Monday, October 29, 2007

Pork Tenderloin With Gorgonzola Sauce

Ever since I saw this recipe on, I've been waiting for just the right occasion to bring it out and wow dinner guests. The occasion happened this weekend when Norm's parents came over for dinner to meet the new kitty - Mr. Mittens. Norm wanted to have some sort of boring old pork...but noooooo! This was a great opportunity to bust out the fancy sauce. And wow was it good!!!!! I think everyone had seconds, and everyone raved about the sauce. We served the pork with said lucious sauce with steamed asparagus (friggin' yummy with the sauce) and baked potatoes (for his mom).

To be honest, I was scared that the sauce having an entire cup of gorgonzola was going to be overpowering, but it wasn't. The cheese, paired with the cream, wine and broth was a really delish combo. I already have plans to use the sauce on some pasta sometime...with some toasted walnuts and maybe some mushrooms. mouth is watering all over again! A couple of modifications to the recipe...Instead of roasting the pork in the oven, Norm tossed it on the grill, and I used fat-free 1/2 & 1/2 in the sauce instead of the whipping cream.

I didn't get a chance to take a pic at dinner. His parents don't know about my obsession with taking pictures of my food, and I'd rather not explain it (hee hee) sooooo I'll snap a pic tonight as I'm having this for dinner tonight.

Pork Tenderloin With Gorgonzola Sauce
(Source: Recipe Zaar, originally from Bon Appetit)
1/4 C Dijon mustard
1T olive oil
1 T dried thyme
2 3/4 lb pork tenderloins

1 T butter

1 T
all-purpose flour
1 C whipping cream
1/4 C
dry white wine
1/4 C
reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 C crumbled
gorgonzola (about 4 oz)

For the pork: Oil a large rimmed baking sheet. Whisk the Dijon, olive oil and Thyme in a small bowl. Sprikle the tenderloins with salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add pork and sear until brown all over, about 10 minutes. (I just used Pam in a frying pan to sear the meat)

Transfer seared pork to prepared baking sheet. Spread Dijon mixture all over the pork. (Can do this a couple of hours ahead and refrigerate until your ready to cook).

Preheat the oven to 425°F Roast pork until internal temp is 150, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes. (We grilled it for about 20 minutes or so, until the internal temp was 150)

Meanwhile prepare the sauce.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the cream, white wine and chicken broth. Boil until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, whisking frequently, about 1 minute.

Add Gorgonzola and whisk until the cheese is melted and smooth, about 5 minutes.

Slice pork onto plates. Ladle over the sauce. Pass additional sauce seperately.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Trader Joe's Cuban Mojito Sauce

Mmmmm yummy!

This jar of Cuban Mojito Sauce has been burning a hole in my cupboard since I bought it a few weeks ago. I saw a few blogs with recipes using it, and it looked so good! Here's what I did with it....kind of a mix of what I saw on blogs and what TJ's had posted on their Web site. I served it over Basmati rice, that was cooked in chicken broth, and lime wedges.

Cuban Mojito Sauce with Chix, Black Beans and Veggies
(Source: adapted from a Trader Joe's Recipe from their Web site)

6 chicken tenders, uncooked
1/4 C flour
salt & pepper
a healthy pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
caribbean seasoning
1/2 Red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 of a large onion, diced (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup)
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 T Bacardi Limon rum
1 habanero pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 jar of Trader Joe's Cuban Mojito simmering sauce
Cooking spray
spray butter

Spray a large skillet with cooking spray and pre-heated over medium heat. Mix flour, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, caribbean seasoning. Dredge chicken tenders in flour mixture and put in heated pan. Spray the chicken with butter spray. Cook for about 3 minutes, and flip spritzing the other side of chicken with butter. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until chicken is browned on both sides and cooked thru. Remove from pan. Keep warm

Re-apply cooking spray. Add chopped red pepper, onion and habanero to pan. Stir-fry until tender (about 3 minutes). Add garlic, cook one more minute. Deglaze pan with rum. Add black beans and sauce. Stir to combine. Add chicken back to the pan. Cover and simmer about 10 minutes until bubbly.

Just a note, this was probably enough sauce/veggies for 4 people. Can't wait for leftovers!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007


I tried a new dip for the weekend at my parent house, too. I originally saw it on (from and also on Beantown Bakers's blog. It has a lot of my favorite things...cream cheese, cheese, BBQ sauce and most importantly bacon. Just about anything made with bacon is A-OK in my book! I took home most of the recipe ingredients except for the tomato and green peppers, because my mom always has them on hand. Not this time! So this was minus a few ingredients. It was good, but not a home-run winner. I think I'll try it again but with the tomato and pepper, and maybe a few modifications.

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) cream cheese (I used the 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used Jack Daniels Spicy BBQ Sauce)
1 pkg. (2.8 oz.) Real Bacon Recipe Pieces (I used a package of pre-cooked bacon, crisped in the oven for a few minutes, then choped up)
1 small tomato, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green peppers
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1-1/2 cups Shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

Spread cream cheese onto large platter or bottom of pizza pan; drizzle with barbecue sauce.Top with remaining ingredients.Serve with your favorite crackers or chips.

Spooky Sugar Cookies

So my neice, Taylor, asked me a week ago while I was babysitting her if I had any Halloween cookie cutters. Curiously I said yes, why do you ask? She said because she wanted to bake cookies with me when we were at Gramma's house. Who am I to deny a 5 year old a cookie baking and decorating experience???? My neices are my best kitchen helpers and for the last couple of years we've made everything from cookies to cupcakes to pies to anything they could "help" with...and the older they get the more fun it is to have them in the kitchen with me.

Saturday morning Taylor was up bright and early, ready to get cookin'! So we mixed up the dough (an old school betty crocker sugar cookie recipe from one of my mom's cook books), only to read at the very end that it had to chill for an hour. Panic in the kitchen!!!! An hour to a 5 yr old is apparently multiple lifetimes...60 minutes is an excrutiating amount of time. I heard "is it an hour YET" more times than I can count. Soooo while the cookie dough was chilling, I had to find another activity. So we made soft pretzels (thanks to Amber's Delectable Delights!). Her pretzels were shaped as good as mine by then end of this exercise!

I also brought with me black and orange icing, halloween mix M&M's, Autumn mix dark chocolate M&M's, candy corn and white icing to decorate the cookies. Taylor told me very matter of factly that purple was also a halloween color, so I mixed 1/2 the white icing into a lovely shade of lavender for her. She also got increasingly better at cookie decorating by the time we were done. Good times!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Chick Pea Crunchies

I started making this fun little snack years ago when I first started eating "healthier". I think I found the recipe on originally. However, this is one of those recipes that I just start tossing a bunch of spices together, and just "loosely" following the recipe now. They are perfect when you need something a little crunchy and you can adapt the spices to create a lot of different flavors.

I am making these to take home with me this weekend, since they are one of my dad's favorite snacks. Well, and one of my sister-in-laws, too! They always end up fighting over them, so I'm going to pack them each their own container, so that they don't have to share = )

Here's what I did this time....

3 cans of chick peas
curry powder
chili powder
cayenne pepper
sea salt
black pepper
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400F.
Drain chick peas well (I rinse them well, too). In a large bowl, toss chick peas with spices to your taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden brown and crispy, stirring occasionally.

PB Brownie Bites

Norm and I are headed to my parents house this weekend for our annual Fall family get together - AKA the Halloweenie. My brothers, and their wives, and their kids (6 of 'em...3 nephews and 3 neices) are coming, too. It'll be a weekend full of food and fun stuff! We always have a big fire in the fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.

The younger kids (my oldest nephew who is on the brink of teenagerdom is too cool to participate any more = D) bring their Halloween costumes and do a little parade around the house...and my parents put little treat-filled little pumpkins around the yard and let them go and find them. The big kids get to sip on my dad's mulled cider.

So in preparation for the weekend, I'm making a few treats. The first being Brownie Peanut Butter Bites that I found on I had my eye on these suckers for a while, but if I made them without having a place to take them, I'd eat all 48 of these little beauties. What I'd like to do to serve them is to top them with a little whipped topping and decorate them with some candy corn or something festive. That is IF I can keep them out of everyone's hands long enough to do the decorating!

1 package of brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies, the family size box)
1/3 C hot water
1 egg
1/4 C oil
48 miniature peanut butter cups.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix brownie mix with water, egg and oil. Beat well until blended. Fill paper-lined mini-muffin cups about 1/2 full with batter. Press one peanut butter cup into batter in each cup. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until brownie is set (I baked mine for about 13 minutes). Cool completely.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Seafood Enchiladas

A bit of an experiment. I am still undecided if it was successful or not. Norm had been wanting to make seafood enchiladas for ever. We've actually had it on a weekend menu a few times, but for some reason (like Steeler post-game tailgating) or another (take out sounded much better than cooking) it never happened.

So I searched for a good recipe to try...and found this one on It came highly rated, and I took some of the suggestions by the reviewers to double the sauce, and to spice it up. The sauce tasted great before I assembled the enchiladas and baked them. But it curdled during cooking. Still tasted good, but definitely wasn't the prettiest thing to eat. I'll have to do some doctoring to this the next time I try it!

I served it with some fat-free refried black beans, a side of my own made-up recipe for "spanish rice" - brown rice, cooked in chicken broth with some salsa, chili powder, cumin, and garlic. And topped the enchiladas with chopped tomato, avocado, and black olives.

Seafood Enchiladas
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat
1/4 pound shrimp - peeled, deveined and coarsely chopped
8 ounces Colby cheese (I had red. fat shredded mexican blend on hand)
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas (I ended up with 7 6" whole wheat tortillas)
1 cup half-and-half cream (I used fat free)
1/2 cup sour cream (i used fat free)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

As per the suggestions of other reviewers, I also added 1 can diced mild green chiles, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of cumin and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper to the sauce).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large skillet, saute onions in 1 tablespoon butter until transparent. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in crabmeat and shrimp. Shred the cheese and mix half of it into the seafood. Place a large spoonful of the mixture into each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up around the mixture and arrange the rolled tortillas in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine half-and-half, sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, parsley and garlic salt. Stir until the mixture is lukewarm and blended. Pour sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Saturday Morning Breakfast

Today is one of the first Saturdays in a long time that we could sleep in, and not have anywhere to go...and sit in the living room, watch TV and enjoy our morning coffee and a big breakfast.

So we sat and refereed our cats...there's been quite a lot of fur flying the last couple of days as they are getting used to eachother. The litte one is quite the instigator, and is getting very brave in invading Dallas' personal space, lol. And the Dallas gives it right back to him, trying to flip over his water bowl and keeping him trapped under the table. Good times, good times! = )

Here's what we had...eggs benedict on whole wheat mini bagel bread (no english muffins), some potatoes with peppers and onion. No recipe really, as (oh the horror!) this was pretty much all pre-packaged. **sigh** The sauce was from of a mix and the potatoes are from Ore-Ida. Convenient and lazy - yes - but ohhhh so easy.
I got a multi-pan as a wedding gift that has a egg poaching insert. It makes the most perfect looking eggs - hence the picture.

It's one of our favorite breakfasts, and it was delicious! Now it''s time to get on with the day!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops

So since our freezer is going to explode from being overstuffed with goodies, we are trying to make an effort to clean it out a little and using up some of the things that are taking up so much space (like the little single serve ice cream sundaes that I had to have...yum!). We had a package of 3 lonely pork chops in there that I was just going to bread and bake in the oven. That was until I saw this recipe on a blog called What Recipe? that looked I threw caution to the wind and decided to try it.

One tiny snag called for 1/2 C of balsamic vinegar. I only had 1/4 c. BUT I also had this bottle of orange infused balsamic in the cupboard that I've been dying to try but the hubby doesn't care for fruit with meats and things so I had to be sneaky. I didn't tell him what was in it until after he tried it and said it was good = )

So here's the recipe with my modifications....I served this with roasted broccoli and cauliflower (tossed with EVOO, salt, pepper, a little garlic roasted at 425 for about 20 minutes) and some mashed potatoes. I'll upload the pic when I get a chance!

Balsamic-Glazed Pork Chops
(Source: What Recipe? Blog by Catherine)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (I used 1/4C regular balsamic and 1/4C orange infused balsamic)
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp butter (used spray butter to make it a little lighter)
1 tbsp olive oil (used Pam instead)
4 pork loin chops (I had 3 chops, trimmed)

Mix together the broth, vinegar and honey in a medium bowl. Set asideHeat pan over medium heat. Add butter and let melt until it starts to brown. Add in olive oil.

Season pork chops with salt and pepper. Dredge through flour and place in pan. Sautee 4 minutes on each side or until mostly cooked through. Remove from pan and keep warm.

Deglaze the pan with the balsamic sauce. Using a whisk, loosen the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and add the pork chops back in, turning occasionally to coat on all sides. Simmer until the sauce has reduced to about 1/4 cup. Plate the pork chops, drizzle with sauce, and serve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Senor Mittens

I haven't had many blog worthy food/meals to share lately. I spent all of last week sick with a horrible cold, then a busy weekend...hoping to get back on track and back into the kitchen this week! So until then, I'll share something else...we have expanded our little family!

Norm and I have felt badly for our cat, Dallas. We adopted her 3 years ago from Animal Friends as a tiny 8 week old kitten. In hindsight, we probably should have gotten one of her brothers or sisters along with her. She is an awesome cat, keeps us enterained and is cute as a button (but I may be biased). She has been a little lonely. Everyone from the lady that cat-sits for us when we're on extended vacations, to the vet, to seasoned cat owners, told us that Dallas probably needed a companion. So we finally bit the proverbial bullet and got her a little buddy.

So the fun begins!!!
This is Mittens - AKA Senor Mittens. He's a 5 month old spazzy tabby. He hasn't stopped purring since we adopted him on Saturday, nor have I seen him actually sleep...he just bounces around all over the place, chasing everything in sight. He makes a lot of noise for something so tiny. He is also a complete attention whore! He lets you know, in no uncertain terms, that YOU need to pay attention to him, NOW, lol. We're trying to introduce them slowly to make the transition as easy as possible. Dallas is NOT happy, there was lots of hissing and growling the last couple of days, and spend the last 2 days being reallllllly angry with us, but she's coming around. Mittens, on the other hand is adjusting quite easily and plays with all of Dallas' toys and eats her food ... adding insult to injury to our eldest cat. *sigh*

Mittens also has a cold, and there's nothing quite so pathetic as a kitten sneezing on you. = )

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Butternut Squash with Shallots and Sage = OMG Good

So as I was wandering thru Trader Joe's the other night, I saw they had butternut squash all peeled, deseeded and cubed up...I couldn't be happier. If nothing else I'm allllllll about convenience! Now to figure out the perfect thing to make with it. Ravioli was probably out of the question because I don't think I could convince the hubby that if he'd try it, he'd like it. I wasn't in the mood for anything too it would have to be a savory side dish of some sort.

I found this recipe on and I knew it was gonna be a winner! Besides the butternut squash that was now safely tucked away in my fridge, I had all of the ingredients on hand (bonus!) Definitely a great fall dish! Our house smelled so good while this was cooking that I couldn't wait for dinner. We had it with grilled salmon and a side of pasta and a good bottle of wine...a keeper! I think the dash of balsamic at the end really makes the dish. Yummy! There's barely anything left over, bummer since I was looking forward to this for lunch.

DH made the comment that our food has gotten much prettier since I started taking pics of things we make. Actually, it's my plate looks prettier since that's the one I take the picture of! = )

(Source:, Gourmet October 2005)
2 tablespoons olive oil (I used 1T)
3 shallots, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (3/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-lb) butternut squash, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage (I used at least 1 t)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook shallots and squash, stirring, until shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add broth, brown sugar, sage, and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vinegar, pepper, and salt to taste.