When I was growing up, Chinese barbecue pork was known as char siu. We would eat it as a side dish or as an ingredient in won ton soup. My mom never prepared it, so it was always restaurant made. Well, for some unexplainable reason, I haven’t had it in a few years. Since I had a frozen pork tenderloin that needed to be used, I searched the internet for a char siu recipe. After reading several recipes, I decided to try the one by Recipe Tin Eats.
As you know, one of my goals is to prepare dishes with less sugar. The first five ingredients contain considerable amounts of it. Since I wasn’t using large quantities and they were only used in the marinade (on a large piece of meat), I thought it would be fine. The changes I made to Nagi’s dish were reduction in the amount of honey and elimination of the red food coloring. Even though I cooked a larger piece of tenderloin, not all of the marinade was used. I have to tell you that the meat was so tasty and delicious! My husband, who is my biggest critic, was very happy with this pork dish. You won’t be disappointed!
Healthier Chinese Barbecue Pork
- ¾ tablespoon organic brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon organic honey
- 1½ tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon + ½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon five spice powder
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon organic canola oil
- Sea salt (optional—since I only have reduced sodium soy sauce at home, you may want to add a pinch)
- Place the marinade ingredients in a small saucepan. Mix together and simmer for 30 seconds. Set aside and cool.
- Place the pork and marinade in a ziplock bag and remove as much air as possible. Rub the sauce into the meat. Refrigerate overnight.
- Take the tenderloin out of the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil. Place roasting rack on top of rimmed pan.
- Put tenderloin on top of rack and set aside the reminder of marinade.
- Roast the meat until the internal temperature reaches 145º, approximately 40 minutes. (Roasting time will vary depending upon the size of tenderloin). Halfway through the cooking time, baste the pork with the sauce.
- After pork reaches 145º, baste the it with remaining marinade, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until it is nicely charred and caramelized.
- Let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for simple and healthy salmon recipes. A few weeks ago, I came across Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe for “Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary” on the Food Network website. I have been dying for the opportunity to try it. So on a recent to Costco trip, I was able to purchased some Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway. It is rated by the Seafood Watch as a “good alternative.” I have their app on my cell and I don’t buy any fish unless it is recommended by them.
As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients at home—even the fresh ones, lemon and rosemary. Apparently, capers don’t go bad, because they are in a brine of vinegar; so I was all set to prepare this delicious dish! What makes this recipe dummy proof is that you cook the fish in foil packets in a pan over the cooktop or just on the grill. It comes out very moist and tasty! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary
- 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
- ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
- ¼ cup lemon juice ( about 1 lemon)
- ½ cup Marsala wine or white wine
- 4 teaspoons capers
- 4 pieces of aluminum foil
- Brush the tops and bottoms of the fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place each piece of salmon in the center of the foil—large enough to fold and seal.
- Place two slices of lemon on each fillet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons wine, and finally, add 1 teaspoon capers.
- Wrap up the fish tightly in the foil.
- Over medium-high heat in a large pan or over the grill, cook the fish for 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon. (I cooked my fish for 8 minutes, because it was thinner).
- Serve immediately in foil packets or remove from packets, making sure you pour all the juices over the fish.
It’s been awhile since I have roasted a pork tenderloin and I don’t know why. It is so easy to prepare and comes out tender and juicy. Just make sure you use meat thermometer—I just brought my first digital one and love it! The rub I used is used is a mixture of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground pepper. I inherited my mom’s seasoned cast iron skillet, so I had the perfect pan to sear and roast the tenderloins. I adapted my recipe from the kitchn, which was originally posted in August 2010. It is such a tasty and delicious meat dish, but I did reduce the amount of chili powder, since my husband doesn’t like his food too spicy!
Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin
- 2 to 2½ pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 2 teaspoons organic high heat canola oil
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Trim off any excess fat and pat dry the pork. Mix spices in a small bowl. Rub the spices onto all sides of the meat.
- Heat and spread the oil on a large cast iron skillet. Sear all surfaces of the tenderloins. Transfer to oven. Roast the meat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140°F to 145°F.
- Transfer meat to cutting board or platter. Cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes to let meat rest. Slice thinly and serve.
I hate to admit this, but I have never used my slow cooker, until last night. My husband has always used the cooker and this is “his” second one! What inspired me to use it was a video I saw on my Facebook feed by Tasty. It looked so easy and delicious with the ingredients all cooked in one pot! Since it is just the two of us, I only prepared half, but next time I will make the whole recipe. It would make wonderful leftovers for the work week. I used skinless chicken thighs, because I wanted to reduce the amount of fat. It was tender and juicy and you don’t need to broil them either! Meal planning can’t get any easier and healthier than this!
- ½ cup honey
- ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce
- 4 garlic cloves, mince
- 1 teaspoon dried organic basil
- 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 8 chickens thighs, skinless and boneless
- 1 pound baby red potatoes, quartered
- 1 pound organic baby carrots
- 1 pound green beans
- Using a medium bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, garlic, basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper. Set aside.
- Add 4 chicken thighs to the bottom of slow cooker, pour half of the sauce.
- Then add the carrots and potatoes. Add remaining 4 chicken thighs. Pour the rest of the sauce on top of chicken.
- Set cooker at high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 8 hours. Add green beens the last 30 minutes.
- Optional: If using chicken thighs with skin, you can broil the pieces for 3-4 minutes in the oven.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
I have a confession to make. I didn’t cook at all this weekend, too busy doing housework, paying bills, working on taxes and watching the Super Bowl! Oh, I forgot to mention that my husband ordered take-out from P.F. Chang’s to eat while we watched the game. It was delicious, but not very healthy! But our team won and that’s all that matters!
Last night, I prepared a wonderful pasta dish with tasty and healthy butternut squash, baby kale, and walnuts. Basically, all you have to do is roast the squash, toast the walnuts, cook the pasta and toss! I found this lovely vegetarian meal on the Saveur Magazine website. The recipe calls for 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) of butter, but I was able to reduce it to only 4 tablespoons! You still get a rich buttery pasta, complimented by the flavors of the squash, kale and walnuts; but without all the calories and fat!
- 1 medium squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1-2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 8 ounces pappardelle
- 4 tablespoons organic butter
- 1 cup organic walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed
- 3 cups organic baby kale
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Toss squash with oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Spread squash in a single layer on sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, until tender.
- While the squash is roasting, toast the walnuts in a rimmed pan at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes. Also, cook the pasta in a large saucepan, until al dente, approximately 5 minutes. Drain and rinse and set aside.
- In a large (12-inch) nonstick frying pan, heat the butter over medium heat, until foamy and light brown. Add pasta, squash and walnuts. Finally, add the baby kale and cook until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2 to 4.
It has been a hectic week and I have not cooked at all this week, until tonight! I’ve been dying to make Thai red curry chicken, so I looked at several different recipes. All the recipes had these five ingredients in common: chicken, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste (I used sauce), red bell pepper and fresh basil leaves. I added and eliminated some ingredients to suit my tastes, trying to keeping it simple and healthy as possible. To make it easy, I used frozen organic rice. I can’t wait for my daughter to try it at the end of the month, when she comes home for spring break. It is one of her favorite dishes!
- 8 chicken breast tenderloins
- 2 tablespoon organic canola oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 organic red bell peppers, chopped
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- ¼ cup organic chicken broth
- 1 (13.5) ounce can organic coconut milk
- 3 to 4 tablespoons Thai red curry sauce or 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
- ½ teaspoon fish sauce
- ¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves + whole basil leaves for garnish
- 1 (10 ounce) package organic jasmine rice, cooked according to package directions
- Using a large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Add the chicken tenderloins, cooking each side 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside and slice into strips.
- Using the same pan, heat the final tablespoon of canola oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Add chicken broth and simmer.
- While vegetables are simmering, in a large saucepan heat the coconut milk, Thai red curry sauce and fish oil. Once sauce starts to boil, add the vegetables and chicken. Stir well. Finally, add the basil and cook until heated through.
- Serve on top of the rice. Garnish with basil leaves. 4 servings.
The other day when I was checking out my Pinterest feed, I came across a pin by Skinnytaste for “Spicy California Shrimp Stack.” I decided to try it out for Sunday dinner, since I already had the all the ingredients in my refrigerator and pantry. As usual, I made some changes to the original recipe by using the whole grain, quinoa, instead of brown rice. I also substituted green onions for chives. I found out by cooking the quinoa a little bit longer with additional water, it made the quinoa “stickier.” Not only did the quinoa worked great, but it was a healthier choice. I liked using ramekins, instead of a measuring cup, because I could make several at one time, making it easier to plate.
My Spicy California Shrimp Stack with Quinoa was a big hit with my husband! He said that it is just as good as the one we order at the Yardhouse restaurant. So if you are looking for a dish that is pretty easy to make, fantastic to eat and has the “wow” factor, you need to prepare this!
- ½ cup organic quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water, plus 2 tablespoons water for later
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 8 ounces cooked shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails removed; cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup diced cucumber
- 2 teaspoon finely chopped green onions
- ½ cup mashed avocado (1 medium-large)
- 4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 4 teaspoons organic mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
- Bring 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water to a boil. Add quinoa and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until water is gone. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir. Cook until all water is gone. Stir in rice vinegar. Spread quinoa on a plate to cool.
- Using a small bowl. mix together the cucumber and green onions.
- In another small bowl, thoroughly blend the mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce.
- Using a 3½-inch ramekin, layer ¼ cup cucumber, then 2 tablespoons avocado, ¼ of the shrimp and enough quinoa to full the remainder of the ramekin.
- Place a plate upside down on top of the ramekin. Lightly tap the bottom and sides of the ramekin. Carefully lift off the ramekin. This can be tricky and if you are having problems, insert a small knife along the edge to help “release” the stack.
- Put the Sriracha mayonnaise and soy sauce in separate small squeeze bottles and drizzle on top of the stack. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Repeat 3 more times. 4 servings.