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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Forced back into the kitchen

I don't love to cook. That's no surprise to some of you. I feel like my menu is one endless cycle of spaghetti and tacos and hot ham and cheese sandwiches. Pair that with the fact that Mike likes to eat out and that spells trouble. Or at least "S-P-E-N-D-Y."

But our budgetary constraints of late have forced me back into the kitchen a little more frequently. And I've actually surprised myself. It turns out that if I have time, an easy recipe at hand and all the ingredients in the pantry, I don't mind cooking so much.

In the past several days, I've whipped up (with more effort than "whipped up" makes it sound):
  • Whole wheat bread (in the bread maker)
  • Zucchini muffins (with zucchini grown in our own garden)
  • Zucchini parmesan (yep, more zucchini) 
  • Caramel pork tenderloin with vidalia onions
I'm happy to report that not only was everything edible, but the last two were quite tasty.

For the zucchini parm, I sauteed thinly sliced zucchini with 1 diced onion and 2 diced cloves of garlic. Then I put them in a glass dish, covered with spaghetti sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and some Italian-seasoned bread crumbs. Baked it at 350 just long enough to melt the cheese and served with with whole wheat spaghetti. I just might do that again this week, it was so yummy.

The pork recipe came from an internet site that I had a free trial to and now don't have access to, otherwise I would just provide you the link. But here it is:

Caramel pork with onions
1-1/4 lb. pork tenderloin, cut into 1-inch strips
1 vidalia onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced

In a large pan (I used my wok), sautee the pork tenderloin strips for 5 minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and sautee for another 2-3 minutes. 

1/2 c. chicken broth
3 TBS brown sugar
1 TBS soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger (it actually called for grated fresh ginger, but ground was all I had)

Dump sauce ingredients over pork, stir and cook over medium heat until it thickens a bit. 

Mine never got really thick, but it was still tasty. You could serve it with rice, but I didn't want to mess with that, so I just served it with chow mein noodles to sprinkle on top and a fruit salad on the side.

Just to be clear, if I hit the lottery tomorrow (which won't happen because I don't play the lottery), I will happily give up cooking. However, until that happens, it's nice to know that it's not as bad as I've made it out to be.


Amy said...

You'll be impressed by my knowledge...

To thicken sauce, take some corn starch (it comes in a box) and mix it with water. Stir the mixture into whatever is boiling and you'll have thicker, happier, sauce in no time! family LOVES pizza rolls. Put chicken in the crock pot all day with taco seasoning (or onion soup, or whatever) and then it'll shred in no time by dinnertime. Using a pizza crust from the tube (refrigerated aisle), roll it out on a pan, add the chicken and layer on whatever shredded cheese you want, pull the sides of the crust together and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Aren't you glad I posted a comment?! :)
Amy B

Momza said...

I love love love zucchini! I put it in everything. Diced up in salads, shredded in omelets and spaghetti sauce, baked in cakes and muffins, or baked as you do with parmesan and spices. Your menu sounds delish!

Sharon said...

Delicious! I am impressed. :)
And thanks for that pork recipe. It looks like one we'd really enjoy.