February seems to have its share of holidays: Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and sometimes, depending on the calendar, Superbowl Sunday, Mardi Gras, and Chinese New Year. Groundhog Day is always held on February 2nd, and many families (mine included) serve dishes made of “ground hog” (pork). Of course, this is an extremely important holiday; and on that day, we get a prediction of either an early spring or six more weeks of winter depending on whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow. The biggest celebration in the US is held in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and most of the country watches as the most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, makes his predictions. Unfortunately his predictions aren’t always 100 percent correct, but Groundhog Day gives us an excuse to serve good pork dishes, or desserts that resemble groundhogs, so nobody really cares.
This year, I decided to serve a ground pork loaf, shaped like a groundhog (if you use your imagination, of course), surrounded by vegetables in a one-pan dinner that is quick and easy enough to be made after work. In fact, this One-Pan Groundhog Dinner can be made from start to finish in about an hour in an electric fry pan (The loaf can be made the night before and refrigerated to save even more time). I’m sure you could substitute a real groundhog for the pork loaf, but dressed groundhogs are hard to get, and my local grocery stores never seem to carry them.
Although this dinner includes everything you need for a well-balanced dinner, a salad and some freshly baked bread (from the bakery or homemade) are good accompaniments if you have time. Happy Groundhog Day!
2 pounds lean ground pork
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped or 2 tablespoons dried
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 cups cooked rice
1 10 oz. can pork gravy
1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning with salt (or other favorite seasoning)
2 green olives
1/2 cup butter
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" slices
1 large onion, quartered
1 pound frozen cut okra
- Mix the ground pork, chopped onion, egg, bread crumbs, rice, gravy, and seasoning salt.
- Form into a groundhog (loaf with a slightly pointy snout) about 2 inches thick.
- With a sharp knife, score the top about 1/4" deep in a diamond pattern.
- Press the green olives in the pointed part for eyes.
- Chill if not using immediately.
- In a large electric fry pan set at 350°, melt the butter.
- Place the groundhog in the center; set the sweet potatoes, cut side down, around the sides.
- Scatter the onions over the sweet potatoes, then top with the okra, half on each side.
- Cover and cook for 10 minutes; lower the heat to simmer and let cook, without removing the lid, for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 422 Calories from Fat 193
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 46% Protein 19% Carb. 35%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 21 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 96 mg
Sodium 198 mg
Total Carbohydrate 37 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 20 g
Vitamin A 315% Vitamin C 46% Calcium 0% Iron 14%