Cumin Pork Tenderloin and Sweet Potatoes

This recipe is a True Winner, which means it meets my top three criteria for week-night meals:

1. It’s all real food.

2. It’s less than 15 minutes of hands-on prep time.

3. Most (meaning 3 out of 4) of my kids eat it without complaint.

Now I face the challenge of not making it too often….because I’ve learned that when I make a True Winner too often, it quickly turns into a loser.  Two or three times a month seems to be just about right.

Cumin Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potatoes                                                                                          

2 pork tenderloins (about 2 1/2 lbs)

1 tbsp cumin

2 tsp coriander seed

1 tsp sea salt

2 tbs olive oil (or coconut oil, bacon grease, butter)

3-4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 onion, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together cumin, coriander and salt in small bowl. Rub the spices over all sides of the tenderloins, covering the surfaces of each one, creating a thick layer.

Heat olive in large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown tenderloins about 2-3 minutes on all sides. Remove pork from pan. Add sweet potatoes and onions to the pan, covering the bottom. Place the tenderloins on top of the vegetables.

Cover the dutch oven and roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the tenderloins are cooked through. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness.

Slice the tenderloins and drizzle pan juices over slices and sweet potatoes.

Enjoy!


Oven-cooked Bacon

I love bacon.  Love, love, love it.

I also love my glass cook-top.  Love, love, love it.

However, I hate cleaning splattered bacon grease from my glass cook-top.  Hate it with a capital H.

Sooo, I make bacon in the oven.  Yay!

I line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, line up the bacon, and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.  I know some people bake at a higher temperature, but I have a tendency to burn bacon, so a lower temp is best for me.

And I always reserve the bacon grease in a mason jar in my fridge.  When I turn the oven on I set the jar on the counter to warm up a bit (fresh, hot bacon grease + cold jar of bacon grease = cracked jar and slimy mess).

While my bacon drains on a paper-towel-lined plate,  I let the grease cool a few minutes before folding up the foil to funnel it into the jar.

Now I always have bacon grease on hand for scrambled eggs, sautéed spinach or shredded Brussels sprouts, or any other dish that could use a smoky, bacon-y flavor.

Yum!


Balsamic Pork Chops

I found this recipe in a magazine years ago and it’s a family favorite and the base for several variations.  My kids love this….and I’ve recently had to start doubling it in order for all of us to have our fill.  The original recipe calls for a bread crumb and flour mix before browning the pork chops and for a serving of wild rice on the side, but since our dinners are most often grain-free I’ve dropped those ingredients….and not one person in my family has complained.

6-3/4 inch thick boneless pork chops

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1-14 1/2oz can/box chicken broth

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

4 tbs butter, olive oil or coconut oil

Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of chops while olive oil heats in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add pork chops and cook until golden, about 3-4 minutes each side.  Remove chops from pan and set aside.  Add broth and vinegar to pan and simmer 6-10 minutes, until reduced by about half. Return chops to the pan and cook another 10 minutes or until cooked through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

I serve this with roasted cauliflower or brussels sprouts, which surprisingly, my kids will eat with little complaint…..yay!  Sometimes I omit the balsamic vinegar and add a bit more chicken stock, or replace the vinegar with some white wine.  I also have made it with chicken breasts instead of the pork chops.  Just be sure the flatten them a bit before cooking:  place in a plastic bag or between two layers of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or small pan.   This helps them cook more evenly and not dry out too quickly.


Chili Verde

This is a variation of Everyday Paleo‘s chili verde…..just a few tweaks here and there.  If you know me well, you know that I never follow directions/recipes just as they are written. I like to wing it, try my own thing, or just make a substitution or two.  In this case, I have made my own green salsa following Sarah’s recipe…and it was really good.

However, I have found a few great jarred green salsas without added ingredients (did you know many salsas have corn syrup and other mystery ingredients added to them?  Ick.) I’m almost always in favor of making things from scratch, but in this case, a pre-made green salsa without added ingredients saves sooo much time.  Read the labels before buying….if an ingredient is listed that you can’t pronounce or have no idea what it is, then leave it on the shelf and move on.

This chili is really good and easy….plus, every time I make it my son exclaims, “I love it!”  This kind of praise is very rare at our kitchen table and makes my heart smile. Hope you love it, too!

2.5 lb pork shoulder roast (I’ve used several cuts of roast….all worked well)

2 tbsp coconut oil (or butter or olive oil)

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2-4 cups chicken stock

1 tbsp cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1-16oz jar green salsa (I like Joe T. Garcia’s)

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.  Cut the roast into bite-sized pieces and brown in the hot oil.  When brown on all sides remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Add onion and garlic to pot and cook in the oil/pork drippings until softened.  Add 2 cups of chicken stock, stir well and bring to a boil.  Add in cumin, salt and pepper.  Add back the pork and reduce heat until chili is simmering.  Add about 8oz of the green salsa.  Simmer 2-4 hours, until the pork is very tender.  The chili will thicken a bit as it cooks…..if you prefer a more soup-like consistency, add more chicken stock.  You can also add some extra salsa for more flavor.

I like to serve this with grated cheese and tortilla chips.  A dollop (that’s a fun word!) of sour cream is also good.

I haven’t tried it yet, but I bet this would also be good with chicken….substitute chopped chicken breasts or thighs for the pork and follow the remainder of the recipe.