Smokey the Bear and Fall Noodle Bowl to take to your cave

Breakfast at The Farmer's Daughter in Easton MA included egg over chicken-butternut squash hash, rye toast, a salad and chive walrus tusks for selfies.
Breakfast at The Farmer’s Daughter in Easton MA included egg over chicken-butternut squash hash, rye toast, a salad, of course, and chive walrus tusks for selfies.

This is the time of year when I eat as though I were going to hibernate — red meat, salmon, honey, anything I find under logs in the forest. Add to that a world-class cold I brought home last week from a Boston food fest, and you have the potential for serious ballooning.

All this just as the sugarplum fairies are gathering their evil forces on the horizon for the holiday onslaught. (Wow, talk about mixed metaphors — I think I’ve outdone even me.)

Nonetheless, we know they’re coming —  like the new season of “The Walking Dead” — lurching into our lives, moaning Christmas noels and unstoppable. In my online support group, we’re steeling ourselves. Talking kale and turmeric and power lifting and skipping the dessert sections in all the holiday food magazines.

Will it work? Every year I last until I get stressed, then I cave and, next thing you know, I’m a Walker. Vibrating with refined carbs, glassy-eyed with too much sugar and eventually sick from a weakened immune system.

Fresh and hearty, loaded with antioxidants for the flue season ahead.
Fresh and hearty, loaded with antioxidants for the flu season ahead.

I’m hoping homemade soup will fix all of the above. It’s warm and filling, relatively low-calorie and helps with the enormous amount of liquid I need to be drinking. By the time you have some of this Fall Noodle Bowl, you’ll feel cherished, healthy(er) and able to defeat germs and fairies in a single bound.

I added salt and pepper and substituted frozen sweet peas for soybeans. Like my Danish friend Birgit, I consider soy to be suitable for livestock only (except for soy sauce — that’s grandfathered into my list of acceptable food). I have no use for soy milk, soybeans and/or tofu. In an unenlightened word, “Yuck.”

I also skipped boiling the pork for 15 minutes. We’re no longer worried about pink pork, and you want this pork just achingly tender. I sliced it into thin bites and added it with the spinach at the last minute.

The recipe appeared in the October issue of the Spry Living newspaper supplement, a piece titled “Dinners on a Diet.” Each of the 6 servings has around 340 calories, 55 mg cholesterol, 30 g protein and 8 g fiber. It’s good stuff.

Fall noodle bowl

3 ounces bacon

1-1/4 pounds marinated pork tenderloin (buy ready-marinated or do it yourself)

3 tablespoons real maple syrup

2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard

2 yellow onions, sliced thinly

1 cup frozen shelled edamame or sugar peas

1 cup peeled, cubed sweet potato

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

3 cups fresh spinach

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups COOKED whole-wheat spaghetti

1/2 cup finely shredded Cheddar cheese

6 tablespoons chopped green onions

Cook bacon in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Remove to paper towels for draining. Add pork, maple syrup and mustard and cook, covered, 20 minutes. Pork won’t be done, but it will get continue to cook after you remove it from pan, tent it in foil and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.

Add onion to Dutch oven; saute 5 minutes. Add beans or peas, sweet potato and broth and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in bacon, spinach and pork; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Divide pasta among 6 bowls. Top with pork mixture, cheese and green onions.

You probably don't need more carbs with the pasta in this soup but an avocado-orange salad might be a good accompaniment.
You probably don’t need more carbs with the pasta in this soup but an avocado-orange salad might be a good accompaniment.





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