Pork Tenderloin- Real life cooking

My local grocery store had pork tenderloins on sale buy one get one free!  I do not typically buy the tenderloin because the are quite a bit more expensive than the regular loin, but in this case I was able to snag two packages for about $11.  That is an affordable dinner two different nights!  I put one package in the freezer and made the other into this meal!

I’ve realized that cooking scares a lot of people.  They think something like a pork tenderloin is an intimidating piece of meat to cook, and fair enough they are pricey.  But the truth is, I am not cooking in any special kitchen, I don’t have any really fancy tools, I have to improvise and I often have helpers… who are trying to learn to walk while I am leaning over hot pans…



Some people certainly have a gift for cooking, my parents are that way.  But, I feel a lot of that gift is commitment to the cause.  That cause is making healthy and delicious food for your family.  It is about knowing where your meal came from and adjusting it to your taste. I have been super excited to see some of my friend in the kitchen more since I started this venture, experimenting and enjoying!  I hope you are able to enjoy this meal too!

Apple Pork Tenderloin, Spinach dip with bread, Quick Apple Sauce and Mashed Potatoes and Parsnips ( I have been trying to hide extra veggies in our meals lately).


When I post these menus I do my best to put the in the order they need to be cooked to all come to the table about the same time.  I hate wasting time waiting for one thing to finish before I start the next.

You will notice in my Spinach Dip recipe, that I started in one pan and finished in a cast iron pan, this was not intentional, it was purely distraction by my little girls.  I love cast iron and really this recipe is ideal for a pan that can go from stove top to oven without dirtying an extra dish

Spinach Dip with Bread:

Start by preparing Sixty Minute Rolls, or the bread of your choice (adjust your start time to how long the recipes first rise is)
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion

2 Slices bacon cut into small pieces (optional)

1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts (I used jarred or canned and rinse them) (optional)

1 block cream cheese

2 TBSP Miracle whip (or other salad dressing)

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (divided)

1/4 cup shredded parmesan

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

Whole milk/heavy cream


In a large pan that can go from stove top to oven, crisp the bacon over medium-high heat.  When bacon has started to crisp slightly add the onions to soften, stirring frequently.  Once the onions are tender, add just a small amount of water (about 2-4 TBSP ) to deglaze the pan, and give the spinach a starting point.  Add your spinach and stir occasionally until it begins to wilt.  Add salt and pepper( about 1/2 tsp each, stir some more.   Once the spinach is wilted push it to the sides to allow some of the water to evaporate.  Add the red pepper flakes, cream cheese, miracle whip, half the mozzarella and the parmesan.  Stir until the cheeses have melted.  Add enough milk and/or cream to make the dip a little soupy (like a thick gravy but thinner than pudding, this is going to bake and you don’t want it to be too firm).

Divide the bread dough into small balls and place around the edges of the dip. Top with the remaining cheese.  Allow to rise slightly and bake at 375’F until the bread is done.

Next, start your Apple Pork Tenderloin:

2 pork tenderloins (the ones from my grocery stores are pre-packaged 2 to a pack)

1/2 cup apple juice or cider

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 clove minced garlic

1 onion rough chopped

1 apple rough chopped (optional)

If possible use a roasting pan that can go from stove top to oven.  If this is a possibility, heat the pan with a small amount of olive oil, season the meat with salt and pepper and brown on both sides, just enough to give it a little color.  If you do not have a roasting pan you can do this in, skip this step, it will still taste good!

In the roasting pan, add the apple juice, garlic, onion, and apple.  Cover tightly and place in the 375’F oven.  Cooking time will vary based on weight, but make sure you check on them after about 20-30 minutes.  Pork is safe to eat when it reaches 145′ F internal temperature and allowed to rest for 3 minutes after removing from the oven.  You want to let it rest for a few minutes anyway, otherwise, it will dry out when you cut it.

Now that the oven is busy, it’s time to move to the stove top.

Mashed Potatoes with Parsnips

Parsnips add a little texture and a mild, almost spicy flavor the mashed potatoes, I don’t recommend swapping buttermilk for regular milk in this recipe.

1 large russet potato per person (I used 3)

2 parsnips, peeled

1 TBSP salt



Chop potatoes and parsnips to roughly the same size, add to a medium (or large) pot and cover with cold water.  Add the salt and bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil until fork tender.  Drain off the water.  Add about 1/2 cup milk and mash (I prefer to use my hand mixer for a fluffier potato)  Add more milk in small increments until desired texture is reached.  Top with butter when serving.

Once you have your potatoes started, Quick Applesauce is a snap.

Peel and core 1 apple per person and quarter.  Place into a pot with just enough water (or apple juice) to cover the bottom of the pan.  Add 1 tsp brown sugar and 1/4 tsp cinnamon per 2 apples. Cover and allow to simmer until very soft, stirring occasionally.  If needed add more liquid.  Once the apples are tender, mash with a fork and serve!

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