Pork Loin with Fruit, Honey, and Bacon Sauce

Pork Loin Roast with Fruit, Honey, and Bacon Sauce

For me, Autumn is the most inspirational time of the year. Inspiration in fixing up my home, inspiration in my personal life, and inspiration in the kitchen.

I think that maybe cooking inspiration comes from actually wanting to eat cooked foods again. In summer, I don’t cook much. A big, fat bowl of watermelon for me is a delicious meal. Strawberries? Yep, a big, fat bowl of those will put a smile on me li’l face, too. A tossed salad? Absolutely gourmet. But, just about the time of the autumnal equinox I start inhabiting the kitchen again, looking for warm, comforting, filling food.Continue Reading

Dry Rub for Pork Ribs

Dry Rub for Pork Ribs

This dry rub baths pork ribs in smoky goodness long before they hit the grill or the oven. Be sure to use Kosher salt for the perfect flavor balance.

It’s grilling season, right? At least in most places in North America, it’s grilling season. My husband is usually the grill master, but once in a while I hitch up my britches and wrangle The Beast. We keep it leashed outside on the patio— otherwise known as “the cement next to the house”. Not to be confused with the large cement rectangle located farther from the house that some people would call a “sports court”, but which we often call “the big cement pad out back”. In all honesty, I think that The Beast ought to be out there rather so close to the house; gas grills make me nervous. Continue Reading

Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Cranberry Glaze

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Since I began blogging I have become quite bold about asking people for their recipes and then making sure that I get them written down. I almost feel guilty at my directness, especially when I follow up with, “Do you mind if I blog this?”

This particular recipe came from my next door neighbor, Michelle. However, I got the recipe via Michelle’s best friend, Tracy, who lives just down the street. Tracy recently served this wonderful, and wonderfully easy, pork tenderloin at a get together of several couples in our church who had served with each other in various capacities for the past 5 years.

When several of us remarked on how much work to which Tracy had gone to prepare the tenderloin, she kind of snorted at us and rolled her eyes. “Ha! This was so easy, you won’t believe it!” She pulled out her recipe and sure enough, there wasn’t much to it. True to a great recipe that is passed from good cook to good cook, there were not even any measurements on the spices. It was all left up to taste and personal preference.

Despite the simple ingredients and easy prep, this tenderloin is BIG on flavor. It is great for parties or even an intimate dinner for two.

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If you want an absolutely wonderful tenderloin, then I must defer to my daughter, Tricia. Tricia has preached and preached to me about temping meats when I cook. I have always been afraid of undercooked meats and consequently have generally overcooked them. They have often ended up tough and dry, but I have taken solace in the fact that they were “safe” to eat.

Slowly I have been employing Tricia’s teachings regarding meat temperatures and now regularly employ the use of a thermometer. I have been shocked at the difference in the quality of the meats that come out of my humble oven. What a delicious difference.

Traditionally, the rule for cooking pork has been to cook it until there is no more pink. Now however, because of the incidence of diseases, such as trichosis, carried by pigs has dropped considerably, it is permissible to cook pork to a lower internal temperature. A little pink is now okay, even encouraged for tenderness and flavor.

The USDA gives the following recommendations: Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.

My first very big surprise with cooking this tenderloin to a lower temperature was just how fast the tenderloins were ready. It only took about 20 minutes for them to come to temp and I was cooking four of them at one time. A single tenderloin would cook faster. The second surprise was how incredibly tender they were. I kept thinking over and over while I was eating the succulent slices, “Did I really do this??????”

Try this simple recipe for yourself. Your family and friends will think you are a genius.

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Pork Tenderloin with Orange-Cranberry Glaze

Recipe Source: Michelle D.

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup orange juice concentrate
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pork tenderloin (1-1 1/2 pounds)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the cranberry sauce, orange juice concentrate, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. Taste and adjust spices to personal preference. Set aside.
  3. Prep tenderloin by removing the "silver skin" with a sharp knife. The silver skin is the tough, white membrane found near one end of the pork tenderloin. Simply slide a sharp knife just below the silver to slice it away from the muscle tissue. There is a great instructional video at this link.
  4. Sprinkle tenderloin with salt and pepper. Place in a lightly greased roasting pan or baking dish.
  5. Spoon some of the glaze mixture over the tenderloin.
  6. Place in oven and cook for approximately 10 minutes. Spoon some more of the glaze over the tenderloin. Reserve remaining glaze to serve with tenderloin.
  7. Continue to cook until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 145-degrees on a thermometer placed in the thickest part of the meat.
  8. Remove from oven and wrap foil over the baking dish. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. Slice to desired thickness and serve with remaining sauce.
http://tsgcookin.com/2013/02/pork-tenderloin-with-orange-cranberry/

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Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas

I was rummaging through the deep freezer the other day and came across a package of thick-cut, pre-sliced pork shoulder (or pork butt) labeled “carnitas”. I have eaten pork carnitas a number of times and the Southern girl in me always awakes to pig heaven. There is just something about rich, fatty pork that enlivens my memories of home, although carnitas is different from the pork cooking on which I was raised. Can you say South Carolina low country barbecue? But that’s a subject for a different post sometime this fall.

In my mind, Mexican food is often associated with a happy, festive feeling. Continue Reading

Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}

Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}

Sometimes life comes together in simple, beautiful ways…not often, but sometimes. Times like when you walk outside and the sun is at a perfect angle and there is just a slight breeze and the warmth of the day is just right and the neighborhood is unaccountably quiet and you feel at complete peace. Or maybe like times when you walk into church one Sunday and you just know that God is happy because you can ‘feel’ the joy in the building and you find yourself truly loving the people around you, even the ones that are new to you. Or maybe even sometimes with making a simple dinner for your family, which they love, and which didn’t take any special effort on your part.

Mixing the church comment and the simple dinner comment in the same paragraph may seem odd, but when I made this particular dinner, I felt so peaceful. I think that the peace came because there was no frantic hurry involved with its preparation. For four whole hours I didn’t have to worry about dinner. It did help, I’ll admit, that I have two slow cookers, a very old one that I have had for many years and a relatively new one with a bell and whistle or two.

In one slow cooker I made Pork Chops with Dressing and Gravy and in the other slow cooker I made some delicious Savory Mashed Potatoes (recipe and how-to in tomorrow’s post). Just FYI, the cheesy mashed potatoes are really and truly done all in the slow cooker–a one pot wonder.

Before I go any further, you need to know that this recipe for the pork chops has cream of chicken soup in it. If you have a problem with using ‘cream of’ soups, then perhaps this is not a good recipe for you. Like I have already said, though, this recipe is simple, easy, and stress free. Sometimes stress-free = using cream of chicken soup in a recipe.

I do use Campbell’s Healthy Request brand of cream of chicken soup and I stand by it as the most flavorful brand of soup. I have tried other store brands of ‘cream of’ soups and they just don’t have what I am looking for in flavor and texture. The addition of the cream of chicken soup to this meal provides a no-fuss gravy. A box of stuffing mix and some fresh onions bring lots of flavor to the meal. Because of the nature of a slow cooker, the pork chops end up being fork tender.

Add a simple tossed salad with some of those delicious garden vegetables that are available at this time of year and the meal is complete. The pork chops provide your meat and bread, the savory mashed potatoes provide the starch/carb that makes us all so happy, and the salad brings fresh vegetables to round out the meal. Happiness on a dinner plate.

Update 1/23/14: A commentor, RGoss2010, used frozen pork chops to make this. Here are her changes: “I heated it (the slow cooker) for 2 hours on high, then turned it to low for 4 and a half hours. I did put a little olive oil in the crock pot first and used a paper towel to coat the sides and bottom with a thin layer to help later with cleaning. I also used a can full of chicken broth (instead of the water).”

Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

  • 4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick (I used bone-in chops)
  • 1 onion, cut into rings about 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 box stuffing or dressing mix (I used Stove-Top brand, pork flavored. Chicken flavored would also be great.)
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Chicken soup)
  • 1 soup can water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional, but recommended if your pork chops are very lean)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste or use seasoning salt, to taste
  • To Double Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy (not every ingredient gets doubled)
  • 8-9 pork chops, about 3/4-inch thick, bone-in
  • 2 medium onions, cut into rings a generous 1/4" thick
  • 2 packages (6-8 ounces depending on brand) stuffing mix
  • 3 cans (10 3/4 ounces) cream of chicken soup (I used Campbell's Healthy Request)
  • 1 1/2 soup cans water
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted, optional (I accidentally left this out and everything tasted great. If your pork chops are very lean, I think that it may be helpful to use the butter, but of course it is up to you.)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste (or use seasoning salt)

Instructions

    Single Recipe Directions:
  1. Season each pork chop with salt and pepper. Place in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Scatter the onion rings over the pork chops.
  3. Sprinkle the dry stuffing mix over the onions.
  4. In a bowl, mix together the cream of chicken soup, one soup can full of water, and the melted butter. Pour over the dry stuffing mix.
  5. Cover. Cook on high for 4 hours. Serve with mashed potatoes and a side salad. Say, "Oh my goodness; this tastes amazing!"
  6. Directions for doubling recipe:
  7. Mix together the soup, water, and melted butter (if using). Set aside.
  8. Season the pork chops with salt and pepper or seasoning salt.
  9. Put 4 pork chops on the bottom of the crock. It's okay if they overlap.
  10. Layer half of the onion rings on top of the pork chops.
  11. Sprinkle one of the packages of stuffing mix over the onions.
  12. Pour half of the soup mixture over the stuffing.
  13. Place the remaining pork chops on top of the soup mixture.
  14. Layer in order on top of the pork chops: onions, stuffing, soup. NOTE: If things look a little too tall prior to adding the final layer of soup, use your hands to kind of press everything down somewhat and then pour the soup over it all. Things will cook down a bit, so not to worry.
  15. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours until hot and bubbly and pork chops are fork tender.

Notes

Update 1/23/14: A commentor, RGoss2010, made this recipe using frozen pork chops. Here are her changes: " I heated it (the slow cooker) for 2 hours on high, then turned it to low for 4 and a half hours. I did put a little olive oil in the crock pot first and used a paper towel to coat the sides and bottom with a thin layer to help later with cleaning. I also used a can full of chicken broth" (instead of the water)."

http://tsgcookin.com/2012/08/pork-chops-with-dressing-and-creamy/

Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
 Season the pork chops with salt and pepper. Then, place the chops in the bottom of the slow cooker crock.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
 Scatter the onion rings over the pork chops.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
 Sprinkle the dry stuffing mix over the onions.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
Mix the cream of chicken soup and the water. Pour over the dry stuffing mix.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
 You know already that this is going to be great.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
 Put the lid on the slow cooker. Set the slow cooker to high and cook for 4 hours.
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Pork Chops with Dressing and Creamy Gravy {Slow Cooker}
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