Thursday, July 30, 2009

Fried Rice

I made some homemade fried rice using the some leftovers from the pork tenderloin. The husband usually looks at a single-dish dinner with a raised eyebrow. He comes from the school of "If there's not a bunch of cloven hoof on my plate, something's wrong." Yeah. I said that.

I pointed out that there was tenderloin in the dish, and he attacked with gusto.


8 oz pork tenderloin, chopped into bite-sized pieces (I used leftovers. If you are using raw, please cook it before throwing it in the rice. PLEASE? I just had visions of worms in the bowels of people.)

1 small can of water chestnuts, chopped

1 C frozen peas and carrots (Yes. Frozen. It's easier that way today.)

2 tsp oil

1 Tbl oyster sauce

2 Tbl soy sauce

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tsp sesame oil

3 cups cooked and COOLED rice

  1. Defrost the peas and carrots in a bowl in the microwave. Add approximately 1 Tbl of water to the veggies and heat on HIGH for 1 minute.

  2. Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat. Add 1 tsp of the oil and flash fry the pork. If it's already cooked, you'll only need a minute or two for this. Remove the meat to a bowl.

  3. Add the remaining teaspoon of oil to the pan and add the vegetables and rice, stirring quickly. Add oyster sauce through sesame oil and continue cooking over HIGH heat approximately

  4. Add the meat to the rice and mix until heated through.


  • Go veggie. Forgo the meat and use tofu or just continue to up the veggies.

  • Add some hot pepper flakes to heat things up.

  • Yellow or white onions (chopped) as well as scallions are always welcome additions.

  • I'll add baby corn the next time I do this.

  • Add 1-2 scrambled eggs to up the protein. I didn't have the time or inclination to do it at the time.

The husband was digging this. I was surprised by his reaction. I'm definitely making this again but will up the veggies - probably double of what I used this time around.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Simply said, this was one of the easiest dishes ever, and the leftovers can be transformed into an Asian salad or easy fried rice.

Two 1lb pork tenderloins
½ C low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbs hoisin sauce
1 Tbs sweet Thai chile sauce
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 tsp Sriracha chili sauce (You know, that Rooster stuff!)

1. Remove any silver skin from the tenderloin. Using a sharp knife, start at one of the tenderloin and gently pry your knife under the skin. Move your knife back and forth while pulling the skin back. You do not want the silver skin remaining on the tenderloin because it’s sinewy and just plain nasty. Remove it. Just trust me on this.

2. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.

3. Pour the marinade into a gallon zip-lock bag. Add the tenderloins and marinate in the fridge for anywhere between 30 minutes and several hours. (Mine sat in there for 6 hours and was just fine.)

4. Heat the grill to medium.

5. Remove the tenderloins from the marinade. At this point, your own health is in your hands. Me? I threw caution to the wind and boiled the marinade for 20 minutes until it was reduced and (HOPEFULLY) lacking any bacterial and other growths from the raw pork. I’m sure doctors, the pork industry, and a myriad of other folks are cringing right now.

6. Grill the pork for a few minutes on each side. Mine were pretty slim, and I hate overdone pork so I was kind and removed it while I could still see some juice. You don’t want white or gray (*gasp*) pork. If that’s the case, you should just eat no-name dog food. Again, just my opinion.

7. I let the meat rest for 10 minutes on my cutting board and then sliced it on a bias.

This was served with brown rice made with chicken stock and grilled asparagus. I’m all about grilled asparagus. Who cares if those stalky things make your pee stink?

Omit the Rooster sauce if your stomach can’t handle it.
Add smashed lemon grass to the marinade.
Omit the hoisin and add honey instead.

My husband is meat-eater. If things were my way, I’d eat some seafood once in a while and subsist on some soy products. I loathe raw meat and visibly gag when I have to handle it. Is this not some love, people? It’s freaking adoration, I tell you! I also have to eat meat or continue to suffer from some serious iron deficiency issues. Oh woe is me.

So the carnivore? He loved this stuff. His feedback usually consists of “It’s ok.” Ok can mean anything from “This sucks. Do not ever prepare it again!” to “Holy Mary, mother of God, slather this on your body so I can worship at the Altar of Food and You at the very same time!” He’s not a man of many words. I am proud to say that he said, without prompting, ”Damn. This is some good stuff!”

Lemon and Garlic Chicken with Pasta

I made this at my sister's place when we were at the beach. I think this whole challenge to eat in more than out started there. I guess it's just EASIER to eat out when you work full-time, have a preschooler and husband, deal with a chocolate lab, and are trying to maintain an even keel when you haven't seen such a thing in years.

I finally concluded that unless I challenged myself to eat better, take advantage of my ability to challenge my cooking habits and repertoire, and take better care of my health and that of my family, I'd be that proverbial hamster on that damn spinning wheel. As I loathe vermin and rodents of any kind, I am taking myself to task.

While I'd like to do the whole 365 commitment many bloggers have taken on with great zeal of late, I know that once I return to work in the fall, there will be evening commitments which will require that either I or my husband and son eat out. I know I'll be at open houses, PTA meetings, conferences, etc.


What's the big deal about my -ish bloggy? I'm making a commitment to increase my percentage of time eating IN exponentially. You people who have much better health habits than me would likely keel over from a stroke if you realized how much my family eats out. And it's a damn waste. A damn, damn waste.

Onto the recipe that started this little brainchild.

Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Sauce and Pasta

1lb whole wheat spaghetti (Don’t like spaghetti? Hell, use whatever you like. Me? I love me some whole wheat pasta.)
1lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1lb zucchini, diced into bite-sized pieces
1lb yellow summer squash, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 medium onion, diced into bite-sized pieces
¼ C olive oil and a small amount more for vegetables
1 Tbs Smart Balance
6 cloves of garlic, smashed
3 Lemons, juiced
1Tbs Lemon zest (use the lemons from above)
½ C to 1C white wine (I used a tasty Pinot Grigio)
Grill Seasoning (I used McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning)

Cook pasta according to box directions. Do this near the end of the grilling process. If you do it any earlier, you’ll end up with mushy, congealed pasta or pasta you’ve coated in oil which will not only add unnecessary calories but also make it virtually impossible for your lemon-garlic sauce to adhere to the strands.

Heat a small saucepan and melt the Smart Balance. Pour in the olive oil. Once they’re heated through, add the smashed garlic. After two minutes, add the lemon juice and zest as well as the wine. At no time should you boil this mixture. Just keep it at a medium simmer.

Preheat your grill to medium.

Wash and dry the chicken breasts and coat each liberally with the grill seasoning. I am a fan of grilling meat that’s not fridge-cold.

In a large bowl, combine the vegetables, enough olive oil to lightly coat, 2 tsp of grill seasoning. Transfer the veggies to a grill basket.

Make your way outside and put then grill basket and chicken breasts on to cook. You want to have a nice char to the veggies and make certain that the chicken is cooked through without drying it out. Don’t be shy. Slice into one of the breasts if you think it’s done. You’re going to chop these lovely babies. No one will know you cheated!

Once the pasta, veggies, and chicken are done, let’s get this dish together.
Slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Toss the chicken, veggies, and sauce together. Add the pasta and toss using tongs.

I served this in deep plates with high sides. I’ll double the sauce next time and allow it to pool at the bottom of each plate. This time around, we were fighting for more sauce and used a fresh baguette to soak up the garlic goodness.

Don’t like my veggies? Hell. Go your own way. I wanted to use portabellos in this one, but there were too tweens who would have made dinner a living hell had I done that, so I omitted that idea. While I love me some tomatoes, I can’t stand cooked SKINS of tomatoes. There’s no way that I’d blanch and peel tomatoes for one measly meal unless I had a maid who was cleaning my home for free. Needless to say, I’ll not be using them any time soon.

Go for grilled shrimp if you don’t like the idea of chicken or are just plain tired of the white meat.

My brother-in-law is a hard-charging fireman who doesn’t like “funny food.” He ate this with a vengeance and brought more to work the next day for his lunch. My four-year-old ate it after I separated the chicken, veggies, and pasta. He didn’t want them “mixed.” The tweens? They ate it. Lots of it. Good times!