Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pork Tenderloin Dinner (4 recipes)

I had an extra day off from work thanks to the Thanksgiving long weekend and decided to make a bit of a fancier meal to celebrate. 
I did most of the prep work in the morning so I could clean everything up and all I had to do was throw everything in the oven when it was supper time. 
Pork tenderloin cooked in the slow cooker, some stuffing & sausage balls, Hasselback potatoes, and some spaghetti squash. So many flavors and textures and, you know what, they went soooo well together. 
Next time I need to impress some guests, I am definitely making this combination again. 
The stuffing balls are my new favorite.
I decided to share all 4 recipes with you today just in case you decide to give it a go too! 
We'll start with the Pork Tenderloin...

Pork Tenderloin In The Slow Cooker

1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp Italian seasonings
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp malt vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin

Combine soy sauce, olive oil, seasonings, sugar, honey, vinegar, and garlic in a large Ziploc bag. Marinate meat in the fridge for at least 4 hours. 
When ready to cook, place meat and marinade in the slow cooker on low and cook until meat is done, about 4 - 5 hours depending on your slow cooker. Check temp with a meat thermometer. 
When the rest of the meal is ready to serve, remove tenderloin from slow cooker and slice. 

And now for the stuffing balls.

Sausage & Stuffing Balls

1 lb sausage meat
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
1/2 cup aged cheddar cheese, shredded
1 box Stove Top Stuffing mix
1 cup chicken broth
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 375. Line a cookie tray with parchment paper or Silpat baking mat, set aside.
In a medium frying pan, cook sausage meat until no longer pink. Add in the celery and onion and cook, stirring often, until vegetables have softened - about 4 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
In a large bowl, combine cranberries, cheese, and Stove Top Stuffing. Stir in the cooked sausage mixture.
Add in the chicken broth and 2 eggs. Stir well to combine. (You may want to use your hands to make sure everything is really mixed!)
Using a cookie scoop (or pinch off a golf ball sized amount of the mixture), press mixture into a ball and set on prepared cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 for about 15 minutes or so, until balls are cooked through and tops are browned. (**Note - you can also prep these in the morning and simply cover on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until ready to cook the rest of the meal.)

How about some Hasselback potatoes??

Hasselback Potatoes

Garlic Butter
1/2 cup butter, room temp
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp garlic powder

4 medium/large potatoes, scrubbed but not peeled
aged cheddar, sliced into thin slices
1 recipe garlic butter (recipe above)
sea salt
Parmesan cheese, grated fine

Make garlic butter - stir together room temp butter, minced garlic, and garlic powder until well combined. Scoop onto a piece of plastic wrap and use the wrap to shape butter into a long cylinder. Chill butter until firm. When firm, slice into very thin slices. Set in fridge until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400. Line an oven safe baking dish with parchment paper, set aside.
Bring a large pot of water with 1 tsp of salt in it to a boil. Place the potatoes in the boiling, salted water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until you are able to pick them up.
When cool enough, Slice the potatoes into 1/4 inch slices, being careful to only go about 3/4 of the way through the potato. Don't cut all the way through!!
Carefully place the thinly sliced cheddar cheese and the thinly sliced garlic butter into the slices in the potato. 
Once stuffed, place the potatoes in the prepared baking dish.

Sprinkle with a little sea salt and finely grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes - until potatoes are cooked through. 

And, last but not least, some spaghetti squash!

Spaghetti Squash Bake

1 large spaghetti squash
3 button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 cup spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Cut spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Discard the seeds or reserve for another use.
Cook the spaghetti squash by either microwaving, facing down, on a plate until fork tender OR by baking, face down, in the oven until for tender. (Microwaving can take between 10 - 15 minutes, baking takes about an hour or so)
In a small frying pan, cook mushrooms, red pepper, and onion until vegetables are soft. Stir in the spaghetti sauce. Remove from heat.
Preheat oven to 375. 
Prepare an oven safe baking dish by spraying with cooking spray, set aside.
When cooked and then cooled enough to handle; scoop one half of the spaghetti squash into the prepared dish. Spread the spaghetti sauce and vegetables on top of the squash.
Scoop the other half of the spaghetti squash on top of the sauce. Top with the grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375 for about 30 - 40 minutes. Until heated through and bubbling. 

Here are my notes on how I prepared everything so it was ready all at the same time:
In the Morning
1. Place tenderloin in the marinade.
2. Prepare stuffing & sausage balls and place them on the cookie sheet. Cover and chill.
3. Make garlic butter for the potatoes. Cover and chill.
In the Afternoon
1. Cook squash.
2. Place tenderloin in the slow cooker on low.
1 hour before dinner time
1. Bring salt water to boil & boil potatoes for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool until able to handle.
2. Prepare potatoes and place in 400 oven.
3. Prepare squash bake in baking dish. 
4. Remove stuffing balls from fridge.
When potatoes have cooked for 30 minutes - turn down the oven to 375. Place potatoes and squash dishes on the center rack, place stuffing balls on lower rack.
Cook 20 minutes.
Switch the stuffing balls to the middle rack and the squash and potatoes to the bottom rack.
Cook another 10 - 20 minutes, until everything is done.

Following these instructions the tenderloin, potatoes, stuffing, and squash were all ready at the same time. **Keep in mind it really helps to know how your slow cooker cooks!**
Hopefully my instructions are helpful and not too confusing!

Looking for tons of tasty & crafty links? Visit these great blogs - Dizzy Busy & Hungry, Anyonita Nibbles, My Sweet Mission, Carole's Chatter


  1. You knocked this one out of the park! What amazing recipes. Thanks so much for linking up at WDW!

  2. Hi Jo and Sue. Thanks so much for linking up this great post (4 recipes in 1 - yum!) to my Sweet Wednesday Link Party! I love your recipes, they always look so delicious!

    Have a Sweet Day.

  3. Jo and Sue. this sounds delicious. I can hardly wait to wow my family for Sunday dinner.

    I have the meat marinating now, and I was curious are you using a high or low setting on your crock pot?
    Thank you Terre

    1. I used the low setting on my crock pot (my crockpot tends to run on the high side...)

  4. I love cooking and when I saw that slow cooker recipe, I knew I was in for something good. I made it the day I found it... And wow. My husband hasn't stopped talking about it in almost a week. He said it is one of the best things I have ever made and it gets better on day 2... Then on day 3. Thanks!!!

    1. Thank you Anna :) We are soooo happy you (and your hubby) enjoyed it!

  5. Sorry if this is a dumb question, but is the stuffing supposed to be prepared before everything is mixed?

    1. Not a dumb question at all:) you don't have to prepare the stuffing before hand. Just dump the dry mix into the rest of the ingredients. Hope that helps

  6. I came home from a night shift and popped this in the slow cooker (after marinating) and it ended up going nearly 5 hours - and my pork is literally like pulled pork, I went to roll it over to check the bottom and it just shredded. Still super moist - but pulled!

    Do you think that extra hour would have done that? Or should I have gone even under 4 hours?

    1. The extra hour definitely could have made it that tender. Your best bet is a meat thermometer :) I rely on mine all the time

  7. How many sausage balls does the recipe make, roughly?

    1. Using my small cookie scoop I believe I got roughly 30 - 36 balls! :)

  8. Do you think the sausage balls could be prepped ahead of time and either frozen or refrigerated?

    1. Yes. They can be made ahead. I made them in the morning and refrigerated them all day until dinner time. You could probably make them the day ahead and they would work out too. I don't know it you could freeze them though.

  9. Thank you for responding so quickly! I really want to try these. Unfortunately, I am a lone cooker among many non-cookers who just like to eat. Anything I can do ahead of time really helps. Thanks so much!

  10. What type of sausage did you use for the stuffing balls?

  11. Should these be sausage balls be served hot?