September 2, 2008

Mustard Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

Well, the leftovers did not stretch as far as I thought. Between dinner last night and lunch today, we have pretty much cleaned out the fridge. That means that I can cook something new. Hooray! My husband pretty much told me that he wants nothing to do with marinara sauce, pasta, or Italian food for a while. I totally agree. I am a little burnt out, too. I did freeze some of the marinara sauce from the meatballs, so at least it will be handy when we are back in the marinara mood.
All in all, I need to start thinking about planning lighter meals...the meatballfest we just had this weekend does not fit into that category. My eating habits have not been stellar lately. I have been indulging way too much. I figured the first of the month is a good time to wipe the slate clean, and start over with some healthier choices. I have made my way back to the gym twice a week, and I don't want my meager efforts to be undone by fat and calories.

So, in the spirit of healthier cooking, I found this recipe in my Cooking Light 2008 Annual Cookbook . Cooking Light magazine compiles a huge cookbook with all the recipes that the magazine published throughout the year. Just to clarify, the 2008 version is published in the beginning of 2008, and showcases all the recipes from 2007. It is very handy, since you can recycle all your saved copies of the magazine from the past 12 months and just buy the cookbook covering the whole year. I heart Cooking Light. Seldom have I found a recipe that I did not like from them. In fact, I can't even remember if I have ever found a recipe that I did not like from them.
When I get my annual cookbook, I flag pages of recipes that I want to try. I did not know what I wanted for dinner tonight (except to know that I did not want Italian anything), so I pulled out the latest edition and turned to my first sticky tab. The flagged recipe was perfect, because I just happen to have all the ingredients on hand. Hooray! Hooray! This sounds like exactly what we need...light and flavorful with no marinara sauce involved. I think I will serve this dish with regular baked potatoes (a la microwave) and some steamed veggies from the freezer (I have to dig in the freezer and see what I have). This is my first time making this recipe, and I have high hopes. I will let you know how it all turns out.

Mustard Herb-Crusted Pork Tenderloin

1 (1/2-ounce) slice white bread
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese OR Parmesan
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1 garlic clove, minced
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.

Place slice of bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/4 cup.

Combine the breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, cheese, and 2 teaspoons thyme in a shallow dish. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Combine Dijon mustard, fennel seeds, and garlic in a small bowl. Rub pork with mustard mixture, and dredge in breadcrumb mixture.

Place the pork on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until a thermometer registers 160° (slightly pink). Let stand for 10 minutes. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces pork)

CALORIES 184 (30% from fat); FAT 6.2g (sat 2.3g,mono 2.7g,poly 0.4g); IRON 1.6mg; CHOLESTEROL 72mg; CALCIUM 72mg; CARBOHYDRATE 4.6g; SODIUM 351mg; PROTEIN 25.8g; FIBER 0.4g

Cooking Light, JANUARY 2007

Jen's Notes:
There are a couple of adjustments that I will make to this dish to suit my needs. I have dried herbs, instead of I will probably reduce the quantity of the strongly flavored herbs, like fennel. I will use Parmesan Reggiano in place of the Romano cheese, because I have Parm in the fridge. Also, I will use store bought bread crumbs and skip the first part of the recipe. I have plenty of good bread crumbs on hand, so why bother making them from scratch then have to clean the food processor. Lastly, I think I will bake in a roasting pan with a rack in the bottom. The recipe indicates to just use a jelly roll pan with no rack, but I think the breadcrumbs will get really soggy on the bottom of the tenderloin. I prefer using a rack to have the tenderloin cook more evenly. I will let you know if my idea works!

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