Pork Tenderloin W/ Jamaican Spices

Ok, so I didn’t make the “1 recipe a week” goal, but I’m still at it!  Today is a great day to brush the wet snow off the Buffalo Bills grill cover, and fire up the command station to make:

Pork Tenderloin with Jamaican Spices
Here is what we need for this:
9 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
9 Tbsp fresh lime juice
6 1-inch long pieces of peeled ginger
1.5 Tbsp of kosher salt
1 Tbsp ground allspice
1 Tbsp ground coriander 
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
3 1-1/2 pork tenderloins 
Now clearly i’m not making this recipe to accommodate 3 pork tenderloins.  We are going to be cooking just one.
You you first want to put the first 7 items in a food processor and and blend it up nicely until it turns into a thicker liquid, almost a paste.  Mine ended up being slightly more watery but still thick enough.  You then want to take your tenderloin and cut it down the middle like a hot dog bun.  Don’t slice it all the way through, do it just as you would if you were slicing a hot dog bun.  This creates a nice little grove for the marinade to rest in while coating the rest of the pork.  It also helps the tenderloin to cook quicker while keeping moist and tender. 

After you pour the marinade you just created over the pork, pop it in the fridge for an hour to marinate.  The maximum time this should marinate is 1 day.  I did it for an hour and it worked great.
Now lets get to the grill. In the winter, I tend to drink stouts, and when I’m grilling, I always have a beer in hand.  It helps me relax and really take in the grilling, especially when I’m standing in freezing temperatures with the snow.  It’s oddly awesome.

Lets get to grilling.  I cranked up all four burners on this baby to reach an internal temp of a little over 300 degrees Fahrenheit.  I then oiled up the grates and put the heat on 2 of the burners to the lowest setting.  It was this side that I laid the pork down while the side without anything on it stayed at a higher temp.  This allows a slower cook of the pork without charing the outside. 

Heat until pork is at an internal temp of 145 degrees.  Never press on your meats while they are on the grill, leave it be!

This recipe was totally delicious and by far the best one I’ve cooked from this book.  Its simple, quick, and very delicious.  If you want a recipe for pork tenderloin that packs an impressive taste.  This is a good one.


Healthy Recipe: Balsamic Chicken with Leaks and Peppers

   Six pounds down, and running!  My quest to meet my 5 month goal of losing 30 pounds continues.  Here is a recipe we made a few nights ago that was rather tasty.  This recipe from weight watchers will run you about 6 points and was very satisfying.  First off, we never really cooked anything with “Leaks” before, so just a heads up, make sure you get leaks with as much white on them as possible.  We thought otherwise, and ended up with these giant green leaks with barely any white.  The white part is what you use for this recipe. You learn something new everyday. 
    This meal couldn’t be any easier to make.  Let’s take a look at this:

  1 medium uncooked onion(s), cut into wedges  
  2 medium uncooked leek(s), trimmed and sliced  
  1 medium sweet red pepper(s), sliced in half, stem and seeds removed  
  1 medium yellow pepper(s), sliced in half, stem and seeds removed  
  2 tsp olive oil  
  2 item(s) rosemary sprig  
  1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste  
  1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste  
  1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked boneless skinless chicken breast(s), four 6 oz pieces  
  1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar  


    Preheat oven to 375°F.

    Put onion, leeks and peppers into a roasting dish. Add oil and toss to coat. Add rosemary; season to taste with salt and pepper.

    Place chicken on top of vegetables. Sprinkle with vinegar, season to taste and transfer to oven.

    Roast until chicken is browned and cooked through, and vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and slice peppers. Serve.

The preparation is just like it reads, you will be placing the pepper halves in the dish whole.  Then once the dish is done cooking, you pull the peppers out and slice them.

6 Points, not counting the potato.

This was a tasty dinner.  If you can’t afford the points to add the baked potato, then just make extra peppers, or substitute another veggie to go along with it.  The baked potato is 4 points, then instead of butter I used a tablespoon of Daiya Chive and Onion vegan cream cheese.  It sounds gross, but its amazing.  You can find it in the organic section of your local grocery store.  1 Tablespoon is 1 point.  I love Daiya products.  I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, but I try to stay away from dairy, this product is usually better tasting then most dairy, and you can’t beat the points!

The Grilling Book: Recipe #1 – "Chicken Skewers with Coriander Marinade and Lemon Salsa"

The first recipe I have chosen to tackle in “The Grilling Book” is chicken skewers with coriander marinade and lemon salsa.  Lets take a look at the ingredients:

2 Lemons
1/2 cup Cucumber finely chopped
3 Tbsp of thinly sliced Scallions
1 Chili finely chopped
Pinch of suger and Kosher salt
1.5 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 1.5 inch pieces
Freshly ground Black Pepper
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp of fresh chopped Cilantro
1/4 cup plain whole milk Yogurt
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil plus more for brushing
2 Garlic Cloves coarsely chopped
1 Tsp fresh cracked coriander seeds
1 Tsp Turmeric (optional)

Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemons; discard. Cut between membranes to release lemon segments into a medium bowl; squeeze juice from membranes into bowl and discard membranes. Strain juice into a clean bowl; reserve lemon segments and juices separately.  Mix segments, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice (set aside remaining juice for another use), cucumber, 2 Tbsp. scallions, and chile in a small bowl. Stir in sugar; season salsa to taste with salt and set aside. Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Purée ¼ cup cilantro, yogurt, 1 Tbsp. oil, garlic, coriander, and turmeric, if using, in a mini food processor or blender until smooth. Pour marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. Do Ahead: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing. Build a medium fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to medium-high. Brush grill grate with oil. Thread 4 pieces of chicken on each skewer. Grill, turning once and watching closely to prevent burning, until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 165°F, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to plates. Spoon lemon salsa over chicken. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp. cilantro and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

    A few things about this recipe from the average Joe perspective.  I changed the recipe a little bit because I couldn’t find the “Meyer Lemons” the books recipe called for.  It stated that I could use regular lemons but to not use as many due to the tartness of them.  So I used 4 lemons when making the recipe, which was way too many.  2 would be fine in the future.  Also, I had never worked with coriander seeds before, so the way that I cracked them was by putting them between two sheets of paper towel and rolling over them with a rolling pin.  Crushing them in a garlic press works as well.
     Before I start grilling, I need to arm myself with a beverage.  I decided to go with a bomber of Ale Smith IPA, a fantastic IPA from the West Coast and one of my favorite hoppy beverages.


The chicken marinates in the purée blend created.  Super Tasty.

This dish turned out awesome.  My first grilling recipe from this book was a total success.  Chicken Thigh meat is delicious on the grill and is incredibly juicy.  The lemon salsa was really tasty as well, however my wife and I both agreed that the salsa without the side of wild rice that we added might have been a little too intense.  Overall, this recipe was solid!

A Blog Related Goal This Year: "The Grillng Book"

    I love to cook.  Actually I should correct that statement.  I love to cook if its making pizza or grilling.  Nicole had gotten me this awesome grilling book I wanted for Christmas called, “The Grilling Book.”
    The book is gigantic and is loaded with amazing pictures from tons of grilling recipes.  I’m making a goal to try and cook one of these recipes a week until I have cooked the entire book.

    The first dish I will be making is “Chicken Skewers with Coriander Marinade and Lemon Salsa.”  Stay Tuned, I should be cooking this sometime this weekend!

Thursday Dinner Recipe: Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine

    After the Chili we had made last week, this Fettuccine dish sounded great.  After all, I like sardines and Nicole was going to have to try them for the first time.  We made a deal as part of our pact to try things that we had never eaten before.  I had to try prunes in a dish we made last week.  The dish was so good that I never blogged about it mainly because I was missing so many pictures from being distracted.  I was dreading the prunes.  They gross me out.  A food related to making people drop a “number 2”, looking the way that it does, I could never understand anyone wanting to eat them!  Anyways… now onto the Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine.
   This recipe was easy to put together:

Lemon-Garlic Sardine Fettuccine


From EatingWell:  November/December 2010
Even sardine skeptics will enjoy this lemony pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Substitute two 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna for the sardines if you prefer. If you are using tuna or can’t find sardines packed in tomato sauce, add 2 tablespoons tomato paste in Step 4 with the lemon juice. Serve with a salad of bitter greens tossed with a lemon vinaigrette and a glass of Pinot Grigio.

4 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each | Active Time: 30 minutes | Total Time: 30 minutes


8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs (see Tip), preferably whole-wheat
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3- to 4-ounce cans boneless, skinless sardines, preferably in tomato sauce, flaked
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and sizzling but not brown, about 20 seconds. Transfer the garlic and oil to a large bowl.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the pan over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, until crispy and golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Whisk lemon juice, pepper and salt into the garlic oil. Add the pasta to the bowl along with sardines, parsley and Parmesan. Gently stir to combine. Serve sprinkled with the breadcrumbs.

Per serving : 475 Calories; 21 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 13 g Mono; 60 mg Cholesterol; 52 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Protein; 9 g Fiber; 716 mg Sodium; 427 mg Potassium

3 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 1/2 medium fat meat, 3 fat

Tips & Notes

Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs.


    This dish was horrendous.  It was insanely gross.  I believe one of the comments I used when I was eating this at the table with Nicole was, “Pasta in cat litter”.  It was clear that whoever designed this recipe did not want you to taste sardines.  They masked them in flavors of lemon and breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs make the entire meal super dry and gross.  Note:  Never eat pasta with breadcrumbs on it. Never.  Two horrible dinners in a row.  Tonight is a meat loaf recipe that actually looks promising.  Fingers crossed. 

Tuesday Dinner: Grilled Salmon with Mustard-Herb Crust

   Last nights dinner was a more simple dish to make but a good reminder that you don’t need some elaborate recipe to have a great dinner.  We decided to make Grilled Salmon with Mustard-Herb Crust.  This is another Weight Watcher Recipe so it has the point value included in the recipe.

PointsPlus Value: 7 per serving
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 8 min
Cooking Time: 12 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
3 Tbsp rosemary , leaves, fresh, chopped
3 Tbsp fresh thyme , leaves, stemmed
1 tsp black pepper , freshly ground
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 1/4 pound(s) uncooked salmon fillet(s), with or without skin , though skinless recommended, Atlantic-variety (four 5-ounce pieces)
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard , regular or grainy-variety
1. Prepare the grill for direct, medium-heat cooking.
2. Mix the rosemary, thyme and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Spray the bottom of the fish fillets with cooking spray (that is, spray the piece of the fillet where the skin would have been, usually with some gray or brown mottling on it).
4. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on the top of each fillet. Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the herb mixture on top of each.
5. Place fish herb-side up on the grate directly over the heat. Cover the grill and cook until the fish flakes when gently scraped with a fork, about 12 minutes. Transfer to plates with a wide spatula. Yields 1 fillet per serving.

    The side just consisted on asparagus and cherry tomatoes with some fresh garlic, salt, pepper, and some lemon juice.  Just a random thing Nicole whipped up to go with this salmon.  
    When grilling the salmon, we cooked at low heat because the salmon doesn’t get flipped, it cooks all the way through on one side.  When it was finished, it looked and tasted great.  This was one of my favorite recipes so far.

Monday Dinner: Jerked Seitan with Mango Salsa and New Potato Salad

  Well it’s back to the old drawing board.  The holidays are over, my birthday has passed, and there are no more excuses to be eating the way we have been.  We continued our healthy dinner practice last night with Jerked Seitan with Mango Salsa and New Potato Salad.  
  This is a recipe that we got from the extensive weight watchers community collection.  Nicole and I used to be vegetarians when we first met each other, and we both agree to this day that it introduced us to foods we would have never tried otherwise.  Even today we still incorporate a vegetarian dish or two into our weekly routine.  
  If you have never had Seitan before, or have never even heard of it, I suggest you try it out.  This was the “meat” I enjoyed most as a vegetarian.  I was the worst kind of vegetarian, constantly looking for substitutes for the non-vegetarian food I had loved.  Seitan is a great meat substitute and you can find it in the cooler of your local grocery store if they have an organic section.  Its also something that you can make from scratch but it’s a huge pain in the ass and I never got it to taste right.

Here is the recipe:

PointsPlus Value: 8 per serving
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 25 min
Cooking Time: 8 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy
1 spray(s) cooking spray
1 Tbsp jerk seasoning
1 pound(s) seitan slice(s) , rinsed and dried, cut into 16 pieces
1 large mango(es) , diced  
1 small jalapeño pepper(s) , diced (don’t touch seeds with bare hands)  
1/4 cup(s) fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp uncooked red onion(s) , diced  
1 pound(s) uncooked red potato(es) , boiled, cooled and cut into quarters  
3 medium uncooked scallion(s) , sliced  
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Place jerk seasoning on a plate and roll seitan in seasoning to coat on all sides. Brown seitan in skillet, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.
2. In a medium bowl, combine mango, jalapeno, lime juice and red onion; cover and set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, mix potatoes with scallions, vinegar and oil; toss to coat potatoes.
4. To serve, place 1/4 of seitan on a dinner plate, top with 1/4 of salsa and serve with 1/2 cup of potato salad.

I won’t lie. I realized when we started the recipe that I had never cut a mango before.  Not that it was at all difficult, I just never did it!  Youtube.

Boiling the potatoes takes the longest when preparing this.  The recipe called for red potatoes but we just used fingerling potatoes mainly because we had them in the house already.

Jerking the Seitan before cooking…

   Besides the potatoes, we also altered the recipe by replacing the scallions with shallots, two minor changes. At first bite, we both agreed it tasted a little bland.  Once the flavors started to mix together, it actually got really tasty.  The mango and onion really made this dish pop and the jalapeno peppers gave it some really good spice.  If you are not a fan of really spicy foods, don’t worry, this isn’t spicy at all.  The potatoes do a great job of keeping the jalapeno’s from overpowering the dish.           All in all, I think I’d make this again.  I’m not nuts about it, but it was a nice blend of flavors worthy of being made a second time.

Wednesday Recipe: Barbecue Portobella Quesadillas

Last night was tough, basically meaning that we didn’t feel like cooking. Instead of calling it off, we decided to make an easier recipe, and these Barbecue Portobella Quesadillas sounded pretty simple.  I used to work in a kitchen, so whipping up some Quesadillas is nothing for me.  We had a minor roadblock when Nicole was slicing up some onions and then almost lopped off her finger, it was pretty gross.  I’m surprised I handled it that well actually. 

    I may blog on here about how I love action movies and ass kicking, but if I see wounds or blood in real life, i usually get nauseous and need to sit down.  Not this time.  I was all man.

We changed one thing in this recipe out of pure laziness.  Instead of using the chipotle pepper, I just used cajun seasoning.  I think cajun seasoning and Barbecue blend better anyways.

Barbecue Portobello Quesadillas


From EatingWell:  March/April 2009
This smoky mushroom-filled quesadilla is reminiscent of pulled pork. A touch of chipotle chile pepper adds extra heat. Serve with coleslaw and guacamole.

4 servings | Active Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes


1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, (see Note), minced, or 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 pound portobello mushroom caps, (about 5 medium), gills removed, diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
4 8- to 10-inch whole-wheat tortillas
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Combine barbecue sauce, tomato paste, vinegar and chipotle in a medium bowl.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion and mushrooms are beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to the bowl with the barbecue sauce; stir to combine. Wipe out the pan.
Place tortillas on a work surface. Spread 3 tablespoons cheese on half of each tortilla and top with one-fourth (about 1/2 cup) of the filling. Fold tortillas in half, pressing gently to flatten.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in the pan over medium heat. Add 2 quesadillas and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer to a cutting board and tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining 1 teaspoon oil and quesadillas. Cut each quesadilla into wedges and serve.

Per serving : 311 Calories; 13 g Fat; 5 g Sat; 6 g Mono; 19 mg Cholesterol; 43 g Carbohydrates; 11 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 710 mg Sodium; 771 mg Potassium

2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 other carbohydrate, 1 high-fat meat, 1 fat

Tips & Notes

Ingredient note: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they’ll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. Ground chipotle, made from dried smoked jalapeños, can be found in the specialty-spice section of most supermarkets or online at penzeys.com.

One thing to note when cooking all of this in the pan is that the mushrooms and peppers are loaded with water so you will have some excess liquid.  I tried cranking the heat up in the final minutes to boil some off but I still had to drain some out before transferring this to a bowl.  

Even after draining the water, the Quesadillas dripped liquid after the initial first bite.  A messy meal.

    This meal was tasty, mainly because I’m a sucker for Barbecue anything, however it was a pretty messy ordeal and not worth the hassle.  I would change this up if we decided to do these again by using less mushrooms, a meat of sorts, and I’d scrap the Monterrey Jack and replace it with goat cheese.  Now that’s the bomb.com.


Dinner Recipe: Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes

   Nicole and I decided that during the week, we will be trying different recipes. We are doing this because dinner can sometimes get boring, and when it gets boring, we tend to eat shitty food thus getting into the habit of eating shitty food.  So we have a method down. Nicole finds 5 recipes a week, and I pick up the ingredients while doing the grocery shopping. I love getting the groceries so its something I do regularly. I find it oddly fun.  
   Tonight we made Roasted Chicken & Sweet Potatoes.

Roast Chicken & Sweet Potatoes


From EatingWell:  September/October 2012
Caramelized sweet potatoes and red onion are the bed for chicken thighs that cook up fast in a very hot oven—perfect for a quick healthy chicken dinner. Serve with a fall salad of mixed greens, sliced apples and blue cheese.

4 servings | Active Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 45 minutes


2 tablespoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1 1/2-2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Place a large rimmed baking sheet in the oven to preheat.
Combine mustard, thyme, 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a small bowl; spread the mixture evenly on chicken.
Toss sweet potatoes and onion in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and spread the vegetables on it. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables.
Return the pan to the oven and roast, stirring the vegetables once halfway through, until the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a chicken thigh registers 165°F, 30 to 35 minutes.

Per serving : 408 Calories; 17 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 9 g Mono; 86 mg Cholesterol; 34 g Carbohydrates; 27 g Protein; 5 g Fiber; 554 mg Sodium; 636 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

        This meal was pretty tasty. Nicole isn’t normally a fan of sweet potatoes but shes trying to like them by having them served in different ways.  She enjoyed the way these turned out.  Cooking it all together really made everything taste great because all of the flavors and seasonings clicked with each other nicely. I’d definitely make this one again. Tomorrow we are making Portobello Mushroom quesadillas.

Weight Watchers: Week 1

    Last Monday, Nicole and I started Weight Watchers.  We figured that if we started it now, by the time we get married in a few months, we will look awesome.  We have tried all sorts of diets before this one, and they are all really bad.  Calorie counting sucks and it doesn’t work well.  My mom has lost a ridiculous amount of weight in the time she’s been on it, so we decided to do it.  In 6 days I had lost about 5 pounds.  I am allowed 43 points a day and sometimes its hard to even eat that much.  In addition to that I get 49 cheater points which are points that you get for the week to splurge.  I save those for beer on the weekend.  So far its super comfortable to do and sort of fun because it forces me to cook food.  There are hundreds of recipes for lunch, breakfast, dinner, and appetizers.  I figure why not blog some healthy recipes that I really love.
    Last week we made a bunch of things, the thing I liked the most was the Turkey Reuben.  This is a great, filling sandwich and it’s only 5 points!  The recipe is as follows:

Weight Watchers Turkey Reuben
Low calorie or light Rye Bread
2oz of 98% fat free turkey
Low fat Swiss cheese (we used the fat free)
Dijon mustard

Fire up a skillet or pan and spray it with some PAM spray.  While the pan is heating up, build your sandwich.  Once the sandwich is built and put together, place it on the pan until both sides are a golden brown.

Build the sandwich. 

Spray your pan or skillet with PAM.  

Brown both sides of the sandwich and melt the cheese. 

Look at these babies. 

2oz of turkey seems like a horribly small amount, but its really not.

The sandwich is 5 points, and the addition of the chips below make this lunch  8  points.

This brand of chips is awesome.  20 chips are 3 points. 

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