Just sippin’ on my coffee and watching the cooking channel – I need some inspirations to add to my recipe repertoire. If y’all haven’t watched Pioneer Woman, she’s the most relaxed home cook I’ve seen on TV; I love watching her show on the weekends. Her family is cute too, everyone works on a ranch (kids included!) and their dog Charlie gets to taste test some dishes. Anyway, I bring her up only because the meals she makes are for a large family, so those of you with kids may want to check her show/recipes out. It’s nothing fancy, everything is family friendly for multiple tastes. I mean, right now she’s making homemade lemonade which I don’t have time for but most of her other recipes are easy 🙂 You name it, she makes it – snacks, lunch, dinner, desserts, pot luck … yum!
Maybe the dinners I made this week could be an inspiration to you! I’m glad to see some of you trying the recipes I blog about; I try to keep the dishes simple but everyone once in a while I’ll throw in something a little more “gourmet” 😉 Feel free to use those advance-level dishes to really impress your friends!
Wednesday: the usual slow cooker meal
Josh emailed this recipe to me a few weeks back which is his way of saying “please cook this!” With only 6 ingredients + meat, how could I say ‘no’?
- 2 lbs pork tenderloin
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 TBS mustard (I used honey mustard)
- 2-3 TBS maple syrup
- 2 TBS olive oil
- 2 TBS diced dry onion (I used a real onion)
- 1 1/2 TSP garlic salt or powder
DIRECTIONS: mix ingredients listed above, in a small bowl. Pour over pork tenderloin in the slow cooker. Set that thing to LOW and let it sit for 6 hours. I happen to be home at the 3 hr mark, so I turned the meat.
Seriously, that’s it! The meat fell apart as I tried to pick it up, it’d be great as a pulled pork sandwich. Spoon some of the juices over the meat to keep it moist. Josh also requested Velveeta broccoli (I had healthy intentions but how can you resist Velveeta?!) … and brown rice. Simple and delish dinner and prep took 2 minutes (for the pork); broccoli and rice took 15 minutes. Easy peezy lemon squeezy! Plenty of leftovers too – we made sandwiches for the lunch the next day.
Thursday: no sauce pasta
Another recipe from Martha – love this woman. I’m tellin’ you, everything in this book takes under 45 minutes to prep. Some of you may be rolling your eyes “I don’t have 45 minutes” but again, if it means a home cooked meal I think it’s worth the time. Do it the night before when the kids go to bed, get your spouse to help you and enjoy the time together. As I tell Josh, if he wants to be fed then he’s got to help. Split the jobs up and now you’ll have dinner prepped in 20 minutes.
Apparently as I was writing down the ingredients the pages had flipped to an eggplant pasta, so I bought eggplant along with what this recipe called for. I was a bit confused when I started cooking because I thought I was going blind … when did the eggplant get added?! Then the book flipped one page back and there was the eggplant pasta. Oh well, I added the eggplant – veggies don’t discriminate.
Really easy – cube the eggplant (it will cook down A LOT), halve the tomatoes & olives, simmer in a pan … all while the pasta is boiling. Everything works in harmony 🙂 Toss together after the pasta is drained, boom, dinner is done (top with grated Parm.). Since Martha is super fancy she informs you how to pit olives; Girl – I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THAT! I purchased pitted olives.
If you’re a meat lover, I think adding ground Italian sausage would be a perfect addition. Buy Italian sausages, slit the casing, brown the meat, and add to finished pasta/veggies!
We ate the leftovers cold – a great BBQ or potluck dish.
I add to the instructions: PULVERIZE the chicken. Take our your weekly aggression here, beat the crap out of the chicken. Ha 😉
Seriously though, it makes the chicken a little bit easier to chew – it’s such a large piece of meat, you don’t want it to dry out either. I think the juices move around a bit more if you pulverize it. Maybe not, whatever LOL.
When you put it in the oven you may want to cover the dish so the cheese doesn’t burn. Set the broiler to HI (you want cooked chicken right?), so covering is necessary. To lock in juices you should brown the chicken first, just a few minutes on each side. The broiler will do the rest in 8 minutes.
And voila, we’re done! Add grated parm. when it comes out and more sauce. The sauce will heat if you let everything sit for a few minutes. Plus you don’t want to lose all the juices by cutting into the chicken too soon.