Spiced Fruit Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Amy:

Here is the meat portion of my Sunday dinner.  I like using pork tenderloin because it is very versatile and easy to use…plus it is one of the leanest cuts of meat that you can buy!  I like rubbing spices into the meat and then rolling it up around a filling for a tasty meat dish.  This time I chose to use some fruit as it fit with the autumn theme and I had it in my cupboard.

Ingredients:

2 medium sized pork tenderloin

1 granny smith apple

1 small handful of dried apricots, chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

2 tbsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp cloves

Dash cayenne pepper

1 tsp paprika

Instructions:

1.  Place dried fruit in a microwave safe dish with 1 tbsp of water.  Microwave on high for about 1-2 minutes or until fruit is soft and moist.  Chop up apples.

2. Mix together spices in a bowl.

3. Cut each pork loin almost in half length-wise so that it looks like a butterfly.  Pound flat with a meat tenderizer or with the bottom of a heavy glass like a beer mug (that’s what I use).

4. Rub 1/4 of the spices onto each side of the pork.

5. Divide the fruit mixture between the two loin in the middle and roll up.  Secure with kitchen string.

6. Bake in 350F oven for about 45 minutes or until pork is 71C on the thermometer or just barely pink in the middle.  Serve with a little bit of apple sauce!

7. Let cool for a few minutes and then cut into slices.

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Colourful Roasted Root Vegetables

This is one of those recipes that I make all the time.  It’s simple yet interesting, adaptable and delicious.

Whenever I have visitors in our home, my first dinner is almost always a whole chicken in the slow cooker and oven roasted root vegetables.  That’s my stand-by meal.  I prep the chicken the night before and pre-cut the vegetables so they just need to be popped in the oven when I get home.  That way it leaves more time for visiting.

These ingredients are plentiful in the autumn season but you can get them all year round.

I love roasting vegetables because it caramelizes them and creates sweeter flavours.

Ingredients:

Use any variety of root vegetables that you like.

Carrots

Potatoes (small potatoes are great or even the multi-coloured ones look great)

Beets

Onion

Yam or sweet potato

Parsnips

Rutabaga

Turnip

Salt and pepper

Herbs and seasonings to taste

Directions:

1. Peel and cube vegetables to about 1/2 inch sized pieces.  I usually make enough to cover a very large baking sheet for 6 people.  These are also great for lunch for the week.  I make lots usually.

2. Coat vegetables with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and stir well to coat.  Seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and your choice of herbs.  I use a Tuscan seasoning mix which is my favourite.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roast in preheated oven at 425F for about an hour or until browned and cooked all the way though, stirring a couple times.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

May as well use the whole pumpkin!  Waste not!  Not only are they nutritious but they are a source of protein and a great source of fibre.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Ingredients:

Pumpkin seeds

Canola oil

Spices as desired (I used cayenne pepper and garlic powder)

Directions:

1. Wash pumpkin seeds and remove the stringy parts of the pumpkin.

2. Toss in a 1/2 teaspoon of oil.

3. Sprinkle with spices as desired – cayenne pepper and garlic powder OR brown sugar and cinnamon OR another spice combination.

4. Spread out on baking sheet.  Place in preheated oven at 300 degrees F.

5. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until baked and crispy.

6. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Date Snack

Amy:

My friend Nadia showed me this snack idea and man oh man is it ever good.  The sweet dates and the nutty peanut butter are a match made in heaven!  Especially considering my PB obsession. On a nutrition note the dates are a good source of fibre and carbohydrate to put “gas” in your tank while the peanut butter give you protein and helps give you “fuel efficiency” (keeps you full longer).  But aside from all that science – it’s just plain tasty.  Try it out.  Seriously.

Dried dates – I found a square container of loose dates at my local Walmart and also in our grocery store in the produce section.  They are still moist inside!

Peanut butter, almond butter, sun butter…..I like the natural stuff without the added fat, sugar and salt

Dip a few dates in the peanut butter and enjoy!

(Note: 3-4 would do for a good snack, it’s fairly high calorie-wise so watch your serving size!)

Greek Yogurt, Grape, Chia Breakfast

Amy:

This was such a yummy breakfast I had to take a picture of it.  It’s inspired off of an Ambrosia Salad….sort of….

Greek yogurt is really high in protein but low in fat so it’s a great way to start off your morning and keep you fuller longer.  The chia seeds are native to Central America and Mexico, cultivated by the Aztecs.  I read about it in a book called Born to Run where a native tribe in Mexico makes a drink from chia seeds and water for a energy boosting beverage.  It’s used similarly to flaxseed – it’s high in fibre and omega 3 (heart healthy fats) and unlike flaxseed, high in protein and doesn’t need to be ground to be digested by our body.

Ingredients:

Grapes ~3/4 cup

3 tbsp greek yogurt

1 tbsp chia seeds

Drizzle of maple syrup

Stir together and enjoy!

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Amy:

Salsa is a great way to use up garden tomatoes and is quick and easy to make.  Not to mention way cheaper than the store bought stuff.  This one is a no cook, fresh salsa recipe that only takes the time to chop up the vegetables!  Adjust the onion and the hot stuff according to your taste.

Ingredients:

2 cups chopped tomatoes

½ cup frozen corn, thawed

2 tbsp onion, finely minced

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

2-3 tbsp lime juice

Dash of salt

Heat in the form of hot sauce (I use Swazi Fire from 10,000 Village…a couple drops will do) or cayenne pepper

½ cup chopped fresh parsley if you have or just sprinkle some dried on top for garnish

Directions:

Mix ingredients in a bowl.  Chill in fridge and serve!  We had this with our quesadillas the other night.

Mashed Carrots

Amy:

I saw this recipe on Kraft Canada and it looked intriguing!  I liked it because it’s preparing food in a new unconventional way!  My version is lower in salt than on the original recipe. Carrots are one of those vegetables that are bright in colour and great for your body.  Remember the old wives tale that carrots are good for your eyes?  Well that is true!  They are high in vitamin A – good for eyes and skin.  I think this would make for an interesting Thanksgiving side dish to change up the old standards!

Mashed Carrots

(Adapted from Kraft Canada)

Ingredients:

1 pound of carrots (about 6-8 large)

2 Tbsp cooking water

3 tbsp light cream cheese

Minced fresh herbs or dried herbs (I used rosemary)

Directions:

1. Boil carrots in a pot of water until very tender (~20-25 minutes)

2. Drain except for 2 tbsp of water or more depending on how thin you want them.

3. Add cream cheese and blend with a immersion blender or mash with potato masher.

4. Mix in some herbs and sprinkle a little on top for presentation.

Makes about 4-6 servings

Herb Coated White Fish

Amy:

My friend told me about this simple recipe and I just had to try it.  Man oh man was it ever tasty and took literally 5 minutes to make.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating fish twice per week due to the heart healthy benefits.  This is something I am working on since our mother is allergic to fish we never grew up eating it.  The more simple recipes for fish I have, the better!

Any kind of white fish will do but obviously the best if fresh caught out of the lake.  My personal favourite is fresh caught pickerel from Manitoba….it doesn’t get any better than that!

Simple Herb Crusted Fish

Ingredients

Any type of white fish (pickerel, sole, etc)

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Any other type of herbs or spices (rosemary, parsley, cayenne, ground ginger, basil, etc)

Olive oil

Fresh lemons

Directions:

1. Sprinkle salt, pepper and herb on both sides of fish.

2. Coat pan lightly with olive oil.

3. Saute fish until white and flakey on both sides (only a couple minutes). Drizzle with fresh squeezed lemon juice and enjoy!

Yum!

How to Cut up a Butternut Squash

Butternut squash can be intimidating if you aren’t sure how to cut it up.

My grandmother says “anything is easy once you know how”!  Here are the steps with some pictures.

1. Piece squash several times with a fork.

Put in microwave for 2 minutes to help soften the squash.

2. Making sure to use a sharp knife….cut off ends.

3. Cut into thick slices and scoop out the stringy parts and seeds

4. Peel outer shell off using either very sharp vegetable peeler or knife.

5. Cut into cubes and use in recipe as instructed.

Cubes can also be frozen and used at a later time.