Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple, Cabbage and Teriyaki Glaze

This 475-calorie, 50+ grams of protein monster (I mean that in a good way) is hefty enough to satisfy your appetite and your eye (quantity), and it is sweet enough to satiate your cravings… It is fairly straightforward and easy as well. I usually make this when we have people coming over to watch something (when eating is not the front and center of the evening) and most of the time, they don’t even know they are eating what could be called ‘diet food.’ If this is diet food, then I know how America’s waistlines can shrink again. Trust me and try this.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. pork tenderloin trimmed, cut into 1- to 2-inch thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups of water
  • Generous pinch of Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (less if you are so inclined)
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sweet rice wine
  • 1 Tbsp dry white wine or cooking wine
  • 2 tsp honey
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

In a medium bowl, soak the pork in the water with the baking soda for 15-20 minutes. This will make sure the pork stays moist and ridiculously tender. Longer you soak, the more tender the meat will get.

In the meantime, make the teriyaki glaze. In a 1-qt pan, heat the soy sauce, rice wine, dry white wine and the honey on low heat. Once boiling, let simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered and stirring occasionally. The mixture will reduce to about 1/8 or 1/6 cup. If you have off-the-shelf glaze, use one that is not too sweet. Just 2 Tbsp should do the trick per person. I seriously recommend that you consider making your own though. Who knows what goes into those glazes? It is probably loaded with copious amounts of sodium and not the good kind. If you don’t like the look or the idea of my teriyaki glaze recipe, find your own and use it. Either way, it takes only a few minutes to put it together and it practically cooks itself while you are working on other components of this dish.

I digress… Back to the recipe.

Rinse the pork, and pat dry. In a dry, small or medium bowl, toss the pork with the generous pinch of the Chinese five spice. Set aside.

While the pork is sitting in spice, spray a non-stick large frying pan (or wok) and on medium heat over a few minutes, let it get hot. Add peppers, onion, garlic and the pineapple and cook until the bell pepper slices start browning on the edges and the onions are all wilted (8-12 minutes). Place the cooked veggies in a large bowl. Set aside.

Return pan to the stove and spray more oil if you like. With heat still on medium, add the pork and cook, until it’s done to your liking: I usually cook a total of 4-5 minutes until all pork looses its pink.

Place the pork in the large bowl with the veggies. Toss everything together with 4 Tbsp of the glaze.

Return pan to stove and increase heat to high. Add the cabbage to the pan and cook for approximately 1-2 minutes, until cabbage wilts. You are not cooking them, you are just seasoning them with the leftover pork juices (I am sure I can articulate that better but pork juice sounded disgusting and I could not resist the wordplay) and taking away the harsh edge of cabbage, without losing its crunch.

On a dinner plate, lay down half of the cabbage, and then top it with the half of the pork, veggie and glaze mixture. Repeat. Done.

You will be pleasantly or unpleasantly surprised how much food 475 calories can offer. And how delicious.

Serves 2. Here are the nutritional facts, courtesy of SparkPeople:


Pork Stir Fry with Pineapples and Teriyaki Glaze

Chicken Apple Salad (Not as Dull as It Sounds)

Chicken Apple Salad… I am not scoring any winning points with that title, am I?

Hear me out: This is a delicious recipe that offers full satisfaction, great nutrition and pretty colors on the plate. What else do you want?

I consume about 1,700-2,000 calories daily (except on those days I drink wine) and this makes a phenomenal dinner or lunch. The dish tastes fresh and it fills up a plate. So, you get the satisfaction of good taste, volume and color.

Ingredients

  • 12 oz. boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into 1- to 2-inch thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 small apples (any kind… I use one granny smith and a sweeter kind for the other), sliced thin (no need to peel)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced and zest
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (reduce this to 1 Tbsp if you are watching fat grams)
  • 1 Tbsp. mixed nuts (OPTIONAL… The nutrition facts assume you are using them… hence the higher fat content. Skip if fat gram conscious)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Soak the chicken in the water with the baking soda for 15-20 minutes. This will make the chicken ridiculously tender. Baking soda soak is the secret to the tender meats in Chinese restaurants. They soak their meats in soda (sounded dirty, didn’t it?) for at least an hour to achieve than silky yet crunchy taste. For the soak to work, the chicken has to be in small bite size chunks. So do not get lazy. If you have a full hour to soak, you can reduce the baking soda to 1 tsp instead.

Rinse the chicken well.  Pat dry.

Spray a non-stick pan with oil and heat until hot on medium heat. Cook the chicken until well done, approximately 8-10 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, mix the lime juice, zest, jalapeno, olive oil in a small bowl to make the dressing.

Combine the chicken, all other ingredients in a large bowl and then toss with dressing. Serves 2.

Here are the nutrition facts, courtesy of the recipe calculator at SparkPeople:

 

Chicken Apple Salad nutrition facts

Cherry and Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

This is a Fine Cooking magazine recipe that seems complicated but it is not. It does take time but there are no tricks. You may want to have another set of hands to help with the rolling and wrapping of the tenderloin with the kitchen twine. Yep, twine is necessary.

I served this with rice with dill and onion, cabbage salad with roasted sesame seed, barbunya and gruyere kalamata olive bread… With much smaller than the recommended servings of everything, it made quite a nice dinner, I have to say. This dish can be the whole dinner if you’d like. The servings are very very generous and the protein is great. It makes a great lunch too. Just don’t overcook the pork.

Cherry and Onion Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

  • Olive oil, 3 tbsp
  • Medium yellow onions, 1-2 thinly sliced
  • Freshly squeezed orange juice, 6 tbsp
  • Balsamic vinegar, 3 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar, 2 tsp
  • Freshly grated orange zest, 1.5 tsp
  • Fresh sweet cherries, 1.5 cups (about 8 oz.), pitted and chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Pork tenderloins, 2 of them  (about 1 lb. each), trimmed
  • Ground cloves, 1/8 tsp
  • Dry white wine, 1/2 cup, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • Lower-salt chicken broth (preferably homemade), 1 cup
  • Fresh rosemary, 1 tsp minced
  • Unsalted butter, 2 tbsp, cold, cut into small pieces

Heat 1 Tbs. of the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and light golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the orange juice, vinegar, sugar, and orange zest, reduce the heat to low, cover, and continue to cook until the onions are very soft, 15 to 20 minutes more. Uncover and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes more. Add the cherries and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cool to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 425°F.

Meanwhile, butterfly the pork by slitting each tenderloin lengthwise just far enough that it opens like a book to make a flat piece. Place the pork between two pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pound gently with a meat mallet to flatten it to a 3/8-inch thickness. In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbs. of the olive oil, the ground cloves, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Rub the mixture on both sides of the pork and season generously with salt.

Divide and spread the cherry mixture evenly over the tenderloins and roll them back to their original shape. Tie them with butcher twine at 1-inch intervals.

Heat the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil in an ovenproof 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the pork on all sides until golden, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of a tenderloin reads 145°F, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer the pork to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Set the skillet over medium-high heat, add the wine, and deglaze the pan by scraping up the cooked bits with a wooden spoon. Boil to reduce the wine by about half, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and rosemary, bring to a boil, and reduce by about half, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter one piece at a time, letting each melt before adding the next. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove the strings from the pork and slice it into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Serve drizzled with the sauce. Serves 6-8. Here are the nutritional facts based on 6 servings:

Chicken, Almond and Apricot Savory Pie

Interesting and somewhat out of the ordinary side dish for a brunch or lunch, this pastry works well to complement egg dishes and/or salads with tangy vinaigrette. I make this about once a year. I think it is a bit dangerous to do it often (high fat content) so thread carefully. It surely looks pretty.

Chicken, Almond and Apricot Pastry

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup bulgur
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped to small cubes
  • 3 fresh or 1/4 c dried apricots, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp Italian parsley, chopped
  • 12 sheets of phyllo dough
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp fresh chives, chopped for garnish

Put the bulgur in a bowl with 1/2 cup of boiling water; set aside to soak 5-10 minutes.

Heat two tablespoons of the butter in a pan and gently saute the onion and chicken until lightly browned, 10-15 minutes. Stir in the apricots, almonds, bulgur and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in the cinnamon, allspice, yogurt and the parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Grease a 9-inch by 5-inch oven-safe dish, with olive oil or canola oil. Melt the remaining butter.

Unroll the dough. Keep the pastry sheets covered with a clean, damp towel to avoid drying.

Line the dish with six of the sheets, brushing each one with butter as you layer them. Spoon in the chicken mixture and cover with six more pastry sheets, brushing each layer with butter as you go. Bake the pastry for 30 minutes or so (no more than that), until pastry is golden brown and crisp like in the pictures here.

You can serve this hot or cold. Dress up the slices with chives. Makes 6 generous servings. Here are the nutritional facts:

Cabbage and Sesame Seed Salad, with Pork Chops

Simple recipe and very tasty. This dish lacks color. I suggest you mix up red and green cabbage. If you only have green, then use some red pepper flakes.

Cabbage and Sesame Seed Salad, with Pork Chops

Ingredients

  • 6 8-oz bone-in pork chops, about 1 inch thick each
  • Salt
  • 2 pinches of red pepper flakes
  • A pinch of cumin
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp is for brushing the pork chops)
  • 2 Tbsp Rice vinegar or Rice cooking wine
  • 2 tsp Sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • A small head of Napa or green cabbage or mix, thinly sliced (makes about 8 cups lightly loaded)
  • 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped

In a 9×13 inch dish, season the pork chops with salt and red pepper flakes and then brine them salt water for 30 minutes.

In a small non-stick skillet on medium heat, roast the sesame seeds for 3 minutes, frequently stirring with a wooden spoon. Set aside.

Heat the grill on medium high. Drain and pat dry the pork chops and then spice them with a pinch of cumin, black pepper. Brush them with olive oil.  Grill until cooked through, 5-6 minutes per side.

In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine the orange juice, the remaining oil, vinegar, sesame seeds and 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the cabbage and cilantro and toss. Serve with the chops.

Serves 6.

Here are the nutritional facts:

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