Smoky Pork Tenderloin
What does it say about Atlanta summer heat when it's too hot to go outside and light the grill and the cooler option is actually crank up the oven to 450 and heat up the kitchen? I just couldn't bring myself to go out and light the grill yesterday afternoon so it was oven roasted pork tenderloin for us.
Turns out - this recipe for smoky pork tenderloin is perfect for the grill AND the oven. I'm giving you my oven version of the recipe today and when the temperature drops to a more reasonable level, I'll repost the grilled version of this same recipe.
Smoky Pork Tenderloin
1 pound pork tenderloin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons oil
1 large sweet potato
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 thyme springs
1 Tablespoon butter
Add browned pork to pan and roast another 10-15 minutes until internal temperature reaches 140.
Remove pork and let rest 10 minutes.
Remove potatoes and drizzle with half of the sauce.
Slice pork and drizzle with remaining sauce.
Keeping it simple for summer dinners. A dinner roll and a green salad was all that was needed to finish off this meal perfectly.
Stay cool out there friends and enjoy your summer.
Last Spring I asked my family what vegetables THEY wanted to plant in our garden. I really wanted eggplant, Ben chose green beans and Courtney wanted to plant carrots. We've planted carrots in the past with moderate success and we seem to get a little better at our carrot farming ever year. This year, we ended up with a bumper crop of delicious, crisp, beautiful carrots.
Faced with an abundance of fresh carrots in my refrigerator, I've had to come up with some create ways to use them. We like them best when they're fresh, cut into sticks and dipped in ranch dressing but one family can only eat so many carrots sticks.
My family isn't crazy about cooked carrots (and by that I mean that they refuse to eat them) so this recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Carrots was a risk. My hope was that my family would be more open to the idea of cooked carrots since they were grown in our own garden. Turns out - it doesn't matter where the carrots are grown - they're still less than thrilled with the idea of a cooked carrot.
We loved the pork chops in this recipe - the noodles - delicious - the sauce - amazing - the carrots - crisp and delicious. (My opinion about the carrots is all my own and not necessarily shared by my family.) The key is to cut the carrots into large enough pieces so that they maintain some of their crispness and don't get soft and soggy.
Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Carrots
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
3 Tablespoons flour
3/4 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 pound shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 thyme sprigs
2 oregano sprigs
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 pork chops
3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup white wine
6 ounces uncooked egg noodles
2 Tablespoons heavy cream
2 fresh thyme leaves
Place pork chops over carrots and pour wine sauce over pork. Cook on low 7 hours.
Let pork chops rest for 5 minutes.
Divide noodle mixture between 4 plates. Top with a pork chop and sprinkle with thyme.
Despite the negative comments I heard about the cooked carrots - I would call this meal a success. The mushroom, white wine, cream sauce is absolutely, lick the plate - delicious. It really is - THAT good. I love this recipe and I hope that you do too.
I rarely drink caffeine but I have to admit that there are days when I regret that decision. Waking up early with Courtney for her first week of college classes might have been just a little bit easier with the help of a hot cup of joe. As hard as it was to drag myself out of bed at what my body thought was the middle of the night - I never gave into the caffeine temptation. Nope - I pushed through the fatigue with a cup of herbal tea in my hand. Crazy - I know.
I'm happy to say that my body is slowly adjusting to the early morning wake up calls WITHOUT the use of caffeine. (Everyone has to take a stand against something and apparently - I'm taking my stand against caffeine.)
Don't get me wrong, it's not that I think caffeine is the root of all evil. It's just that I've been caffeine free for so long that it has a REALLY negative effect this caffeine free body. When I'm under the influence of caffeine, I lose the ability to STOP talking or to control the volume at which I speak. Everything I say comes out really fast and really loud. (My family thinks it's hilarious, by the way.)
Now that I've said all that - it's going to seem odd for me to present my newest cupcake creation - a dark chocolate espresso cupcake! Talk about caffeine overload. One bite of this caffeine laden cupcake was all it took for me to determine that these were delicious but also not my best choice if I wanted to fall asleep in the next 24 hours. This cupcake is for all of my caffeine loving friends. I will live vicariously through all of you.
1 cup flour
1 cup + 2 T. sugar
1/4 cup dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup espresso or very strong coffee
12 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Special Dark Cocoa
2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup milk
Blend in espresso. (or coffee)
Scoop batter into prepared cupcake pan and bake 22 minutes at 350.
Cool on wire racks.
Frost cupcakes and decorate with chocolate covered espresso beans.
So here's to all of you who crave a good boost of caffeine and chocolate in your day. Let's face it - who couldn't use a little extra energy boost at about 3:00 every afternoon?
Lasagna has always been a favorite of the Davis family. We just love those melt in your mouth layers of pasta oozing with cheese and garlic infused tomato sauce. What's not to like - am I right?
Now that I 'm cooking for just 3 - a giant pan of lasagna just isn't practical. Unwilling to reserve my lasagna dinners for dinner parties - I was forced to figure out a way to make a more moderately sized lasagna that would serve my small family.
Instead of baking a lasagna in a traditional 9x13 pan, I made 2 smaller lasagnas. I baked one pan for dinner last night and tucked the second one in the freezer (unbaked) for another day.
Of course, a pan of cheese lasagna is also a great way to say welcome to the neighborhood, feel better soon or congratulations on your new baby. So whether you keep it for yourself or give it away to a friend in need, a second pan of lasagna is NEVER a bad idea.
Cheese and Tomato Lasagna
2 cups pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1 cup (8 ounces) cottage cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon anchovy paste
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup pecorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 box lasagna noodles
2 cups fonatina cheese, grated
1/4 pecorino Romano cheese, grated
3 Tablespoons fresh basil
Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes at 375. Remove foil. Increase heat to 500 and bake an additional 10 minutes.
Chop basil and sprinkle over pieces of lasagna.
There were no complaints about this meatless Monday meal. I really enjoyed this variation on traditional lasagna. Who would have guessed that a lasagna without mozzarella and parmesan could be so delicious?
Grilled Citrus Chicken
You know you've been feeding your family too much chicken when they stop asking "WHAT''s for dinner" and they start asking "What kind of CHICKEN are we having tonight?" That one hurt just a little - but in all honesty - I do feed my family a LOT of chicken.
Finding new ways to fix the chicken is what keeps dinner interesting. Adding in the fresh flavors of the season makes our ordinary chicken dinners even better. Fresh lemons, limes and oranges really brighten up this Grilled Citrus Chicken dinner.
Grilled Citrus Chicken
7 Tablespoons oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh mint, minced
Add chicken breasts and refrigerate 1-24 hours.
Place on grill and cook until internal temperature reaches 165. Slice fruit in half and place on hot grill also.
Remove chicken from grill and place on platter. Tent with and let rest 10 minutes.
Slice chicken and drizzle with sauce.
This chicken dinner was REALLY yummy. I loved the citrus drizzle and the sprinkling of mint. This chicken dinner just tasted like summer. (Oh, and the grilled orange was just the icing on this grilled chicken dinner.)
It would be so much easier if everyone in my family loved chicken as much as I do. No complaints over this chicken recipe though. We all loved it.
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