Saturday, January 12, 2013

New Year's Day Dinner

I hate black-eyed peas! I mean, I think they are really, really disgusting! So I refuse to eat black-eyed peas on New Year's Day. I haven't had one in years, so I don't think I need them now. Therefore, I made an herb-crusted pork tenderloin, creamy mashed potatoes, and whiskey-glazed carrots for New Year's Day Dinner.

One of the reasons I started writing my blog again is that after I posted on Facebook about the pork tenderloin I was making, some of my friends asked for my recipe. I also knew I was going to be trying out some new gadgets, so I thought I should restart my blog.

Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Here's my recipe for pork tenderloin. It comes out really moist, tender, and flavorful and really is easy to make. I use one of the packaged pork tenderloins like you get from Walmart (this one came from Costco). Whenever I see these on sale, I buy a few and throw them in my freezer.

So take the pork out of the package, pat it dry then make a rub of garlic salt, onion powder, lemon pepper, italian seasoning, and rosemary and rub all over the pork. Rub minced garlic all over the pork too. I keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge since I use it all the time. Put olive oil in a skillet (I didn't use my iron skillet for this once since it still had the brunch casserole in it) on medium high heat and sear the tenderloin on all sides until really good and browned and the herb rub is seared into the meat. The tenderloins I get are in two pieces so I just do this to both pieces. You could, however, put some fresh herbs in between the two and tie them with kitchen string and cook them as one piece, but I was going for quick and easy.

Slice a large yellow onion and put 2/3 of of the slices in the bottom of the crock pot. Lay the tenderloin on top of the onions. Put the rest of the onions on top of the meat. Sprinkle a small can of sliced mushrooms (yes, canned, I keep a bunch of them in my cabinet, fresh is fine too) on top of the meat and onions. 

In the skillet, pour in a cup of hot water and sprinkle one package of pork gravy mix over medium high heat. Whisk, removing the seared bits from the bottom, until gravy is dissolved and bubbling, and starts to thicken. Pour it over the meat in the crock pot. This is what mine looked like:

Cook on low for 5 hours. The crock pot that I use is this one.  I can program it so that it will switch to warm when it's done.  It also comes with a probe, but I only use that for large cuts of meat like a big beef roast.

When it's done, take the tenderloin out and put it on a plate to sit for 15 minutes. Scoop out the veggies in the gravy, turn back to high and thicken with a little corn starch/water mixture if necessary. Mine wasn't doing this fast enough, so I poured it into a pot and thickened it on the stove.  Slice the tenderloin and pour some of the gravy over the sliced tenderloin. I usually put the onions and mushrooms in a small bowl to put over the pork slices on the plate. This is what the sliced, finished pork looked like. It was yummy!

Because this pork cooks for so long, it will be very tender. I use an electric knife to cut it so that it mostly stays in slices.

Creamy Mashed Potatoes

I love mashed potatoes!!! At Thanksgiving, I made the Pioneer Woman's Creamy Mashed Potatoes, and they were a huge hit! I decided to make them again to go with the pork tenderloin. The only thing I usually do different with this recipe is to add a couple tablespoons of minced garlic to the water when boiling the potatoes. I also add some onion salt at the end when adding the seasoning salt (usually Tex-Joy) and pepper. This time, I used whipped cream cheese with chives instead of the standard block of cream cheese. This gave the potatoes a really good flavor!

Whiskey Glazed Carrots

I saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman blog and was going to try it out at Thanksgiving. But I wasn't sure if the whole crowd would like something like this, so I just made regular steamed carrots with honey and butter. I didn't have large carrots, so I just used the small bag of baby carrots I had. Because her recipe calls for 2 - 3 lbs of sliced carrots and mine was only 1 lb, I cut back the ingredients a bit. I cut up the baby carrots into three pieces and then just followed the rest of the recipe. It came out really good, but I think next I will definitely use larger carrots. The baby carrots end up cooking down too small, I think.

To finish out the dinner, I heated up some corn and reheated the leftover Epic Mac & Cheese (recipe forthcoming someday) that we had at my End of the World Party. Yum! Yum! Yum!

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