Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin – Easy and Delicious!

It is obvious by now, I’m sure, that I love to cook. The act of preparing a meal is something that puts me into sort of a zen state, it is my time to unwind after a long day at work & the gym.

That being said, there are times when I know I that I am getting a little worn out. With our first rainfall in Vancouver since July happening just over the weekend, Monday was a perfect day to dust off my slow cooker and let it do my work for me.

My recipe is especially great because the ingredients can be placed in your removable slow cooker pot the night before you plan on making this dish, so that all you have to do is turn your slow cooker on low before you leave for work. By the time you arrive home, your meal will be basically complete. Depending on your schedule, this tenderloin could be removed after 8 hours – this particular day’s schedule required a 10 hour slow cooking.

Get ready for fall-aparty goodness!

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 2-3lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 small can low-sodium beef broth
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 2 tbsp margarine
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

Method:

  • Place tenderloin in slow cooker over a bed of carrots and onion
  • Whisk onion soup mix, water, rosemary, beef broth, and pepper together then pour over tenderloin
  • Turn slow cooker heat to low, set timer for 10 hours, and put lid firmly in place – then walk away
  • Once time has expired, remove tenderloin (carefully, since it will want to shred) to cutting board and tent with foil
  • In a saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat, and whisk with flour til it forms a paste. Whisking continuously, slowly add 2 cups of reserved liquid from slow cooker
  • Bring sauce to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Season to taste with salt & pepper, then cover until ready to serve.
  • Slice tenderloin (supporting meat on either side of your knife with your fingers) into medallions and serve with vegetables and crusty bread

Happy Eating,

kait

Family Recipe: The Best Damn Chili

I’m giving you a recipe that is very close to my heart.

It is not glamorous or pretentious, requiring hours of technical precision.

It is my mother’s, and while I can list ingredients and walk you through how it’s made, mine never tastes as good as hers. Call it what you will, the woman just does it special.

Ingredients:

  • 2lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 can condensed Campbell’s tomato soup
  • 1 can red kidney beans, drained
  • 1 can beans in tomato sauce
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder

Method:

Cook ground beef & onion over medium heat in frying pan, then drain fat.

In a large saucepan, combine beans, kidney beans, tomato soup, & spices. Stir well over medium heat adding ground beef slowly. Let simmer for 30 minutes, covered, on low heat.

Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Note: This freezes really well. You can portion them into Ziploc bags and freeze flat.

Happy Eating,

kait

Kait’s Recipe: Cheesy Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Autumn is coming, y’all.

Dust off your slow cookers and gravy boats, order your turkeys (can you believe we are only a couple of weeks from Thanksgiving?) and watch for my comfort food recipes here.

While I will miss summer, I sort of love being in bed when it’s raining, blankets around my chin. I love the way my apartment smells when there’s something delicious in the oven, something that has been lovingly coddled all day. Sadly those food adventures are saved for weekends, but I have an arsenal of recipes that are quick and soothing after a long day of work.

This recipe was concocted in the interests of convenience and a general love of anything containing creamy, tender chicken and is perfect for leftovers. Enjoy!

 

Autumn Chicken & Broccoli Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 can low fat cream of mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 3 cups whole wheat Rotini pasta + 2 cups salted water
  • 1 tsp each pepper, salt, oregano
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 cup grated medium cheddar cheese

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook chicken with olive oil, garlic, and onion in a sautee pan over medium heat.

While cooking, mix milk, soup, and seasonings in a small bowl. Add to chicken, and reduce heat to medium-low.

Start your pasta – let boil until pasta just reaches al dente (‘to the teeth’) texture. In the last minute of boiling, add broccoli to the pot and drain both.

Combine pasta and broccoli with your chicken mixture in the sautee pan, stirring well. Add to casserole dish.

Top with grated cheese, then cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

Et voila!

Serve with garlic bread for a comforting meal on a rainy day.

Happy Eating,

kait

Max’s Restaurant: My Filipino Food Fix

After friends of mine heard that I’d gone for Filipino food without them, another meal was arranged – this time at Max’s Restaurant.

Located at 3456 Kingsway, Max’s Restaurant is part of a chain that originated in the Philippines, and was bright, clean, and spacious. Many staff were on hand, apparently a necessity seeing as how there were line ups by 5:30pm, soon after we arrived. My dining companions, all Filipino, were excited to eat and show me some dishes I’d never tried before.

To start: Lumpiang Shanghai (Egg Roll)

Yes, I was tweeting when I should have been eating.  The outside of these egg rolls were nice and crispy, even though the inside was filled with very moist meat and vegetables. I liked the fact that the vessel was a bowl made of deep fried goodness and the chili sauce on the side, although standard, was perfect.

Next: Chopsuey. For what could be seen as a simple dish, this was actually one of my favorites!

I’m a meatatarian so this was perfect for me – shrimp, chicken, and pork were served alongside vegetables in Max’s savory sauce. Cooked perfectly and Chinese influenced, I loved this plate.

Next: Spicy Laing Tilapia

Taro leaves are cooked in coconut milk and then served over fried tilapia. The sauce was really good, and the fish was fried perfectly. I would have loved a more crunchy element to this, but it was good as it was.

Next: 1/2 Fried Chicken,  a specialty.

Although good, I found myself reaching for salt on this one. The skin was nice and crispy seeing as how they don’t batter the chicken before frying it, I just didn’t find much flavor in it.

Crispy Pata was next:

This one was eaten pretty quickly! The fat of this knuckle created such deep flavor in the meat, and the vinegar was a perfect dip.

We also had Filipino Bistek (Beef Steak.)

You could really taste the lemon in the thinly sliced meat and in the gravy, it was delicious and similar in taste to a stir fry.

The girls wanted some dessert and ordered Halo Halo and Leche Flan, desserts I have tried before.

An impressive Halo Halo, containing fruit, beans, shaved ice, milk, and sugar. Atop that is purple yam (Ube) ice cream – a strange flavor for a Western palate but delicious nonetheless.

The Leche Flan was straightforward and delicious. You cannot go wrong with custard and caramel syrup!

The service at Max’s was attentive and thoughtful, and I got the impression that  if I had wandered in alone, the servers would have walked me through what each dish was if I didn’t know.

Reservations can only be made for 10+ people (and they are, often!)

Happy Eating,

kait

Max's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Review: Ouisi Bistro

I’ve written here before about being scared of too much spice, but I was with 3 people who craved that flavor and so decided that it was about time for a new adventure.

Located on South Granville near 15th Street in Vancouver, Ouisi Bistro has long been recommended to me for great Cajun and Creole cuisine. Reservations were recommended by their website, so I called in on Friday night and requested a table. When we arrived at 6:00pm the restaurant was relatively empty, but within half an hour the place had nearly filled up!

Paintings of jazz musicians hung on the walls fit in perfectly with the rustic feel of the bistro, and our server was very attentive from the moment we sat down. A basket of complimentary warm, delicious corn bread was brought to our table as soon as we got settled. To start, The Boss ordered Gator Bites, I ordered  the Seafood Chowder, and our two companions each ordered Caesar Salad.

ImageI’ve had Alligator before, but it wasn’t great. The Gator Bites at Ouisi’s are moist without being chewy, and oh-so-full of flavor. The Cajun Tartar Sauce they were served with provided a nice cool element against the hot and spicy meat.

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My Seafood Chowder was full of large chunks of fish and a very delicate tomato broth, probably the least spicy thing we ate that night. It was delicious and a great beginning to our meal.\

For entrees, we ordered the Jambalaya, The Big Easy, The Granville Plate, and The Caribbean Hot Plate.

The Jambalaya was rich and filled with prawns, smoked ham, and chorizo & andouille sausage. It was amazing. My fear with spice is that it will do the usual “make my tongue and lips numb and I’ll cry and sweat” – it didn’t happen at all during this meal.

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Don’t get me wrong, though – I did have to take water breaks, especially after trying the Caribbean Hot Plate. The only menu item labelled “Hotter Than Hell” (in red, mind you) and boasting Habanero peppers with coconut chicken, I was not expecting the intensity that came on after a couple of swallows. The cilantro lime pesto was a nice break from the spice, but boy, you cannot match that flavor. All I can say, is thank goodness for the green rice and beans.

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The Big Easy consists of beef tenderloin tips in a creole sauce with potatoes. The Boss’ sister mentioned that there was a lot of fat on the meat – something that may or may not bother your average diner. I tried some of the meat and it was very tender aka delightful.

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My dinner of choice was The Granville Plate, something that I thought would be more on the milder side, but ended up being pretty spicy from the pepper crusted chicken – two breasts were served topped with roasted garlic, brie, and spinach, with beans and green rice. It was delicious, but although the brie was rich it could have used a sauce. I could be biased, though, I’m a sauce girl. The chicken was very juicy so I had no complaints!

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All in all, with the ambiance being as amazing as it was and the food being an adventure, this was a great dining experience. I’ll be back, Ouisi Bistro, very soon.

Happy Eating,

kait

Ouisi Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kait’s Recipe: Meat Lovers Cannelloni

I will always love meat.

Don’t get me wrong, readers. I understand the Vegetarian point of view: cute bunny gets dropped by its ears into a pot of stew, as per every evil witch depicted in children’s books. I realize it is more complex than that, but that’s not the reason for this post.

Here’s my view: live & let live. Don’t like meat? Don’t eat it.

And so follows my gift to those who will devour meat with me.

Ingredients:
  • 1 handful spinach leaves, chopped
  • 4 crimini mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground veal
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef
  • 1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed
  • 1 box oven ready Cannelloni shells (you will have some left over)
  • 1 small can less-sodium tomato sauce
  • 3 cups milk – I use 1%
  • 4 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp light margarine
  • Salt & Pepper, 1tbsp each
  • Oregano, 1 tbsp

Begin by mixing the 3 meats together, and add to a frying pan with garlic and all vegetables. Brown slowly over medium-low heat, stirring often. You do not want the meat to cook unevenly.

ImageWhile your meat is cooking, start your roux.

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Heat margarine over medium-low, then add flour. Whisk thoroughly, and add a bit of milk. Continue whisking. You should develop a thick paste.

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Slowly add balance of milk, stirring constantly. Once you have developed a soup-like consistency, bring the sauce up to just below a boil. At this time you can add your seasonings, and whisk. Turn off heat, and add the can of tomato sauce, reserving 3 tablespoons. Whisk thoroughly, then cover your saucepan and remove from burner. Congratulations, you have now made a Rose Bechamel. This sauce is fine to sit for a few minutes while you assemble your cannelloni.

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I prefer to use oven ready cannelloni noodles because it removes a step from an already involved cooking process. Preheat your oven to 350 and mix some (1/2 cup) of the rose bechamel sauce into your meat mixture, after draining excess fat from pan.

Use your reserved tomato sauce to lightly cover the bottom of your casserole dish. Begin assembling your cannelloni. The best method I have found to pack the meat mixture into the shells is to use my fingers, but you can also try using the end of a spoon.

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You have meat leftover. This is good. Very, very good. Add the balance of your bechamel sauce to your meat mixture and stir.

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Pour it over your cannelloni. Go on, do it. I sprinkle salt and (lots of) pepper over top. Make sure that there are no pasta shells visible, or they will not soften properly.

After 50 minutes, take it out of the oven.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

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Happy Eating,

kait

Kait’s Recipe: Roast Beast!

Recipe: Roast Beast!

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Sunday Dinner. Two words, so simple, words that have always conjured up feelings of comfort and happiness in my mind. What meal is there more worthy of such an occasion (you only get four per month, you know) than a Roast Beef Dinner?

Ingredients: (Roast Beast)

  • 1 2kg Sirloin Tip Roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 6 cloves garlic

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Combine minced garlic with all spices and olive oil.

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Slather your roast with the garlic mixture & place it in a roasting pan that has been lined with tinfoil.

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Once your oven has finished preheating, place roast inside. Roast at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn heat down to 275 degrees and continue roasting for an additional 90 minutes. Cooking my 2kg roast this way resulted in a beautiful medium rare.

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Remove your roast from the oven to a plate to rest for 30 minutes, tented with foil.

While your roast is resting, beautiful juices will drip out.

To make a gravy with these, use the following directions:

Ingredients:

  • Loose drippings from roasting pan & resting plate
  • 1 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 4 Crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp light margarine

Heat margarine over medium-low heat, add onions and mushrooms. Once softened, add meat drippings.

Whisking constantly, add flour til thickened.

Add beef broth slowly, continuing to whisk.

Add seasonings, then bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, simmer for 5 minutes then serve.

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Paired with the beautiful, thinly sliced roast beef, oven roasted carrots, and scalloped potatoes, this really was a meal worthy of mention.

Happy Eating,

kait