Ahhhthe lazy days of summer. I wish! This summer has been crazy with activity; but, I have to admit, I am loving it. I have been juggling working, cooking, house cleaning, parenting, vacationing, taxiing kids around, and hosting guests. It has been so much fun.
Of course, there are the occasional lazy moments when I can nap under a ceiling fan or take a bubble bath after a long day or lounge by a swimming pool. It can't be all work and no play. With so much going on, I realize it can be difficult to make time to cook a great meal every night for your family to enjoy.
However, it is so important to try. I have been giving it my best shot. No matter how busy I am, I usually have dinner prepared for the whole family. Sure, we have those days when we order a pizza or eat out just because it's easier; but, usually at around seven o'clock, you will find all of us, along with a friend or two, seated around the table, eating and talking about our day. We take this time to slow down and see what each of us has done all day long. Sometimes we can all be at home all day but one person is working at the computer, another is mingling on facebook and on the phone, and another is out front skating with friends. We still need to catch up at the end of the day.
A heaping plateful of pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables and gravy.
I don't know if we are all so close because we do this or we do this because we are all so close. I just know I really enjoy this time together. In fact, everyone in our family seems to enjoy this special time. If we go a day or two without eating supper together someone will comment on how they miss it. So, I try not to let that happen very often. And, now that the kids are old enough to help with the dishes, it's even easier than ever. Furthermore, I know that soon these kids will grow up and having everyone around the table won't be as easy. I must savor this while I can.
Studies have shown that eating dinner together as a family promotes better communication within the family, superior academic performance amongst the children, helps to produce better adjusted children in general, and creates children with improved nutritional habits which they will carry with them into adulthood. I do it because I love to cook and enjoy this time together with everyone telling stories around the dinner table. For me, cooking is relaxing like gardening or folding clothes. Realizing that it also leads to so many more family benefits makes me realize it is a really important part of the day that I shouldn't let slide.
Here is a recipe for pork tenderloin that is simple and easy to prepare. It's almost like a Sunday roast that we always have in England when we visit my husband's parents. For me, a Sunday roast is the epitome of a shared meal usually enjoyed with friends and family on a Sunday. However, with this recipe, you don't need to cook it all day long like a traditional Sunday roast. Instead, you can come home from work and whip this supper up in an hour. Then, you can sit around the table talking with your kids, while enjoying the flavors of a Sunday roast. This recipe uses mashed potatoes rather than roasted and pork tenderloin rather than a beef roast. The herbs and the gravy bring all of the flavors to life. It is really delicious. Cook it for someone you love.
Pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, and gravy
Time: 1 hour and 15 minutes
1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
1/2 C. olive oil
2 Tbsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 yellow onions, quartered
3 red sweet peppers, quartered
3 whole garlic cloves
6 large red potatoes
1 stick butter
1 C. milk
Salt and pepper to taste
1 C. red wine
1 C. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat skillet. Cut all of the potatoes into one inch cubes and bring them to boil in a large pot. Place the pork into a roasting pan and cover with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Once the skillet is hot, but not smoking, place the pork into it. Sear the pork on all sides.
In the roasting dish, place the onions, peppers, and garlic. Add more olive oil to make sure all of the vegetables have olive oil on them. Place this in the oven for ? hour.
Once the pork is seared, set it on a plate. Let the veggies cook for half an hour before adding the pork. Then, add the pork and cook for an additional 30 minutes. The pork should be slightly pink in the middle (unless you prefer it well done).
Once the potatoes are very tender to a fork (about 30 minutes) drain, add butter, milk and mash them. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Take the pan out of the oven and let the pork rest on a plate before cutting it into slices. Place the roasting pan with the remaining vegetables on the stove top and deglaze with a cup of wine. Add in the chicken stock, Worcestershire and butter. Let this simmer for five minutes.
After the pork has rested out of the oven for 10 minutes, slice into 1/2-inch slices.
Place a large spoon full of potatoes on each plate. Then place three or four slices of the pork on the potatoes. Finally, pour on the veggies with the gravy. Enjoy.