MARY KATE RIDGEWAY

When the days begin to get that crisp feel, I start to think of some of my favorite foods. From soup to chili to apples and pork roast, I can’t believe what a change it makes to my favorite dishes. The flavor of spices and the pungent smells in the kitchen literally make my mouth water. 

All summer my family enjoyed lots of beef recipes and especially grilling chicken and beef over the fire.

Now with the days getting shorter, it makes grilling a little less easy and it seems we like to eat a little earlier too.

So I turn to the use of my stove for oven cooking or my crockpot for cooking slower and longer.

Both work fine as we try to get things on the table that are healthy and delicious for our families.  

Perfect pork every time — my favorite is a Baked Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin recipe. This is an easy recipe and simple.

It is cooked in a rich buttery garlic sauce and oven roasted to tender perfection in a simple recipe that is perfect for beginners or experienced home cooks.

This dish comes together in under an hour — great for meal prep for weekday lunches, and makes amazing leftovers for a healthy, low carb keto or paleo diet eating plan, too.

The two cuts are from similar areas (off the back of the pig), and are both leaner and respond to the same cooking methods, but a pork tenderloin is much longer and skinnier than a loin.

Loins tend to be much fatter, much heavier and over 3 pounds — while a tenderloin will be longer, skinnier and around 1-2 pounds.

For this recipe, I am calling for a pork tenderloin — but a loin will also work, just modify the times.

Marinating or brining a tenderloin before cooking will always help to soften the meat and keep it from drying out.

I love using a bottle of simple Italian dressing or a cup of olive oil with some lemon juice, salt and pepper for an easy overnight marinade.

I don’t always marinade the recipe. For today’s recipe I am just searing and then seasoning it for cooking.

Get a good sear in a cast iron or heavy pan before baking. Getting a good sear first helps seal in the juices from the pork tenderloin and brings a rich, caramelized flavor that makes the pork tenderloin irresistible.

Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin 

 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheet with foil to make into a pouch. 

In a small bowl, combine garlic, basil, thyme, parsley and sage. Set aside. Generously season meat with salt and pepper.

In a large pan, heat olive oil until shimmery. Add pork tenderloin to pan, and cook on all sides until golden brown. Searing the meat is key to a good finished product. 

Move to baking sheet. Generously coat with above herb mix. Place pats of butter on top of the pork.

Wrap in foil, bake until meat is 150°F internally at the widest, thickest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes.) Use meat thermometer. 

Let pork tenderloin set 10-15 minutes until slightly cooled and set, then slice. The resting time is key to assure your meat is just right. 

Spicy Pork Chops and Apples 

 

1.5 pounds pork chops

3 sliced apples (gala apples are some of my favorites and work nicely)

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon spicy mustard

2 tablespoons butter 

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Place pork chops at the bottom of your crockpot. Slice apples in quarters and cover with remaining ingredients. I put the butter pats on top. Then place the top on and cook on low for about 6 hours. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste right before serving.

What a tasty fall meal when served with sweet potatoes and green beans. 

 

MARY KATE RIDGEWAY, a retired Extension leader, is a freelance home economist and educator.

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