Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pork Tenderloin Chili

Big shout out to Nick's Backfire Brand for the chili seasoning that I used in this recipe! It was amazing and I love their spices and mixes!! Once the weather turned cold here in Baltimore I just could not wait to make a big pot of chili. It has to be one of my all-time favorite meals, especially in the fall during football season :) I don't think many things can beat a nice cold weekend with family and friends, a big pot of chili with a bunch of fixings, corn bread, and nice cold beer.

During my last Sunday morning farmers market run I stopped by Nick's stand and picked up some of his hot-style Chili Fixens. I took out my pork tenderloin from the freezer a couple days ahead of time to thaw in the fridge and might make a nice pairing. I've really only had vegetarian, beef or ground turkey in my chili but never pork. Why not try it out?! And it also gave me another opportunity to use my croc pot!

Results? Fantastic if I do say so myself! I served my spicy chili over a bed of whole grain rice, and topped it with a sprinkle of cheese and diced avocado.
  • 2# lean pork tenderloin
  • 1 can/bottle of beer 
  • 28oz can stewed tomatoes, whole with juice
  • 1 small can of tomato paste (I think it was 4-6oz?)
  • 1 package of chili seasoning
  • 1 can (14oz) dark red kidney beans or chili beans with juice
Spray slow cooker with nonstick spray. Combine seasoning mix with beer and stir gently to combine. Place pork, beer/seasoning mix, tomatoes (crush them by hand), in cooker and cover. Let cook on low heat for about 6-7 hours. Open cooker and shred pork, add beans and stir to combine. Re-cover and cook for another hour on low. Mine came out a bit thicker than I would have liked it but you can always add extra liquid (beer, water, broth, tomato sauce) if you like it more soupy. I think when I serve left-overs (I froze a bunch!) I'll add a bit more liquid. 

I love serving chili with a bunch of toppings like diced onion, cheese, sour cream, avocado, tortilla chips or fritos, etc. What's your favorite chili? How do you like to eat it?? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Semi-Homemade Tomato Soup

I had the most amazing weekend in the Windy City with the boy this past weekend! We went out with some great friends, had a special date night and he even took me to an indoor farmers' market!! We did, of course, eat out quite a bit but I surprised myself by sticking to healthier choices. Salads, fish, egg whites, fruit, veggies all played large roles in my meals but I still snuck in a few treats (wine and chocolate of course ;) ) and tried to practice portion control.

One thing we did want to try for our one home-cooked meal was an easy bread recipe found in the NY Times that MB actually sent to me!

 Seriously, you mix the simple ingredients, let it sit about a day, and bake! No heavy kneading. No special ingredients. No major baking instructions. No precise measuring. AND it tasted great! We got some delicious cheese from the market as well as a jar of tomato soup that was good on it's own but needed a little jazz. Who doesn't love grilled cheese and tomato soup??

  • 16oz jar prepared tomato soup (we used Tomato Mountain)
  • 14oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Half 'n Half, warmed (can also use fat free half&half or lowfat milk)
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
Heat olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over medium-low heat, add chopped shallots and cook a few minutes until softened and slightly translucent. Add tomato soup, half & half, tomatoes, spices and stir. Turn up heat to medium high until soup begins to boil then lower to a simmer for about 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add basil and cook a few minutes more to heat through. Perfect on a cold winter night!