November 26, 2008

A nice alternative to turkey

Last night was our annual "Friends Thanksgiving" and I was in charge of bringing the main meat dish. I decided that I didn't really have time to make a turkey or a ham, so I had to think of a great alternative. What I came up with was roasted pork tenderloin and it was a hit, very flavorful and juicy! I'm not really a fan of turkey or ham, so I knew at least I would like it. I bought 3 packages of tenderloin, with 2 pieces of meat in each, which ended up being way too much food for about 12 people. I marinated the meat over night and then cooked it last night when I got home from work. I put a little bit of a Cajun twist on the marinate, so I'll call it Roasted Cajun Pork Tenderloin. Here's what you need (the measurements aren't exact because I just threw a bunch of ingredients into a Ziploc bag):

1-1 1/2 lbs pork tenderloin
1/2 cup orange juice (or grapefruit/tangerine if that's what you have, I'm just saying)
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp Cajun seasoning
1-2 tsp hot sauce (Tabasco or Louisiana Hot Sauce)
3-4 Tbsp honey
1-2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients in a large Ziploc bag and place the pork tenderloin in, make sure you mix it around after putting the tenderloin in so it is all covered in the marinade. I let mine sit in the marinade for about 16 hours in the fridge, but it probably only needs to marinate for 3-4 hours. Heat your oven to 325 degrees and place the tenderloin in a roasting pan and cook for 45-50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. You can also grill the tenderloin 8-12 minutes per side. After cooking remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes then slice and serve! Its great for a Thanksgiving alternative, or an easy meal any night of the week.

Have a Happy Turkey Day everyone!!!

November 21, 2008

I'd like to place a take out order...

I cannot explain to you my love of Chinese food, it is a very deep and consuming love, actually it's a little embarrassing. I could probably eat Chinese food for every meal, or at least once a day. Give me sweet and sour pork, Pad Thai, fried rice, lo mein or beef and broccoli, I love it all. Stir fry has always been a pretty common food at our house growing up and yesterday I took it to the next step, I cooked beef and broccoli in the crockpot, no stirring involved with that friends. I have to be honest when I tell you that it was no comparison to the 'real' stuff you can get at your local mall food court, but it was a good substitute AND it was so easy! Here's what you need to get this meal cooking:

1 lb thin beef, I used flank steak
1/4 C soy sauce
2 Tbsp white wine
2 Tbsp rice wine or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1 bag of frozen broccoli florets, thawed

I started by slicing the beef into thin strips. Then I put a handy dandy slow cooker liner in the crock pot (if you haven't been introduced to these babies, you need to check them out!) and added all the liquids and spices and mixed them up. Toss the sliced beef into the crock pot with the sauce and mix until the beef is coated thoroughly. Cook this on low for 6-8 hours (I cooked mine for 5 on low and the beef was falling apart). Stir in the thawed broccoli about an hour before serving. Serve over steamed rice. Delish!

November 9, 2008

Crockpot - my new favorite appliance

I have kind of been in a cooking slump lately. I haven't been in the mood to get in the kitchen, so last week I took the 'lazy' way out and used the crock pot to make an entire dinner. Well maybe not the entire dinner, but pretty close, all I had to do was make a salad to go alongside the steak and baked potatoes that cooked in the crockpot while I was at work. I won't lie, I was a little hesitant at first, I mean steak cooked in the crockpot, its kind of weird. But it was a success! So when you need something simple and good, give this one a try. Here's what you need:

1 1/2 lbs. steak
1/4 Cup beef broth
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. your favorite steak rub
1 small onion, sliced (or you can use 1 Tbsp. dried onion flakes)

You'll also need:
2-4 potatoes
2-4 ears of corn
aluminum foil

First put the steaks in the crockpot and season them on both sides. Then add the onions, Worcestershire sauce and broth (if you use dried onion flakes rub them on the steaks with the steak rub). I put extra broth in with my steaks because our crockpot cooks things fast and I didn't want them to burn.
Then clean and scrub the potatoes and cover with foil. Add the potatoes to the pot. Shuck the corn and wrap each ear in foil, then add those to the crockpot.
The recipe said to cook on high for 5-7 hours, or on low for about 8. I cooked it on high for 2 hours, then on low for 3 more hours, but mine cooks fast and I already knew that. So you be the judge on how long to cook it.