Maple dijon roasted pork tenderloin

If I invite you to dinner at my house (so, if we’ve ever met, because I invite EVERYONE to dinner at my house), there’s a 70% chance I’ve never made the dish I’m serving before. Every “hostess tip list” says this is a terrible idea, lest you screw up/it takes too long/you stress yourself out. I say to hell with that – if my friends are there, even falling flat on my face is fun.

But most of the time, I don’t – because I have my own tricks. 1. I always have an appetizer. And let’s be clear, that “appetizer” can be as simple as straight-up cheese or chips and salsa. In fact, if you actually show up on time, you’re probably making the munchie plate. Anyone can unwrap cheese, and everyone feels more at home when they help. (Plus, I totally expected you to be late.) 2. Have a back pocket plan. I can whip up a pretty fantastic pasta with marinara sauce in less than 10 minutes, which covers basically every disaster ever.

And let’s be clear – this trial run? Won a gold medal. This pork tenderloin was so good half of us ate dinner standing, because we forgot to leave the island. We ate the “leftovers” with our hands as the night continued – still never leaving the island. Topped with maple bourbon pumpkin butter and served with roasted Brussels Sprout quinoa bake, the only falling you’re doing is in love.

Maple dijon pork tenderloin
Main course: maple dijon pork tenderloin. We could not keep our hands off it. Yes, I said hands. Forks are so appetizer.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package (2) pork tenderloin
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
  • 3 T Dijon mustard
  • 2 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Get cooking:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix everything (except tenderloin) together in a small bowl.
  2. Lay tenderloin on a baking rack with a baking sheet underneath. (You can lay it right on the sheet, but it’s harder to flip.)
  3. Brush both sides with 1/2 the glaze and roast for 20 minutes.
  4. Pull meat out and brush with remaining glaze. Bake 10-15 minutes more, until thickest part of tenderloin registers 155 degrees.
  5. Tent with aluminum foil and let the meat rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Serves 6 – no, really, the 6 of us devoured this. Conventional serving sizes may tell you otherwise, but trust me on this.

BBQ pork pizza

There is just something about barbecue. No matter what season, what occasion, it seems easy, fun and delicious. The same can be said for pizza. You can make a pizza fancy, fun, heavy, hearty – the combinations are endless.

Anyone who knows me knows how I cook – there should be a new term for leftovers coined just for me, to adequately express the level of leftover food I have after any given meal. The conception of this dish was one such occasion. I’m sure you’ve had chicken BBQ pizza (and in fact, my friend Matt makes the world’s best), but we happened to have a bunch of leftover pulled pork after an event, and I thought, “Well, I could make a pizza out of that!” So I did. And then David started requesting it weekly. So I suggest you don’t make this unless you’re ok with it becoming a permanent dinner rotation.

You’ll need:

  • 1 lb pork loin or shoulder
  • 2 large red onions
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lb mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 lb feta
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 medium pizza crust
  • Cornmeal

Get cooking:

  1. To caramelize the onions: slice, combine with oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
  2. Put your pizza stone in the oven with the onions, so it heats up while you assemble the rest of the pizza.
  3. Spread your crust on a pizza peel/parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. (This will help the pizza slide off onto the stone. So be liberal, unless you want a calzone. Which is what happens when your crust gets mangled. Still tasty, but different experience.)
  4. Mix half the BBQ sauce with the pizza sauce and spread on the crust.
  5. Mix other half of sauce with pork.
  6. Add cheese, pork and caramelized onions to the pizza.
  7. Slide (very, very carefully) onto hot pizza stone and bake 15-20 minutes. (You can also place the parchment paper directly on the pizza stone – much, much easier.)
  8. Let sit for 5 minutes (I know, I know, but for real, you’ll burn yourself.)
  9. Try not to eat the whole thing in one sitting. I dare you.