May 10, 2012

This Week In Food...One Home Run, One Base Hit and One Walk

Hello food friends! I hope this post finds you all well-fed and happy...and either with a nice glass of wine or a good cup of coffee in-hand (depending on the time of day you're reading this...though, who am I to judge). As you all may remember, I tried out three new recipes last week. And, I'm here to report that it was with mixed success (enter: baseball metaphor)...

The Home Run
I had one home run, and that was the Crockpot Brown Sugar and Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin. It was a total hit with everyone. My husband couldn't stop talking about it and my 3 year old asked for more three times. ("More chicken and sauce," she kept saying...all meat is chicken to her, but the point is that she loved it! Especially the sauce.) Even the leftovers were great. So, I highly recommend this recipe. I also plan to try both the rub and the glaze on other things...I think it'll be great on chicken, pork chops, probably even salmon. Here's the recipe...

Crockpot Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin
1 2lb boneless pork tenderloin
2 tsp ground sage
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp soy sauce

Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic in a small bowl. Rub all over tenderloin. Place in slow cooker with 1/2 cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before tenderloin is done, combine ingredients for glaze in a small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush tenderloin with glaze 2-3 times during last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side or drizzled over the top. [adapted from recipe]

Amy's Notes: I used fresh sage from the garden for the rub, which I ground with a mortar and pestle into a paste. And the rub recipe I show here is doubled from the original because I didn't think the original had enough. If you can't find a 2 lb. tenderloin, you can use two smaller tenderloins, just make sure you reduce the cook time (probably 4-5 hrs on low). You could also use a pork roast. I cooked our tenderloin on low for 5 hrs. then made the glaze and basted it every 15 mins. until we hit 6 hrs. total cook time. I then sliced the tenderloin and served it with the glaze drizzled over the top. You could also use this rub and glaze recipe and cook the tenderloin on the grill.

The Base Hit
My base hit was the Chicken Enchilada Pasta. I thought it was pretty darn good, and both kids ate and liked it (and have happily eaten leftovers). My husband was not a huge fan, however. Though he said it was fine, I think the enchilada flavor with the pasta mouth-feel was just a miss for him-- "Mexican pasta" just didn't compute. Oh well, can't win 'em all! But if you like chicken enchiladas and aren't bothered by the enchilada+pasta combo, I do recommend this dish. It was easy and tasty and made a good amount. Here's the recipe...

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed or shredded
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 4oz can diced green chilies
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 10oz cans green chili enchilada sauce
2/3 c. red enchilada sauce
2 c. shredded cheese
1 c. sour cream
1 box penne pasta
Optional toppings: avocado, green onion, black olives, tomatoes, sour cream

Cook chicken and cube or shred. Meanwhile chop onion and pepper and put pasta water on to boil (cook pasta according to package directions while you make the sauce). Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet or dutch oven and cook onion for about 3-5 mins. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for another 5 mins. Add cooked chicken, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt and enchilada sauces. Let sauce simmer for 8-10 mins. Add cheese and stir until melted. Turn heat to low and then stir in sour cream. Mix well. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour sauce over pasta and mix well. Serve and garnish with your choice of toppings (I did diced avocado and a dollop of sour cream). [adapted from recipe]

Amy's Notes: You can shorten your prep time by buying already cooked and diced/shredded chicken. And you can adjust the heat by adding more chili powder or using jalapenos instead of green chilies--as is, this is a pretty family friendly recipe.

The Walk
I also had one strikeout that I'm calling "a walk" only because I think the recipe could be tweaked to make it better. It was the Melt In Your Mouth Chicken. I followed the recipe exactly and it came out a little on the dry side and WAY TOO SALTY and too garlicky. It was pretty ick. Not at all "Melt In Your Mouth." But, what I will take away from making it is using the Greek yogurt as a chicken topper. I think mixing the yogurt with different spices could make something tasty. But if you've seen this recipe on Pinterest, don't bother with it!

Aaaah, another cooking lesson learned! Now, on to this week!

This week will be another week of firsts, with four new recipes on the docket. Here's this week's menu...

- Spicy Vegetable Fried Rice
- Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce, Cilantro-Lime Quinoa and Salad
- Crockpot Three Bean and Turkey Chili with Cornbread
- Healthy Chicken Paprikash over Egg Noodles
- Lazy Sunday Casserole

We're also doing Sushi Night one night (carry-out...I'm not about to take on homemade sushi when we have good restaurants just minutes from our house) and leftovers another night (with all this cooking, there's bound to be something decent). All but the Veggie Fried Rice are new recipes. The chili is a recipe from my friend, Dana...I know, not exactly chili-time-of-year, but for some reason it sounds good to me. The other three are from various sites/blogs found via Pinterest. I will let you know next week which of these is worth your time.

Signing out from the MamaManagement Test Kitchen...until next time...happy cooking!

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