On the home front is this super sweet family session from last week. I love the nearby park and taking photos where families with small children that only need to drive 5 minutes away. It’s so hard with small children especially in the evening! These are some of my favorites…
Recipe: If you are a busy family like this one, you need this recipe in your life! Pork tenderloin is one of the most versatile, cheap, quick and easy dinners on the face of the planet. And let’s face it. We all get sick of chicken. Okay, well I do. Check pork tenderloin alternatives here!
So super simple to freezer and eat. Or prep this on Sunday to make on Monday or Tuesday. Costco sells pork tenderloin packages in 2 packs with 2 tenderloins in each.
How I cook pork tenderloin:
If I have lots of time (25-30 minutes) –> Leave whole and cook.
If I have no time at all (10-15 minutes) –> Cut into 1/2″ or 3/4″ medallions and cook in a skillet. The increased surface area will cook it faster. Or one of those large grill pans that go on your stove top.
Add olive oil to a 12″ cast iron skillet and preheat the skillet on medium high heat. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While they heat up, .combine the rest of the ingredients into a small bowl: garlic, thyme, basil, rosemary and a little zest of a lemon if you like. Rub these onto the pork.
Cut the pork into medallions if you like. Or I usually cut mine once in half to ensure faster cooking.
Once the pork is full of herbs, put into the skillet. Brown on one side about 4-5 minutes. Flip. Brown on all sides and the last side, don’t flip. Just put the skillet into the oven
The size of your pork tenderloin will greatly determine cooking time. I start at 20 minutes. I also use a probe thermometer and set it for 145 degrees. Once the internal temperature hits 145, pull the skillet out of the oven and allow to rest 5 minutes before serving.
You could also make this in the pressure cooker for 14 minutes on high.[br]You could also make this in the slow cooker for 4 hours on low.
Good morning! A very busy few weeks updating the new photography website Mary Riley Photography LLC. I have some work below as well from a workshop I took on posing a baby. The photos and editing are all mine. The posing presented by Stephanie Cotta Photography.
Recipe: I just love pork tenderloin!!! It is my go to meal for a quick dinner. The pork goes with any side dish and can handle anything from sweet cinnamon apple to spicy cayenne pepper. You can bake pork tenderloins in the oven, throw them on a grill, slice them and cook in a skillet, pressure cook them and slow cook them. The pork tenderloin just rocks. Plus it is pretty cheap too. I get four large pork tenderloins at Costco for around $13. I see them in packages of 2 at our local Dierbergs grocery store for $5 during their $5 meat sale.
If you don’t eat pork: This chili powder combination tastes great on many other things as well! I like it on chicken breast, pork roasts, or anything that needs a little sweet chili kick.
Chili Brown Sugar Pork Tenderloin
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 4 servings
1 Tb. grapeseed or olive oil.
1 pork tenderloin
1 Tb. chili powder
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or 1-2 tsp. of garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste (I start out with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper)
For OVEN: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Preheat a cast iron skillet or oven proof skillet with the oil to medium heat.
Trim the silver skin from the pork tenderloin. You will see a sheet of bluish silvery stuff. Simply trim with a sharp knife. Cut the tenderloins in half for faster cooking or cut into medallions for an even faster cooking time.
Now that the tenderloin is prepped, wash your hands. You just touched raw meat! 🙂
In a small bowl, combine the spices. Rub them all over the pork tenderloin.
Add the pork to the skillet and brown on all sides – about 5 minutes.
Put the skillet into the oven and bake for about 20-30 minutes. Depends on if you cut the pork into a half or medallions. The pork is done once it reaches 140 degrees. It may be slightly pink in the middle even though it has reached that temperature. Clear juices will run through and most of it will be grey.
Serve warm. Salt and pepper to taste.
FOR INSTANT POT: Skip the oil. Make sure the silver skin is trimmed. Cut the pork in half. Rub the seasonings onto the pork.
Add 1 and 1/2 cups water or chicken broth to the instant pot. Place pork on top and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Valve should be sealed.
Quick release the valve. Remove pork and serve warm.
I usually double this recipe and we have leftovers the next day for lunch.
Books: Since I loved reading “The Water Castle” so much I thought I would try Megan Frazer Blakemore’s “The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill”. The beginning is boring, but it was a boringbeginning in the last book. So maybe it will get better. ??
*Insert pithy comments here* I think about stuff to write here ALL DAY. Seriously, I need a secretary. By the time 10pm rolls around, I can only think of my recipe and sleep and…. oh. I’m awake. What? Oh yes. Sleep. And fresh strawberry pie.
Recipe: I liked this recipe because it is fast and tasty. The entire meal includes two side dishes that are pretty healthy for you as well: beans, onions and peppers. Our pork tenderloin comes from Costco at $3.99 per pound. The other grocery stores also sell it at that price, but only when on sale. So, $5 for the meat, 99 cents for the beans and $2 for the peppers and we feed 4 people for $8. It isn’t the cheapest way to go… but still cheaper than dining out. Could this be made with chicken? Sure!
Pork Tenderloin and Beans: 30 Minute Meal
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
1 red onion, sliced thin
3 Tb. lime juice (fresh or bottled), divided
2 tsp. ground cumin, divided
1 and 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver skim
2 Tb. olive oil, divided
3 orange or red peppers (green will work too), cut into strips
1 – 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. honey
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix half the onion, 2 Tb. lime juice, 1/2 tsp. cumin and pinch of salt.
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tb. olive oil on medium high. Brown the pork for 8 minutes. Put the pork into a roasting pan, cookie sheet or casserole dish. and cook about 15 minutes or until 145 degrees.
Now, into that empty skillet on the stove add the rest of the olive oil. Add the peppers. Cook a few minutes until a little soft. Add 1/2 cup water and some salt. Let sizzle and cook off for about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the onion/lime juice mixture.
In a medium bowl, toss the beans, other half of the onion, honey and cilantro with 1 Tb. lime juice. Put this in the microwave for about 45 seconds if you want the beans slightly warmed.
Book Update: This month’s book club book is “Skeletons on the Zahara” by Dean King. It is a true story of a twelve American sailors who shipwrecked onto the west coast of Africa in 1815. Almost 5 stars on Amazon as well.
I’ve been perusing my old Good Eats books (Volumes 1, 2 and 3 and autographed because I’m a dork like that). Apparently, peanuts are not nuts. So, when it is a “Nut free facility” they really mean nuts AND peas. Oh, Meyer lemons are not true lemons – they are a cross between a lemon and mandarin orange. And kosher salt isn’t really kosher. It is the just the name of the salt. And pink peppercorns are not really peppercorns… they are a dried berry. My world is crumbling…
Ok, not really. Here’s some yummy food. Speaking of Alton Brown – he is coming here to St. Louis in February!! Guess who is getting tickets soon. Glad I got this photo op when I did – he is charging $100 for the tickets to get his photo and autograph! I got it here for free.
Recipe Update: This is one of the Freezer Meals I made from my Wildtree Workshop “Everyday Meals.” The skillet jambalaya was outstanding. The crockpot chicken quesadillas… meh. I think chicken breast should never be cooked 8-10 hours on low because it just gets too dry for me. A good 2 hours on high could have saved it from drying out because the flavor was delicious.
This meal was incredibly easy to put together as it was melt in your mouth tender and flavorful- as many pork tenderloin meals are (except for a balsamic vinegar one I saw on Pinterest… It was one of my fail recipes). To make this recipe: I simply mixed the 3 ingredients up in a baggie and threw it into the oven (or you could grill it). Don’t like Lemon Rosemary? Try these pork tenderloinrecipes!
1. Mix it all up in a bag. Freeze or prep to cook. If I am short on time, I will cut the 2 tenderloins down to 4 pieces to speed up cooking.
2. You can preheat an oven to 400 degrees and cook in a 9×13 pan for 20-25 minutes (I use my probe thermometer and set it for 145 degrees). You could grill it outside on a medium-high preheated grill. You could sear it on the stove over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet and then throw it in the oven at 400 degrees. Lots of ways to cook it! The interior is pale pink to no pink. To be sure, again a probe thermometer will tell you when it his 145 degrees. Always check your thermometer’s warnings. I bought one years ago, and it broke. I went to buy another one, and it said on the package “Do not use in grill and do not exceed 400 degrees”….. which is probably why mine broke!
*Lemon Rosemary blend is dextrose (a.k.a. sugar), sea salt, black pepper, rosemary, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, lemon oil, pink peppercorn. You could use lemon zest for the lemon oil. Pink peppercorns are sold by many spice shops like Penzeys. They are very pretty, too!
Don’t let the “paleo” label scare you. I stayed away from it too at first thinking the food wasn’t going to be good or because it is soooo healthy it can’t possibly taste better. I am not on the paleo diet. I think of my diet as more in terms of the things I do eat instead of the things I don’t eat. As with most diets, there is a host of pros and a list of cons even with the paleo diet. I try not to stick to anything really except make sure it’s real food. Pretty much covers anything from the French paradox to the tribes around the world with exceptionally limited diets (but it’s real food).
This dish was fast, simple and delicious. The photo looks a little overdone because my probe thermometer stopped working while cooking. So, it went over. Any pork tenderloin dish is welcome here in our house. First, the meat is $2.99/lb at Costco. Second, you can season it with whatever you want. Third, it requires little active time in the cooking process. Setting a probe to beep at you at 140 or 145 degrees is all you need to watch the tenderloin. Why such a low doneness temperature? I confirmed the USDA allows 145 degrees for pork.
Cumin Pork Tenderloin serves 6
1 T. cumin
1 T. coriander
1 T. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
black pepper, to taste (about 1/4 tsp for us)
2 – 1 lb. pork tenderloins
2 Tb. bacon fat (or grapeseed oil or olive oil)
1 large onion, sliced
4 parsnips, chopped (optional. I didn’t use since they aren’t in season)
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1. Get out a 12″ cast iron skillet or another large skillet that is oven proof. If you have a 10″ cast iron, this would fit in there because the meat will contract.
2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. (I’ve tried 375 degrees and up to 450 degrees. It doesn’t change much but how long it takes to cook.)
3. Mix up your seasonings in a small bowl: cumin, coriander, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
4. Pat dry the tenderloins and rub the spice mixture on.
5. Heat your skillet to medium high with the fat or oil inside. Sear all sides of the tenderloin.
6. Add your onion, parsnips, and orange to the skillet. Throw it all into the oven and bake. My temperature probe goes off around 25 minutes. When checking for doneness, remember that pork is still a little pink at the “done” temperature of 145 degrees.
You may have read I get some of my produce from our local co-op. This week we received fresh broccoli and cauliflower. I was also introduced to this wonderful pork tenderloin that Mannino’s Market here outside St. Louis sells at their grocery store. I am certain any meat market would have a pork tenderloin similar to this one. It is was about 1-1.25 lbs and already seasoned. Mine was wrapped with bacon, held on by toothpicks and then seasoned with lots of black pepper. I’m not certain if there were other seasonings. One could always experiment!
I have a lot to do this week and I don’t want the kitchen a complete disaster in the evening. Sometimes we want a quick meal that doesn’t make a lot of mess right before the big holiday mess. Or maybe that is just me. The entire 9×13 fed the four of us for under $6. Not Ramen noodle prices… but not bad.
The vegetables were awesome. I’m not a huge fan of veggies unless they have lots of stuff on them like garlic, Parmesan cheese, etc. But the bacon drippings flavored the veggies well and I only needed some salt and pepper. Those that are even less of a fan of veggies may enjoy having a tablespoon (or eight LOL) of melted butter added to the party.
Roasted Pork Tenderloin Meal serves 4
1-1.5 lb. prepared pork tenderloin (again, mine was wrapped with bacon which I found essential and had lots of black pepper on top) 1/2 head of broccoli, chopped into florets 1/2 head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
That’s IT!! Fabulous. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your 9×13 with cooking spray. Put the pork in the middle. Surround it with the broccoli and cauliflower. Cook about 30 minutes. Mine was done in 35 minutes. I really recommend a probe thermometer. You just set it to 145 degrees and forget it! When it beeps you know you won’t be killed by bacteria and you don’t have to watch the clock. Everybody wins.
If you are wondering about the 145 degrees, recently the USDA lowered the required temperature of pork tenderloin to 145 degrees.
Soooo… I’m thinking of starting an Etsy shop! I will post some fun things soon. I usually post my crafts on my personal Facebook page, but I wanted to start a shop which would make it easier for me to handle sales taxes. “Whisk Together” is very high on Google searches and I’m trying to decide whether I should use this blog to point to the shop or not. The products won’t be food but custom vinyl items. St. Charles county government prevents me from selling to the public anything I cook or bake 🙁
Recipe: We love pork tenderloin around here for its relatively low price, easy to cook and ability to take on many flavors like chicken does. This recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen’s “Slow Cooker Revolution 2”. I like this book for 2 reasons: America’s Test Kitchen treats the slow cooker as another cooking device and tries to get the best dish from the slow cooker. Many slow cooker recipes leave a recipe dried out or burned. Or like this book’s predecessor, the recipe takes an hour to prep when what you really wanted to do was save time in the first place.
Tired of the same old BBQ, we cooked this with hoisin sauce and toasted sesame oil. They are very common Asian food products in most grocery stores under “Mexican/Asian” section.
Note: If you don’t want to make this in the crockpot because of the time frame, please don’t abandon hope (all ye who enter here ha ha)! Simply oil your skillet (cast iron works GREAT) and sear the sides of the meat. Throw it into the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-30 minutes or until it reaches 140 degrees internally. We used the same method on our lemon rosemary tenderloin as well!
1/4 cup chicken broth
4 tsp grated ginger
2 (14-16 oz.) pork tenderloins, trimmed of fat and silver skin
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp sriracha Asian chili (we omitted so it would not be spicy hot)
2 scallions, chopped
In the slow cooker, dump the chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of the ginger. Stir around
Add the pork tenderloin and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on LOW for 1-2 hours.
Remove tenderloin and tent under some foil.
In the slow cooker or microwave, heat the hoisin sauce, sesame oil and sriracha until hot.
Drizzle the sauce onto the pork. Sprinkle with chopped scallions.
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen “Slow Cooker Revolution 2”.
I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!!! 2018 was a pretty good year overall. I am still teaching 6th grade Gifted and Advanced Mathematics, the food blog is still running, I stopped doing paid photography, we are planning to go to Yellowstone National Park later this year, family is healthy and happy – so couldn’t ask for anything more!
I have been re-making many of our family’s favorite recipes using the Instant Pot. I really do not seek out “new recipes” any longer, but re-make the meals we already love. Most of the recipes on this website have been cooked 3 or more times and revised so that they come out perfect every time – so that is why I use them most of the time. This recipe is an oldie but a goodie and I just knew the Instant Pot would cut the cooking time in half while keeping the flavors robust.
To make this recipe without the Instant Pot – My original recipe can be found here
I have had the Instant Pot for 5 years or so and really wish I had written a book or something before the device exploded in popularity!
Here is what I find it best for:
I have not liked the Instant Pot for Pork roasts, pork tenderloins or any meat that is lean like those cuts of meat. Chicken is good – because you can cook that in water and it doesn’t bother it. Water keeps the pork a little more hydrated, but the texture is different. And less water makes the meat dry. And pizza. It doesn’t do well with pizza 😉
Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Serves: 6-8 servings
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 cup Diced Onion
1 green bell pepper, diced (or mix of green, red or orange)
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste (freeze the remaining in the can, it will last a long time)
1/2 teaspoon Salt (optional)
1 can (10 Oz.) Diced Tomatoes And Green Chilies, not drained
32 ounces Low Sodium Chicken Stock
2 cans (15 Oz. per Can) black beans or red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Select Saute on the Instant Pot and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add onion and peppers. Stir about 2-3 minutes or until translucent. Add minced garlic, spices (cumin, chili powder, garlic powder), and tomato paste and cook 30 seconds – stirring constantly.
Turn Instant Pot off. Add the salt (optional), diced tomatoes and green chiles, chicken stock, beans and chicken breast. Put on the lid to “seal” and program for “Poultry” and increase time to 18 minutes for thick chicken breast or leave it at 15 minutes for smaller size.
Use Quick Release once the Instant Pot is done cooking. Add the warm water and cornmeal. While the pot keeps the soup warm, shred the chicken with forks in the pot or remove and shred (you can shred it in the mixer too!).
There were over 200,000 Instant Pots sold on Amazon on Prime Day. I have been posting about it since I received mine this winter and thought I would compile.
Use these recipes as guides. The shredded chicken can be used with BBQ sauce, salsa or just plain to freeze for later. The rice pudding can be made using the Rice or Brown Rice instructions and served for a side dish with fish or a stir fry.
I realized I have made pot roast in the pressure cooker half a dozen times and never posted it! Here is the pot roast we make. Cut into chunks for beef stew and faster cooking times 🙂
Forget to put the 3 pound roast in the slow cooker this morning? Make it in the Instant Pot tonight! We think it tastes BETTER than the slow cooker. Plus you get the added health benefits of the pressure cooker. Woo hoo!
For this recipe, I combined the list of America’s Test Kitchen’s pot roast ingredients with the method of a pressure cooker. America’s Test Kitchen know their stuff. If I had to have just one cookbook to carry with me on a deserted island, it would be “Cook’s Illustrated” by America’s Test Kitchen.
For Beef Stew, I basically follow the same recipe. I toss a few tablespoons of flour in there and the meat is already chopped of course. Then, I cook it on high in the pressure cooker for 20 minutes.
Pot Roast & Instant Pot Recipes | I Have Made So Far
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
1 Tb. olive oil
3 lb. chuck roast (I have used bottom round and top round too), trimmed of fat
1-2 onions, quartered
1 carrot, 1″ pieces (or I use 1 cup baby carrots)
1-2 celery ribs, 1″ pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tb. tomato paste (freeze the rest for later)
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme or 1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp, kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1-2 russet potatoes or red potatoes, 1″ chunks (optional)
1 cup water or beef broth or chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
Put your oil in the instant pot and hit “sauté”. Once hot, trim the meat on all sides. Turn machine off.
Add the rest of the ingredients (except peas) into the pot. Seal the pot and make sure the toggle is on “seal” instead of “vent.”
Put the machine on “Beef” or use “Manual” and cook on high pressure for 70 minutes.
Once finished, vent using the quick release method.
If you want to add peas, simply add them now and close the lid. They will cook in the pot for 10 minutes.
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had a great couple of three day weekends or some time off.
I have my photography website up and running again! I took it down after my last child was born and her bedroom took over the indoor studio. Some of my absolute favorite photographs of the kids were in the studio and I want to set that up again.
Here’s the business card I finished making. The large border is the trim that will later be cut off at the printing lab:
I have still been working out with my pals Daniel and Kelly for the past two years or so with great results! What I eat is still about the same. I was 135 pounds consistently from 2011-2013. From 2014-2015, I have been around 138 pounds. Sometimes 140 pounds. But, the jeans still fit (for the most part) and nothing else has changed but my routine. I think the extra 3 pounds is muscle. Jillian Michaels uses 3 pound weights in her routines. I purchased the Power Block weights* that Daniel and Kelly use. These weights go up to 48 pounds total which might attribute to the weight gain.
**Note: ALL of my Amazon links are not affiliated. At all. I make no money and just like linking to them so you know exactly how much the weights are. I live in the state of Missouri – which passed a law that made Amazon cease all affiliates here. For the weights, keep an eye on the price – it may change in January since a lot of exercise equipment goes on sale in January. Last January (2015), the price dropped $40 around the 16th.**
January will be a GREAT month for Exercise! Fitness Blender will do a new 60 minute workout every Monday. January 11th they post a new 1000 calorie workout, and Monday (the 4th) will be a new 5 day challenge!
If you are new to exercise, try the 5 day challenge! It is always fun and you can pick between high and low impact because Kelly and Daniel switch. All you ever need is a set of weights which can be dumb bells, medicine ball, sack of flour (5 pounds usually), a gallon of milk (though… the milk might go bad…), etc.
If you are not new to exercise, the 1000 calorie workouts are SO much work but you feel amazing afterwards. They are worth it and great if you are trying to get those last extra few pounds off. Or, if you miss a workout day like I did on Christmas – then I just went ahead and did a 1000 calorie workout on Saturday to make up for two days of workouts.
Here is a collection of some recipes we make all the time at home and are really healthy for you while tasting amazing.
One of my hubby’s favorite meals is chicken and rice. It was hard to find a recipe online that didn’t use cream of something soup or onion packet of MSG. Instead this comfort food classic was re-invented with using just ordinary pantry items and real food from the fridge.
Real food and real comfort. Whether trying to lose weight or just eat healthier – here is a go to way of making a homemade classic.
Chicken & Rice Casserole
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
1 onion, chopped
5 carrots, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
5 ribs of celery, chopped into 1/2″ pieces
1 cup wild rice, brown rice or white rice
3 cups chicken broth
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1″ pieces
4 Tb. butter
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. ground sage
4 Tb. flour
1 and 1/2 cups milk, warm preferably
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
Into the pan, add the onion, celery, carrots, rice and broth.
Cover pan with foil. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes.
In a medium pot on the stove, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour, salt and sage. Stir together for 1 minute.
Whisk in the milk. Keep on medium heat until the sauce becomes a little thicker.
Once timer is up on the rice, add the raw chicken and sauce you just made. Stir together.
Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees. Cook 20 minutes. The chicken should all be cooked through. Cook longer if necessary.