Monday, April 26, 2010

It's Pork for Dinner at this Pig Pen

During the months of April and May, we usually don't have many opportunities for a sit down family dinner; however, since it rained over the weekend, my husband, the farmer, isn't in the fields and was home for dinner tonight.  I had originally planned on tacos for dinner, but when I opened up the fridge in the garage I noticed that my husband already had a package of pork burgers and a pork tenderloin roast defrosting.  (This is an occupation hazard as my mother-in-law and I operate a small retail pork business out of my garage and my husband likes to visit our freezers... he thinks I don't know.) 

So at 5:30pm, I was staring at a defrosted pork tenderloin and didn't know what to do with it.  I decided that the tenderloin needed to marinate in something even if only for a few minutes... so I put it in a Ziploc bag and added some teriyaki sauce and then put the bag in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

While the tenderloin was marinating, I had to figure out some sides.  Thankfully, we had some potatoes and carrots on hand and I knew the kids would love preparing and eating what we like to call "potato packs."  To prepare a "potato pack,"  spray the bottom of a piece of aluminum foil AKA tin foil with cooking spray or spray butter, I prefer PAM. 

Then add cut up potatoes (I leave the skin on as it is easier), carrots ( I use whole and cut up baby carrots), and anything else you want.  Top it off with salt and pepper. 

Fold up the ends and you have a "potato pack" that is ready for the grill.

I thought that was going to be it, but then my husband asked if we could fix the asparagus that was in the fridge so I quickly got it out and started to prep it.  One of my all-time favorite cooking tips involves prepping asparagus.  I don't remember where I first heard it, but it is one I always follow much to my husband's dismay as he thinks we are wasting asparagus, but I know we aren't. 

Here is the tip in case you don't know it.  When prepping asparagus, hold one end of the asparagus in each of your hands and bend the asparagus to determine where it would naturally break.  Once that point is determined, snap the asparagus at that point and only prepare the asparagus from the fresh break.  Discard the original ends.  This allows you to prepare only the freshest part of the asparagus. 

These are the ends you discard.

This is the "new" end of the asparagus spear.

This small, easy step makes all the difference when preparing asparagus in my opinion.  We then keep it simple by drizzling olive oil on the asparagus and then sprinkling with salt and fresh ground black pepper. 

The real beauty of the meal tonight was that it could all be grilled, which is something my husband loves to do. He even went ahead and grilled the defrosted pork burgers so he is set when I have to travel for work later this week.

Considering, I had no idea what we were going to have for dinner at 5:30pm, when we all sat down for dinner a little over an hour later, I felt like we had a yummy, nutritious meal in front of us. 

We had a great family dinner, which are hard to come by during corn and soybean planting season.  And we even had dessert (vanilla ice cream with fresh California strawberries), but you will have to tune in later for my tip on making strawberries even sweeter.


  1. Great post! Love the asparagus tip! It all looks yummy!!!

  2. That looks AWESOME! Yum. Love the tips. We love those packs too. We call 'em Campfire Packs.

  3. I grill asparagus all the time too. I have a metal grill basket I throw them in, instead of using the aluminum foil. Great tips though.

  4. Thanks for the tip on the grill basket. I think about getting one all the time, but then wonder how much we would use it.

  5. I love your blog. I'm not sure where you find the time. A storage tip for the asparagus, store upright in shallow water. We use a large cup, kind of like flowers-in the fridge. And then, when you're ready to grill, snap 'em like normal.

  6. I'm searching for dinner ideas tonight...and this is looking yummy!! :)


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