Apple Cider Pork with Kale and Cranberry Salad

Apple Cider Pork with Kale Salad

Here’s my autumn twist on stir-fry!

This is one of my easy weeknight go-to’s during the fall. Honestly, the hardest part of this meal is planning ahead an hour to marinate the pork! The marinade is practically two ingredients, plus, once you begin actually cooking, the whole thing comes together super fast. I made this on a Tuesday night after getting up at 4:30am, and working a full day. If this weren’t really an easy fix, there’s no way I would have attempted a “photo shoot dinner” on a workday.

I like to serve this with something green. Brian’s got lots of “Brianisms” or goofy one liners that he says a lot. One of them is “I need some green in my life.” Well here’s some green for everyone’s life. It’s my favorite way to eat raw kale at the moment. This is the basic version, but please add anything and everything you can think of. I’ve added pears, apples, pecans, pine nuts, and almonds before. Please comment if you think of any other great additions… I’m always trying to think of new things to dig for in salads!

Tasty. Healthy. Fast. Seasonal… Enjoy!

Apple Cider Pork with Kale Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4lb pork tenderloin (in small cubes)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup apple juice or apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt

Directions

Step 1
In a 2 cup measuring cup, measure out your apple cider vinegar and apple cider/juice.
apple cider and vinegar
Step 2
Add in the salt and pepper, and give it all a good stir.
apple cider marinade
Step 3
Pour into a 13x9 inch dish with your pork tenderloin cubes.

Spread the cubes out into an even layer so that everyone gets plenty of marinade.
pork cubes in apple cider marinade
Step 4
Cover with plastic wrap while pressing all the pieces down into the apple cider mixture.
covering pork marinade
Step 5
Pop into the fridge for an hour.

Once it's had at least an hour in the marinade, drain off the pork cubes.
draining pork cubes
Step 6
Spread them out onto several layers of paper towels.

Being drier when they go into the skillet will help them brown a bit better.
marinaded pork cubes
Step 7
Another thing that will help the pieces to brown is to cook the pork in two batches.

Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat, and add roughly half of your pork.
browning apple cider pork
Step 8
This is just like a stir-fry. That means you'll be constantly moving the pieces around over a fairly high heat.

Toss the cubes around around 2 minutes and then pull to a plate.
apple cider pork
Step 9
Add one more tablespoon of oil to your skillet, and brown the second batch for another two minutes.

Pour the first plateful of pork back into the skillet. Cover the whole thing with a lid, and simmer one minute.
covered pork
Step 10
Remove the lid and let it bubble another 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the size of your pork cubes). Be careful at this point, because dry pork is no fun for anyone involved. If you have really small pieces, then they're probably done about the time the lid comes off.
Apple Cider Pork
Step 11
I always pull one of the largest pieces and cut into it to make sure it's done. I figure once the bigger pieces are ready, then they're all good to go!

As soon as you think they're done, pull them out of the hot pan!
Apple Cider Pork
Step 12
As I said earlier, I always like to serve this with something green. Here I paired it with a super simple kale salad.

I de-stemmed, washed, and chopped about 6 cups of kale. Then I tossed it with equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (it was around 1/8 cup of each). Add in a sprinkle of kosher salt and a handful of sweetened and dried cranberries (about 1/2 cup), and you've got yourself an easy and tasty seasonal salad!
Kale and Cranberry Salad
Step 13
Nestle a tasty pile of pork into the cranberry kale salad,
Apple Cider Pork with cranberry kale salad
Step 14
and enjoy a deliciously healthy autumn dinner!
Apple Cider Pork with Kale and Cranberry Salad
Raspberry and Spinach Salad

Raspberry and Spinach Salad

This salad is the perfect balance for me. I think salads are best when they have a nice mix of different flavors and textures. This one has it all! Spinach is my favorite base for salads, plus there are plenty of digs (the fun stuff that keeps you digging in salads to find them). Feel free to mix up the ingredients to please your palate.

I always like little pockets of sweetness. If it weren’t a great time of year for berries, my go to would be sweetened and dried cranberries. I caught these raspberries right at the end of their season and I say if you can find any kind of fresh berry use them here. The other fun “dig” for me in this salad is the goat cheese. Use any kind of cheese you like, or leave it out if you’re not a cheese in my salad kind of person. Mine is a mild and creamy goat cheese from a local dairy farm Capra Gia that my husband and I both love.

Another wintertime solution would be using your favorite bottled raspberry vinaigrette. Really there are tons of dressing flavors that would work great here. I’ve used my homemade Raspberry Vinaigrette. If you’ve got some berries and an extra ten minutes check out the recipe here.

Raspberry and Spinach Salad Recipe

Ingredients

  • fresh spinach (chopped)
  • fresh raspberries
  • red onion (thinly sliced)
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • marcona almonds (chopped)
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette

Directions

Step 1
It's a salad. So I'm afraid there's not really much to the steps. It's not so much making it as it is assembling it.

Start with your chopped spinach.
Spinach
Step 2
Sprinkle on the sliced red onions.
add red onions
Step 3
Add the raspberry polka dots.
add raspberries
Step 4
Crumble over the goat cheese. Blue cheese would work great here also if you'd like a bit more punch.
add goat cheese
Step 5
Now for the crunch!
add marcona almonds
Step 6
I've chosen chopped marcona almonds, but I came really close to using sunflower seeds. Feel free to add any or all crunch you'd like.
Step 7
Drizzle over as much or little of the vinaigrette as you choose.
Raspberry and Spinach Salad
Step 8
This is great as a fresh side,
Raspberry and Spinach Salad
Step 9
or make it the main attraction and feel really good about yourself!
Raspberry and Spinach Salad
raspberry vinaigrette

Raspberry Vinaigrette

This raspberry vinaigrette is so easy to make, and the results are fantastic!

We’ve used this vinaigrette on salads obviously, but it also works great as a dipping sauce or marinade for meats. If you have fresh berries and an extra ten minutes go the extra mile and make a thick raspberry syrup to use as the base of the dressing. If you’re short on time or berries, then just substitute raspberry jam for phenomenal results as well.

It’s just a matter of measuring and whisking to get a sensational dressing!

Raspberry Vinaigrette Recipe

Ingredients

syrup

  • 6oz raspberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (raspberry if you can find it)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry syrup

Directions

Step 1
This whole idea came about because these beautiful raspberries were on sale at work for $2 off per container. So, of course, I bought three with no plan whatsoever.

Aren't they gorgeous?
fresh raspberries
Step 2
I try not to use words like gorgeous because it makes my husband make fun of me, but seriously... look at them!
Step 3
I dumped a freshly washed 6oz container into a saucepan,
dump raspberries into saucepan
Step 4
and added 1/4 cup water and 2 Tbs. sugar.
add water and sugar to the berries
Step 5
Stir together over medium heat, and bring to a bubble.
boiling raspberries
Step 6
As you stir, break up the berries, so that you're left with a bubbly mush.

Let it keep bubbling away for a few more minutes.
simmering raspberry syrup
Step 7
The whole process should take about 10 minutes from the time you turn on the heat.

You'll be left with a delicious smelling ruby porridge.
raspberry syrup
Step 8
Ok so technically I guess it's not really a syrup as most people think of it, but for our purposes that's what I'm calling it.

Add 2 Tbs. of the raspberry syrup to a bowl.
add 2Tbs raspberry syrup
Step 9
If you can find raspberry balsamic definitely use that here.
raspberry balsamic vinegar
Step 10
Any balsamic will do the trick however, so add 1/4 cup of whatever is handy.
add balsamic
Step 11
Pour in 1/2 cup good quality olive oil.
adding olive oil
Step 12
Set about the whisking.
begin whisking the dressing
Step 13
It's just a matter of a few minutes and some vigorous whisking before you're left with a thick, sweet, and tangy dressing.
raspberry vinaigrette
Step 14
Now you're ready to spruce up any meat or salad.
RBvinsquare
Step 15
It's so easy and so good!
Taco Chicken Salad

Chicken Taco Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing

Our family’s motto is “when in doubt, put it in a tortilla.” In an effort to lighten things up, we decided to take some of our favorite quesadilla & burrito fare and transform them into a tasty salad.

One of the secrets to adding an extra layer of flavor is using curry powder in addition to the standard taco seasonings. It really brings the other flavors to life and gives the chicken a beautiful golden color without adding a lot of heat (feel free to add chili powder, cayenne, or both for an added kick, we are trying to spare our toddler’s diaper). One thing that Brian and I strongly agree on is eating dinner as a family unit. Not only does that mean sitting down together every night, but also eating the same dish. Sometimes our toddler Wyatt’s is presented slightly differently, but in essence we are only cooking one meal. In tonight’s example we have our chicken mix on a bed of lettuce covered in the dressing, while Wyatt’s is served next to a small cheese quesadilla with the lime dressing as a dipping sauce.

The dressing couldn’t be easier. Its a simple mix of sour cream and lime. The real magic happens at the bottom of the bowl as it mixes with the chicken juices. It creates a whole new dressing, but be careful when plating not to add too much of the chicken juices. No one wants chicken salad soup.

 

Chicken Taco Salad

Serves 4 - 6
Meal type Main Dish, Salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (Cut into bite sized pieces with excess fat removed)
  • 1 Large Onion (Diced)
  • 1 can Black Beans (Drained and rinsed)
  • 1 cup Frozen Corn Kernels
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Curry Powder
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
  • 1/3 cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • Tortilla Chips
  • 1 head Romaine (Chopped)

Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup Low Fat Sour Cream
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper

Directions

Step 1
Heat Olive Oil in skillet over medium heat
IMG_2510
Step 2
Season Chicken with Curry, Cumin, Paprika, Garlic Powder, and Salt
Raw Chicken with Seasonings
Step 3
Brown Chicken in a single layer (leave it alone for about 4 minutes). Turn each piece over to brown the other side (for about 2 minutes).
Browned Chicken
Step 4
Remove Chicken and set aside.
Step 5
Add Onions to the pan and add a pinch or two of salt. Cook, stirring two minutes.
onions
Step 6
Stir in Minced Garlic and cook 3 more minutes.
Add Garlic to Onions
Step 7
Add Wine and stir/scrape bottom of pan. Cook for another minute.
Add Wine
Step 8
Add Tomato chunks with their juices. Season with salt to taste.
Add Tomatoes
Step 9
Add 1 tsp. of Garlic Powder, 1 tsp. of Cumin, Salsa, Black Beans, and Corn.
Seasoning Taco Chicken Salad
Step 10
Wait for the sauce to bubble, then add back in the chicken. Stir, cover and cook 5 minutes.
Add Chicken
Dressing
Step 11
In a small bowl add the zest of both limes. Then squeeze in the juice of 1 1/2 of them.
Lime Zest
Step 12
Reserve the other half as wedges to serve with the meal.
Lime Wedges
Step 13
Add the Sour Cream and 1/2 tsp of course black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt.
Creamy Lime Dressing Components
Step 14
Wisk together to make your dressing.
Creamy Lime Dressing
Plating
Step 15
Fill the bottom half of the bowl with lettuce.
Lettuce
Step 16
Cover with the Taco Chicken mixture (use a slotted spoon to remove some of the juices).
Step 17
Serve with the Creamy Lime Dressing, tortilla chips, and a wedge of lime.
salad_2