Tag Archives: pecans

Bourbon Pecan Pork Tenderloin

This pork tenderloin recipe will be the show stopping centerpiece at your next dinner and honestly, it doesn’t take too much effort!  I gave it a bit of Southern flair, with the addition of pecans and bourbon, and I’m sure I made all the lower states proud!  Your taste buds with have texture, flavor and nuttiness from the spiced pecan crust and the sauce brightens the entire dish with tang and color!

Please feel free to try this out for Easter or even a Mother’s Day brunch or dinner.  The flavors are also great on chicken, ham or pork chops!  You really can’t go wrong. xoxo

*If concerned about the sauce, alcohol does cook way down annnddd even my 6 year old asked for “more gravy”; it’s not too strong! 🙂

*I bought chopped pecans and then added them to a large Ziploc bag and gently “smashed” them with a heavy bottomed pan.  You can also use a food processor, just be careful not to pulse too much, or you’ll have yourself a paste similar to peanut butter and zero texture ;).

*All ovens heat a bit differently, so please check the internal temp to ensure it is cooked to your liking.

The Starting Lineup

Pecan Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin, any silver skin removed
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup Pecan, almost ground
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt & pepper, to taste

Bourbon Dijon Sauce “Gravy”

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp bourbon 
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp soy sauce, low sodium
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 3 Tbsp butter, cubed
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet/dish with foil and spray with non-stick.

In a small bowl, combine the crushed pecans, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Liberally rub the 3 tablespoons of Dijon mustard all over the outside of the pork and then coat the tenderloin with the seasoned pecans, as it will stick to the mustard.  Pack it on there!

Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 50-60 minutes, uncovered, or until a meat thermometer registers at least 140 degrees.  **Though we prefer no pink in ours and I register about 155 degrees for an all white, no pink center.  Remove from oven, tent with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

While the pork is resting, in a small saucepan, combine the chicken broth, bourbon and cornstarch.  Whisk and bring to a boil.  Reduce to medium-low heat and whisk in the dark brown sugar, Worcestershire, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, pinch of salt and the butter until smooth and coats the back of a spoon.

Serve the sliced Pecan Pork Tenderloin over warm, buttery mashed potatoes and a hefty drizzle of the slightly sweet and tangy Bourbon Dijon Sauce over top, enjoy!

PecanPork

 

Turkey and Brie Quesadillas w/ a Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

Whether you’re hosting a ladies brunch, a dinner party or would just like to elevate your weeknight dinner with an EASY, yet impressive meal…this recipe will do the trick!  

The sweet and savory flavors are just outstanding!  You also have creaminess from the brie, sweetness from the roasted grapes and cranberries, freshness from the spinach and a nice crunch from the apples, pecans and browned tortilla.  Flavor sensation bliss!

…And don’t you dare say that you “cannot cook” or it sounds “too hard” or “too fancy”.  You can and it’s neither!  This entire recipe will take less than an hour to prepare whether you use it for a meal or an hors d’oeuvre.p at your next get together…and who can’t slap together a flipping quesadilla, because that’s exactly what it is!

*the Pico de Gallo can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until use.

*I recommend the best, quality deli roasted turkey.  My local grocer here in Texas, HEB, actually rotisserie’s whole turkeys and I have them slice up one pound on a number 2 setting.

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb quality deli turkey, sliced thin
  • 8 oz wheel brie cheese, sliced
  • 4 10″ flour tortillas 
  • 1 1/2 cups Spinach leaves, fresh
  • 2 sweet onions, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • Butter, 1 /2 stick, divided

Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo

  • 1 large honey crisp apple, sliced and chopped
  • 1 cup seedless red grapes
  • 1/2 cup cranberries, fresh (frozen is fine)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp honey, divided 1:1
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon, divided

Begin this simple, but oh so fancy tasting recipe by preparing the sweet pico de gallo…preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a small baking sheet with foil.

While the oven is preheating you’ll begin to caramelize the onions.  In a sauté pan over medium low heat, place the sliced onions and 3 tbsp butter (plus a pinch of salt and sugar) and allow to cook down till soft and that beautiful caramel color.  Meanwhile….


In a large bowl, gently fold together the grapes, cranberries (again, completely frozen here is just fine), 1 tablespoon of the honey,  1 Tbsp melted butter and 1/4 tsp of the cinnamon.  Pour onto the baking sheet in a single layer.  Place in the oven and allow to roast for 20 minutes.

Once finished, pour the roasted grapes and cranberries, plus juices, back into the large bowl and allow to cool.  Remember, you’re still cooking down those onions…

To the cooled, roasted fruit:  add the apples (I like to chop right before to avoid browning), green onions, pecans, jalapeño (optional) and remaining 1 Tbsp of honey and 1 tsp of cinnamon.  Toss gently to coat together. 


In a small bowl, whisk together the Dijon mustard and the honey.

Assembly time!!  Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and add 1 tbsp of butter to melt.  On each tortilla, spread 1 Tbsp of the Dijon-honey mixture on one side and lay (uncoated side down) into the hot pan.  Top half of the tortilla with the sliced turkey, spinach, brie slices and the caramelized onions.  Fold in half and allow to brown; flip to brown the other side.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Makes 4 filling quesadillas.

Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes and using a pizza cutter, slice each browned quesadilla into 4 triangles.  Place the slices on a large platter along with a bowl of the Roasted Apple Pico de Gallo for garnishing…enjoy!!  

Autumn Chopped Salad w/ Roasted Pork Tenderloin & Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

Yesterday we had quite the breeze..which resulted in a few (ok, many) of leaves falling onto our back porch and yard, much to my husbands dismay..ugh yard work .  Meanwhile, I happily watched it from my kitchen window while wondering what to cook up for dinner.  If nothing else, the view makes doing the dishes that much better. 

Now since the weather wasn’t really chilly but in the mid-80’s, and it was indeed Fall, what could I come up with??  Well below you will find a crisp flavorFALL (<< see what I did there) salad and a ridiculously juicy and warm pork tenderloin.  Oh and lets not forget that Vinaigrette!!  This will now be a staple in our home come Fall..May we also suggest serving with a nice cider?!  Apple cider for the lil’s of course.

*If you have a cast-iron pan, you can transfer the seared pork directly to the oven in this vesssel.  I did not only because my cast iron wasn’t large enough for both my tenderloins.

**Make sure to taste your vinaigrette as you go.  Remember, this is YOURS and if you like it sweeter then add more maple.  Thicker?  Then more pumpkin.  How about tangier?  Well, then you simply add more cider vinegar or dijon!  It’s up to YOU! 🙂 

The Starting Lineup
Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette

  • 4 Tbsp maple syrup (real maple..no fake stuff here!)
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree (non sweetened)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp thyme, fresh
  • 1 Tbsp water

Autumn Chopped Salad

  • Romaine lettuce, chopped
  • Iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 2 apples, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup pecans, chopped (candied optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles

Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pckg pork tenderloin, usually comes with two
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp rosemary (sounds weird with chili powder..just go with it)
  • Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable/ or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…yes, I totally forgot to grab the dijon for the picture, oops! Make sure to use it though, it’s a great emulsifier.


Roasted Pork Tenderloin and Autumn Chopped Salad


Start by preheating your oven to 400 degrees and lining a sheet tray with foil.  Place the lined sheet tray into the oven while it preheats.  You’ll also want to start heating up a skillet(medium/medium-high heat) *I prefer my cast iron here, which is why I start to heat it up now, takes a few minutes..and then remove the pork tenderloins from the refridgerator to come to temp.

Next, in a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, pumpkin puree, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic and the salt and pepper.  Then slowly whisk in the extra virgin olive oil into the mix *slowly as not to “seperate” the dressing.  Finally stir in the fresh thyme (and 1 Tbsp water if you’d like it a bit thinner).  Cover and store in the refridgerator.

Open the package of pork, pat dry with paper towels, and rub on the seasoning blend.  In the now hot pan, add in the oil and the butter.  Then place in the pork (I had to do 1 at a time) and sear all sides till a deep golden brown.  That brown sugar will caramelize and create a ‘crust’, so dont worry as it’s not burnt.  This should take you about 10 minutes for both. 

Once the pork has been seared, place onto the lined sheet pan in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping halfway through (till internal temperature reaches 140 degrees).  Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While the tenderloins are roasting, start chopping up the rinsed lettuce and pat dry.  On a large (and of course pretty) serving platter lay out the chopped lettuce.  Then follow with the apple slices, pecans, dried cranberries and bleu cheese crumbles.  

Once the pork is rested (so the juices do not run out) slice it up!  Lay the slices (pretty again) across the prepared salad and drizzle a good amount of your homemade Maple Pumpkin Vinaigrette…oh lordy, enjoy!! 

Dulce de Leche Pecan Bars 

Naughty is the word that sums these up!   It’s like a sweet & crunchy candy bar amped up times a million.  Best of all it’s easy, I’d hardly even call it baking!   

Why your family thinks you slaved away in the kitchen for this treat, you’ll know the easy truth and can relish in theirs “oohs & aahs”. 😉👌

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted, cold & cubed 
  • 1 can dulce de leche 
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsps pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips    

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil (allowing foil to overhang the pan) and lightly spray with non-stick.

In a food processor combing the flour, cold butter, confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tsps of the vanilla extract.  Pulse for about one minute until it’s combined and looks almost ‘clumpy’….<-for lack of better word. 😉 

  
Pour the crumb mixture straight into your foil lined pan and press with your fingertips to even out and bring it about 1-2″ up the sides.   Place this into your preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

While that crust is par baking, will mix up the good stuff!!

In a medium size bowl, combine the can of dulce de leche with the heavy cream, egg yolks and the remaining 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp flour.  Whisk till creamy. 

  
When the crust has finished, let sit for a few minutes and then pour the creamy mixture straight in.  Shake the pan gently to level it out. 

  

 

Finally, top with the chocolate chips and the chopped pecan pieces.  Return this to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes. 

 Once finished, and just slightly jiggly, cool completely on a baking rack.  I even like to pop this is the fridge for a good hour or two to firm up.

Remove the goodies by lifting up the foil, cut into bars and enjoy!!! 

  

   

Crispy Chicken Summer Salad

This is a summer staple in my home.  The salad part does it for me and the crispy, fried chicken gets my husband to eat it ;). Seriously though, the crunchy chicken gets me too…

I thought I’d just “make a salad” one hot day and then one thing led to another and I’m in the kitchen with my cast iron frying chicken and making candied pecans..so much for just an easy salad, right?  However, I am super glad that I did!  The flavors are just right, the textures are perfect together and since I got a pan out, I can consider this ‘cooking’ and write it up!  

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pckg chicken tenderloins (or breast cut into strips)
  • 1 cup plain Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten w/ tbsp water
  • Romain, spinach, iceberg mix, chopped
  • 1/2 Cucumber, sliced
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1/2 cup candied pecans
  • 1/2 Bleu cheese crumbles
  • Raspberry vinaigrette dressing 
  • Croutons (optional)
  • Blueberries (optional)
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & Pepper  

I like to prep all my veggies/fruit first with this simple recipe.  So that once I am finished frying up the chicken, all you have to do is toss it in a bowl together.

So clean and chop your lettuces, hull and quarter your berries, and slice and dice your cucumbers and onion….Normally, I suggest buying premade candied pecans for ease, but I forgot.  Soooo, I made some real quick by toasting my chopped nuts in a bit of oil in a skillet with a good dash of sugar and cinnamon.  Tasted just fine.

Onto the meat-of-the-matter, or in this case would it be poultry-of-the-matter??  Anyway, have three dishes ready and 2 plates (1 plate for the precooked/coated chicken and the other for the finished chicken).

In your first dish, add a cup of flour and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper.  In your second dish, beat your one egg with a tbsp of cold water till frothy.  In your third dish, add a cup of Panko breadcrumbs and also sprinkle with salt and pepper.  

Going in order, dredge your chicken lightly in the flour, then the egg and finally the Panko.  Set coated chicken onto a plate.

  
In a large pan (preferably cast-iron) heat enough oil to come up 1/4 of the side to med/med-high heat.  Add in your tenders a couple at a time.  Do not overcrowd.  Depending on thickness, cook each side of tender for 2-3 minutes or until they’re a nice golden, crunchy brown!  Set cooked chicken aside on a paper towel lined plate.

 

Assembly time!  In a bowl, layer your lettuce along with the strawberries, cucumbers and onion.  Slice your chicken and place on top.  Sprinkle with Bleu cheese crumbles and the pecans and a bit of the raspberry vinaigrette.  I like a few crunchy croutons as well myself.  Enjoy this sweet, tangy, crunchy and refreshing salad…it’s delightful! 

 

Caramelized Pecan & Banana Pudding

I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t enjoy this.  My kids would take a bath in it if they could…quite frankly, after they’re done enjoying a bowl it literally looks like they did.

Cool vanilla pudding, warm pecans, brown sugar and bananas topped with vanilla wafers.  Indulge a little!  This is a great treat at anytime of day loved by kids and adults alike.

Though I will admit that this could be easier.  You can NEVER beat the taste and texture of homemade pudding, BUT (yes there’s a but) I will completely understand if you just buy a box of Jell-O.  It would be much easier for any cook and with the warm topping, I promise you it will be just as delicious.

Please, please promise me though that you’ll at least attempt the homemade ‘Nilla Wafers!  They’re stupid easy…however, if you buy a box, I won’t fault you either ;). Enjoy!! xo

The Starting Lineup 

Pudding

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt  

Pecan Banana Topping

  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt 

Vanilla Wafers

Let’s start this pudding!  Get together an ice bath (larger bowl with a few cups of ice and a slightly smaller bowl fit snugly inside, over the ice). Set aside.

In a small bowl, separate your egg yolks from the whites.  Beat the yolks until their light colored and smooth.

With a small pot on your stove top whisk together your flour, sugar and salt.  In same pot over medium heat whisk in your milk and vanilla.  Whisk these 5 ingredients together till combined.  Keep cooking on the stove top, whisking occasionally until you see it just start to boil.

  

Now verrrrryyyy slowly and fluidly, (*tempering) take the hot liquid and pour into your bowl of beaten egg yolks while whisking.  Again, do this VERY slow at first or the hot liquid will literally ‘scramble’ your eggs and it’s over for ya.  This is the trickiest part for sure but absolutely doable.  *I could NOT get a picture of me doing all of this while attempting to temper the eggs.  Any photographers out there??

Once you have your liquid and egg yolks combined into a smooth, custard like cream, pour back into your pot on the stovetop.  While whisking often, cook this cream over med-low heat for roughly 5-7 minutes.  It will thicken as it cooks.  *If it seems a bit loose, make a slurry of cornstarch and milk and whisk right in.

Now back to that ice bath you made earlier.  Place a fine mesh sieve over your top bowl and pour your pudding through it while gently pressing it through with a rubber spatula.  That ice from under your top bowl will begin the cooling process of your pudding.

Once all of the pudding is pressed through the sieve, take a sheet of Saran Wrap and cover the entire bowl.  Make sure the Saran Wrap is actually touching the top of the pudding.  This will help it not form that unsightly “skin”.

Place your bowl of homemade pudding into your fridge and allow to cool completely.  Prepare your cookies once your pudding has thickened.  While the cookies are cooling on a wire rack, you can begin your topping and it will all come together nicely.

Topping

This part is the easy part.  I promise.  This also would be crazy delicious over ice cream, waffles or a slice of creamy cheesecake!

In a saucepan on the stovetop, place in you chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter.

Over medium heat stir together till the brown sugar and butter melts together forming a glaze, about 3 minutes.

Once those ingredients are incorporated, gently fold in your sliced bananas.  Cook for another 3 minutes and it’s done!  It’s ready to spoon onto any dessert and enjoy!

In a small dish or bowl, spoon in 1/2 cup of pudding.  Layer a bit of your caramelized pecans & bananas over top. Repeat with another layer of pudding and your warm topping.  Garnish with a few of your vanilla wafers and serve!

Hummingbird Cake

Life in the south is wonderful.  The greenery, the big trees, real southern hospitality and the best part…the food!!  I tend to make lots of yummy comforting meals, but I thought I should try my hand at some of their sweets.  What better to start with than the legendary Hummingbird Cake.  

Now I don’t know the origin of its name, but I do find it pretty..and this cake is so dang good that I really don’t care.  The bananas keep it moist, the pineapples give a nice tartness to the sweet aspects and the pecans give that great crunch! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 3 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 8oz can of crushed Pineapple, undrained
  • 2 ripe Bananas, sliced & quartered
  • 1 cup Pecans, chopped
  • Coconut, toasted (optional)
  • Classic Cream Cheese Frosting, see recipe link below  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour or non-stick spray 2 round cake pans.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Sift together till evenly dispersed.

 

Next, add in your eggs, oil, vanilla extract and mix together with the dry ingredients. 

 

Make sure your pecans are roughly chopped and add those in the batter along with your crushed pineapple & bananas. 

  

 

Gently fold in the fruit and pecans into the batter.  Honestly, you could probably still use your stand mixer.  Just do so on low till ingredients are incorporated.  Don’t worry about the bananas mushing up, that’s a good thing that will keep your cake moist!

Spoon this delish batter evenly into each cake pan.  If needed, shake pans side to side slightly to even out the batter. 

 

Place into oven and bake for 28-30 minutes, toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from oven and allow the cakes to remain in pans for about 5 minutes.  Transfer the cakes out of their pans and onto a cooling rack.  You definitely want your cakes cool to the touch before applying the frosting.

Here is a link for my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting.  This batch will be plenty to cover the top and middle layer.  Classic Cream Cheese Frosting | Railroad Wife 

To assemble, spread half of the frosting onto one cake round.  Very carefully place the other round onto the bottom frosted cake and liberally frost that top.  Though optional, I like to garnish the cake with a bit of toasted coconut and a pretty Spring colored flower.  I also like to dust the sides of cake with some powdered sugar for a rustic look.  Feel free to frost the entire cake if that’s your desired look! 

  

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