Easy and Fast Weeknight Meal!
If you’ve ever wanted a quick meal that feels like it wasn’t a quick meal… well, I’ve got the solution for you: Pork tenderloin. Now wait, wait, you might be thinking “But Ana! You promise budget friendly recipes! Pork tenderloin is the filet mignon of pork! What is this!” You are right reader, pork tenderloin IS the filet mignon of the pork world but, even with that caveat, it isn’t as expensive. I’m not going to pretend it is always affordable but you have to pick your moments. But, if you do pick your moment and snatch the deal, pork tenderloin makes an amazing quick weeknight meal!
Secrets of Pork Tenderloin
So, how and why is pork tenderloin a great option for a weeknight meal? Well, first off, it is delicious and easy to cook. It is also quick to cook! Cooking two tenderloins can take just 20 minutes! Its a great thing to cook while you get your side dishes made on the stove and it pairs great rice, potatoes, or on a sandwich! Whatever you may dream of! It is also a very lean meat; considered as lean as skinless chicken breast! Pork tenderloin is also very tender though this means it can overcook easily.
Price wise, it is significantly cheaper than beef tenderloin. You can pick it up for $2-4lb. Because the price is a little bit more and each tenderloin is pretty small, I don’t recommend them for a big Fourth of July Barbecue in a few weeks. For me, I generally wait until I see it on sale at my local grocery store or I pick it up at Costco where I can get 4 loins for less money. Once I buy them, I pop them in the freezer and then, if I don’t know what to cook, I’ll defrost it for a quick meal. Because the tenderloins aren’t very thick, they don’t take very long to defrost which is great. I marinate mine for an hour or so before cooking if I have time but other times I’ll literally just dress it and throw it on a baking sheet.
My latest foray into the world of pork tenderloin was a sweet mustard marinade paired with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed veggies. It was quick, delicious, and (would you believe it!) healthy.
Delicious Quick Pork Tenderloin
So, there are a lot of ways to make pork tenderloin. One of my favorites is with balsamic vinegar and lots of garlic (see here) though I usually let it marinate before I add the balsamic. But, today, we are going with my latest foray: a sweeter but flavorful affair of date jam, spicy brown mustard, garlic, oregano, and a little bit of lime! Had I had rosemary, I probably would have added that to the party but this is what was on hand!
You might be wondering, why date jam? Well, I made some for some me and some friends who are doing the Whole30 diet. We can’t have added sugar but can eat dates in moderation. So, I had some on hand. The lime juice would normally be orange juice (I like the way it pairs with mustard) but I didn’t have any on hand (again! Improvising! See? I’m fast and lose with things so long as it tastes good!). The point of telling you this is that if you don’t have or don’t like one of the ingredients, feel free to get creative! I’m full of life lessons, guys.
Sweet Mustard Pork Tenderloins
Serves 5-6 (depending on how much people eat. Once, it only served 4 #bigeaters)
Here’s what you need for this recipe
- Two Pork Tenderloins (about 1.5lbs total, give or take)
- 3 tbps Olive Oil
- 4 cloves of Garlic, chopped
- 2 tbps Spicy Brown Mustard
- 1 tbps of Date Jam (or Honey or your preference. Apricot Jam would be good too!)
- Salt and Pepper
- Oregano (a generous sprinkling. Fresh rosemary would be good too!)
- Lime juice (about half a lime) (Or orange juice!
If you thought the ingredients list was short and easy to put together, well get ready for the recipe part!
- Preheat oven to 500F and prepare a baking sheet with non-stick aluminium foil. (If you are marinating your meat, then do this step AFTER you marinate!)
- In a large ziploc bag or medium sized bowl, place tenderloins and rest of ingredients and toss to coat. (If you are marinating, leave the lime juice out and make sure to add it before roasting. Marinate for minimum 1 hour, making sure to mix the meat and marinade to evenly coat.)
- Place tenderloins on baking sheet in center rack of oven. Roast for 20 minutes or until internal temperature reads between 140-145 degrees.
- Let tenderloins rest for at least 5 minutes then cut on cutting board. Serve immediately
Making a Meal
See how easy that recipe is? Thirty minutes tops! Now, to truly make a meal, we need side dishes. This last time I made it with roasted sweet potatoes. Its always tricky roasting meat AND your starch in the oven. For this, since I marinated my meat anyway, I did a little cheat. Once my meat was in the fridge, stewing in some yummy stuff, I peeled and chopped my sweet potatoes, tossed them in some olive oil, salt, pepper, a vegetable roasting spice mix, and some oregano then threw them on a baking sheet lined with aluminium foil. I roasted them in the oven for about 45 minutes on 375 until they were tender and getting a little crisp on the skin.
I then took them out, cranked my heat up, and threw in my tenderloins. Once my tenderloins were out and needed to rest, I put them back in and broiled them on high for about 5 minutes until they got crispy and a little burnt on top. While that was happening, I steamed a frozen veggie mix I bought on bogo last week, then tossed those bad boys in olive oil, salt, pepper, and some lemon juice. BOOM! A meal! Ta-dah!
So whatever your weekend or next week has in store for you, perhaps try this recipe on for size. I promise you won’t be disappointed!