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

Firinda Mücver (Baked Zucchini with Onion and Parsley)

Mücver is something I loved when I was growing up. Well, I still love it. It is usually fried and served with yogurt but there are ways to get the taste without the frying part… My mom used to do FIRINDA MüCVER as ‘diet’ food. She would go on to these diets, fairly strict ones and eat very little, to similarly very little long-term effect on her weight. One of the things she used to eat was this dish. I prefer to eat it because it tastes delicious (it is somewhat one-dimensional and bland but it accompanies other dishes well and the one-dimensioned taste is a solid one if you like zucchini and onions) and not because it is considered ‘diet’ food. It sure doesn’t scream diet food, given the delicious taste and it goes well with pretty much any kind of protein you maybe having. A salad alternative or a color splash on the plate. Either way, it is goooood.

There are recipes out there for Firinda Mücver and this is my version… I first did this based on what I remember from watching my mom and talking to her about it. Then I morphed it over the years to make it become what I want…

Firinda Mücver (Baked Zucchini with Onion and Parsley)

Ingredients

  • 4 medium zucchini, grated (food processor makes this very quick)
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 oz. grated cheddar cheese (or any kind of mild cheese)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup unbleached white or wheat flour (you may not need all of it. You can use garbanzo bean flour to make this gluten-free)
  • 1 cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh dill, finely minced (or a generous pinch if using dried)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 9-inch by 13-inch dish.

Grate the zucchini using the food processor and then handling one handful at a time, squeeze the juices out and place them drained zucchini in a large bowl. Add the onions, eggs, cheese, baking powder, the flour and the parsley and combine well. This may be a bit of work and the consistency won’t be runny at all but it works (zucchini will release some additional water in the baking process so while the mixture may look like it needs moisture, trust me, it doesn’t).

Season with salt (a generous pinch), pepper (less generous one) and red pepper flakes (generously) and dill, if using and mix well.

Transfer the mixture into the greased dish, using a spatula to spread an even layer.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. If not browning after 45 minutes, broil for 2 minutes and remove from heat. Serve hot or cold.

Makes 12, 3-inch square servings. Here are the nutritional facts:

Arugula and Watermelon Salad (with Goat Cheese or Feta)

There are a million arugula salad recipes on the web. I asked myself… Do we really need another one? Well, I think we do. If I browse the recipes I find, I see that most are drenched in oil and cheese. Well, with that much oil and cheese – topped with watermelon – any old crap will taste great. How about making something healthy out of it, without sacrificing the taste? That was the idea of coming up with this particular recipe. I did a version of this 2 weeks ago and another version this week. I like this week’s version better so here is the recipe…

Arugula and Watermelon Salad (with Goat Cheese or Feta)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp honey (1.5 tbsp if the arugula is from a farmer’s market since organic ones tend to be sharper)
  • 1/4 cup shallots, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 cups arugula, loosely packed
  • 2 cups watermelon, diced to chunks and loosely packed
  • 4 oz goat cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Cherry tomatoes (OPTIONAL)

Prepare the vinaigrette by first combining the orange juice, lemon juice, honey, shallots with a whisk and then drizzling the olive oil in as you whisk to form an emulsion. In a large bowl, combine the arugula, watermelon, mint and the cheese. Coat with the vinaigrette and toss well. Adjust salt and pepper. If you’d like, you can dress it up with cherry tomatoes as you serve.

Makes 6 servings. Here are the nutritional facts:

Arugula Watermelon 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:

Curried Garbanzo Bean, Eggplant and Zucchini Summer Stew

Summer bounty can be redirected into this dish for a healthy meat alternative… Great for lunches at work or a mid-course or a side dish. I made this for the first time this year and I expect that I will keep making it through the fall and winter, using different type of vegetables as the seasons change.

 

 

Curried Garbanzo Bean, Eggplant and Zucchini Summer Stew

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium eggplant, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 medium squash, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped to small cubes
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 or 2 hot chile, dry (I put whole lot more for myself)
  • 1 14-oz can of garbanzo beans, with all the liquid or 2 cups made from dry
  • 1.5 cups of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, for garnish (OPTIONAL)

Heat the peanut or vegetable oil in a large deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and golden; 15 minutes.

Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes. Add the eggplant, squash and zucchini and a pinch of salt. Stir to coat and cook for 7-10 minutes until the veggies re somewhat tender (not really).

Stir in the garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, chile and a few pinches of black pepper. Cook for a few minutes and then pour in the garbanzo beans, tomato sauce, coconut milk and the 2 tbsp of the cilantro.

Raise the heat to medium high and bring the stew to boil. Then reduce heat and let simmer for 1520 minutes until veggies are wilted but not dead (too soft).

Serve it in bowls, with jasmine rice or something and sprinkle generously with the remaining cilantro and the optional coconut shavings. Makes 6-8 servings. Here are the nutritional facts (without rice):

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