Hello!!! I hope all of you had wonderful Thanksgivings and ate lots of healthy foods! My family and I went on a week long trip to visit extended family in the land of cornfields, pivots, and cows….aka…Nebraska. And oh yes, the land of Huskers!
We had such a fantastic time but I do have to say, eating healthy wasn’t #1 on my priority list. (Imagine at every meal….blueberry pie, pecan pie, cherry pie, not to mention – everyone’s favorite…pumpkin pie! And oh yes, in the land of Husker’s they categorize corn and potatoes as vegetables. Ha!) When I haven’t had greens in a while my body begins to crave them and sometimes that makes me go just a tad overboard. Hence, I now have 4 heads of various greens in my fridge, 10 tangerines on the counter, and a smothering of other fall veggies and fruits in my crisper!
Today’s recipe takes advantage of fall greens, creamy blue cheese grits, and very flavorful pork!
I am definitely not a photo genius but today’s pictures are on the very poor side. The grits came out a little runny when I made the recipe tonight (blaming husband for throwing away the recipe). I also hope that when you sit down to enjoy this meal you’ll have on lovely serenading music in the background. The background noise my husband and I enjoyed was our son yelling that it wasn’t time to eat but time for more FOOTBALL! Obviously, he still wishes to be back in Husker country.
All of the ingredients, except for the greens (because I was too impatient to wait a day), were local. Here are prices on how to serve up this winter goodness on a budget.
1 lb Local Pork Tenderloin: $10
20 ozs Fresh Spinach: $6
4 ozs Local Blue Cheese: $4
1 cup Local Milk: $1 (way overestimated)
1 1/2 cups Local Grits: $1
2 cups Homemade Chicken Stock: Free
Total Cost: $22/4 servings = $5.50 a person
Ingredients for Pork Tenderloin
1 lb local pork tenderloin
1/2 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)
grated lemon zest from 1 to 2 lemons
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
3 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tsp dijon mustard
Recipe for Pork Tenderloin
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the tenderloin. Pour marinade into a gallon sized Ziploc bag and add tenderloin. Place in refrigerator for 4 – 8 hours.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Next, coat a shallow baking dish with olive oil and remove the tenderloin from the marinade. Throw marinade away and place tenderloin in baking dish. Bake in preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Remove from oven and place on a rectangle of aluminum foil, folding tightly all around to allow the pork to rest and become really juicy. Allow to sit for 10 minutes. When you cut into the pork, it will still be pink inside but is safe to eat. (Please disregard my pictures of my pork – my meat thermometer needed to be thrown away years ago – so I ended up overcooking mine. But even overcooked, it was still really flavorful. This marinade is my go-to marinade for pork tenderloin. You can really taste the lemon, mustard, and herbs in each bite.)
Ingredients for Grits
1 1/4 cups local grits
1 1/2 – 2 cups homemade chicken stock
1/2 – 1 cup water
1/2 cup local milk or cream
4 ozs local blue cheese
Recipe for Grits
Over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups stock and 1/2 cup water to a rapid boil. VERY SLOWLY whisk in the grits while stirring constantly. (This slow process and the constant stir is important to having no lumps in your grits). Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. Add in additional stock and/or water if consistency is not looking creamy enough. After those 20 minutes, you will add in 1/2 cup of the milk/cream and simmer for another 10 – 15 minutes. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat and stir in blue cheese. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as needed. (When cooking grits, don’t be afraid to add in additional liquid if your grits look a little too dry before they are finished cooking).
Ingredients for Greens
20 ozs fresh greens – spinach or arugula (see below)
2 garlic cloves, minced
Recipe for Greens
Over medium heat, saute minced garlic in olive oil for 1 minute. Add fresh greens and a few drops of water. Allow to cook for approximately 5 minutes, until almost wilted through. Season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper as needed.
(I tried this last week with collard greens and even though I sauteed for about 15 minutes they were still not tender enough, in my opinion. However, I think that if I had left out more of the ‘rib’ of the collards they would have been just fine. So you may want to give collard or kale a try in this recipe. If so, let me know how it turns out!)
Now serve up & ENJOY!!!