Garlic and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin

The pork tenderloin was on sale at Publix, so I picked up a couple and found this delicious recipe at Epicurious. The rosemary rub smells delicious while baking in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed (I used about 3 tsp minced garlic)
  • 4 tsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • One 2 1/2 pound boneless pork loin, trimmed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray Pam in a baking dish and place the pork on it, fat side down.
  2. Combine first 4 ingredients in bowl and rub all over pork.
  3. Roast pork for 50 minutes.

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Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

I love Panera’s butternut squash soup. I don’t know how they do it, but it has a perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors. I’ve been trying to find a recipe for this soup that does not include milk or heavy cream, and I finally stumbled upon this one at Simply Recipes. I can always count on them for delicious food!

Ingredients:

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 celery rib, chopped (3/4 cup)
  • 1 carrot, chopped (3/4 cup) — I used 2
  • 2 T butter (I used Kerrygold salted)
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped, without seeds
  • 1 green apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (make sure the squash and apple ratio is 3:1)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • A dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat a large pasta pot on medium-high heat. Add the butter, swirling until it melts and starts to foam.
  2. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and saute for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the butternut squash, apple, chicken broth, and water.
  4. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let it cook uncovered for about 30 minutes. The vegetables should be soft enough that you can pierce them with a fork.
  5. Puree the soup with an immersion blender or by transferring the soup in batches to your blender.
  6. Add the spices and pumpkin seeds if you want.

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Autumn Oatmeal Bowl

Thanksgiving is two weeks away. What is happening! Here is a new take on my breakfast oatmeal bowl that I tried yesterday. It’s perfect for an autumn morning breakfast:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 Pink Lady apple, chopped
  • A dash of cinnamon
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 1 T dried cranberries
  • 1 T slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Combine the oatmeal and 3/4 cup water in a bowl and microwave for 3 minutes.
  2. Stir in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Let sit in the microwave for a minute or two to soften the apple chunks a bit.

 

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

The elusive taco seasoning! When I was in Dayton, I loved going to Dorothy Lane Market, where I could find delicious baked goods, fresh organic produce, and prepared deli foods. It was perfect (although a bit pricey) for those nights when I couldn’t make dinner. There is no Dorothy Lane Market here. I have no idea where to go for these easy meals. Admittedly, this is good for my wallet, because cooking at home certainly saves money. But, I do wish I could purchase more of their taco seasoning! It is slowly going away, and I can’t find a replacement!

I went on a mission to find some at my local Publix and Walmart. I could’t find any spice container called “Taco Seasoning.” They had the individual packets, but I’m not a big fan of those. So, I decided to try to make my own.

Allrecipes came to the rescue. There are a ton of variations out there. Some call for more chili powder, some call for more red pepper flakes. I don’t like my taco seasoning too spicy, so I limited the amount of red pepper flakes. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1 T chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (I used about 1/8 tsp here)
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (I used smoked but regular is probably better)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients and sprinkle on chicken, meats, whatever you want!

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Baked Plantains with Lime

Now that we are back in Florida, plantains are everywhere, and they’re affordable! I saved this recipe a long time ago and finally tried it yesterday. This is definitely a keeper!

Ingredients:

  • 2 plantains, yellow to black in color
  • 1.5 T lime juice (I used the juice of half a lime)
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (I used a dash)
  • 2.5 T butter
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 375F and trim the plantain ends on both sides.
  2. Cut a lengthwise slit in each plantain and place on a baking pan. Bake for 40 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool. Peel the skin off the plantains and slice into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces.
  4. Place the pieces on the baking pan and sprinkle with lime juice, chili powder, and salt. Bake for another 10 minutes.

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Pan Seared Chicken Breasts

The October 2016 Cooking Light magazine has a great article written by Kenji Lopez-Alt, the chief creative officer of Serious Eats (seriouseats.com). I love reading his monthly column, since he provides useful tips and tricks in the kitchen. This month’s column was dedicated to creating a golden crust on chicken breasts. I tried this recipe last night and it came out delicious. I did not have canola oil, so I used olive oil instead. Also, my chicken breasts were pretty thick, so it took about 15 extra minutes to cook. I wanted to add this recipe to my blog because I will definitely make it again. Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 T canola oil (I used olive)
  • 1 tsp butter (I used 1 T)

Directions:

  1. Wash and dry the chicken with paper towels. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides and place on a plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a saute pan on medium-low until oil shimmers. Add the chicken, smooth side down, and let it cook for about 9 minutes, until the bottom side is golden brown.
  3. Add the butter and lift the chicken breasts to make sure the butter swirls all over the pan. Cook another minute or until the color turns darker golden brown.
  4. Turn the chicken and cook another 6 minutes or so until the temperature registers at least 155F.

Note: If the chicken breasts are thick, they will need more time in the pan. I left them on for about 25-30 minutes total.

 

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Spaghetti with Tomato and Garlic

As I was flipping through an Allrecipes magazine (which is amazing by the way), I encountered a meal that had been saved 13, 812 times on the website. Well, for good reason! This dish is so versatile, you can substitute different types of diced tomatoes, herbs, greens, and meats. The original recipe can be found here. I made this dish twice: first without meat and using the original recipe calling for 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and the second time with shredded chicken (leftovers from last night’s tacos) and one can of diced tomatoes. I didn’t have fresh basil the second time around, so I just used dried oregano and basil flakes. The second time I also used thin spaghetti instead of angel hair, and I liked it better. I also added fresh spinach to the sauce while simmering. This is a dish I will continue to make for an easy weeknight meal!

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta (or thin spaghetti)–about half a box
  • 4 T olive oil (I used about 2)
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed–I used about 2
  • 1 T tomato paste
  • 2 (14.5-oz.) cans diced tomatoes–I used Del Monte, plain; you can also use one can only for less sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar (optional ingredient, but I added it!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil–If you don’t have fresh basil, sprinkle in some dried basil and dried oregano flakes)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil over high heat and add the pasta, cooking until al dente. For angel hair pasta, cook about 4 minutes and drain. For thin spaghetti, cook about 8-9 minutes.
  2. While your pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil (2 T) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and saute about 30 minutes, until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, sugar, salt, and pepper. This is also a good time to add in the dried basil and oregano if you are using. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 2 minutes. Add fresh basil if you are using. You can also add fresh spinach here.
  4. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce in the pan and stir. Top with grated Parmesan.

A reader from Allrecipes suggested you add mushrooms or zucchinis too.

 

Here it is without the chicken using angel hair pasta and two cans of diced tomatoes:

 

This is the dish with chicken and spinach using thin spaghetti and one can of diced tomatoes: