Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you each have a wonderful holiday and safe travels to wherever you're headed! I'll be back this weekend with another great recipe. In the meantime, chow down on some delicious eats! This is the best foodie holiday of them all :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Crab Mac and Cheese

I found a new favorite store.

It sells frozen whole lambs, 20 pound blocks of cheese, vats of ketchup, and commercial quality cookware.

Did y'all guess the restaurant supply store? It's so fun to visit!

There is one here in town that's open to the public and every month or so, I stop in. The meat prices are fantastic and I often pick up Torani syrups, spices, frozen veggies, etc. Last time I stopped by, they had a great price on canned lump crab meat. And by great, I mean half the cost of the grocery store. Obviously, a can came home with me.

Since crab is such a treat, I didn't want to "waste" it on a sub-par meal. It had to be good.

And boy was it.

This recipe tastes like something you'd order a la carte at a fancy pants steakhouse. Except it's easy enough for a weeknight! The sweet crab folded in with the feta, Gruyere, and herbs make a fantasticly decadent dinner.

{see that word I made up? I quite like it.}

This makes a large amount so if you have a small family like us you could split it into two smaller baking dishes and share with a friend or just plan to eat leftovers for lunch a couple of days! I promise you won't mind :)

Crab Mac & Cheese
1 lb dried pasta (any shape)
1 lb lump crab meat
10 oz crumbled feta cheese, divided
zest of 1 lemon, divided
1/2 cup panko
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, divided
1 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all purpose flour
3 cups milk
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
8 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

In a large pot, boil the pasta in salted water for 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain well and transfer back to the large pot. Add the crab to the hot pasta and toss to combine.

In a medium bowl, toss together a handful of feta, pinch of lemon zest, panko, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, and the melted butter. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes, or until light golden brown in color. Whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Bring to a simmer and let it thicken, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom of the pan. This should take 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the remaining feta, lemon zest, and parsley as well as the dill, Gruyere, salt, and pepper. Pour this sauce over the pasta and crab in the large pot and stir well to coat.

Pour the mixture into a 3 quart baking dish. Sprinkle the reserved panko mixture evenly over top.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides are bubbly and the top is evenly browned. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Source: adapted from Smells Like Home

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

I promise this is the last pumpkin recipe of the season! And it's a good one!

The day Pumpkin Spice Lattes arrive at Starbucks is pretty amusing on social media. My Instagram and Facebook feed both fill with excitement with people picking up their first of the season. This year, they rolled out a few days prior to September and I just couldn't bring myself to order one in August. September 1? Not a problem :)

Unfortunately, with the price creeping upwards each year, not many of us can pick one up whenever the mood strikes us. Have no fear! In 15 minutes or so, you can whip up a jar of pumpkin spice syrup to pour into your favorite cup of joe or latte of choice at home.

Have some extra pumpkin hanging out in the fridge? This is the perfect way to use it up!

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons pure pumpkin purée

In a small pot over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the cinnamon sticks and remaining ingredients. Allow to cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently, but don't let it boil. 

Let cool 5-10 minutes. Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth or a tea towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Butter

It's still pumpkin season, right?

I know Christmas is just around the corner but I'm holding onto fall as long as possible! With Thanksgiving just a week away, I figure you need a little more pumpkin in your life. Yes?

Y'all. This butter? A-MA-ZING.

{I mean, it IS butter. Enough said.}

This pumpkin pie butter is similar to cinnamon butter or honey butter - except better.

Everyone serves bread at Thanksgiving dinner so this year, step up your game and serve this instead of the plain stuff!

This is also the easiest recipe ever. Finally, a do-ahead Turkey Day recipe that won't leave you stressed out!

Pumpkin Pie Butter
1 stick salted butter, room temp
1 tablespoon canned pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon (packed) brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a food processor, blend all ingredients together until smooth. Transfer the butter to a piece of plastic wrap and roll into a log. Refrigerate until firm, about 2-3 hours, before slicing into discs. 

Serve with hot rolls.

Source: slightly adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tex Mex Shepherd's Pie

I feel like when you successfully put together a piece of Ikea furniture, you deserve an award.

Like, a shiny gold statue or medal. Or even a ribbon!

It would be a badge of honor, you know?

Jason is now working from home and desperately needed a legitimate working space. So we did what any couple-on-a-budget would do. We hit up Ikea on a Saturday night (living the dream, people, living the dream).

Sunday night was build the desk night. Yippee!

The "instructions" were 15 or so pages and included "directions" for 427 different pieces of furniture. None labeled, of course. Matter of fact, there were no words on any of the pages.

{notice the use of quotes...}

I couldn't help but imagine how fun it must be to design the Ikea instruction manuals. It must be hilarious! I'd be like 'dude, we should just throw in an arrow over here just to throw them off' and my colleague would say 'yeah, and let's add directions for a random piece of furniture we don't even sell to see if they notice!'

It'd be a pretty cool job if you have a twisted sense of humor. Like me.

His desk is put together, seems sturdy, and we only had a few leftover pieces that didn't seem to have a place to go. I call that a win.

Where's my medal?


Thank heavens I didn't feel like I deserved a medal after making this dish. It's simple, filling, family friendly, and SO GOOD.

The base is a creamy cheesy taco flavored ground beef mixture that's topped with cheesy hash browns and baked. It reminded me a lot of this Creamy Taco Mac that we also loved!

The ground beef mixture is an easy way to hide additional veggies so feel free to throw them in when you're browning the meat! 

Tex Mex Shepherd's Pie
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup corn
2 tablespoons taco seasoning
1 can (10.75 ounce) tomato soup
6 tablespoons reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups Mexican style shredded cheese, divided
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 3 quart baking dish and set aside.

Brown the ground beef and onion in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat until the meat is broken up and no longer pink. Drain fat from the pan and reduce heat to medium.

Add the canned tomato soup, corn, and cream cheese. Stir until well combined and cream cheese is melted. Stir in the taco seasoning and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Pour mixture into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the potatoes, salt, pepper, and remaining 1 cup shredded cheese.

Top the ground beef with the potatoes. Spread them out evenly and press down just slightly.

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the potatoes are browned and crispy on top.

Source: slightly adapted from The Midnight Baker

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Apple Harvest Bars

October was staff appreciation month and man, were we appreciated! The counter outside my office sported quite the spread of yummy treats the entire month and it took all the willpower I could muster to not eat my weight in goodies.

Along with all the delicious sweets, we were also gifted with fresh apples. Not surprisingly, the apples weren't eaten quite as quickly as the baked goods... so I did what any sane person would do with fresh apples. I baked with them.

Funny that when I brought back the apples - now baked in these delicious bars - they disappeared in no time flat.

These bars will make you wish for 6 more months of fall.

Check out the EASY recipe over at The Best Blog Recipes where I'm guest posting today!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Crockpot Indian Butter Chicken

People seem to love their crockpots.

My crockpot recipes have far more hits than any other recipe I've posted. I don't have all that many on the blog, actually, because I don't think a crockpot is the end all be all of kitchen appliances. It's handy... but your options are pretty limited. And to be honest, pulling out a skillet and tossing together a 15 minute one pot dish is SO much easier!

That said, they do have their place in a busy household like ours! Jason has always worked typical business hours with no "work at home" expectations once he was out of office while I have always done the opposite. He recently changed positions and has joined me on the other side. We haven't' had dinner together yet this week, matter of fact! And those are weeks when crockpots can be handy. Either one of you can toss it in on your way out the door and it's ready for whomever arrives hungry first.

Butter chicken is my favorite Indian dish and while this won't compare to your favorite restaurant version, or even my favorite version, it's darn good. You get the flavors that you love from Indian food without much effort. And, your house will smell AMAZING when you walk in.

I'm always a basmati rice + naan bread girl when it comes to Indian food and this chicken worked great with that. Trader Joe's naan bread is pretty darn good or if you're really adventurous you could make your own (my girl Julie made her own if you want a recipe to use).

Butter chicken is the perfect introductory dish for anyone unfamiliar with Indian food. Not spicy, not weird, and - hello? - there is butter in it!

Thanks to the light coconut milk & Greek yogurt, this is a lighter version of the traditional cream-heavy butter chicken. No guilt! 

Crockpot Indian Butter Chicken
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
1 medium onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garam masala
1 tablespoon fresh ground ginger
4 tablespoons butter
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt

Add the chicken, onion, garlic, curry, cayenne, garam masala, and ginger to the crockpot. Over top, add the butter, tomato paste, lemon juice, and coconut milk. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4.

Using two forks, shred the chicken and mix well with the sauce. Stir in yogurt 15 minutes before serving. Add salt to taste and serve with hot basmati rice and naan bread. 

Source: adapted from Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken

You know how there are some words that just jump right of the page? Or you immediately zero in on it if someone at another table says it in conversation and you lean in to hear what they're saying?

For me, one of those words is caramelized.

Oh heavenly days I LOVE all things caramelized.

I don't mean caramel. Though I'm cool with that, too. I mean when you cook something in such a way that the result is a sweet, nutty, and, well, caramely finish.

Heck, I don't even like onions but I can throw down some caramelized onions! You'd be crazy not to!

So, it's no surprise that this recipe leapt off the screen when I scrolled past it. Caramelized chicken? Oh yes. Imagine a big bowl of sticky sweet and savory chicken and noodles, topped with loads of black pepper. If all Vietnamese food tastes like this, I'll be eating it once a week!

We've talked about Jason's aversion to rice before so instead so I tossed hot cooked rice noodles into the skillet with the chicken and coated it all in the sauce. You could always serve hot cooked rice instead.

We couldn't get enough of this dish - the leftovers were gone before I knew it!

This is another fast healthy weeknight meal - on the table in 30 (or less!).

Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
2 fresh Thai chiles, halved, or dried red chiles
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 lb boneless/skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 green onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces dried wide rice noodles

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles according to package directions; drain and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, fish sauce, water, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, pepper, and chiles. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large deep skillet. Add the shallot and cooked over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce mixture and the chicken and simmer over high heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Using tongs, add the cooked rice noodles to the pan and mix well. Make sure all the noodles are coated with the sauce.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with green onions.

Source: adapted from Food & Wine Magazine

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Broccoli Cheddar Soup (Panera Bread Copycat)

Brrr! It is getting chilly here - especially in the evenings! Last night we used our fireplace for the first time this season and I was in heaven. There is just something cozy about curling up on the couch with just the light from the fireplace filling the room. If firewood wasn't so pricey, I'd have it roaring nightly!

The weather is now perfect for soups - and what better thing to enjoy on a dark cold night? We both love broccoli cheddar soup and this version is by far our favorite. Jason prefers his broccoli cheddar soup completely pureed (no big pieces of broccoli). I'll eat it anyway it comes but after having this version several times, I've decided that I prefer it pureed, too.

{I originally shared this version 3.5 years ago and man, did it deserve a better photo!}

This soup is cheesy, broccoliy, and creamy. It's a spot on copycat for the Panera Bread version - except you can now make it easily at home, cheaper! Filling enough to be a meal on it's own but also perfect alongside simple sandwiches or a salad. Or - if you really want to take it over the top - pick up some sourdough bread boules, hollow out the insides, and ladle the soup inside for individual servings. *drool*

Soup's On!

Don't be scared off from the cooking times - most of it is hand's off so you can leave it simmering while you do other things.

Broccoli Cheddar Soup {Panera Bread Copycat}
6 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups half and half
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
1 large carrot, diced
2.5 cups grated sharp cheddar (8 ounces), plus more for garnish

Melt butter in large dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Whisk in flour and cook until golden, 3-4 minutes. Gradually whisk in half and half until smooth. Add chicken broth, bay leaves, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to med-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and puree in the pot using an immersion blender (if you don't have one, puree batches of soup in your blender and return to the pot). You'll still see flecks of carrot and broccoli but shouldn't have any big pieces of either.

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until it melts. Taste and adjust seasonings (if needed) before ladling into bowls and garnishing with more cheese. 

Source: Food Network Magazine

Friday, November 8, 2013

Sweet Corn and Roasted Poblano Risotto

Let's just cut right to the chase.

Risotto rules.

I've mentioned a couple 5 million times that rice is one of my favorite foods EVER so risotto is obviously a dish I love. Thankfully, Jason will happily eat a loaded risotto for dinner without saying "rice? again?" like he would with a typical rice side dish so I make it as often as possible! We really loved this version - so good! Almost like risotto with a Tex Mex kick.

Risotto is simple to make and requires very little skill - just some patience and time. When I make risotto, I bring my laptop to the kitchen and surf the net while I stir. Otherwise, I get bored... though admittedly, I have a very short attention span to start with :)

I think this works well as a weeknight meal because it's simple and doesn't require a ton of other dishes to pull off. If you want to whip it up quickly, roast the poblanos the night before and use some store-bought rotisserie chicken for the meat lovers in your home. And then, when you're sitting on the couch in your PJs watching Scandal, you'll feel super fancy dining on risotto!

Sweet Corn & Roasted Poblano Risotto
5 cups chicken stock
2 poblano peppers - roasted, de-seeded, and chopped (see below)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped 
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup frozen sweet corn
1/4 cup white wine
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2/3 cup chopped cilantro
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken (optional)

In a large saucepan, heat the stock to a simmer and then reduce heat so the stock stays warm.

In a deep skillet or dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add wine and deglaze the pan using a wooden spoon.

Add the rice to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes. Be careful to not let the rice brown. 

Add a ladle of the reserved hot stock to the rice and stir until all the liquid has been absorbed. When the rice looks almost dry, add another ladle of stock. Repeat until all but 2 ladles worth of stock have been added and absorbed. 

Stir in the chopped poblanos, corn, and 1 ladle of stock. Let the liquid absorb. Add salt, pepper, cumin, chopped chicken (if using), and last ladle of stock. Stir until the last bit of liquid has been absorbed. Taste and make sure the rice is cooked (if not, continue adding liquid - either more stock or just water - until it's creamy and tender). This process will take around 30 minutes.

Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. Add cilantro, stir, and remove from heat.

Sprinkle grated Parmesan over each serving.  

To roast the peppers: Turn your broiler on high and line a baking sheet with foil. Coat the poblanos with cooking spray and place on the baking sheet. Broil until the skin starts to bubble and blacken. Using tongs, flip the peppers over and let the other side cook until blackened and bubbly. Remove from the oven and place both peppers in a gallon sized ziptop bag. Seal and set aside for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the peppers from the bag and begin to peel the outer skin off - it should come off easily. You can use gloves but I like to live life on the edge. Once the skin has all been removed, cut off the cap, slice down one side, and scrape out the seeds. Now just dice them!

Source: adapted from Foodie Fitness

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge

Does anyone really have leftover Halloween candy at their house? In my world, there is absolutely no such thing! The amount of recipes circulating last week that called for "leftover Halloween candy" had me cracking up. But they sure looked good! And I'd never turn down a baked good made with candy bars (hello!?).

We went through a ton of candy this year for Halloween ~ but not at our house. Our trunk or treat event at church had a huge turn-out and we went through LOTS of candy. So much, in fact, that I had to send a church member up the road to CVS for 35 more bags halfway through the event! We paid through the nose for those bags but Trunk or Treat just isn't a hit if we run out of candy before all the kids got their fair share. Next year, I'll be the crazy lady at Costco buying a pallet of candy!

So, I didn't have a single piece of leftover Halloween candy in my house but I DID have fudge. Ridiculous fudge, really. I kept seeing fudge recipes go by on Pinterest and realized it'd been years since I made some at home. I played around a bit with some of my favorite flavors and came up with this. Y'all, I realize it's a tad over the top but go with it.

The fudge itself is semi-sweet chocolate + peanut butter. I used semi-sweet because, honestly, I'm not a milk chocolate fan. If you like milk you could sub that in and have a milk chocolate + peanut butter fudge similar to a Reese's cup. And because I can't leave good enough alone, I decided to blend in chunks of brownie.

Yep, brownie.

Now, I'm not usually a packaged/boxed brownie girl but in order for the brownie to hold up in the thick chocolate it needed to be a dense firm brownie. Not gooey, fudgy, or soft. I don't have a stand-by brownie recipe that would fit the bill so I reached for packaged brownies.

You know those awesome brownies you used to get in your lunchbox? Yep, that's what I used. And they worked perfectly!

To add a touch more peanut butter flavor - and to make them prettier - I drizzled on a simple peanut butter glaze.

The whole recipe comes together in around 10 minutes. Let it cool for a couple hours, slice into pieces, and you have one sinful treat on your hands.

These are super rich and sweet! I recommend cutting them into small pieces - which also means they'll last longer!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownie Fudge
10 ounce bag peanut butter chips (such as Reese's)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 dual-pack fudge brownies (such as Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Line an 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper, allowing it to hang over the edges slightly for easier removal later.

Remove the brownies from their wrappers and chop them into small pieces. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chips, and condensed milk over medium heat. Stir constantly until it's smooth. Remove from heat and gently stir in 1/2 of the chopped brownies.

Pour the mixture into your prepared pan, smoothing it out on top. Sprinkle the remaining brownie pieces over top, slightly pressing them down into the chocolate.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, milk, and powdered sugar. Spoon it into a sandwich sized ziptop bag. Cut the corner and drizzle it over top.

Allow to chill for 2 hours or until firm (the drizzle will remain soft). Cut into pieces and enjoy!

Source: adapted from Something Swanky

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce

This weekend has definitely been November worthy weather. Crisp, breezy, and gorgeous.

One of my favorite things about living in North Carolina are the trees. Man, the trees! There is nothing like them back home and I'm determined to never take them for granted. We have ~35 in our yard which is SUCH a change from the piddly 2 builder basic trees we had at our previous home. The colors are changing, the leaves are falling, and everywhere you drive is a feast for the eyes.

I hope the weather is cooperating where you are and that you're getting to enjoy some beautiful fall weather!

These meatballs popped up in my blog reader recently and I knew it'd be on our menu soon. I'm always looking for ways to use more ground turkey and we both love Asian inspired flavors. They were a hit! The meatballs are easy to toss together and bake while you whip together the super easy sauce. I served them over rice and drizzled with the sauce but I think these would also be PERFECT on toothpicks as an appetizer or party snack.

I thought these tasted exactly like the inside of a potsticker!

Asian Turkey Meatballs with Sesame Lime Dipping Sauce
For the meatballs:
1 1/4 lbs 93%  lean ground turkey
1/4 cup panko
1 egg
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

For the sauce:
4 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp chopped fresh scallion

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, combine the turkey, panko, egg, ginger, garlic, salt, cilantro, scallion, soy sauce, and oil. Mix until well combined. Shape the mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball and transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Repeat until all meat is shaped.

Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

While it bakes, mix together the dipping sauce by combining the soy sauce, oil, lime juice, water, and scallion.

Serve the meatballs with the prepared sauce.

Source: slightly adapted from Branny Boils Over

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pork Tenderloin and Mexican Quinoa with Honey-Habanero Dressing

Happy November!

I'm here with a grilled meal for you :)

Yeah, yeah, I know. All the other bloggers are serving up chili and soup and I'm over here with my grilled pork and corn salads. In my defense, grills are year-round worthy and some areas never really cool off enough for cold weather food by November.

The weather here in North Carolina got chilly for about a week (I wasn't amused) and then warmed back up. Not as hot as Texas typically is this time of year but definitely not cold. And definitely not chili weather!

This meal is super simple but tastes much more complicated than it is! The fact that you can do most of it in advance is also a plus in my book. The pork is marinated for a couple of hours and then simply grilled. The result is super tender and flavorful! You toss some of the same marinade with a few easy ingredients and create a colorful and delicious quinoa salad that could easily be made in advance and chilled until ready to eat. SO GOOD!

We didn't think there was much heat in this, though I only used half the habanero and I discarded the seeds. It just nicely balanced out the sweetness of the honey. If you're a fan of heat, increase the amount.

Pork Tenderloin & Mexican Quinoa with Honey-Habanero Dressing
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1 (15.5 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 red pepper, diced
3 green onions, diced
6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed

For the Honey-Habanero Dressing:
1/4 cup honey
6 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 - 1 habanero
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly and add it to the pot along with salt. Cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Let sit for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool.

In a food processor, combine the honey, lime juice, vinegar, habanero, cumin, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Run until smooth. Slowly add the olive oil until combined. 

Pour half the dressing over two pork tenderloins in a shallow dish. Lightly cover and place in fridge to marinate for 2 hours.

In a large bowl, combine the beans, corn, pepper, green onion, and cheese cubes. Add the cooked quinoa and part of the remaining dressing. Mix and add more dressing until it's a consistency you prefer. Check for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if needed. Chill until ready to serve. 

Grill the pork over medium-low heat until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees, about 20 minutes. Let sit a few minutes before slicing and serving alongside prepared quinoa salad.

Source: slightly adapted from Baked Bree

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