By Kyla Wize, NPPA Youth Leadership and Events Specialist
I am the novice chef at 6500 Adams Street. Maybe novice isn’t the right word. Actually, I don’t think chef is the right word either! By no means am I a whiz in the kitchen. I am more like molasses in January when it comes to cooking. I maintain a pokey pace for many reasons.
1. I don’t like messes. I spend about half my time in the kitchen wiping and rinsing and then wiping and rinsing some more! Disarray cripples my progress.
2. I am easily distracted. Since I tend to focus so much of my efforts on cleaning as I cook, sometimes I forget that I’m cooking! I know it’s pretty common to boil a pot of noodles over on the stove or to forget about garlic toast baking in the oven, but I am not entirely sure that I’ll ever master boiling without boiling over or baking and using the timer. Since I’m easily distracted, I am forced back into cleaning up the messes I just made while I was supposed to be boiling and baking. Do you see the vicious cycle emerging?
3. I get overwhelmed. It’s probably pretty easy for you to understand why I feel overwhelmed in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, I bet you can just imagine me standing in my cute little kitchen with sauce spattering, smoke alarm blaring, and tears beginning to form.
So, why do I subject myself to this kind of failure? I am a perfectionist and I refuse to quit. I will not let cooking some food get the best of me – I will successfully prepare some new, delicious dish and enjoy it every last bite of it.
Speaking of something being good to the last bite, you have got to try this easy to make and awesome tasting Italian Style Pork Tenderloin recipe! It was a classy dinner for two at our house last Friday. And the best part was, I didn’t even cry!
Italian Style Pork Tenderloins
2 whole pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
4 tablespoons butter, divided
½ cup green onions, sliced
1 (6 ounce) package long grain and wild rice, cooked according to package directions and cooled. (I used the microwavable version, only takes 90 seconds!)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo sauce
3 tablespoons Chardonnay or other dry white wine
Prep: 15 minutes — Cook: 30 minutes — Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare long grain and wild rice mix according to package directions; cool.
Let me reiterate: FOLLOW PACKAGE DIRECTIONS. I was so excited to see microwave ready rice. I honestly thought to myself when we were at the grocery store that I couldn’t mess this up! As you can see, because I got distracted and didn’t completely read the directions, I didn’t open the pouch before I nuked it. With only 3 seconds left, the package exploded inside the microwave. Therefore, I launched into a fast paced cleaning frenzy!
Lightly coat pork tenderloins with flour in a bowl
Pan sear the pork tenderloins for 8 or 10 minutes in frying pan with 2 table spoons butter
Sprinkle Italian seasoning and salt evenly over tenderloins; place pork tenderloins, uncovered, in the oven for about 20 minutes in a shallow roasting pan. Cook pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit, remove from oven, cover and let the meat rest for about 5 minutes. Then cut pork tenderloins into 1-inch-thick pieces.
The pork tenderloins were pan seared to help keep the lean meat moist. Because folks are more health conscious, it’s important to note that pork tenderloin is as lean as boneless, skinless chicken breast. Remember… LOIN = LEAN!
Melt remaining butter in frying pan over medium heat; add green onions, parsley, and cooked long grain and wild rice mix; cook until tender, then remove from heat, but keep warm.
I used the same pan I seared the pork tenderloins in to cook the parsley and green onions in, then added the long grain and wild rice (at least what was left from the microwave explosion) It absorbed all the flavor left from the tenderloins in the pan, plus was one less dish to wash! I covered the mix to keep it warm while the pork tenderloins finished in the oven.
Combine Alfredo sauce and Chardonnay in medium saucepan, cook and stir over low heat until bubbly
Unlike most of my previous sauce experiences, I didn’t scorch it or bubble it over! I’ve started to build a relationship with my stove and now, have a much better understanding of where the little knob should be pointing in order to avoid further catastrophes in the kitchen.
My sauce and rice mixture is ready and the pork tenderloins are resting until they reach the internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, according to my trusty meat thermometer.
While the pork tenderloins were resting, I quickly made up some bruschetta from a leftover loaf of French bread.
The spread is complete! A nice dinner for two is ready!
Although my cooking adventure this time around was fairly uneventful, at least up until this point (besides exploding the rice package in the microwave) can you spot a problem with this picture?
Create a flavorful, and beautiful bed for the pork tenderloins by spooning rice mixture onto your plate. Place pork on top of rice bed and drizzle with Alfredo sauce.
Voila! Pork tenderloin perfection! I think Mat should kiss the cook!
In this picture, Mat is raving about great everything looks and how delicious everything smells! And his review of how everything tasted, “The pork is so tender and juicy! You’re going to make this again, right?”
The novice chef’s response, “Yes! I’ll make it again!” Initially, I thought this was going to be a recipe that challenged my culinary skills, however, I found it to be more of a recipe that complimented my skills and abilities, plus helped boost my confidence in my cute little kitchen.
Now, remember, I didn’t cry from this cooking experience, but a few choice words escaped me when I came back to do the dishes! Here’s why!
When I took the bruschetta out of the oven, I placed it on the cook top stove and FORGOT to turn off the left front burner! Now, I have to get a new pizza stone!