Island Pork Tenderloin

Happy Sunday everyone!!  Sunday seems like a great night to cook and stay focused on something positive before another week of work. It’s all too easy to get the “Sunday blues”. Oh, and I did re-make that cashew chicken again this week since it was so delicious, with a little less brown sugar, and it turned out wonderful, definitely a new favorite in our home!!

This week I’ve been perusing the web for more recipes and somehow settled on this great looking pork tenderloin recipe, which I found on Epicurious.com (they got the recipe from Gourmet).  Pork tenderloins happened to also be on sale today, so it just made sense to go for it. 🙂  I just added some steamed broccoli and cauliflower to pair with it, nothing fancy.  Here’s the pork recipe below, the only change I made was that I use just under 3/4 a cup of brown sugar instead of the recommended 1 cup.  Here it is:

Ingredients

  1. For pork
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 2 pork tenderloins (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 pounds total)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. For glaze
    • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
    • 1 tablespoon Tabasco

Preparation

  1. Prepare pork:
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with spice rub.
    3. Heat oil in an ovenproof 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes total. Leave pork in skillet.
  2. Make glaze and roast pork:
    1. Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat onto top of each tenderloin. Roast in middle of oven until thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140°F, about 20 minutes. Let pork stand in skillet at room temperature 10 minutes. (Temperature will rise to about 155°F while standing).

Soooo, here’s the verdict on this one.  This pork definitely has a very unique flavor, it’s sweet and spicy, if you like that kind of thing.  It took me a minute but I ended up enjoying it.  The cook on it was fantastic once you let it rest for 10 minutes, so juicy and moist.  You can tell just looking at the picture!!  Madison doesn’t like Tabasco sauce so he really wasn’t a big fan of this dish, but he said to try Sriracha the next time and give it another go, as we both would usually go with Sriracha for a hot sauce anyways. I’d like to give that a try another time and see how we like it then.  If you like sweet and spicy, I’d definitely give this a try though! Here’s a picture of the pork tenderloins before going in the oven, once they came out, and once they are all nice and sliced and ready to eat!

Pulled Pork and Mashed Potatoes

Hello everyone, I’m back with something fun today! Everyone who has a slow cooker must have a recipe for pulled pork!  After searching several recipes, I went with a Betty Crocker recipe and made a few slight changes based on several of the recommendations.  The revised recipe that I went with is listed below, with some fun pictures to illustrate the simple and fun process of making some delicious pulled pork!  For the BBQ sauce, I went with Sweet Baby Ray’s today, but you can use any of your favorite BBQ sauces to personalize your pulled pork. 🙂 The pork loin was buy one, get one half off at My Jewel, so this must be the time to stock up on some if you’re interested, I’ve got another one in my freezer for next time!  I wanted to have a nice side for the pulled pork, so I went with mashed potatoes, which seemed like a great pairing.  I just pulled up a recipe for “perfect mashed potatoes” from simplyrecipes.com, another helpful recipe site.  I’ll list that recipe at the bottom for reference as well!  I will say, peeling potatoes is not going to become one of my favorite pastimes, especially these little yukons, they are hard to get a good grip on, slippery little things! Anyways, onto the recipes! I’ll start with the pulled pork….

Ingredients

1/2 tablespoon kosher (coarse) salt
1  tablespoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 pork loin roast (2 1/2 to 3 lb)
1/2 cup water
1 cup barbecue sauce

Directions

In small bowl, stir together salt, paprika, garlic powder and brown sugar.

Pulled Pork 1

Spray 4- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Rinse pork roast under cool water. Rub salt mixture on pork to cover completely. Place pork in slow cooker. Add water to side of pork.

Pulled Pork 2

Cover; cook on High heat setting 5 to 6 hours. (I went with 6 hours)

In slow cooker, use 2 forks to shred pork. Stir in barbecue sauce until well mixed.

And, as promised, here is also the recipe for the mashed potatoes!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds potatoes peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters (recommended yukon gold), 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 4 tablespoons of heavy cream, 2 tablespoons of butter, 1 tablespoon of milk (or more), salt and pepper to taste.

Directions:

  1. Place the peeled and cut potatoes into a medium saucepan. Add cold water to the pan until the potatoes are covered by at least an inch. Add a half teaspoon of salt to the water. Turn the heat on to high, and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer, and cover. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until you can easily poke through them with a fork.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter and warm the cream. You can heat them together in a pan on the stove or in the microwave.
  3. When the potatoes are done, drain the water and place the steaming hot potatoes into a large bowl. Pour the heated cream and melted butter over the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Then use a strong wooden spoon (a metal spoon might bend) to beat further. Add milk and beat until the mashed potatoes are smooth. Don’t over-beat the potatoes or the mashed potatoes will end up gluey.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the final product!!  I must say, this was SOOOO good!!  This is our favorite out of everything that I have made so far, definitely a keeper!  I think I’ll be making my yummy cashew chicken dish again this week too. 🙂 Thanks for reading!

Pulled Pork and Mashed Potatoes

 

Garlic Ranch Chicken, delish!!

Tonight, I thought I’d try something new and go with a chicken thigh recipe.  I found this great garlic ranch chicken recipe on Pinterest that I had been wanting to try.  The total time from prep to finish is about 45 minutes. I was excited to try this one as it’s easy to prep and sounded tasty, and I love my carrots!!  I didn’t really want 8 chicken thighs though, so I actually cut the recipe in half.  It worked perfectly with the new cast iron dish my mom got me too, so that’s even better.  The whole recipe from Pinterest is listed below.  I am considering altering this next time to use skin on chicken breasts and just cooking with a thermometer to ensure that it is fully cooked. This dish turned out really yummy, but I still prefer my white meat on most days.  This is a great recipe because it’s really easy to prep and bake but still has a lot of great flavor, so I’ll definitely be making this again, just with breasts next time!  Make sure you take the few minutes to broil at the end too, it makes such a difference! I’m sure you could easily swap out different veggies too, but I happen to really like the carrots and potatoes that were suggested. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this too if you decide to give it a try! 🙂

Ingredients

  • 8 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 16 ounces baby red potatoes, halved
  • 16 ounces baby peeled carrots
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (1-ounce) package Ranch Seasoning and Salad Dressing Mix
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking sheet or coat with nonstick spray.
  • Using your fingers, work the brown sugar, about 1 teaspoon per thigh, onto both sides of the chicken.
  • Place chicken, potatoes and carrots in a single layer onto the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with Ranch Seasoning and garlic; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Place into oven and roast until the chicken is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, about 25-30 minutes.* Then broil for 2-3 minutes, or until caramelized and slightly charred.
  • Serve immediately, garnished with parsley, if desired.

Orange Drop Cookies!!

Since it has been about 6 degrees outside all day with the “real feel” at -21 degrees, it seemed appropriate to make it a baking day to make it warm and cozy inside. 🙂  I decided to go with an old family recipe I got from my mother, who got the recipe from her mother. I’m not sure where she got it from, but it is absolutely my favorite!  They are basically a chocolate chip cookie but with cream cheese and orange rind added to add some extra kick of flavor.  They are sitting on my counter now cooling and they smell scrumptious!!  Now I think it’s time to curl up in a nice warm blanket with some hot tea and a good book.  I’ll be back later this week with some more cooking, as my parents just got me a nice new crock pot for my birthday and I can’t wait to use it!  Until then, bundle up and stay warm, and hopefully get some relaxation in this nice long weekend. Here’s a few pictures below!

Bread Encrusted Tilapia Fillets

Alright, so tonight it’s just me at home, so I thought I’d do one of those searches online for “cooking with ingredients at home”.  This brought me to supercook.com and I thought I’d go with the breaded tilapia.  I followed the recipe pretty closely, with the following exceptions: I used regular breadcrumbs, not panko, I used garlic powder instead of garlic granules, and I used olive oil instead of vegetable oil because I prefer cooking with this.  That being said, everything turned out just fine and it looks pretty, but it wasn’t anything special (in my mind).  I wouldn’t mind playing around with this breading and trying panko instead as I hear it makes a crunchier breading.  Sooo,  it was “meh”, not great, not bad.  I also had a side of spinach salad and just peeled some carrot on top. I love spinach!  I’ve been making lots of smoothies lately and have been sure to add a little spinach each time, so glad we got that nutribullet!!  Here’s today’s recipe below:

 

  1. In 3 pie plate sized dishes, put egg white, flour and crumbs.
  2. Combine crumbs with seasonings.
  3. Dredge fish on both sides in flour,.
  4. shaking exess.
  5. Dip next in egg white on both sides.
  6. and then place in crumbs.
  7. Make sure to press firmly on both sides, so the crumbs will stick.
  8. Heat a large, non stick, pan over medium heat.
  9. Add 1 tablespoons oil.
  10. Add both fillets and cook until golden.
  11. About 5 minutes.
  12. Flip over and add remaning oil.
  13. Swirl pan so fish moves and is coated with the oil.
  14. Continue browning until fish is cooked.
  15. About another 5 minutes.
  16. Serve hot.

 

Also, I had mentioned that my 30th birthday was yesterday, and it was wonderful!! I have so many really thoughtful people in my life, and am fortunate to have found the perfect partner (Madison), who is super supportive of my cooking journey! 🙂  I’ll be going shopping with my mom this coming weekend for my birthday and plan to get a nice big, good quality crock pot, which I’m excited about, it’s the year of cooking!  I’ll have to peruse through some more recipes to see what else I’d like to try, probably a new twist on baked chicken, we’ll see, have a good night all!!

One Pot Cashew Chicken

We made it to Friday, and I thought I’d end the week with a fun new recipe for the books!  I wanted to try one of my favorite meals, cashew chicken!  I actually found this great recipe for one-pot cashew chicken on Pinterest.  I followed the recipe except for that I did not have corn starch so to thicken it, I used flour.  Worked just as well!  Madison and I really enjoyed this dish, which is really exciting, another win!!  If I would make any changes, I would actually use a little less cashew and a little more chicken and broccoli.  We like our onions more diced than large cut too.  Anyways, this was really tasty and I’ll definitely add this to my list of recipes to make again. Success!! 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups raw broccoli
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1-2 cups cooked chicken ( you can even use canned chicken if you’re in a rush)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup chicken stock

Add at the end of cooking:

  • 1/4 cup water mixed with 2 tablespoons corn starch

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet add the broccoli, cashews, onion, cooked chicken, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, oil and chicken stock.  Turn on high heat, cover with a lid and bring to a boil.Once at a boil turn to medium heat and let boil for 7-8 minutes till broccoli is tender.
  2. Once broccoli is cooked, stir in the corn starch water blend.  This will thicken your sauce, stir till well blended  and sauce has formed, take off heat. Serve over rice or noodles. Enjoy!

Oh, and on a side note, I won’t be cooking much for the next few days.  I’ll be turning 30 on Monday (oh myyy!!) and am going out with friends tomorrow, have a family dinner Sunday, and am going out with my wonderful boyfriend, Madison on the big day for a nice dinner at this local Chicago restaurant called Gather.  It should be a fun few days!  I’ll think of something fun to try next week. Have a great weekend everyone!

Yummy Simple Pasta Dish

The middle of the work week is often difficult in terms of finding the motivation to cook and do chores. Tonight, I just made my easy go-to pasta dish for these kinds of nights.  It’s quick and easy, but I could eat this every week and still enjoy it!  To begin, I grab a handful of thin spaghetti pasta and toss it in boiling water for about 8 minutes, adding some salt and pepper. While cooking, I mince 2 cloves of fresh garlic. Once the pasta is cooked, I drain it in a colander and let it sit for a minute. I turn the heat down to low and add about 2 teaspoons of olive oil and the garlic to the pot. Once hot, I add the noodles back in and stir it up, and a little salt, pepper and parsley to taste.  During the summer I use fresh basil which is so good!  After that, the pasta is ready to go and just add a little parmesan to top it off, voila! Easy dinner!  I’ll be planning to make something new again this weekend and will post to share how it turns out!

Oh, and I tried our new nutribullet for the first time today, and it worked great! I just made banana and strawberry smoothies using banana, frozen strawberry, a little crushed ice, and strawberry banana v-8 fusion. Yumm! I’ll have to pick up some greens like spinach to add some more nutrition. It’s so quick and easy though, definitely a great gift! I’m sure I’ll be trying a lot of fun drinks soon….for now, I’ve got to go get ready for yoga! Happy Thursday. 🙂

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