successful dinner for me (meaning, I’ve killed every pork chop I’ve ever tried to make), and the recipe for this one didn’t seem all that exciting.  But when I took a closer look, I realized that cookbook author Ellie Krieger wrote the recipes for this section.  I’ve tried many of Krieger’s recipes and have been successful with each and every one.  Could it be that I had finally found a pork chop recipe that wouldn’t result in something so tough that it feels like you’re biting into a Goodyear tire?  I was now excited to try the recipe.  See my notes below for the results…

Print Print Recipe

Maple- Mustard Pork Chops with Winter Squash Puree

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 15 min


For pork chops:
4 (6-ounce) bone-in-center-cut pork chops
1/2 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
cooking spray
1 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

For Winter Squash Puree:
1/3 cup fat-free, less sodium chicken broth
2 (12-ounce) packagees frozen cooked butternut squash
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. grated orange rind
1 1/2 tsp. maple syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper


For pork chops:
1.  Sprinkle both sides of pork with 1/4 tsp. salt and pepper.
2.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Coat pan with cooking spray.  Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through, but with a slight blush in the center.  Remove from pan; keep warm.
3.  Return pan to medium-high heat.  Add butter to pan, swirling to coat.  Add shallots; saute 3 minutes or until tender and translucent.  Add broth; bring to a boil, and cook 1 minute.  Stir in mustard, syrup, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; cook 1 minute or until slightly thick.  Return pork to pan.  Cook pork 1 minute on each side or until thoroughly heated (be careful not to overcook pork).  Serve pork with sauce.  Garnish each serving with 1 1/2 tsp. parsley.

For Winter Squash Puree:
Place broth and squash in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Cover and cook 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.  Add butter and remaining ingredients; stir until combined.


*I've found that it's tough to find good-looking pork chops.  This recipe calls for bone-in.
*I was afraid that I would either overcook or under-cook the pork.  Trust your instincts and follow the directions.
*The winter squash puree recipe calls for frozen, cooked butternut squash.  I've never, ever seen this in my markets in Southern California.  I didn't have any problem cutting up fresh butternut squash and roasting it myself though, so that's what I did.
*I don't know about putting maple in both the pork chops AND the winter squash puree.  The squash is so good on its own with just a little butter, orange rind & chicken broth.  Next time I'd skip the maple syrup and save the calories.

Nutritional info for the pork chop
(serving size:  1 pork chop & 1 Tbsp. sauce):
calories  283, Fat  15.1g, Protein 27.1g, Carb 8.2g, fiber .3g, cholesterol 84mg, iron 1.1mg, sodium 456 mg, calcium 44mg

Nutritional Information for squash puree (serving size 3/4 cup)
calories  100, Fat  3g, Protein 2.4g, Carb 19g, fiber 4.9g, cholesterol 8mg, iron 1mg, sodium 204mg, calcium 37mg

Cooking Light, March 2010

The results:

I was pleased to find that these pork chops turned out absolutely perfect.  My whole family gobbled them up in no time at all- not dry or tire-tread-like in any way.  I finally found a recipe for pork chops that works!

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely.  It was really simple to make, and I was very happy with the end result.  It fit the theme of “healthy, quick, comfort favorites.”

Lori is the founder of She's a professional recipe developer and food writer, and she's the author of The Recipe Girl Cookbook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: April 2013). Beyond food, Lori enjoys traveling, being outdoors, running, and maybe even singing a little karaoke. The mountains near Lake Tahoe are home for Lori and her husband of 18 years. They have an 12 year-old son who blogs at

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8 Responses to “Two- Cheese Macaroni and Cheese”

  1. 1

    Renee @ Awesome on $20 — September 2, 2013 @ 12:31 pm

    Yeah, when you said ‘healthy mac & cheese” I was like, there’s no such thing. I’m glad to see that you liked it. I’ll have to give it a try.

  2. 2

    Tieghan — September 2, 2013 @ 8:03 pm

    Oh wow, this looks amazing!! I have never used chicken broth in mac and cheese, but I trust you, so I think I need to make this! Thank you for sharing!

  3. 3

    Anna@CrunchyCreamySweet — September 3, 2013 @ 3:40 pm

    I will have to try this lighter version of mac and cheese as my kids are huge fans! Great review, Lori!

  4. 4

    bridget {bake at 350} — September 3, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

    Lori…this looks so good! Cream cheese?!? Hello! Love your notes! I always love a little red pepper, too!

  5. 5

    Becky — September 4, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

    Interesting. Since you do not salt the pasta is it salty enough? I’m a big proponent of cooking my pasta in heavily salted water since it flavors the entire outcome of a pasta dish, but I’m guessing the chicken broth stands in for the salted water. So if you make this a 3 serving meal it becomes 716 calories per serving – yikes! I always like to add some dry mustard to my mac n cheese. Especially since this recipe is careful not to use too much cheese, some mustard or red pepper flakes would probably add great flavor!

    • Lori Lange replied: — September 4th, 2013 @ 1:11 pm

      I personally didn’t think so, but I also like to add a good sprinkle of salt to pretty much everything when it is served!

  6. 6

    Jamie — September 9, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    I made this as a side dish and my family loved it, my son and I ate it for a couple days afterwards. When I asked my husband how he liked it his response was “very good, but it can’t be healthy” and I told him it was a lightened up version of mac & cheese, he was surprised. It was very good and I will make this again. Next time I’ll add the red pepper flakes as Lori suggested and maybe some spinach to give it some more nutrients. I also used more garlic than the recipe called for and we thought the garlic was a huge bump to making this so good.

    • Lori Lange replied: — September 10th, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

      Adding spinach sounds like a wonderful idea! Glad you all enjoyed…

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