Saturday, October 10, 2009

Autumn is here...

I am trying to be better about buying food in season and I've had such a craving for comfort food and Autumn meals that in addition to the stew last week I also tried 2 new (healthy) recipes. Cooking Light's Blue Cheese and Fig Stuffed Pork Tenderloin and Weight Watchers Roasted Carrots and Parsnips. I thought the whole thing was cooked perfectly and to die for. J didn't like the fig seeds because the crunching sound bothered him. I'm starting to think he is inventing reasons to say he doesn't like the food. Just kidding, J! Of course I tweaked the recipes slightly.

Fig and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
1/2 cup dried figs (I used organic Turkish figs-lighter in color), chopped
1/2 cup crumbled reduced fat blue cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon apple jelly, melted in the microwave
  1. Preheat oven to 450°.
  2. Slice the pork jelly roll style, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open the halves, laying pork flat. Place pork under wax paper; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet.
  3. Sprinkle figs and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges.
  4. Roll up the pork, jelly-roll fashion, starting with long side. Secure with twine. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined broiler pan.
  5. Bake at 450° for 20 minutes. Brush jelly over the pork. Bake an additional 5 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Discard twine; cut pork into slices.
The pork was cooked perfectly with a little bit of pink (which is fine for pork). I also wanted to try a new vegetable and when I saw the picture of the parsnips on the Weight Watchers site I was hooked.

Roasted Carrots and Parsnips (adapted from Weight Watchers)

Cooking spray
8 carrots (I used organic), julienned
2 parsnips, julienned
3/4 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed by hand
kosher salt
black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.
  2. Coat two baking sheets lightly with cooking spray.
  3. In a bowl place the vegetables, add seasonings and olive oil. Toss to coat.
  4. Transfer food to baking sheets, using two cooks everything more evenly without crowding.
  5. Roast for 20 minutes; flip vegetables and roast until vegetables start to caramelize, about 10 more.
If you have never tried parsnips before, I urge you to give this a try. With this recipe if you are trying to fool the kids (which isn't expert recommended, supposedly, but my sister ate hamburger for years because we called it steak burger only), call them yellow carrots. The smell of the parsnips is a little strong when they are raw but once cooked they are very mild and similar to carrots. If you don't like thyme and rosemary, try other combinations. The original didn't call for rosemary. I think fresh sage may be good or even using the Moroccan seasonings from that carrot dip recipe. I am even considering recommending this one for Thanksgiving dinner this year. The julienning is a little time consuming by hand but personally worth it. Call a friend and chat and the time just flies by.

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