“If I had to narrow my choice of meats down to one for the rest of my life, I am quite certain that meat would be pork.” ― James Beard

TGIF!!!!

Anyone else as ready for it to be Friday as I am??? Goodness, what a long week. At least it’s been a productive one. One of the most productive things I did was re-signup at the gym. I’ve made a pact with myself.  I MUST go at least twice a week! 3 days would be preferable but I will not beat up on myself if its just 2.

Wish me luck.

I have to admit – I’ve never been one to cook many pork tenderloins. Mainly because they always seem dry.

But alas! I have found one that is not!!!

I made it this past weekend and even though my “pan sauce” separated and didn’t’ thicken as it should – it was still yummo!!

The tenderloin went great with mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts!

The marinade is just awesome.  I think I might try it with chicken.

Recipe adapted from Chef Mommy.

Marinade  (I need a good name for this)

  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp fresh parsely (I used dried because it was all I had)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed

Mix all ingredients together. Reserve 2-3 Tablespoons. Marinate 1 lb pork tenderloin in ziploc bag for at least 3 hours.

(Mine marinated all day)

I think the longer the better.

Take the pork from marinade and sear all sides for 2-3 minutes in hot skillet over medium-high heat.

Place in baking dish with several tablespoons of the marinade (from the bag – not the reserved marinade) and bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes.

To make the pan sauce (or try in my case)

Take the skillet you seared your pork in and deglaze with ½ cup chicken broth.  Add the reserved marinade and let boil down for 2-3 minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons of butter (oops! I think thats where I messed up – I did tablespoons). Stir until melted. Pour over sliced pork.

Do you see all the extra butter floating around??? How could you not?!

A little extra butter never hurt anyone……..

As for the brussel sprouts. Just half or quarter them according to size.

Toss with extra virgin olive oil, garlic salt and fresh ground pepper. Place on a foil lined baking dish.

Roast for 20 minutes at 415°.

Turn them 1-2 times during that time.

I like mine a little black and crispy.

Right now would be a great time to sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese!

Even with the ugly looking pan sauce this meal was a winner!

Will definitely make again!

On another note – it’s always great to have these nice meals with all the different ingredients, but I gotta tell you – that grilled cheese sandwich that I made tonight (with plain old white sandwich bread, a cheese slice and butter) was like a little slice of heaven after a long day.  I finished it up with Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk straight from the carton, in my pajamas, watching the first college football game of the season. I am one happy, happy girl. 🙂

abp

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“I love a rainy night, I love a rainy night, I love to hear the thunder, Watch the lightning when it lights up the sky. You know it makes me feel good.” – Eddie Rabbitt

I hate that I have been MIA for the passed few days but I worked late on Thursday and then the weekend was just crazy busy! In a good way – there just was not any time to sit down at the computer.

Also, I did try a cookie recipe but it was a FAIL. So I didn’t post about that. 😦

It’s been quite rainy here and I love it. Maybe I’m weird but rain makes me happy. Granted I would not want it all the time but I welcome it most anytime – as long as I’m not on a trip sightseeing. Or at the beach. Or Disney World. Or driving a long way. Ok, well maybe I just like it to rain when I’m home or at work or at church. There is something comforting about it.

As fun as the weekend has been and as much as I love to go out and eat, I’m happy to be back in the kitchen.

Tonight I’m trying a Paula Deen recipe. Two actually.

Quick Italian Salad and Chicken Pesto Pasta

The salad is simple.

Grab a bag of Italian blend salad mix and a cup of halved cherry tomatoes. Toss.

(I totally forgot to add the tomatoes in – duh)

Next whisk up the following in a bowl.

  • 1 envelope of zesty italian dressing mix
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons of prepared ranch dressing.

You then drizzle the dressing over salad and refrigerate any leftovers up to 2 weeks.

Of course I must add Parmesan cheese and croutons.

For the Chicken Pesto Pasta you will need:

  • 1 (16-ounce) package fettuccine (didn’t have – so used linguine)
  • 1 pound fresh chicken tenderloins (I used cutlets)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup prepared pesto (I used around a ½ cup)

First, cook fettuccine according to package directions, drain, set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown.

Remove and cut into ½ inch pieces.

Add onion and bell pepper to skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until tender.

Next, add squash and zucchini and cook and additional 3-4 minutes.

Stir in cream and pesto and cook for 5 minutes – so it is slightly thickened.

Add pasta and chicken, toss to coat and to warm back up.

Serve with garlic bread or these Parmesan Knots that I really like to do – I’ll have to share that recipe with you sometime soon!

As I mentioned last week – the peanut gallery will not be getting dessert since they are getting dinner but I do hope to be making a Creamy Peanut Butter Tart later in the week they can taste test for me!!! Keep an eye out for that!

****This is my take on the pasta (fyi – the peanut gallery loved it), I think the sauce was missing something. That was one reason I added more pesto. I believe it needed to be finished off with wine or chicken broth to give a little more flavor, maybe saute some garlic with it too. It was a little bit too much just cream for me. Get what I’m saying? – no kick. It was really good but next time I make it – I will doctor it up. But hey – that’s just me, some people like it more on the tame side. ****

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend. These weeks are just flying by!! Christmas is just around the corner and that makes me hyperventilate.

Don’t get me wrong – Christmas is my favorite time of the year! It’s just that I will be hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner – that plus 3 trees and a Christmas village. Whew. I’m tired just thinking about it……..

~Catch ya later~

abp

“I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore; While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray, I hear it in the deep heart’s core.” – William Butler Yeats

Fabulous day! For starters, the weather could not have been better – it felt like fall when I walked outside to get the paper.

NO humidity!!!!

So after coffee and a couple loads of clothes, it was off to Church – the service was great, as usual. 🙂

Then it was home to shed the spiffy duds and off to the lake with a quick stop at KFC’s drive through – have you tried their new chicken bites??? If not, I recommend you do – yummy!

The next few hours were spent bobbing around on our floats working on our tans, yapping away with my mom and the hubby as he read on the dock. It really is the simple things in life that make it special.

When I returned home (a touch pink) I really wanted to cook something simple and light. So I decided on Spicy Lemon Butter baked red snapper and a lemon orzo salad with asparagus and tomatoes.

The salad is adapted from SparkRecipes.com – lots of good healthy recipes on this site. The snapper recipe is from my dear friend Dianne, who whipped this up last time she was at the beach and she passed it on to me. (Thank you D.C.!)

Lemon Orzo Salad with Asparagus and Tomatoes

  • 6 oz of orzo pasta
  • ½ bunch of skinny asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ pint of grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley minced
  • kosher salt (to taste)
  • fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Start by boiling 2 large pots of salted water.

Cook orzo according to package in one and blanch the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in the other. Drain pasta and remove asparagus with slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Combine orzo, tomatoes and asparagus in large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper.

Mix all ingredients together and then stir in Parmesan cheese.

This can be served warm, room temperature or chilled. I liked it chilled – great summer salad!

The snapper (bought from my fish man, Bayou Joe) was super easy and very flavorful!!

Place the snapper skin down in baking dish. Pour 1 stick of melted butter over the filets, sprinkle with cajun seasoning, garlic salt and cover with lemon slices.

Bake at 425° for 25 minutes.

There you go! Simple and healthy!!

Now I’m off to watch the Olympic Closing Ceremonies!!

Hope everyone had a super fabulous weekend!

abp

“I am not a glutton – I am an explorer of food” ― Erma Bombeck

How is everyone (in Alabama) enjoying their tax free weekend? I had a fun little run at Belk and Publix yesterday morning but it became way to crazy busy for me out there, so the rest of my day was spent piddling around the house. Which I really enjoy doing. Great time to be lazy and stay cool. And watch my main man Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory on the DVR! Does anyone else love that show as much as I do?? Bazinga!

Oh! I also painted my toes a fun new color – Bikini So Teeny by Essie.

Whatcha think??

In other news – the weekend of gluttony continues……

I ate lunch with the DH at Zoe’s Kitchen – which wasn’t too bad except for the giant chocolate chip/chocolate chunk cookie they have sitting by the register that I can not resist for any amount of money.  I also made it through the afternoon without a snack so there is absolutely no guilt about the awesome cheesy goodness of the Simple, Perfect Enciladas I made for dinner.

First of all, let me tell you about the salad I usually make to serve with any mexican dish – it’s yummy, easy to assemble and is a really great accompaniment for this meal.

I call it my Sante Fe Ranch Salad.

  • Hearts of Romaine lettuce (in a bag)
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese
  • Can of black bean (drained and rinsed)
  • Can of corn (drained and rinsed)
  • Bag of tortilla strip salad toppers
  • Hidden Valley Ranch Spicy Ranch Dressing

You just place the lettuce in a big bowl or individual bowls, top with a mixture of the beans and corn, sprinkle with cheese, as much dressing as desired and then finish it off with the tortilla strips. Yummy and pretty!

As for the Enchiladas, The Pioneer Woman refers to the components of the meal as The Sauce, The Meat and The Rest, so that is how I will go at it. Also, I am halving this recipe because it’s just the two of us and the original serves 8.

The recipe below is the half recipe.

The Perfect Enchiladas

The Sauce

  • ½ Tbs of canola oil
  • 1 Tbs of flour
  • 1 (14 oz) can of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup of chicken broth
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • ¼ tsp of pepper
  • 1 Tbs of chopped cilantro, more for serving

The Meat

  • ½ lb. ground beef
  • ½ medium onion (chopped)
  • 1 (4 oz.) can of diced green chilies
  • ¼ tsp of salt

The Rest

  • 6-8 Corn tortillas
  • canola oil for frying
  • ¼ cup chopped black olives (I omitted these because I don’t like ’em)
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • 1½ cup of shredded cheddar cheese (I used mexican blend)
  • Cilantro

You start by combining the flour and canola oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk this together and let bubble for 1 minute.

Then pour in the red sauce, chicken broth, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.

Brown the meat and onions in a large skillet and drain the fat. Add to that the green chillies and salt. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.

In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly fry the tortillas one at a time in the canola oil just until soft (do not crisp). Drain on paper towels.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spread ¼ cup of the sauce in the bottom of baking dish.

Next dip each tortilla in the sauce and place on platter to be assembled.

Layer meat mixture, (black olives if you wish), green onions and cheese.

Roll up the tortilla and place seam side down in baking dish.

Once all of the tortillas are finished stir the cilantro into remaining sauce and pour over the tortillas.

Top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Once out of oven sprinkle with more cilantro.

ench

I served this with the aforementioned salad and cooked seasoned black beans.

HOLY HOT TAMALE!!! – these puppies were awesome!!!! I have to give credit to the Pioneer Woman – she knows how to make an enchilada!!!

The DH went back for 3rds and was scraping the bottom of the baking dish as he took it to the sink (I cook, he does the dishes :)). He also said we could have those again tomorrow night – you have to understand – Mexican is not his favorite (Italian is), so this is really saying something. Note: the serving for 8 was cut in half and the 2 of us finished it off……

They were so good, I kind of hate that this was not a peanut gallery meal.  Oh well, they will eventually get to try it because this is going on the normal rotation!!!

It was a little time consuming – probably not one I would want to make after a long day at work unless I had the components made up ahead of time, which would be doable except for frying the tortillas. I need to keep that in mind because I have a feeling this one will be requested again in no time!

Give it a try! I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!!

abp