Monday, October 14, 2013

Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin = YUM!

So, earlier I mentioned the delicious Sunday dinner I made this past weekend, and promised a post on it, so here we go! But before I get started on the recipe details, you should know that I am most certainly NOT a chef! I can follow a recipe.....kinda. I love to cook for big family holiday meals, and I love entertaining with snacks and appetizers, but dinners have always been difficult. Mostly because when it comes to food I have ZERO creativity. I cannot think of an original idea to save my life. That's where Pinterest comes in! I love trolling Pinterest to find yummy ideas for family meals. I've even made a few of them, some more successful than others. ;) How do I decide what makes a pin worthy of trying? Here are my criteria:
  1. It must NOT have a page long list of ingredients. The fewer the better! And it must NOT have any obscure ingredient that I will have to search 3 different grocery stores to for, only to wind up at Whole Foods. The Whole Foods parking lot itself is enough to ruin my day. Don't make me go!
  2. It must NOT use any crazy kitchen contraptions. Granted, I probably have said contraption in the back on our pantry somewhere gathering dust, but that does not mean I want to crawl into a dark corner and pull it out. And then wash it. By hand. No thanks. Just the basics please.
  3. If it uses ingredients that I am likely to have on hand at any given time, I'm all over it. These are great recipes for those last minute "What am I going to fix tonight?" days.
  4. This is a big one. If it's a crockpot recipe, or only requires 1 pot or pan, I'm SOLD! This may be my most important rule for picking a new pinterest recipe to try. I'm ALL about the easy clean up.
I should also probably mention that I hardly ever follow a recipe 100%. In fact, I don't usually measure anything. And I use a lot of substitutions. If I don't like a certain ingredient, or don't have it in the house, I'll throw something else in there to take it's place. I make recipes my own. Sometimes I'll take a couple of similar dishes and take the best of both to put my spin on it! Which is what I did with my pork tenderloin. I've read 3 different similar recipes on pinterest, and they all sounded so great, I decided to just take the main ingredients of each and wing it!

I started with a pork tenderloin seasoned with salt, pepper, sage, and chopped garlic. This one was about 1 1/2 pounds.
I chopped a couple of onions and threw those in the crock pot with the pork. Then I added around 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, about 1 cup of water, a little bit of apple juice, a fewshakes of Worcestershire sauce, and a dash of soy sauce.
I set the crock pot on high. Normally I would just keep it on high an hour or two, then kick it down to low, but I walked out the door Sunday and TOTALLY forgot about it! Soooooo, I ended up with it on high for around 4 hours, then low for 3. I really don't think it needs to cook for this long, but that's just how our schedule worked out. And hey, with the crock aren't you supposed to set it and forget it?Or is that something else? I forgot. Anyway, what really makes this dish so awesome is the glaze. About an hour or so before you're going to serve, heat these next  items in a small saucepan until they thicken and brush or spoon the glaze over the pork every 15 minutes or so.
1 cup water
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
dash of soy sauce
brown sugar to taste, about 1/4 cup
2 spoonfuls of cornstarch
Remember, my measurements are an estimate. I'm taking a guess on what I tried to put in, based on the recipes I read.
Side note - disregard my kitchen! We are about 75% done with our kitchen makeover. The range is the only appliance we have left to replace. One day I'll tell you about that!
When you're ready to serve your pork tenderloin, it should be so tender it basically falls apart. We served baked potatoes as a side, simply because I never made it to the grocery store over the weekend! Oops! How good does that look?

Y'all, this was seriously SO good! I was so proud of myself! Yay me!

Zero leftovers, just the way I like it. Even Mason thought it was awesome!

Bonus - you can spoon any extra glaze over your portion, because let's face it, that's the best part. So there you go. My latest pinterest adaptation! I love it when an experiment is successful! But Eric's cooking tomorrow! ;)
What new recipes have you tried lately?


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xo, Summer