Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweet & Spicy Pork Tenderloin

This is one of the first original recipes I've come up with that I absolutely love. It went over very well with the family and I definitely intend on making it again.
Pics will be up as soon as I can find batteries for my camera!
2 words of warning about working with tenderloin:
1.) They always take longer to cook than a recipe will say.
2.) It is really easy to overcook a tenderloin for fear of it being too rare. I always cook all of the pink out of mine, but leave it juicy. There is a little cushion that you can take comfort in. If the inside still has a SLIGHT pink tint, it's ok. That's how restaurants serve it.
1 pre-packaged pork tenderloin UNSEASONED/ORIGINAL
Dry Rub:
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp all spice
1/8  cup brown sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
**Optional Butter Sauce for Extra Sweetness2 tbsp butter
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2-3 tbsp brown sugar
1.) Pre-heat oven to 450°.
2.) Cut tenderloin in half.
3.) Mix Dry Rub ingredients and rub thoroughly into both halves of the tenderloin.
4.) Heat Saute ingredients in non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
5.) Place tenderloin halves in skillet and brown on both sides (5-7 mins depending on stove).
6.) Transfer tenderloin to cooking sheet or broiling pan and bake for 30-45 mins or until cooked through.
7.) Let rest 3-5 mins, slice and serve.
**8.) To make butter sauce, simply combine all ingredients in a pan stirring frequently until reduced to desired consistency. It can be a thin dipping sauce or a thicker, syrup like glaze.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recipe 16: Chicken in a Cornmuffin

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Eat Time: ASAP!

I love southern food. If it wasn't such a hassle to make fried okra, I would eat it with every meal, every day. And, I'd weigh a thousand pounds. Southern food is comfort food to me. Drop biscuits with sausage gravy; sweet tea and pork chops...they're better than a warm blanket.

Tonight's dinner was inspired by Paula Deen's spin on a classic combo: BBQ chicken served with cornbread. Instead of serving them side-by-side, I made them into something new.

A few notes, I love sweet cornbread. I don't want it any other way, and I hate shredding chicken, but it really does make the recipe easier to eat.


3 chicken breasts
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce, I used original Sweet Baby Ray's
2 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


1.) Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) In a large pot, put entire bottle of BBQ sauce and heat on medium.
3.) Cut chicken into large pieces, just to aid with cook time and absorption.
4.) Place chicken in pot with BBQ sauce and cook on medium heat for 40-45 minutes.
5.) Melt butter in microwave, set aside.
6.) In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add vegetable oil, honey, and milk.
7.) In a mixing bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir together.
8.) Pour in wet ingredients and melted butter. Stir until smooth.
9.) Pour into well-greased muffin pan. (only fill muffin slots half way).
10.) Bake 10-15 mins or until golden.
11.) While the muffins are still warm, use your thumb or a spoon to depress the middles of the muffins. Be careful not to get to close to the edges or they will not hold together.
12.) Remove chicken from pot and shred (or cut finely). Make sure all surfaces are coated with sauce, but not dripping.
13.) Spoon chicken into depressed muffins.
**Add a little salty kick with finely chopped dill pickles

Serve this with classic southern sides. We did black eyed peas and green beans, but baked beans, mashed potatoes and okra would be amazing.

I hope you love this as much as I did. It's officially my new favorite. I think meatloaf has been surpassed!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Recipe 15: Oat, Raisin and Chocolate Krispy Treats

My son and I spent the day snowed in together, and we made treats to keep from going crazy. This was his special creation. I have to say, they turned out great.


3 tbsp butter
2 cups marhmallows
2 cups Krispy treat cereal
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup chocolate chunks
Raisins--add to taste


Follow the steps in Recipe 14, but add oats, chocolate and raisins when krispy mix cools. Try forming into a well-greased muffin pan for fun circle treats.

Recipe 14: Toffee and Chocolate Krispy Treats

Cook Time: 5 mins

Simple! These are just regular krispy treats with dark chocolate chunks and Heath bits added into the warm krispy mixture. I then finished the treats with Heath and chocolate bits when they had cooled.


3 tbsp butter
2 cups krispy rice cereal
2 cups marshmallows
1 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 oz Heath bits (or bar finely chopped)


1.) Melt butter in a non-stick pot
2.) Add marshmallows and stir until melted completely.
3.) Remove from heat.
4.) Add cereal.
5.) Mix in chocolate and toffee bits.
6.) Form into pan.
7.) When cooled, top with toffee and chocolate bits. 

We ate 3 batches of krispy treats today. These were my favorites!

Recipe 13: Tortellini and Toasted Ravioli

Prep Time: 3 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins

This isn't really a recipe because everything here is pre-made, but I wanted to offer another pantry-friendly meal for those of us who are iced in.

Dinner at my house tonight

Tortellini, Toasted Ravioli and a nice salad.

AND!! 3 variations of krispy treats. (recipes 14 and 15)


1 tsp garlic salt
1 bag frozen tortellini (any variety)
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 jar marinara
1 box frozen toasted ravioli
1 bag pre-cut salad (any variety)

**Parmesan cheese, one tomato, feta cheese and Parsley for garnish

1.) Heat oven to 425 (or whatever toasted ravioli box says)
2.) Follow boiling directions on tortellini, but add the garlic salt to the water before you add the pasta for extra flavor.
3.) Dice one tomato while the pasta cooks.
4.) Drain pasta and add spaghetti sauce. Set aside.
5.) Cook toasted ravioli according to directions on box. For extra crunch,  broil on High for 2 minutes after cook time.
6.) Rinse salad, add diced tomato and feta to salad. I like to add a bit of salt and pepper too because I don't really like salad dressing.
7.) Heat marinara in microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.
8.) Top tortellini portions with Parmesan cheese and parsley and serve!

For those who don't like the gooey stuff inside tomatoes, try this to see if you like this healthy food: quarter the tomato. Use a knife to cut out the seeds, then dice them. This simple step has allowed me to fall in love with tomatoes!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Recipe 12: Chili/Stew

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
The incoming blizzard has inspired me!
I realize that it might seem like I cook everything from scratch. I don't. I would love to, but I don't honestly know enough of the basics, it would cost a fortune, and there is something to be said for convenience.
This is a super easy, from the pantry meal.
First, I'd like to pay tribute to how I was raised. My Mom loves sweet chili. She has always adds ketchup, syrup and some other secret good things to make her chili. The thick, rich concoction is perfect for cold days and partners so well with sweet cornbread.
There are certainly days where nothing else fills me up quite as well as Mom's chili, but most of the time I prefer my soups, stews and yes, even chili, to be lighter and more chocked full of veggies.
So, here's my variation of chili.
2 large (25oz) cans chili
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can corn, undrained
½ orange bell pepper, chopped
½ green bell pepper, chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped (more or less to taste)
1 tsp chili powder
*Depending the brand of chili you buy, you may also want to add some extra beans. Kidney beans work well or stick with chili beans.
1.) In a large saucepot, combine chili cans, onion, and extra beans*. These ingredients take a little longer to soften, so let them cook 3-5 mins.
2.) Add remaining ingredients and heat to boil.
3.) Serve warm—with toast for best results.
It mixes great with almost any vegetable: potatoes, carrots, etc. But, this is a very veggie-rich recipe, so if you're not a fan of vegetables (Melody), I wouldn't recommend it.  Otherwise, customize and dig in!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Recipe 11: Oatmeal Cookies all grown up

Prep Time: 10 mins
Baking Time: 12-15 mins
Cooling Time: 20 mins

I cannot take credit for this delicious recipe. A wonderful woman at my church shared these cookies, and I practically demanded the recipe. My family loves them, even with the slight twists on classic oatmeal raisin cookies. They are sweet but not too sweet. Oat-filled but moist, and full of wonderful flavor surprises.

I can't get enough of the ingredients combined in this recipe; I've literally eaten a dozen of these in the last two days. And, I'm not even sorry.

1 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups oats
1 cup dried cranberries
4 oz dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped

Two pointers: Don't fear the cranberries, they are not tart. Don't use milk chocolate, the sugars sweeten the batter and milk chocolate makes the cookies overwhelming.

Heat oven to 350
1.) In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2.) With a mixer, mix butter & sugars until fluffy.
3.) Add vanilla & egg. Mix until smooth.
4.) Slowly add flour mixture.
5.) With a spatula or spoon, add oats, cranberries and chocolate. Stir until evenly mixed.
6.) Line a cookie sheet with wax/parchment paper.
7.) Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, make balls of dough. Flatten slightly.
8.) Bake 13-15 minutes until just slightly golden at the edged.
9.) Allow to cool 20 minutes before serving. (This is especially important if you are serving little ones because the melted chocolate really retains heat.)