Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Creamy Corn Relish

Cooking magazines are great, aren’t they?  Every month a batch of new recipes, tips and ideas lands in your mailbox (if you subscribe) or on your store’s magazine racks.  Instant inspiration!  This time the magazine was Cooking Light and the photo and recipe that caught my eye were titled “Indiana Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches with Creamy Corn Relish”.

I read the recipe through a couple of times because there’s a lot going on all at once.  I decided to start with Step 1 (good place to start, huh? 😉 ), but skip ahead and start Step 2 (the pork) before Step 1 (the corn relish) was complete.  And off I went.  First, I gathered the ingredients for the corn relish: 2014_0618June20140002  While the cream cheese was melting in the corn mixture, I pulled out the coatings for the pork:  2014_0618June20140005  As I usually do when I’m coating meat or fish, I chose to mix the salt and pepper into the flour instead of sprinkling it on the pork and THEN coating it with the flour:  2014_0618June20140009  Now, before I headed to the grocery store for the week, I discovered I had frozen 4 boneless chops and I thought, “Good!  I don’t have to buy the pork for the sandwiches!”  I thought I remembered saving some of the thin sliced chops, but when I pulled them out I discovered they were thicker than I expected, so I pounded them down some:  2014_0618June20140011  Meanwhile, I had to go back and finish up the corn relish, adding the onion and pepper (I had orange instead of red.  I just buy whichever one looks the best at the store).  2014_0618June20140015  Now I could return to coating and cooking those chops:  2014_0618June20140018  That didn’t take long at all, and what was left was assembling the sandwiches:  2014_0618June20140021

While we were eating, my husband asked what was in the corn relish, and he mentioned cream cheese before I even started listing the ingredients.   So I thought, “Oh no, he thinks it’s too creamy.”  I didn’t think so myself, but something about the way he said it . . . It turns out I needn’t have worried, as he finished the meal by saying “Thanks Sweetie, that was pretty good!”  Whew!  Now I know he’ll enjoy his lunch (leftovers, always) at work today.   And so will I, because there were enough leftovers for both of us this time 🙂

 

Homemade Big Macs

I was a band member in high school, and almost every time we went on a trip, we would stop at McDonald’s for a bite to eat.  My standard order was 2 Big Macs and some fries.  My band director would look at me and ask how I could eat so much.  (That was about 30 pounds and almost 30 years ago, when I still had that teenager metabolism.)  Nowadays I rarely go to McDonald’s, even with 4 children.  (With 4 children, eating out is a rare event!)  Though I’m rarely there and when I am I rarely order a Big Mac, I do still enjoy one now and then.  Well, here’s the solution: Homemade Big Macs

Now, everyone knows that the key to a Big Mac is the “special sauce”.  I admit to not making a healthier Big Mac by going with the “light” ingredients called for in the recipe.  Here’s what I used:  2014_0511May20140075  I mixed all those ingredients together and came up with this delightful sauce:  2014_0511May20140080  Put that together with 2 thin cheeseburgers, one and a half buns, and a little onion, lettuce and pickle, and you have a pretty reasonable replica.  I’ll definitely make these again one day:  2014_0511May20140082  Okay, okay, so we had Cheetos instead of fries.  That was so Mr. Super Extremely Picky would eat something.  He has decided that he doesn’t like frozen fries (which he used to eat) and he doesn’t care for any version of homemade fries I’ve made either.  His fries must come from Wendy’s or McDonald’s or he won’t eat them.  Silly kid 😛

Honestly, the most difficult thing about this recipe was getting the burger patties “that thin”.   And now that he’s had them that way, my oldest son wants thin burgers every time I make any burger version.  That’s okay, because the extra time taken to flatten the patties is made up for in the shorter cooking time 🙂

Praline French Toast

Here’s a recipe from another great website:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/praline-french-toast-00420000019531/  I like French toast, but I usually do the old “dip the bread in the egg/milk mixture and heat it up on a griddle” method.  However, the couple of baked French toast recipes I’ve tried have been pretty good, and this one looked especially yummy.

I forgot about blogging until after I had the bread ready to soak overnight:  2014_0408April20140001  That’s certainly not 8 slices of bread there, and they’re nowhere near as large as the bread slices shown in the recipe photo.  The only French bread I’m familiar with is the long thin baguette (?)  I bought one of those and sliced the entire thing up and put it in my 9 X 13 glass baking dish.  All that was left in the morning was to put together the ingredients for the topping:  2014_0408April20140003  I have two children who don’t think they like nuts, so I didn’t put the topping on all of the bread:  2014_0408April20140008  After baking, I served this with maple sausage links:  2014_0408April20140011  Very, very yummy.  In fact, as I was typing this up my oldest son said, “You have to make that again!”

A&W Coney Dog

I saw this recipe floating around Pinterest for A & W Coney Dogs and thought I’d try it, because I’m pretty sure I recall actually having and liking A & W coney dogs in my youth.  So I printed out the recipe and started writing down the ingredients I needed to buy and I saw “pork and chicken mince” listed.  Huh?  Well, it looked like ground meat in the picture, and I know I can buy ground chicken and ground pork, so I did:  2014_0405March20140068  The remainder of the ingredients didn’t seem as mysterious:  2014_0405March20140069  I admit to not using chicken frankfurters.  I just bought the hot dogs my husband says he likes best and served them with the sauce, onion and Parmesan cheese as instructed:  2014_0405March20140073  This didn’t turn out to be quite what I expected.   I think the sauce was a little too sweet and I know I would prefer beef instead of the pork/chicken blend.  Oh well, it was worth a try . . .

Apple Pear Pecan Salad

Another online find, this salad recipe: http://nancycreative.com/2014/01/14/apple-pear-pecan-salad/

I really used it more as a list of ingredients than as a recipe, per se.  I gathered the ingredients called for: 2014_0405March20140014   But then I just built individual salads in our bowls and didn’t measure anything: fill the bottom with salad, add some apple and pear (more for hubby than for me because he likes fresh fruit better than I do), and toss in a handful of Craisins, a handful of pecans, and a handful of feta cheese, drizzle on some dressing (more for me than my husband, because I prefer a little salad to hold my dressing while he prefers a little dressing on his salad 😉 )  Done:  2014_0405March20140021  Very easy, very tasty, and a way to get myself to actually consume some fresh fruit 🙂

Baked Sea Scallops

There are many many many many websites “out there” filled with recipes to try.  This recipe came from one of them: http://www.justapinch.com/recipes/main-course/fish/baked-sea-scallops-2.html   If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that seafood is not my thing, but I do prepare it for my husband.  For this particular recipe, I used frozen seafood:  2014_0405March20140011  We don’t live near the sea, so even though we can buy some seafood from the counter at the grocery store, often it is “previously frozen” anyway.  Besides, even the frozen stuff is pretty pricey!

The baked sea scallops I made for my hubby ended up looking like this:  2014_0405March20140017  He liked them so well that, since he didn’t need leftovers for his lunch the next day, he ate all of them!

Caramelized Onion Soup

The “Every Day with Rachael Ray” magazine always contains a mini-cookbook insert, and the one in the April 2014 issue was titled “A Month of Sensational Soups!”  On page 6 of that insert was a lovely, rich-looking “Caramelized Onion Soup”.  I wish I had found a link to it on the website so you could see the photo, but alas, ’twas not to be.  You can go check for yourself if you like:  http://www.rachaelraymag.com/

Since I could not find the link to the recipe, I will type it up for you, just in case you decide you’d like to try it.

CARAMELIZED ONION SOUP

3 T EVOO

3 lb. large sweet onions, sliced

1 T packed dark brown sugar

1/8 t ground nutmeg

1 C dry white wine

8 C low-sodium beef broth

In a large pot cook EVOO and onions over med-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, about 12 minutes.  Add brown sugar and nutmeg; reduce heat to med-low and cook, stirring often, until onions are golden and very soft, 30-45 minutes.  Add the wine; scrape up browned bits and cook until the wine is reduced by half, about 3 minutes.  Add broth, bring to a boil, and then simmer until liquid is slightly reduced, about 15 minutes; season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  (Makes 10 cups)

Here’s what I used:  2014_0402March20140011  And yes, you see beef bouillon and white cooking wine there.  Perhaps not the best ingredients, but the most practical for our household budget.

The results:  2014_0402March20140015  My soup was not anywhere near as deep brown as the photo with the recipe, but this was mighty tasty served with some good crusty bread from the grocery store bakery.   It’s similar to French Onion Soup minus the topping of bread and cheese.  If you like the sweetness of cooked onions, this recipe is for you.