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Spring is in the Air

May 1, 2018

Spring is in the Air

By Angie Sutton, www.mothersapronstrings.com

Flowers are blooming and the smell of cut grass is in the air. For Sutton Central that means we are spending more time outside. I recently purchased a bicycle from one of those online swap shop sites. Jeff gave it a quick overhaul and added a device so I can pull the little girls in the trailer. They love it and are so encouraging on the uphill climbs, “go mommy, you can do it!” About half way up the hill I’m not so sure they are right but we chug along. Our rides are followed up with the nightly Easter egg hunt. I think they could play this game year-round. Sneaking in a healthy dinner can be a challenge. Here are three of our recent favorites.


Italian Pork Tenderloin and Beans

The pork tenderloin comes from the full pork loin and is one of the most tender and lean cuts of pork. This dish packs in the protein!


1 pound pork tenderloin

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14.5-oz) can Italian-style stewed tomatoes

2 (19-oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 c. fresh baby spinach, stems cut off


1. Slice pork tenderloin into 8 coin-shaped pieces. In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Coat pork medallions with seasoning mix.

2. In an electric skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add pork medallions and cook about 2-to-3 minutes on each side. Pork will be nicely browned and should reach 145 degrees F. Remove and keep warm.

3. In the skillet, heat the remaining oil and cook onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, cannellini beans and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes.

4. Stir in spinach and cook until spinach wilts, about 1 minute.

5. Serve bean mixture topped with a pork medallion.

Apron Strings Notes: Make this dish into a soup by cutting the tenderloin into bite-sized pieces and adding at least 3 cups of chicken broth in step 3.


Pork and Veggie Stir Fry

This quick encore recipe is a perfect way to use up any leftover pork tenderloin. You’ll need about two cups of cooked loin cut into bite-sized cubes. Serve over prepared white rice.


1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. apple cider

2 c. cooked pork loin, cubed

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 (16-oz.) pkg. frozen veggie stir-fry blend, thawed

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 c. cooked pork loin, cubed

1/4 c. slivered almonds


1. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, apple cider and soy sauce until smooth, adding up to two more tablespoons of cider if needed. Set aside.

2. In a wok or large skillet, heat oil and add garlic and cook for 1 minute before adding stir-fry veggie blend and cooking an additional two minutes. Immediately stir apple cider mixture together again and pour over vegetables. Toss and bring to a boil, cooking for two more minutes or until sauce is thickened.

3. Toss in pork and heat through, about three minutes.

4. Serve on top of rice and sprinkle with almonds.

Apron Strings Notes: No leftover pork loin? Cut a 1 pound pork tenderloin into bite sized pieces and cook in olive oil over medium heat for about 6 minutes. Pork pieces should reach 145 degrees F and be lightly browned.


Cuban-Style Shredded Pork Sandwich

A great way to use up your leftover sliced ham!


1/4 c. orange juice

2 Tbsp. lime juice

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. lime zest

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. cumin

1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

5 lb. boneless pork shoulder

For the sandwich:

Bread (if you want panini) or rolls

Yellow Mustard (prepared)

Sliced Swiss cheese

Sliced baked ham

Dill pickles


1. Combine juices, olive oil, zest, garlic and seasonings.

2. Place pork in large resealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over pork and refrigerate overnight (or several hours).

3. Place roast and contents of bag in slow cooker crock. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

4. Remove pork to cutting board. Reserve juice in crock.

5. Shred pork. Add to crock and stir to combine juices.

6. Spread rolls with mustard. Layer cheese, ham, shredded pork and top with pickles in bun.

Apron Strings Notes: If you are making paninis, preheat panini press and then grill after step 6 until toasted.


Slow Cooker Ham and Split Pea Soup

I like to use leftover ham to add more meat to this recipe. Top off each serving with a dollop of light sour cream and serve with crusty bread.


1 lb. dried green split peas, rinsed

1 or 2 cubed, peeled potatoes

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 c. celery, diced

3 carrots, diced

1 bay leaf

1 tsp. ground black pepper

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

2 lbs. smoked ham hocks

6 c. tap water


1. In a 6-qt. slow cooker, layer all ingredients in order and then slowly pour the water over the top. Cook on low for 8 hours.

2. Take ham from crock and remove meat from bones. Discard skin and bones. Chop ham in bite-sized pieces. Remove and discard bay leaf.

3. Use a fork or stick blender to coarsely mash soup to desired consistency. Stir chopped ham back into soup and serve.

Apron Strings Notes: If the soup seems too thick, add hot water until you reach desired consistency. You can substitute unsalted chicken broth for half the water to add more flavor.

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