Orange & Pistachio Crusted Pork Loin Chops

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Every once in a while, I come across a recipe online purely by accident and think that is sounds so absolutely delicious that I have to make it that very night.  Normally the recipes are dessert-related or starch-related, and I end up using the recipe as a guideline to inspire my own method that fits more to my taste.  However, I found the recipe for these pork chops on Eating Well completely by accident.  They had some of my favorite ingredients – pistachios and oranges!  And the recipe is healthy and nutritious – yay!

Bonus points: There’s only 7 ingredients including salt, pepper, and oil, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make these little guys!  Extra yay!  I always get excited for 30 minute, healthy meals, especially after a long day of work, classes, dragging my ass to the gym, and everything else I have to do.  Eating Well really blessed us with this recipe, you guys.

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I didn’t really change much to the recipe, except that I used pork loin chops instead of a whole pork loin, and I chopped my pistachios and garlic by hand instead of with a food processor – 1. because I don’t like cleaning food processors, and 2. because I don’t have a food processor.  Also, I scrapped their wild rice and green bean sides, opting for a simple wild rice blend I mixed with a little butter, garlic powder, and salt and a green salad with mixed greens, feta, cranberries, apples, and a simple white balsamic vinaigrette.  It was a perfect meal, and the wild rice and salad can be made while you’re preparing and cooking the pork!  With my last semester of college starting on Monday (!!!) I’m really looking forward to finding and developing more recipes that can be made in less than an hour, with minimal dishes.

My ONLY complaint about this recipe is that, if you have leftovers, while the pork chops still taste great, the pistachios lose some of their crunch from the moisture in the fridge.  However, I don’t really like leftovers in general, so my opinion doesn’t have much merit.  Also, slightly-chewy pistachios crusted on pork is still a much better lunch than my usual quinoa salad or sandwich.  Take some, lose some.

Note:  You’re going to be searing these porky chops and then placing them in the oven to finish.  I seared them in a pan, and then placed them on a sheet pan to finish, but next time I think I’ll sear them in an oven-safe cast iron, cover them in the marmalade and pistachio mixture, and then place them back in the cast iron to finish in the oven – then it becomes a one-pan dish!

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Any ideas for healthy 30ish minute meals?

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Old Friend by Pinegrove

Slow Cooked Carnitas

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If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you probably saw that I posted a picture of pie dough promising a BIG EXCITING RECIPE COMING VERY VERY SOON AND IT’S GOING TO BE THE BEST THING EVER.  That is true, and it is coming, but tonight I made super easy and amazing carnitas, so I thought I’d just share them real quick.

Now, if you’re still confused about the “easy” part of the carnitas description, because when have carnitas ever been easy, let me explain.  First, you’ll sear the pork.  Then, you’ll place the pork in the crockpot with some other fun stuff.  Then you’ll leave it alone while you work and go to school and exercise and unload your dishwasher.  Then you’ll shred the pork and broil it until it’s crispy.  And then?  You’re free to put the slow-cooked, shredded, crispy pork with burny bits in tacos or burrito bowls.  My favorite is the taco option on blistered corn tortillas with plenty of cilantro and queso fresco.  However, the burrito bowl option with brown rice, pinto beans, queso, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and salsa is a good option as well.  Tonight I went with the burrito bowl option, mostly because I ran out of tortillas and always have a surplus of brown rice on hand, but in the future I may use the pork in tostadas or enchiladas.  (And just like that, I’m hungry all over again).

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I’m a huge fan of meals that are 1. easy 2. healthy and 3. can be made while I’m at work, which is why you see so much Mexican food on SSL.  But I promise, I don’t only eat Mexican food and not all my meals are made in a crock pot.  I’m sure at one point I’ll get over my homemade Mexican food obsession, but for now it’s just too good, and there’s just too many options!  On another note, I have had a huge thing for curry lately, even more so than usual, so we’ll see where that goes.  I imagine Thai and Indian will infiltrate SSL in the next coming months even with summer right around the corner.

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Cheers to carnitas.

XO SaraLynn

*Song of the Day: I Wanna Get Better by Bleachers

Fondue in the Forest

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Hello my wonderful readers!

I’m back home in Reno (although I’m still dreaming of London), but I’ve had a wonderful summer and it’s time to get back to business.  Before I came home, I went to my parents’ cabin for the first time in two years which is where I used to spend my childhood weekends hiking, fishing, and riding quads.

It was also my getaway for watching movies and reading countless books which I did not always have time to do with all of my extracurriculars.  I cannot even tell you how many times I blew through the HP series up there.  7 books and 8 movies were no match when I had a good two weeks of lounging on the porch swing with an iced tea in my hand.

Some of my best memories from growing up were at my cabin, and I wish more than anything that I could make it up more.  Luckily, I have Tahoe just a short 30 minutes away, but there’s nothing like (vacation) home, right?

Anyways, I had a really amazing time with my family hiking, white water rafting, and of course, reading.  We also had some really great food.

Cue fondue.

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Before I share with you our delicious dipping recipes and whatnot, let me first disclose that all of the pictures posted today were taken by my baby brother (except for the fondue pic taken above, which was posted by my mom).  He’s the guy in the maroon striped sweater.  He’s only 17 and far more talented than I will ever be.  So thank you to Garrett (and mom!) for the beautiful pictures shared today.

About fondue:  Fondue is really really fun.  Like, really fun guys.  Although I did this with my family, I’m totally considering getting a fondue pot to have parties with my friends.  Especially since I learned some good tips and tricks from this experience.  We actually did an Italian version of fondue called bagna cauda which is a method of cooking the food in hot oil.

Some tips for a fondue (bagna cauda) party:

1. No more than 4 people should be at the fondue pot at any given time.  Just trust me on this.

2. Wear clothes you won’t be totally sad about ruining.  I don’t think I ended up dripping anything on myself, but there’s always a risk.

3.  Lay down a black garbage bag or old table cloth.  There will definitely be some drippage action there.

4.  Have plenty of dipping options.

5. Consider having some small appetizers or a nice side salad to munch on.  Although fondue is very fun, it’s also time consuming, so you’re waiting a few minutes between each bite.

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Are you ready for some kick-ass dipping sauce recipes and also some wonderfully safe cooking instructions?!

You bet you are, champ.

*Recipes and instructions courtesy of Pillsbury.  Some recipes adapted slightly.*

Bagna Cauda Ingredients:

4 cups peanut oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled (optional)

Cubed beef tenderloin, Cubed chicken breast, Cubed squash, Mushrooms, Cheese cubes (coat with melted butter and bread crumbs beforehand), Shrimp, Cubed pork tenderloin, etc.

Pour oil into a fondue pot.  Add garlic, if using.  Heat until 350* F.  Place setting on warm to maintain heat.  Remove garlic, if using.  To cook ingredients, place 1-2 items on fondue sticks.  Place in oil and cook until desired doneness.  Dip in favorite sauces.

Garlic Basil Aioli

1/2 c. mayonnaise

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 Tbs fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt, to taste

Curry Dip

3/4 c. mayonnaise

1 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. curry powder

1/8 tsp. ground ginger

Salt, to taste

Horseradish Sauce

1/3 c. mayonnaise

1/3 c. sour cream

1 Tbs. prepared horseradish

1 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Directions for all sauces:  Whisk all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

*We also used A-1 steak sauce as a dipping sauce*.

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In addition to bagna cauda, we enjoyed the sunset, had a lovely campfire where we looked at the stars, and I got to play with my puppy.  All in all, it was an amazing weekend.

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Song of the Day: Suicide Saturday–Hippo Campus

Garlic Herb Pork Tenderloin

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I am soooo tired today.

I seriously could have slept all day.  The worst part is that I don’t think it’s even because of Daylight Savings.  I think it’s just called being a college student.

Although it is fun to blame my sleep deprivation on something besides homework, exercising, cooking, cleaning, and the list goes on and on.

Excuse me while I count down the days until Spring Break (5!!!)

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A few weekends ago I had my boyfriend over for dinner.  Typically for nice dinners, I like to do steak but lately I’ve been a little steak-ed out.  I know, is there such a thing?

(There is).

And the perfect part about pork tenderloin is that it is affordable and seems fancy.  Which is awesome if you’re having a ton of people over or something.

The best thing about this meal is that the actual prep time is only about 30 minutes, but it comes out so nicely that people might actually think you spent all day in the kitchen.

I won’t tell them you didn’t.

It’ll be our little secret.

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Ingredients:

1-1 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin (I bought one of those packages of 2 and froze the other)

1/4 c. + 2 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. fresh thyme

2 Tbs. fresh rosemary

2 Tbs. fresh parsley

2 Tbs. fresh tarragon

1 Tbs. lemon juice

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

1/2-1 Tbs. honey (depending on how sweet you like things)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Trim fat off of pork.  Place pork tenderloin in a freezer bag.  Whisk the other ingredients together in a small bowl.  Pour over pork tenderloin.  Marinate for 4 hours-overnight.  I prefer overnight to really let the flavors meld.

Preheat oven to 350* F.  In a large skillet, heat about 2 Tbs. olive oil until it is rippling and slightly smoking.  Remove pork tenderloin from the marinade, leaving on herbs that cling.  Sear pork tenderloin on all sides until it develops a slight brown crust.

Place in a greased casserole dish.  Bake until the internal temperature reaches 145* F, about 30 minutes.

Let it rest for 10 minutes.  Slice and serve!  Serves about 4.

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I just love how pretty the herbs are.  Fresh herbs are the best, especially mixed together with some garlic.

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And it makes great leftovers too!

(Another bonus: pork tenderloin is a very lean meat!  Healthy, easy, and fancy?  I’m so in.)

  • Vegetarian/Vegan Option: Although this is definitely not a vegetarian/vegan dish, the marinade would be very good on veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, eggplant, and peppers.
  • Paleo: This recipe is paleo.
  • Gluten Free: This recipe is gluten free.

XOXO Sara