I had some pork tenderloins in the freezer so I decided to put them out for dinner tomorrow. This dish is pretty easy to make and most of the time, you already have all the ingredients in your pantry. I like to marinate the pork overnight, but if you can marinate it for at least 4 hours, that works.
SAVORY PORK TENDERLOIN
1 package pork tenderloins (package should contain two tenderloins)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 3 tsp. cold water
Place pork tenderloins into a gallon size ziploc bag.
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, sugar, dijon mustard, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Pour marinade into ziploc bag with tenderloins and seal, squeezing out as much air as possible.
Let tenderloins marinate in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.
The next day, preheat oven to 350°.
Place tenderloins into a small baking pan and pour the marinade all over them.
Bake 1 hour or until done, flipping tenderloins over halfway through baking. The meat is done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part reads 145°.
Transfer tenderloins to a chopping board, tent them with foil, and let them rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
While tenderloins are resting, pour the sauce into a small saucepan.
Add the cornstarch/water mixture to the sauce and cook, whisking constantly, until sauce is thickened.
Slice the tenderloins, then arrange the slices on a serving platter and pour the sauce over them.
Chicken Piccata is one of my very favorite things to order from an Italian restaurant. Piccata actually refers to a method of cooking where something is sauteed in a sauce of butter, lemon juice and capers. In Italy, veal and fish are most often cooked in the piccata style, but chicken seems to be the popular choice in the United States. Whatever you choose, this dish is delicious and the impressive way it looks on a plate belies how simple it actually is to make.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
salt and pepper, to taste
all purpose flour, for dredging
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup dry white wine (I like Sauvignon Blanc)
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 Tbsp. capers, drained (or rinsed well if using capers cured in salt)
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, optional
Slice chicken breasts in half horizontally.
Place chicken between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness.
Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
Dredge chicken in flour until well-coated, shaking off excess flour.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter together over medium-high heat.
Add chicken breasts and cook until golden and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
Transfer cooked chicken to a plate.
In the same pan where you browned the chicken, add lemon juice, wine, and broth, and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan.
Stir in capers, then return the chicken to the pan, including any juices that might have leaked out onto the plate.
Continue to cook for another 4 or 5 minutes till the sauce reduces and thickens a little bit.
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with chopped parsley, if desired.
NOTE: Instead of half white wine and half chicken broth, you can make the sauce with just chicken broth or just wine. But don’t leave out the lemon juice. It’s a must!
This vegetarian dish is popularly eaten in Peru. Besides being healthy and good for you, it’s also very easy to make. I think you could add other veggies to it if you wanted to, like carrots, mushrooms, kale, or peas, which makes it quite the versatile little dish. Just make sure you keep in the potato and corn which are what make it classically Peruvian. Oh and I forgot to sprinkle the cilantro over it before I took the photo above. Don’t do what I did. The cilantro adds a delicious pop of flavor so you don’t want to leave it out. This recipe serves 2 people, but could very easily be doubled or tripled to feed more.
PERUVIAN QUINOA VEGETABLE STEW [Serves 2]
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. paprika
¾ tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground cumin
½ cup water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 red potato (6 ozs.), unpeeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
⅓ cup quinoa, rinsed well
⅓ cup fresh, canned or frozen corn kernels
salt and pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, diced
queso fresco, crumbled
1 lime, cut into wedges
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, paprika, coriander and cumin.
Cook, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes.
Stir in water, scraping up any browned bits.
Stir in broth and potato, bring to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.
Stir in quinoa and simmer for 8 minutes.
Stir in corn and zucchini and continue to simmer until quinoa and vegetables are just tender, 6-8 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide stew into 2 bowls.
Top each with a sprinkling of cilantro, a little avocado, some crumbled queso fresco, and 2 or 3 lime wedges for your guests to squeeze into the stew before eating.
Chocolate Ganache is used as a filling, a frosting, or a glaze for cakes and pastries. It’s very easy to prepare. This recipe is wonderful made with a good quality chocolate like Scharffenberger chocolate, but it’s just as good made with chocolate chips.
Make sure the chopping board, bowl, and utensils you use are completely dry because water will cause the chocolate to seize when it’s melted. Also when working with ganache, bear in mind that while it’s warm, it’s liquid and pourable, but it thickens and firms as it cools. If you need to soften it, just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds and stir.
My mom used to make this cake for us all the time when we were growing up. Pineapple Upside Down Cake is an old-fashioned cake that sort of died down in popularity over the years. It’s delicious, though, and definitely deserves a comeback. I’ve altered my Mom’s original recipe to make the cake more moist and added more pineapple to it, but the basic recipe is still hers. It’s easy to prepare and my family loves it judging by how quickly it disappears every time I serve it!
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
⅔ cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 20-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved
1 8-oz. can pineapple slices, drained and juice reserved (optional)
1 jar maraschino cherries
2½ cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. reserved pineapple juice from the cans
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup butter, softened
1½ cup white sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place butter in a 9×13-inch cake pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter.
When butter is melted, remove pan from oven.
Sprinkle brown sugar over melted butter. Spread evenly with a rubber spatula.
Arrange pineapple slices over the butter-brown sugar mixture in any pattern you want. You can leave the slices whole or cut them in halves or quarters to make a fancier design.
Cut a few maraschino cherries in half and nestle them, cut side up, around the pineapple slices in the cake pan. You can leave the cherries whole if you want, but my mom always cut them in half. Probably to save money.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, and salt together.
In a small bowl, stir pineapple juice and vanilla together.
With an electric mixer, beat softened butter and white sugar on high until thick and light colored.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well-combined.
Reduce speed to low and beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with the pineapple juice mixture until just incorporated.
Pour cake batter evenly over the pineapple slices in the cake pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 45-50 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed down lightly on top.
Allow cake to cool for 10-15 minutes, then turn it out onto a rectangular plate. If a pineapple gets left behind in the pan, just pick it up with a metal spatula and flip it over onto the spot it came from on the cake.
NOTE: You only need one 20-oz. can of pineapple, but if you want to completely cover the top of the cake with pineapple rings like I have pictured, you’ll find one can is about 2 slices shy. My family likes a lot of pineapple so I add the second smaller can, but if you don’t want to bother with that, you can make do with one 20-oz. can and just space the slices farther apart so they’re evenly distributed. Bear in mind, if you do decide to use just one 20-oz. can of pineapple slices, you might be a little short on the pineapple juice. Different brands have different amounts. If you’re short, just add enough water or cooking oil to make 16 tablespoons.
Spaghetti alla Carbonara is one of the most delicious pasta dishes the Italians make. With just four main ingredients, it’s a breeze to prepare. People worry about having raw eggs in the sauce, though I think the eggs cook with the heat from the spaghetti.I’ve never had a problem, but if you’re really concerned, you could use pasteurized eggs or omit the eggs altogether.
Traditionally, Spaghetti alla Carbonara is made with guanciale. Guanciale is an Italian bacon made from pork cheeks or jowls. It’s delicious, but unfortunately, I can’t get guanciale where I live. Thankfully, you can substitute bacon or pancetta. Half a pound of bacon is good for a pound of pasta, but my family likes lots of bacon so I use a whole pound. I never have leftovers when I make this dish.
SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA
1 lb. spaghetti noodles (can also use fettucine or linguine)
1 lb. bacon (or pancetta or guanciale), sliced into ½-inch strips
½ small onion, diced
3 large eggs
1½ cups freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt, plus extra for the boiling water
¼ tsp. pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, set another large pot over medium heat and fry the bacon until crispy; then remove bacon from pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
In the same pot, sauté the onions in the bacon grease until the onions become translucent; remove pot from heat and add the bacon back in with the onions.
When the water in the first pot is boiling briskly, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente.
While the spaghetti is boiling, prepare the sauce. It’s important to make the sauce while the pasta is cooking to ensure that the noodles will be hot when the sauce is done. The heat from the noodles is what cooks the raw eggs in the sauce.
To make the sauce, beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork; then stir in the parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
Drain the cooked pasta well, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water.
Slowly drizzle the reserved hot pasta water into the egg mixture, mixing well. This tempers the eggs, so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs.
Add the hot, drained spaghetti to the pot with the bacon and onions; then pour the egg mixture over the pasta and toss until the noodles are well-coated with the sauce.
Taste the spaghetti and adjust the seasonings. Depending on the pork you used, you may need to add more salt.
This cake is a play on my Chocoflan Cake. I was making a Chocoflan Cake for Cinco de Mayo and I started thinking how fun it would be to make a coconut flavored flan cake, so I went out to buy ingredients for a test drive. It took a few trial runs over the next few weekends, but eventually my Cocoflan Cake was born! Thankfully my family doesn’t mind being the guinea pigs who have to taste and EAT all my kitchen experiments.
I like how this final version turned out. The dessert isn’t overly sweet, the cake is moist, and the flan is smooth and creamy. It looks like a lot of steps, but if you read through the recipe, it’s really not hard to do. Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.
1 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
½ cup macapuno, you can add more if you like
4 ozs. (½ box) cream cheese
1 can (14 oz.) condensed milk
1 can (13.5 oz.) unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp. coconut extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup cream of coconut (or coconut milk)
2 tsp. coconut extract
½ cup butter, at room temperature
¼ cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
Prepare a water bath by placing a roasting pan half full of water into the oven.
Turn oven on to 350ºF to preheat.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and place on stove over low heat.
Let come to a boil and continue to cook until sugar starts to caramelize. Watch it carefully! The sugar can burn in an instant.
Once the sugar starts turning reddish brown, take it off the heat immediately. It will continue to darken and you don’t want it getting bitter.
Pour the sugar syrup into a bundt pan and swirl the bundt pan around so the bottom gets evenly coated with the sugar syrup. Be careful. The bundt pan will get very hot so use oven mitts!
Distribute the macapuno evenly over the sugar syrup.
Set the bundt pan aside to cool.
To prepare flan mixture, place cream cheese in a medium bowl and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds so the cream cheese becomes very soft.
Add the condensed milk to the softened cream cheese and whisk together with a wire whisk until well-blended.
Add the coconut milk, eggs, and coconut extract, whisking together well.
Set flan mixture aside while you prepare the cake batter.
To make the cake batter, whisk together flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
In a small bowl, stir the cream of coconut and coconut extract together.
With an electric mixer set on high speed, beat butter and coconut oil together until smooth.
Slowly add sugar, continuing to beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of cream of coconut mixture.
Beat until just combined.
Pour the cake batter on top of the macapuno-sugar syrup in the bundt pan, smoothing the batter evenly with a rubber spatula.
Slowly pour the flan mixture through a sieve over the cake batter. Don’t worry if it sinks or causes the batter to separate in clumps.
Cover bundt pan tightly with a piece of tin foil and place into water bath in oven.
Bake for 1 hour, then remove foil and bake uncovered for 30 minutes more or until cake springs back when touched lightly in the center.
Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature; then place in refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
To serve, invert cake onto a large cake plate or serving platter.
This cake is best prepared a day or two in advance and kept chilled in the fridge until ready to serve.
Macapuno is a Filipino delicacy. It’s basically shredded young coconut that’s been cooked in syrup to preserve it. It’s sold in jars in Asian food markets. If you can’t find macapuno, you can omit it from this recipe.
This is one of the easiest chicken dishes you can make. My local grocery stocks jars of black bean garlic sauce, but you can also find it in Asian food stores. Black bean sauce is a common condiment in Chinese cuisine. It’s made from fermented black soy beans and is really delicious, though extremely salty so use it sparingly. A little does go a long way with black bean sauce. It’s best to start with a tablespoon at a time, tasting and adding a little more at the end if you need to.
STIR-FRY CHICKEN IN BLACK BEAN SAUCE
2 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in cubes
½ small onion, cut into a half-inch dice
1 bell pepper, cut into a half-inch dice
3 tbsp. black bean garlic sauce, or to taste
Heat a little bit of cooking oil in a wok or frying pan.
Add chicken and 1 tablespoon black bean sauce and stir fry until chicken is half cooked.
Add onions and 1 more tablespoon black bean sauce, continuing to stir fry for another minute.
Finally add bell pepper and remaining 1 tablespoon black bean sauce, and stir fry until bell pepper is crisp-tender.
Taste for seasoning, and stir in a little more black bean sauce if desired.
This is an old recipe that I’ve had for many years. I got it from one of my old cookbooks, but sadly, I don’t remember which one. Probably a Junior League cookbook. Clam Dip is rich, creamy, and utterly delicious. I haven’t tried making it with low-fat cream cheese or mayo, but I don’t see why you couldn’t if you felt inclined to try cutting down on the calories. Let me tell you though, calories or not, this dip is worth every scrumptious bite!
HOT CLAM DIP IN BREAD BOWL
1 (1½-lb.) unsliced round bread bowl
2 (8-oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
a couple of dashes tabasco sauce, or to taste (optional)
4 (6½-oz.) cans minced clams, drained
4 large green onions, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Slice top 2 inches off bread and reserve for lid.
Cut out insides of bread, leaving a 1-inch-thick shell.
Tear cut-out bread into pieces to use for dipping.
With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, and tabasco (if using) in large bowl until well-blended.
Stir in clams and green onions.
Season with salt and pepper.
Pour filling into bread bowl.
Place reserved lid on bread.
Wrap bread tightly in 2 layers of heavy-duty foil and place on cookie sheet.
Bake until filling is very hot and bread is crusty, about 1 hour.
Unwrap bread and place on serving tray.
Remove lid and lean lid against bread at angle for a pretty presentation.
Lid can later be cut into cubes for dipping.
NOTE: If you can’t find a bread bowl, or you just don’t feel like doing the whole bread bowl thing,you can skip it (like I did in the photo above). Just beat the cream cheese, mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, and tabasco together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth. Microwave for 3 minutes or until cream cheese mixture is hot, stopping to stir every 30 seconds or so. Mix in drained clams and green onions. Microwave 30 seconds more. Stir well and serve with sliced baguette bread for dipping.
This is my mom’s pancake recipe. She always said that pancakes were the easiest breakfast to make. And the easiest recipe to remember. In fact, you didn’t really need a recipe according to Mom. It was just “1-1-1.” One of everything except for the salt which you cut in half. Funny thing….. Mom was right! Not only is this an easy recipe to make, but it makes delicious, fluffy pancakes. The trick is not to overmix the batter. You want to gently stir the flour and baking powder into the liquid ingredients until the flour is just moistened and you’ve broken up any large lumps. Little lumps are okay. As Mom put it, “don’t worry about it. They’ll disappear during cooking.”
This recipe makes about 4 pancakes (more if you make small ones) but the nice thing is that you can easily double, triple or quadruple the recipe if you’re feeding more than two people. Set out some butter and syrup and have at it!
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 cup whole milk (substitute buttermilk for buttermilk pancakes)
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
In a medium bowl, beat the egg, milk, sugar, and salt together until well-blended.
Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until just combined. Don’t overmix! You want your batter to be lumpy.
Let the batter rest for about 10 minutes to give any lumps a chance to absorb some moisture.
While the batter’s resting, preheat your griddle to 375°F.
Spread a little butter or margarine on the griddle and pour a scoop of batter onto it. Try not to put too much batter. Remember, the bigger the pancake, the harder it is to flip. You want about 1/3 cup of batter per pancake.
When the pancake is starting to get filled with bubbles and the edges start looking dry, that’s your sign that it’s time to flip the pancake over.
After you flip it over, it takes only a minute or two for the other side to cook.
Serve warm with butter and syrup.
VARIATIONS: You can add things like blueberries, sliced bananas, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, etc. to the pancake batter for a variation on the basic recipe.