Mystery Dish: Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin

For this month’s edition of Mystery Dish, Marcie of Flavor the  Moments was our host. She gave us a lovely  list to work with, including: pork, fennel, kabocha squash, hard apple cider, heavy cream, orange, farro, hazelnuts, quince, thyme, maple syrup, and brussels sprouts. A lot of fun ingredients, for sure! But some were a little too exotic or expensive for me to get without a trip across town to a fancier grocery store, so simple it was!

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin | thepajamachef.com #MysteryDishBut simple doesn’t have to mean boring. This honey-thyme roasted pork tenderloin was anything besides boring! It was bursting with lots of fresh flavor–before roasting, the pork is seared in a hot skillet then coated with an amazing mixture of honey, butter, thyme, and orange zest AND juice. Talk about flavor overload! I could totally see making that honey mix into a fun spread on cornbread or a biscuit. It was SO delicious when I test tasted it [before it came into contact with the raw meat] that I was super tempted to put the spoon in my mouth later. But raw meat=gross=unhealthy so I talked myself out of that one. :) It was hard, guys, but I did it.

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin | thepajamachef.com #MysteryDishAs the pork roasted, a wonderful hearty sweetness filled the house. I tended up having to cook the meat a little while longer than the original recipe advised, despite the internal temperature reading 145 degrees F as it should, hence the photos above being a little too pink for my liking. But I was chasing daylight and thought the pork was done before I cut into it, so I had to take the photos then or else incur the wrath of the dreaded florescent kitchen lighting. Ugh, no thanks. But once the pork was done, it was amazing–juicy and rich, with the perfect blend of herb-citrus-honey baked right into the crispy coating that appears as the honey bakes on the pork. I served my pork with an awesome butternut squash side dish that I’ll have to share before Thanksgiving because it has “holiday side dish” written all over it. Enjoy!

one year ago: Skinny Southwest Chicken Dip
two years ago: Mexican Rollups
three years ago: Individual Pumpkin Pie Parfaits
four years ago: Asian Chicken Bowls

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

adapted slightly from Serious Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme [or 1 tablespoon ground thyme] + more for serving
  • zest and juice of one orange
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Let pork sit out at room temperature for 15 minutes before using, then pat dry and season with pepper and salt.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, sear pork for about 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. Remove from pan and add chicken broth, scraping up brown bits, then remove from heat and reserve sauce.

Whisk together thyme, orange zest, orange juice, honey, and butter in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When pork has seared, place pork in a baking dish then rub with thyme mixture. Pour chicken broth into baking dish.

Bake for at least 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Let rest for 10 minutes, covered with foil, before slicing and serving with more fresh thyme.

See what other Mystery Dish gals made this month:

Baked Apple Donuts with Maple Glaze by Yummy Healthy Easy

Baked French Toast Casserole by I Want Crazy

Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Truffles by Culinary Couture

Hazelnut Maple-Glazed Cinnamon Rolls by I Dig Pinterest

Hazelnut Macarons with Pumpkin Maple Filling by Baking a Moment

Honey-Thyme Roasted Pork Tenderloin from The Pajama Chef

Italian Sausage and Ravioli Skillet by Simply Gloria

Kabocha Squash Curry with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Farro by Chez CateyLou

Maple Glazed Fennel and Brussels Sprouts by The Well Floured Kitchen

Pear Hazelnut Bread with Orange Maple Glaze by Blahnik Baker

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Apples, Bacon, and Hazelnuts by Flavor the Moments

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Harvest Salad with a Hard Apple Cider Vinaigrette by Joyful Healthy Eats

{Vegan} Orange Hazelnut Maple Cinnamon Rolls by Sweet Tooth Life

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Book Review: The River

Bethany House’s book review program is great. I love that it gives me the opportunity to read books that I normally wouldn’t choose on my own, like The River by Beverly Lewis. I hope you check it out!

The River by Beverly Lewis, reviewed by thepajamachef.com
Here’s a description of the book from the publisher:

She looked once more at the dreaded river. Since Anna’s death, it had been such a barrier…a place and a moment she could not seem to move past.

A line I can’t move beyond…

The River

Tilly and Ruth, two formerly Amish sisters, are plagued by unresolved relationships when they reluctantly return to Lancaster County for their parents’ landmark wedding anniversary. Since departing their Plain upbringing, Tilly has married an Englisher, but Ruth remains single and hasn’t entirely forgotten her failed courtship with her Amish beau.

Past meets present as Tilly and Ruth yearn for acceptance and redemption. Can they face the future in the light of a past they can’t undo?

My five point review as usual:

  • I know in the fiction world, the Christian fiction world especially, Amish novels get a bad rap. I know they aren’t REALLY representative of the Amish and I know they can pile on the cheese quite high at times, but I can’t help but like them. They’re great “escape” novels, for real. So why did I say that I probably wouldn’t have read this novel on my own? Well, because the author has written SO MANY novels… over 90, in fact. She’s an established author and has a lot of series, and sometimes with those sort of authors I get overwhelmed and lazy and don’t want to figure out where to start. Or I want to find THE BEST novel/series to start with and just get bogged down. But this standalone novel is totally worth the voyage to a new [to me] author and has encouraged me to seek out more of her work.
  • The best word I could come up with to describe this book is bittersweet. There’s so much love, yet so much tension in this family. So much good, yet so much bad. Isn’t that true of most/many families? The family is the main focus in this novel, and this family’s story is oh so bittersweet. So if you go into this novel looking for a happy-go-lucky novel with a bit of drama, change your expectations and then start reading. You’ll be sure to enjoy it.
  • I thought it was interesting that the story took place in 1977. It seems like most Amish novels are either timeless or present-day, so that was different. But since the author was so specific about when the story was set, I think it would have been helpful to have more dates in the story because it seemed a bit unrealistic all that took place over a period of a few weeks/months. Not a huge deal, but still worth mentioning.
  • The theme of forgiveness was quite prevalent throughout the story… and played a role in almost every character’s relationships with each other. The complex [and often conflict-filled] relationships were handled well, something that could have easily been confusing wasn’t.
  • Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It handled tough subjects tastefully, was well written, and was engaging. I could hardly put it down! I liked that the ending wasn’t [too] predictable. :)

What are you reading lately?

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The thoughts expressed above are entirely my own. Thanks to Bethany House for the chance to read this great book!

#PumpkinWeek: Pumpkin Biscotti

Crunchy, pumpkin spiced biscotti make a crisp fall morning extra special!

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

I first started drinking coffee eight years ago in a little corner café in Nice with ornate velvet chairs, marble tables, and the most divine pastries you have ever seen in your life. Iiiiii know. It’s as idyllic as it sounds–this is France we’re talking about, after all. The cafés in Paris did not even BEGIN to compare. This little spot is a slice of heaven on earth. I remember luxurious mornings on that summer project with Cru, sitting and reading and talking in that café with a big green awning, wishing that summer would never ever end. But it did, and I came home, and US coffee is nothing like that strong French brew, especially when said brew is layered with cream and thick caramel. Mmmmmm! I gradually journeyed from occasional fancy, caramel-y coffee drinks to an everyday coffee habit with a constant rotation of Paramount Coffee in our cupboard [no sponsor or anything, we just really like their coffee]. One thing I never understood was biscotti.

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

The concept of biscotti–cookies at breakfast–totally makes sense. But a hard cookie? That you dip in coffee? Well, that just sounds weird. I’ve never been a dip-my-Oreos-in-my-milk kinda girl. Crumbs=gross. The only biscotti I’ve ever had just was… boring and tasteless. And let’s face it–I probably tried to bite into it without enough dunking. Ooops?

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

There’s nothing gross or boring or tasteless about these biscotti! They’re full of real pumpkin, lots of pumpkin spice, and a healthy coating of white chocolate on top. These biscotti taste so good you’ll forget it’s just a normal morning at home, and instead think you’re lounging in a fancy French coffee shop! If only. :)

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Though I made these biscotti for #PumpkinWeek [it ends tomorrow! Tear!] they also fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Yay! Thanks to Terri from Love and Confections for hosting. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections’ #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

one year ago: Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal Cookies
two years ago: 30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
three years ago: Pumpkin Biscuits
four years ago: Maize and Blue Cupcakes

Pumpkin Biscotti

  • Servings: 24
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Print

from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – optional
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped – optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:

If using nuts, melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat. Cook nuts, stirring constantly, until they brown. Remove from heat and cool completely before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

With a mixer, beat together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until the mixture thickens. With mixer on low, slowly add flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Dough will be thick so just mix it in a little with the mixer and then finish up by hand. If using nuts, fold in at the end. Dough will be crumbly.

Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a 3×10 inch log. Place on prepared baking sheet, then wet hands and smooth logs if necessary.

Bake until the logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. I found that without nuts, my logs didn’t firm up at all until about 35-40 minutes, but they do firm up more as they cool so go with your instincts. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then remove to a cutting board and slice with a serrated bread knife. I got about 12 slices by cutting my pieces about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.

Return cookies to baking sheets, cut sides up. Place in a single layer and bake until firm, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Once biscotti have cooled, melt white chocolate and oil together in a microwave safe bowl, heating on 50% power in 30 second bursts, stirring in between to melt. Drizzle, brush, or dip with white chocolate.

Store biscotti in airtight container. It’s best within the first four days, but will keep for 3-4 weeks.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Check out all the #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Chia Granola by Love and Confections
Meatloaf-Stuffed Mini Pumpkins by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
White Chocolate Reeses Pumpkin Blondies by The Spiffy Cookie
Pumpkin and Corn Chowder by Curious Cuisiniere
Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes by Life Tastes Good
Pumpkin Spice Cookie Blossoms by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Curried Roasted Pumpkin Hummus by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Praline Frosted Pumpkin Brownies by My Catholic Kitchen
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter by Making Miracles
Pumpkin Biscotti by The Pajama Chef
White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake by Dizzy Busy and Hungry

#PumpkinWeek: Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake

Pumpkin oatmeal meets quinoa in this hearty, healthy baked breakfast dish!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Welcome back to#PumpkinWeek hosted by Terri from Love and Confections. We are celebrating our love of the season with a whole week of pumpkin goodies, leading up to National Pumpkin Day on October 26th. This week, 17 food bloggers are sharing tons of yummy recipes, both sweet and savory. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections’ #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board. Today I have a delicious breakfast to share with you. Baked oatmeal is one of my favorite breakfasts, and in the fall, this Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal is one of my go-to choices. But you know me… I always want to try something new! And this something new is definitely a good thing! :)

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

For awhile now, I’ve seen recipes using quinoa, barley, or farro as a pseudo-oatmeal. I’ve gotta admit though–while those recipes SOUND good, they also seem a little scary. Old breakfast habits die hard, I suppose. To ease my way into this breakfast madness, I decided to combine quinoa with oatmeal in a baked breakfast dish. I added tons of pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree to make this dish seasonally appropriate. It was such a hardship, let me tell you. Ha. Not at all!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

I should have known to always trust quinoa. And pumpkin. :) This breakfast was so great! I enjoyed it a few ways–warm with cinnamon as pictured above, warm in a bowl with some Greek yogurt and maple syrup, and warm in a bowl with almond milk and some maple syrup and dried fruit. The bake is also hearty enough to just be cut and served at room temperature. I think it could be excellent with some peanut butter or even pumpkin butter spread on top. Mmmm! I’ll have to make it again soon. I always get good serving ideas after everything’s all gone. :) Enjoy!

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

two years ago: Chicken Enchiladas with Green Chile Sour Cream Sauce
three years ago: Apple Cinnamon Pancakes
four years ago: Oatmeal Scones

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • Print

adapted from my baked oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups almond milk + more for serving
  • Greek yogurt, for serving

Directions:

In a small saucepan, cook 1/2 cup quinoa in 1 cup water according to package directions. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 10 inch round casserole dish [a pie plate or square baking dish will work too, but cooking time may vary].

Meanwhile, whisk together oil, pumpkin, maple syrup, and egg. Fold in oats, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice. When quinoa has cooled down, add quinoa, vanilla, and milk, stirring to combine.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth out if necessary. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until firm and golden brown.

Serve warm with almond milk or Greek yogurt, plus additional sweetener/dried fruits/nuts if desired.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Check out all the #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:

Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Truffles by Love and Confections

Pumpkin-Vanilla Bean Madeleines by Culinary Adventures with Camilla

White Chocolate Drizzled Pumpkin Scones by That Skinny Chick Can Bake

S’mores Pumpkin Pie by The Spiffy Cookie

Homemade Pumpkin Puree by Happy Food Healthy Life

Pumpkin Mole by Curious Cuisiniere

Drunken Pumpkin Seeds by Life Tastes Good

Pumpkin Roll by A Day in the Life on the Farm

Pumpkin Lasagna by My Catholic Kitchen

Cinnamon Pumpkin Bread by Making Miracles

Pumpkin Quinoa Oatmeal Bake by The Pajama Chef

Pumpkin Chocolate Swirl Pancakes by Dizzy Busy and Hungry