Archive for January, 2008

easy pork tenderloin

For a long time I have avoided cooking pork.  There hasn’t been a pork chop or pork loin in our house for a very long time.  There, I have said it.  That very statement alone may cause avid foodies (and Emeril) to stop reading right there.  I have avoided pork because my husband and I both have memories of dry, bland pork that required shake n’ bake  or honey mustard to cover the fact that the pig had died in vain. 

In my quest to cut back on red meat (see previous posts),  I knew that I needed to explore the world of pork before we were left with nothing but poultry, fish and pizza!  I was wandering around the blogosphere earlier in the week  when I stopped in at another blog that I enjoy reading, The clumsy cook.  There was a beautiful picture of heirloom pork tenderloin that made me decide to do something daring.  I went out and bought a pork tenderloin, and we had it for dinner tonight. 

I decided to start slow, so the recipe I used was ridiculously easy, and I have to admit I stole it right off the ww website.   I mixed the olive oil and spices and tenderloin together in the morning before I left for work and let it sit in the fridge all day.  Hubby had the right description when he called it “zippy”.  If you don’t like things well seasoned, you might want to use less of each spice, or just mix it right before cooking.  We had this with mashed potatoes and a salad.  I thought it went well with the Parducci Pinot Noir we got in our case of the week from Chapel Hill/Hillsborough Wine Co (more on that later).   It is now my favorite weeknight dinner, and I will try all kinds of other seasoning combinations in the future. 

One important note:  It is imperative that you use a meat thermometer, preferably a digital one, so that you don’t overcook the pork.  One overcooked pork dinner could cause you or your children slip into the same black hole of pork-avoidance that I have just crawled out of!  Insert the thermometer probe into the center of the meat before cooking and monitor throughout the process. This will make things much easier. 

Thanks to the Clumsy Cook for my inspiration!

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 pound lean pork tenderloinPreheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a shallow roasting pan with cooking spray.
    Combine thyme, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper in a small bowl; set aside.
    Rub oil all over pork. Sprinkle thyme mixture all over pork and transfer to prepared pan.
    Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of pork reads 160ºF, about 30 minutes.
    Let stand 10 minutes before slicing crosswise into thin (about 1/2-inch thick) slices. Yields about 3 ounces per serving.  3ww units


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 I am all for the “eat local” trend if it means I get to eat chocolates!

The other night, the hubby and I went out for dinner in downtown Hillsborough at the Gulf Rim Cafe.  On the way up Churton Street to the restaurant, we passed a new store front right next to the cafe…Matthew’s Chocolates!

Hubby took one look at me and said “Yes, we will stop on the way out.”  I love him so.

After our great dinner at the Gulf Rim, (I had a mahi mahi burrito and hubby had the crawfish pie, both excellent), we stopped in to check the place out.  The woman behind the counter explained the different pieces to us.  We picked two of Matthew’s signature candies and one that had a hazlenut filling.  The signature candies were painted yellow, blue and orange.  They were filled with real coconut and a whole almond.  We enjoyed them with a Cabernet Sauvignon we got from Chapel Hill Wine Co.  Yum.

Matthew’s logo


If you live in the area, you should definately make a point to take trip into downtown Hillsborough, NC.  The restaurants there are all local and they are great.  Even better you can support the local economy with great chocolate!



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Easy Asian Chicken and Noodles

I think I mentioned in the last post that I am trying to reduce the amount of red meat that we eat this year.  This is hard for me, because beef is always my safety net. When I don’t know what to have for dinner, I always know I can make some sort of beef dish and it will turn out pretty well; hamburgers, meatballs, lasagna, baked ziti, london broil, shepherd’s pie, french dips, pot roast, filets.   I know that I can replace the beef with ground turkey for some of those recipes, but let’s be honest… it is not the same.  I don’t ususally cook with pork, but I guess that is something I am going to have to explore.  I think I am going to need some help from all of you out there in internetland!

For this recipe, I have taken a dish that I normally make with beef, and replaced it with chicken.  My trick to get the chicken really thin was to slice the breasts while they were still partially frozen.  Note: You MUST have a good, sharp nice to do this.

The original recipe is  adapted from Cooking Light’s Easy Asian Beef and Noodles.   I love this recipe because it is so fast to put together, and it isn’t too expensive either.  The original recipe is said to serve 2 people, but I always have just enough left over to take in for lunch the next day.  When calculating the ww points for this recipe, I used 3 servings instead of 2.  I also add whatever veggies I have hanging around.  We enjoyed it with a nice pinot noir. 

 Easy Asian Chicken and Noodles

  • 1 tsp dark sesame oil, divided
  • 1 cup green onions, cut into 1 inch pieces 
  • 2 breast uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced very thin.
  • 2 cup packaged coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 cup zucchini
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 ramen noodle soup packages, chicken flavor
  • Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onions; stir-fry until chicken is no longer pink. Remove chicken mixture from pan; keep warm. Heat 1/2 teaspoon oil until hot. Add slaw, zucchini and broccoli; stir-fry 30 seconds. Remove slaw from pan; keep warm.

    Remove noodles from packages; reserve 1 seasoning packet for another use. Add the water and remaining seasoning packet to pan; bring to a boil. Break noodles in half; add noodles to water mixture. Cook noodles 2 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Stir in steak mixture, slaw, and soy sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

    ww points: 8-9

    I add more soy sauce on my serving when we get to the table, but that is just me. 

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    Happy 2008!  I love the start of a new year. We have just finished spending 2 weeks in Pennsylvania with family away from my own house and kitchen, and for some reason the nesting instinct has kicked in full-force.  I am obsessed with eating at home and organizing the house.  I give it a month until the lazy half of my personality takes over again!

    Part of my plan for 2008 is to cut back on red meat. For us, that means trying more seafood and vegetarian dishes.  Last night I made a twist on a favorite Cooking Light recipe; Baked Salmon with Cherry tomatoes.

    This recipe is great with salmon or tuna, and would probably suit many other types of fish.  Roasting made even my grocery store cherry tomatoes taste good!

     It is very easy to make and is perfect for a weeknight meal. The fact that it bakes in the oven means I have hands-off time to get other parts of the meal together.  Last night we tried a polenta with parmesan and spinach. It was so bad we shall never speak of it again…. I will keep trying polenta until I get it right.

    Baked Salmon (or Tuna) with Cherry Tomatoes

    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • salt
    • pepper
    • 2 cloves minced garlic
    • cooking spray
    • 2 salmon filets (I used tuna medallions)
    • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the first 6 ingredients in a baking pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat tomatoes. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Add fish to pan.  Bake an additional 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.  Serve tomato mixture over fish, drizzle with lemon juice.

    For those of you counting Weight Watchers for the new year, this recipe clocks in at 6 wwp.

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