Burst media_leaderboard

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Asian Apricot Glazed Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin


Here's one for each of you who asks that age old question... "What am I going to cook for dinner?" Well this fall-apart pork tenderloin could not be any simpler for an easy family dinner.  So for sure, this is not not the prettiest dish in the world, but oh wow it was tasty - and easy.

Pork tenderloin may not be what you would think of as a protein to throw into the crock pot, but for around $6, this super lean piece of meat just falls apart after being slow cooked in an Asian inspired glaze. And then to create a little bit of a caramelization of sorts on the glaze, I threw it in my oven at the end while my potatoes were finishing up roasting.  And that's it!  The price per person comes out way less expensive than even your favorite drive through window, and believe me when I say it's way healthier and more tasty!


Ingredients:    
(1 tenderloin shown, but the glaze is enough for 2 tenderloins)
  • 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • Tbsp dried onion flakes 
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1/4 c apricot preserves
  • garnishes optional
    • sesame seeds
    • sliced chives or green onions
  • 1 1/2 - 2 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed 


Step-by-Step:
Let's start off by mixing together this super easy glaze.  Just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  

We start off with 1/4 c low sodium soy sauce + 1 Tbsp yellow mustard.
2 - 3 Tbsp maple syrup + 2 Tbsp canola oil.
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes + 1 Tbsp onion powder.
1 Tbsp light brown sugar + 1/4 cup apricot preserves.
So this is what the glaze looks like.  That was so easy!   This would also be great on chicken or basted onto shrimp for grilling! 
You will want to trim the tenderloin of extra fat and the silverskin.  Unfortunately, I have a round crock pot, rather than an elongated oval shaped one, so I had to bend mine.  But hey... it still worked out just fine.  
Cook in the crock pot on high for around x 3 1/2 hours.  My boys like it when it's absolutely falling apart.  Then if you would like the glaze to have that bit of caramelization, transfer the meat to the an oven safe dish and pop it into the oven at 400 degrees F until you get the look you would like.  In the crock pot, the glaze will remain pretty soft.  It's up to you.   
To serve, garnish with sesame seeds (try dry toasting them in a small pan on the stovetop first), and and some thinly sliced chives or green onions.  Good luck trying to "slice" the meat.  It works better to just break it apart into big chunks to serve with some of the glaze from the bottom of the crock pot. 

I hope you enjoyed this simple and delicious recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.


The Menu Musings cookbook is sure to be a hit at your house, and will make great gifts!  For more information, here is a link!
Order your copy of the Menu Musings Cookbook!  
Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.

Also, Please be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for short video tutorials on selected videos.  Watch me explain the steps of the recipes in just a few minutes!  Just one more way that I'm giving you the tools to get in that kitchen!!! Aren't you curious?  Click and see how many there are!  :)
Here's just one example - Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts. 

Here are some bonus recipes for you!
Baked Chicken Taquitos

Happy Hour Pizza Rolls

Mongolian Beef

Funky Monkey Morning Smoothies

Creamy "Work Week" Chicken Enchiladas

Thai Chicken Salad Cones

Written Method: 
Mix all the glaze ingredients together. Trim the tenderloin of extra fat and the silverskin.  Pour the glaze over the pork in the crock pot.  Cook on high for around x 3 1/2 hours.  My boys like it when it's absolutely falling apart.  Then if you would like the glaze to have that bit of caramelization, transfer the meat to the an oven safe dish and pop it into the oven at 400 degrees F until you get the look you would like.  In the crock pot, the glaze will remain pretty soft.  It's up to you.   

To serve, garnish with sesame seeds (try dry toasting them in a small pan on the stovetop first), and and some thinly sliced chives or green onions.  Good luck trying to "slice" the meat.  It works better to just break it apart into big chunks to serve with some of the glaze from the bottom of the crock pot. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Creamy Black Pepper Pappardelle with Leeks and Crispy Pancetta

Creamy Black Pepper Pappardelle with Leeks and Crispy Pancetta @ menumusings.com
Let me quickly point out (before some people I know start freaking out) that you do NOT need to make your own pasta to enjoy this recipe.  Oh yes, you CAN totally cheat your way through it and go out and purchase some pasta at the market.  On the other hand... if you WANT to make your own pasta, I gotcha covered!  Ha!  

The first time I made this was quite the experience.  I thought it would be a fun afternoon project (on a weekend) for me and the kids to make a new style of pasta together.  The little ones were VERY hesitant to try the leeks.  The didn't at all like the sound of it.  Leeks just sounded "odd" to them.  I told them that it was our "responsibility" to explore new things if we were going to tell other people to do the same thing.  You know what?  It worked like a charm, and they bought it!  LOL!!!!  Then, I didn't realize that we had a couple of extra teenaged friends in the house from.... somewhere? Ha!  When I called everyone down for dinner, I told them what we were having.  The title was met with a bunch of big - blank - round - eyes.  Zero recognition.  One kid had heard of leeks.  Pappardelle?  Nope.  Pancetta?  Nada.  And the others had no clue of the leeks.  This was going to be fun.  You might think they would be pretty skeptical, but they've all been around here for quite a while, so by now, they've learned that even when it's something completely foreign to them - they are probably not going to be disappointed.   Wow... by the time my husband and I finished serving food and drinks and peered into the pot to get ours, we were lucky to scrape together enough for our own dinner!   

So the bottom line... even if you make this with purchased pasta.. go for it!!!  But make sure you get your serving first!  LOL!!!!  (kidding)


Ingredients:  (serves 8)
Creamy Black Pepper Pappardelle with Leeks and Crispy Pancetta @ menumusings.com
  • 4 Tbsp  extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 8 oz pancetta, diced
  • 3 leeks, (light colored part) cut in half lengthwise and thinly cut crosswise
    • discard the dark green tough part
  • 2 tsp garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup white wine (dry)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 8 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
  • 6 ounces freshly grated Parmigiano reggiano cheese
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 24 oz pappardelle pasta (purchased or homemade)
    • (recipe follows for homemade pasta)
black pepper pappardelle
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Step-by-Step:

Pasta - 
This is really the only part of the recipe that takes up time.  If you have an afternoon and want to enjoy it with someone, go for it.  If you enjoy how absolutely tender fresh pasta is, go for it.  If you are in a bit more of a time crunch, purchase premade pasta and skip ahead.  But it really is a lot of fun to make your own.  :)

Start by mixing your flours together on a clean surface or large cutting board.  Do seek out the semolina flour if you can.  (See Food Nerd Notes* at the bottom of the post.)  
1 1/2 c AP flour
1 1/2 c semolina flour 
And apparently, mixing them together is GREAT FUN!  
The first thing we are going to do is to season our flour.  Yep, that's right!  And then we will make a well right into the flour for the eggs.  A big pinch of salt (about a teaspoon), and get some little cutie pie to grind some black pepper for you.  
Okay, lets get that pepper in there (1 tsp) and then make a well for the eggs.  Make it carefully, because you don't want the eggs to all run out.  This is where things really get fun.  
Crack the eggs into the well, then add the olive oil.   We are doing a 5 egg pasta because I wanted a nice rich, silky dough.  Then add the 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.
Now if you squeamish about it, I suppose you could use the end of a wooden spoon to incorporate the eggs into the flour.  But really, it is a LOT more fun if you get in there with your fingertips and mix it up.  Take my word for it.  Old school!  Just start in the middle and start pulling in a bit of the flour into the eggs a little at a time.  You do NOT want to break the dam!  When all the flour gets incorporated, knead the dough for about a good 10 minutes, using more bench flour as needed if it's sticky.  
You will notice that it starts off very sticky and scraggly looking (is that a word?), and starts getting pretty darned smooth at the end.  
Once you wrangle it into shape, form it into a ball.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
Tip - I have read that you can also wrap it and store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. To use the refrigerated dough, bring it out to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

After resting 30 minutes, the dough has relaxed enough for us to roll it out.  Now we can cut it into quarters.  Keep the quarters you are not using wrapped up so they won't dry out. 
Now I will use my pasta machine to roll out my pasta into strips that are about 1" thick.  I am starting on the widest setting, which I will use several times as this helps to further knead the dough.

fold
fold
Then I start passing the dough through successively narrower settings until I get the pasta so thin you can actually see the light through it.  
I would like to tell you that I remember how it feels to work this machine, but I never get to!  If you have children or grandchildren around... they seriously think this is the coolest thing EVER!  All I get to do is "catch" the pasta.  HaHa! 
So while I was over there catching the pasta, I was giving some serious thought to "How in the world are we going to cut this pasta in straight lines?"  So I went and dug out my fondant mat - which I never use because I really really really dislike working with the stuff.  And as it turns out, it made the perfect surface for cutting the pasta without scratching my cabinet; AND it was covered with straight lines.  TaDA!!!
 This was going to work like a charm!  Something I could do.

Well.... I spoke too soon.  As quickly as I got excited about my new job, I lost it to Lovely Lily.  The pasta was so thin that she could see the lines showing through the pasta dough from the mat.  In my opinion, the pizza wheel was the best tool for the job by far!    
Pretty cool, huh?  It's interesting that the black pepper doesn't show up nearly as much as the pasta dries as it did when it was wet.  Hmmmm.. 
Everything else - 
If you purchased your pasta, this is where you will pick up the story.  Be sure to read the package directions for your particular pasta.  Fresh market pasta will take less time to boil than dried pasta. 

Okay, let's get going on the rest.  We need to get those leeks prepped.  We will only be using the light green part of the leeks, discarding the tough fibrous ends.  
3 large leeks
If you are wondering what leeks taste like, they have a mild, onion-like flavor that pairs very well with the bacon flavor of the pancetta.
We will cut them lengthwise...
Then across.
Now you should know that leeks are very dirty.  The reason that there is a dark green and light green part, is that they mound up the dirt around them as they grow.  The light green part is the area where the sun doesn't hit it.  So expect there to be lots of dirt.  So we need to clean them.  This can be a lot of fun if you have a kid around.  :)  My daughter likes to be "the washing machine."  

Fill a bowl with cool/cold water.  Use more water than you have leeks.  Add the chopped leeks to the cold water.  They will float.  Find someone to swish them around for you.  
You will be able to see the dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, while the clean leeks float on top.
Now you can use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the clean leeks to a different bowl by just skimming them off of the top.  This is also a lot of fun for a kid to do.  (At this point, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm just here to be the official photographer.)
TaDA!  Now we won't be eating gritty leeks.  :)
I guess the only thing left to prep is the pancetta.  My seven year old son calls this "circle bacon." 
8 oz pancetta
You can dice it up into little squares, or run a pizza cutter through it and cut it into strips.  Do it ANY way you please.   Tip* -  If you put it into the freezer for just a little bit before cutting it, it can be a little easier to cut.  Since the pancetta is usually sold really thin, it can be really wiggly and hard to get a nice straight line on if you are concerned with that. 
Let's make the flavor base - 
On one burner, you may want to get a large pot of water going for your pasta.  On a second burner, heat up a large heavy skillet or saute pan for our recipe.  I'm using a 14" cast enamel skillet over a medium-high heat.

We will start with the extra virgin olive oil.
4 Tbsp EVOO
Once your EVOO is hot, add the diced pancetta.   Cook the pancetta for around 4 - 5 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy, stirring it frequently.  You may need to turn down the heat to medium.
To the browned pancetta, add the butter, sliced leeks, chopped garlic, and white wine.   Saute the leeks in this over medium-high until they are softened and just the slightest bit browned.
4 Tbsp butter
chopped, cleaned leeks
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1/2 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon blanc)  
 This will be our flavor base.  I think if you try hard, you can just about smell it.

Now let's not forget we have a pot of water boiling on that back burner!
Homemade pasta only takes a few minutes to boil.  It doesn't have all those preservatives in it that dried, boxed pasta has.  But if you are using pasta from a box, please do follow the directions on the package.  Go ahead and drop your pasta in the water.  Also, do yourself a favor and generously salt that water once it is boiling.  If you don't,  the unsalted pasta will take away from the flavor of the sauce.

Gentle reminder - get your pasta on to boil!!! 
Just gather it up loosely.  It has been sitting over there drying a bit.  Drop it in the boiling water. Give it a stir to make sure none of it is sticking together.  It will only take around 4 - 5 minutes.  Start checking it around 3 minutes until it gets almost done.  We will allow it to finish the last little bit in the sauce. 
our pappardelle
Okay.  Back to the sauce.
To finish, add the heavy cream, fresh thyme leaves (stripped from the stem), water and parmesan. Stir all the ingredients together.  Bring all the ingredients up to a simmer (you don't want to boil the cream) and reduce the cream for a few minutes until it is thickened.  While all this is happening, you can season it up with salt and pepper.
2 cups heavy cream
8 tsp fresh thyme leaves, stripped from stems
~ 1 cup water 
Season with salt and black pepper.  Add in the 6 oz Parmigiano reggiano (freshly grated, please).
You can see here that when I stir it, it is thick enough to hold its place for just a second.  If you would like it thinner, just add a bit of the pasta water to it.
All together now...
Our pasta is ready.  There's no need for a colander in this case.  We are going directly from the pot, to the pan.  Using a set of long-handled tongs, transfer the pappardelle from the boiling water to the cream sauce.  You don't really even have to worry about waiting for it to "drain," as the extra pasta water on the pasta will just help to thin the sauce out a bit.  It will be fine.

Toss it around in the cream sauce to coat the pappardelle.  The pasta water will also help the cream sauce to coat the pasta better.  
By this point, you will want to have turned off the heat.  If you know me at all, you know I'm going to add in a little extra parmigiano reggiano.  Just because.  :)
A bit more parmesan
Serve immediately, garnished with fresh thyme leaves and grated cheese.
Creamy Black Pepper Pappardelle with Leeks and Crispy Pancetta @ menumusings.com
BIG Time Saving Tip! 
My children and extra friends INHALED the entire pan full of this, and I had nothing left to photograph.  The recipe was too yummy not to put on the blog.  So in a pinch, I went out and found these No Yolks Dumplings that look so much like pappardelle that have been cut.  I used these the next time I made this recipe (as I had no pasta helper around). So if you are shaking your head "no way" about your own pasta skills, these make a darn fine stand in!  Believe me, the kids did NOT mind me making it again.
Creamy Black Pepper Pappardelle with Leeks and Crispy Pancetta @ menumusings.com
Food Nerd Notes* 
What is semolina?  Semolina is the coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat used in making pasta, breakfast cereals, and couscous.

I hope you enjoyed this fabulous and family friendly recipe!
There are hundreds more in my Recipe Index, just waiting to be chosen and cooked!  You can also visit my Film strips for pinning page, to see whole recipes at a glance, and to click-and-go right to the recipe.

Connect with me.     
If you are new to MenuMusings, click here to subscribe so you won't miss a thing!  I'll send you notifications of new posts to help you avoid that proverbial cooking rut.  You can also follow me on Pinterest and on the MenuMusings facebook page.


You can also visit my YouTube page to check out short cooking video tutorials.Here is an example of one for Louisiana Crab Claws Bordelaise!  YUM!!  Just click the picture and view it right in this page.

Here are some bonus recipes for you:
grilled zucchini rolls @ menumusings.com

black iron skillet deep dish pizza @ menumusings.com

boeuf bourguignon (beef burgundy) @ menumusings.com

coconut lemongrass chicken @ menumusings.com

parmesan zucchini gratin @ menumusings.com

raspberry swirl cheesecake minis @ menumusings.com
Written Method: 
Pasta - 
This is really the only part of the recipe that takes up time.  If you are in a bit more of a time crunch, purchase premade pasta and skip ahead.  But it really is a lot of fun to make your own.

Start by mixing your flours together on a clean surface or large cutting board.  Do seek out the semolina flour if you can.  The first thing we are going to do is to season our flour.   And then we will make a well right into the flour for the eggs.  A big pinch of salt (about a teaspoon), and get some little cutie pie to grind some black pepper for you.  Okay, let's get that pepper in there (1 tsp) and then make a well for the eggs.  Make it carefully, because you don't want the eggs to all run out.  This is where things really get fun.  Crack the eggs into the well, then add the olive oil.   We are doing a 5 egg pasta because I wanted a nice rich, silky dough.  Then add the 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil.  Now if you squeamish about it, I suppose you could use the end of a wooden spoon to incorporate the eggs into the flour.  But really, it is a LOT more fun if you get in there with your fingertips and mix it up. Take my word for it.  Old school!  Just start in the middle and start pulling in a bit of the flour into the eggs a little at a time.  You do NOT want to break the dam!  When all the flour gets incorporated, knead the dough for about a good 10 minutes, using more bench flour as needed if it's sticky. You will notice that it starts off very sticky and scraggly looking (is that a word?), and starts getting pretty darned smooth at the end.  Once you wrangle it into shape, form it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Tip - I have read that you can also wrap it and store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. To use the refrigerated dough, bring it out to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.  After resting 30 minutes, the dough has relaxed enough for us to roll it out.  Now we can cut it into quarters.  Keep the quarters you are not using wrapped up so they won't dry out.  Now I will use my pasta machine to roll out my pasta into strips that are about 1" thick.  I am starting on the widest setting, which I will use several times as this helps to further knead the dough. Then I start passing the dough through successively narrower settings until I get the pasta so thin you can actually see the light through it.  I would like to tell you that I remember how it feels to work this machine, but I never get to!  If you have children or grandchildren around... they seriously think this is the coolest thing EVER!  All I get to do is "catch" the pasta.  HaHa! 

So while I was over there catching the pasta, I was giving some serious thought to "How in the world are we going to cut this pasta in straight lines?"  So I went and dug out my fondant mat - which I never use because I really really really dislike working with the stuff.  And as it turns out, it made the perfect surface for cutting the pasta without scratching my cabinet; AND it was covered with straight lines.  TaDA!!!  In my opinion, the pizza wheel was the best tool for the job by far!    

Everything else - 
If you purchased your pasta, this is where you will pick up the story.  Be sure to read the package directions for your particular pasta.  Fresh market pasta will take less time to boil than dried pasta. 

Okay, let's get going on the rest.  We need to get those leeks prepped.  We will only be using the light green part of the leeks, discarding the tough fibrous ends.   If you are wondering what leeks taste like, they have a mild, onion-like flavor that pairs very well with the bacon flavor of the pancetta. 

We will cut them lengthwise... Then across.  Now you should know that leeks are very dirty.  The reason that there is a dark green and light green part, is that they mound up the dirt around them as they grow.  The light green part is the area where the sun doesn't hit it.  So expect there to be lots of dirt.  So we need to clean them.  This can be a lot of fun if you have a kid around.   My daughter likes to be "the washing machine."   Fill a bowl with cool/cold water.  Use more water than you have leeks.  Add the chopped leeks to the cold water.  They will float.  Find someone to swish them around for you.  You will be able to see the dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl, while the clean leeks float on top. Now you can use a spider or slotted spoon to remove the clean leeks to a different bowl by just skimming them off of the top.  This is also a lot of fun for a kid to do.   Now we won't be eating gritty leeks.

I guess the only thing left to prep is the pancetta.  You can dice it up into little squares, or run a pizza cutter through it and cut it into strips.  Do it ANY way you please.   Tip* -  If you put it into the freezer for just a little bit before cutting it, it can be a little easier to cut.  Since the pancetta is usually sold really thin, it can be really wiggly and hard to get a nice straight line on if you are concerned with that.  

Let's put it all together!
On one burner, you may want to get a large pot of water going for your pasta.  On a second burner, heat up a large heavy skillet or saute pan for our recipe.  I'm using a 14" cast enamel skillet over a medium-high heat.

We will start with the extra virgin olive oil.  Once your EVOO is hot, add the diced pancetta.   Cook the pancetta for around 4 - 5 minutes until it is golden brown and crispy, stirring it frequently.  You may need to turn down the heat to medium. To the browned pancetta, add the butter, sliced leeks, chopped garlic, and white wine.   Saute the leeks in this over medium-high until they are softened and just the slightest bit browned.

Now let's not forget we have a pot of water boiling on that back burner! Homemade pasta only takes a few minutes to boil.  It doesn't have all those preservatives in it that dried, boxed pasta has.  But if you are using pasta from a box, please do follow the directions on the package.  Go ahead and drop your pasta in the water.  Also, do yourself a favor and generously salt that water once it is boiling.  If you don't,  the unsalted pasta will take away from the flavor of the sauce.  Just gather it up loosely.  It has been sitting over there drying a bit.  Drop it in the boiling water. Give it a stir to make sure none of it is sticking together.  It will only take around 4 - 5 minutes.  Start checking it around 3 minutes until it gets almost done.  We will allow it to finish the last little bit in the sauce.

To finish, add the heavy cream, fresh thyme leaves (stripped from the stem), water and parmesan. Stir all the ingredients together.  Bring all the ingredients up to a simmer (you don't want to boil the cream) and reduce the cream for a few minutes until it is thickened.  While all this is happening, you can season it up with salt and pepper.  If you would like it thinner, just add a bit of the pasta water to it.

All together now...
Our pasta is ready.  There's no need for a colander in this case.  We are going directly from the pot, to the pan.  Using a set of long-handled tongs, transfer the pappardelle from the boiling water to the cream sauce.  You don't really even have to worry about waiting for it to "drain," as the extra pasta water on the pasta will just help to thin the sauce out a bit.  It will be fine.  Toss it around in the cream sauce to coat the pappardelle.  The pasta water will also help the cream sauce to coat the pasta better.  

By this point, you will want to have turned off the heat.  If you know me at all, you know I'm going to add in a little extra parmigiano reggiano.  Just because.  Serve immediately, garnished with fresh thyme leaves and grated cheese.  

Follow me on Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest