Creating a New Sargent Choice Meal: Pumpkin Spice Pork

By Caitlin Quinn, BU Dietetic Intern

As part of my dietetic internship I spent three weeks in a food service rotation working with the Sargent Choice (SC) program.  My task for the three weeks was to create a new SC meal to debut in the Warren Towers dining hall.  It was a very interesting experience, and it really opened my eyes to what goes on behind the scenes in dining services, as well as how much work goes into a SC meal.

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The first step in creating a new SC item was to find what was missing.  I found that there were limited pork options so I began searching for pork recipes among others.   After days of compiling and analyzing recipes I brought 11 to be reviewed by the food service director and executive chef.   Luckily they all loved my personal favorite recipe- pumpkin spiced pork with roasted parsnips, sweet potato, and apple, and sautéed Swiss chard!

With the recipe chosen it was time to price out the meal, and order the ingredients for the test meal, so I could get final approval from the executive chef.  The meal got rave reviews, and after some minor adjustments I was ready to prepare it for 500 hungry students!

On November 16th I arrived at the kitchen at 8:30 AM to being preparing for the 11 AM debut.   After four hours of chopping and cooking Swiss chard, and another 2 hours serving, I was exhausted, but the meal was a success!

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ready to serve Warren Towers!

Before this experience I never realized how much work it takes to feed thousands of students each day, and what a great job the dining staff does.  We pulled off this recipe on a large scale but look below for a scaled down version of the recipe.

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our happy interns, Moragn Medders (left) and Caitlin Quinn (right)!

Pumpkin Spiced Pork (Makes 4 servings)


Cooking spray
4 (4-ounce) boneless pork chops
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray.

2. Rub pork chop with olive oil, pumpkin spice, and pepper.

3. Add pork to pan, sauté 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until done.

Honey Roasted Parsnips, Sweet Potatoes & Apples

Makes 4 servings


Cooking spray
½ pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ -2 cups)
1 large unpeeled sweet potato, cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)
3 firm, sweet red delicious apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into bite size cubes (about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
½ tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat medium casserole dish or baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Peel and cut parsnips into bite size cubes.  Cut sweet potato and apple into bite size cubes.
  4. Mix together in large mixing bowl.
  5. Combine honey and oil in microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 10 seconds until warm.  Mix soy sauce into the honey mixture. Pour sauce over vegetables and apples.  Toss to coat well.  Transfer mixture into prepared dish or baking sheet.  Bake for 45min-1hour, or until tender.

Serve warm.

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Time to Dig in!

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Recipe modified from: The New American Plate Cookbook; American Institute for Cancer Research

One Comment

pork recipes fan posted on January 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm

Wow, thank you for this post! It is so important to appreciate the hard ‘behind the scenes’ work that goes on to make our student experience so comfortable. A big thank you to all of the staff who do this on a daily basis!

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