Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Works for Me Wednesday: Easy "Company" Dinner

On Monday, I *might* have had family coming to dinner. So, there *might* have been eight people for dinner. Or, since this is my family we're talking about, maybe which case there would be just four, the Jedi and the kids and me. If my family came, they could be dropping in anytime between 5pm and 9pm. (See, I come by the randomness honestly.)

So, the question is, what do I fix for dinner? Plus, I only knew about this possibility after 9pm on Sunday what could I fix for dinner with the ingredients I had on hand?

What I came up with was easy and delicious. I'm not at all gifted in the kitchen, so I was really, really pleased with the results, and I'm sharing them here. (Everyone loved it, including the Jedi...who doesn't like white rice, bell peppers, or sweet and sour dishes.)

My Menu:

South Pacific Pork Loin Roast (done in the crockpot)
Seasoned Rice
Stir-Fry Sugar Snap Pea Blend

This menu co-stars Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend, because my mother has high blood pressure, so I try to keep dishes she's eating low-sodium. The Seasoned Rice can be kept warm in the pot until your tardy company finally shows up, if they do. Likewise, the roast can be kept warm in the crock pot and the sauce easily reheated in the sauce pan. You want to cook your vegetables when your company arrives, because they must be served immediately to be yummmy. (The Jedi the kids and I ate our dinner at 5:30, because we were hungry. I made just enough veggies for my immediate family, with the intention of making more veggies when the rest of my family showed up, if they ever did. They didn't, but the dinner makes for delicious leftovers, so no worries.)

Here are my recipes.

South Pacific Pork Loin Roast

* pork loin roast, boneless, about 3 to 4 pounds
* Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb blend
* 1 large onion, sliced
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 3/4 cup hot water
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
* 2 teaspoons maple syrup
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
* 1 tablespoon ketchup or tomato paste
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced
* 1 can [8 ounces] pineapple chunks, drained, save the juice
* 2 tablespoons corn starch
* 2 tablespoons cold water

(The original recipe can be found here. I had to modify it to suit what I had on hand.)

Season pork roast with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb blend. Brown roast on all sides or place under broiler for 15 to 20 minutes to remove some fat. Place onion in bottom of slow cooker insert; top with the pork roast. Combine all else, except last four ingredients. Cover and cook on LOW for 9 to 11 hours. (I didn't have that amount of time. I cooked it on high for two hours, then on low for 5-6 hours.) About 1 hour before done, add sliced bell peppers and pineapple chunks.

To thicken gravy, blend 2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water. Pour liquid from crock pot into sauce pan. Add cornstarch mixture while stirring. Bring to low boil and cook and stir for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Serve in a gravy boat (if you have picky eaters). Remove roast from pot, and arrange with the cooked peppers and pineapples in a serving dish. (If you do not have picky eaters, more power to you; you can pour the thickened sauce back over the roast on the serving dish.)

Serves 6 to 8.

Seasoned Rice

*long grain white rice
*Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb blend
*1-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
*dash of ginger

Measure out water, rice, and margarine according to amount on rice bag for desired serving size. Substitute Mrs Dash Garlic and Herb blend for salt amount given on bag. Add 1-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon granules and a dash or two of ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered according to time given on rice bag.

Stir Fry Sugar Snap Pea Blend

*bagged frozen vegetable blend of choice
*1/2 teaspoon sugar
* 1-2 teaspoons pineapple juice
* Mrs. Dash garlic and herb blend
* dash ginger
*2 tablespoons oil

Saute vegetables in oil for 1-2 minutes. Add all seasonings and stir-fry for another minute. Serve immediately.


Kelly said...

Sounds yummy!!! We are having company Friday and I was thinking pork tenderloin. I may have to try our recipe!!!

gahome2mom said...

Chocolateer, I want to say thank you for the encouraging comment you left on my GAhome2mom blog. I have been feeling a little "depressed" (I hate that word.) And a little overwhelmed with the many book reviews that I have been doing lately. I read a book in two days and couldn't think of what to say about it. lol I felt dumb. Anyways, I feel much better. I welcome your visits anytime. Hugs,

Dee said...

Ouch 9-11 hours.That is scary.

Now the 1-2 mins for the
Stir Fry Sugar Snap Pea Blend I can deal with.



Kimberly @ RaisingOlives said...

That sounds delicious. I'm not that creative in the kitchen, but we generally have company at least 4 times a week and much of it is last minute or drop-in guests.

My stocked freezer saves me. I've been known to pull out two completely different main dishes and give everyone a choice of main course, not nearly as nice as your meal, but when your feeding 20 people unexpectedly, it works.

I'm going to have to try some of your recipes, they really sound good!