Homemade Sausage Patties for Breakfast and Brunch

 homemade sausage patties

DIY sausage patties are easy and tasty for brunch and breakfast.

Serve these easy, do-it-yourself pork sausage patties for breakfast, dinner or at your next brunch. The basic seasonings in these skillet sausages mimics the flavor of traditional patties, but you can customize them with any favorite blend of spices, herbs and seasonings. Maybe you’d like them with all Italian-style seasonings. Or Cajun, Moroccan or Latino with chili peppers, cumin and lime zest. Or smoky with chipotle chili pepper or smoked paprika. You can even add a little finely chopped apple or bell pepper.

Nutrition perks include plenty of filling protein from the lean pork, along with B-vitamins and potassium. Even better, these homemade patties mean less sodium than store-bought versions, because you get to control the sodium.


DIY Sausage Patties
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Make homemade sausage patties when you want to customize the seasonings, keep tabs on the sodium and dazzle your brunch guests.
Recipe type: breakfast, dinner, brunch
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 patties
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seeds, skillet toasted, then crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon crushed thyme
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon Aleppo pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground pork
  1. Heat an 8-inch skillet over medium heat. Add fennel seeds and cook, stirring or shaking constantly, until seeds are fragrant and toasted, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Crush seeds with mortar and pestle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk crushed fennel with remaining nine seasonings until thoroughly combined. In a large bowl, combine ground pork with spice mixture, blending with wooden spoon or hands. (Avoid over-working mixture as patties will be tough.)
  4. Shape into 8 patties, 3-inches in diameter.
  5. Heat an extra-large skillet (12-inch) over medium heat until hot. Add patties and cook until patties reach 160°F in the center, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Serve immediately.

No mortar and pestle to crush those fennel seeds? No worries. Just put the seeds in a zippered plastic bag and pound with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Toasting those before crushing really brings out their flavor, so don’t skip that step!

Why Your Kids Need Family Meals Together

Family Meals Matter

Want to give your kids a boost in life? Then sit down at the table and eat together as a family more often. At least three family meals together every week provides benefits that will last a lifetime. That’s right – just three. You don’t even need to eat together every single day like my childhood friends did – they grew up on farms and daily family dinners were as much a priority as feeding the cows and pigs. Three ways your kids get a boost:


  1. Better Behavior and Development

*Higher grades and better academic performance

*Higher self-esteem and greater resilience

*Greater sense of security and connection within the family

*Have a closer relationship to parents and siblings

*Greater understanding and acknowledgment of boundaries and expectations set by parents

*More likely to follow those boundaries and expectations

*More likely to exhibit positive social behaviors such as respect, sharing and fairness

*Less likely to show symptoms of depression, violence and suicide

*Better able to resist negative peer pressure

*Decrease in high-risk behaviors such as drug use, smoking, sexual activity and delinquent acts

*Lower risk of teen pregnancy

*Less likely to develop disordered eating behaviors

Frequent family meals provides connection and fosters emotional balance with your children and teenagers. Three family meals every week is all it takes – the benefits increase even more with each additional family meal.


  1. Healthier Eating Habits

*Healthier eating patterns overall

*Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables

*Higher intake of nutrients needed for proper growth such as protein, calcium and numerous vitamins and minerals.

*More likely to maintain a healthier weight/weight range

*Less likely to have eating disorders and disordered eating

Every meal your family eats together is an opportunity for your kids to learn from YOU – their role model for lifelong food habits – about the importance of regular meals and balanced choices. You can teach them how to have a positive and loving relationship with food, rather than a negative and fear-filled one. You can teach them table manners, too, like napkins on your lap, not chewing with your mouth open and not talking with food in your mouth. You KNOW those will serve them well down the road in social situations.


  1. Conversation Skills

*Greater ability to be an active listener and participant in meaningful conversations

*Enhanced language development

*More likely to have expanded vocabulary

*Better able to express their own opinions and have active voice within the family

In spite of all the technology today, your kids still need to learn how to actually carry a conversation. Meaningfully. Longer than just one sentence. Sitting at the dinner table together gives them this opportunity.

Notice I said sitting at the table. Sitting on the couch or floor in the living room every night with the TV blaring – even as a family – is not the type of togetherness that creates positive outcomes with behavior and conversation.  A calm and pleasant environment is best, so smart phones and mobile devices should be off, too.

Sample “conversation starters:”

*What’s the funniest/strangest/best thing that happened to you today?

*What’s your perfect day? What would you do and who would be with you?
*Name two places you’d like to go for family summer/winter vacation and why.

*What famous person(s) do you respect and admire? And why?

*If you were principal of your school, what would you do different?

family meals, three family meals together, eating together


How to Get Started Eating More Family Meals

*Decide you value eating meals together.

*Make it a family priority.

*Every Sunday, discuss which three meals that week you’ll all eat together. Yes, we’re all crazy busy with work, school, after-school activities, volunteer and community activities. But if you value this family time, you’ll figure out what days and times work. It can be breakfast, lunch or dinner. My childhood farmer friends also enjoyed big Sunday midday meals with extended family. Friends, too. That’s how I know about their tradition!

*Get input from everyone on what to eat/serve. Always include foods you know your kids like, but also be adventurous with new foods.

*Create fun theme nights, like Italian, Mexican, Asian, pasta, soup + salad, cheesy comfort food night. Maybe even breakfast for dinner night with eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits. Or my favorite – leftovers night. Great way to teach how to enjoy leftovers and cut down on food waste.

*Get everyone involved in shopping, meal prep and clean-up. Even more lifelong skills and lessons plus expanded family time.

*Never lose sight of the fact that family meals are one of the best things you can do to help your kids grow into healthy, happy adults.

Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana Agriculture and Farmers, I’m happy to mention this is a sponsored post for The Glass Barn. All content/opinions created solely by me. The Glass Barn is a physical and online resource providing educational materials on Indiana farming to educators and students; it’s funded by the soybean checkoff. You can visit the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

 Resources for scientific research and statistics supporting family meals: American College of Pediatricians, Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, Cornell University Food & Brand Lab, Food Marketing Institute, Bell Institute of Health & Wellness, Numerous University Extension Agencies and the Journal of Pediatric Health)



The Dietitian Picks Processed Foods

Frustrated and annoyed. That’s how I feel when I hear most of the prevailing “healthy eating” adages. “Shop only the perimeter of the supermarket.” “Don’t eat processed foods.” “Don’t eat foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce or that your grandma wouldn’t recognize as food.” “Fresh is best.”

I may be a dietitian, but I have no desire to follow any of those adages because they are too simplistic and short-sided. Too negative and guilt-inducing. And completely unnecessary if you want to be healthy and stay within your grocery budget. Furthermore, I’ll bet my great-grandmother would have been thrilled to use the many safe, affordable, nutrient-rich and convenient foods we have available today in supermarkets. She wouldn’t need to spend hours in the kitchen scratch-cooking three meals a day. Day after day. Let’s look at just a few of my favorite processed foods.

  1. Canned vegetables and fruits. This is one of main reason I detest “shop only the perimeter.” Canned fruits and vegetables are safe, have a longer shelf life and provide all the same nutrients as fresh. That’s because modern food processing technology means they are picked and packed at their peak and canned immediately, so nutrients are retained. I think everyone would eat more fruits and vegetables if they knew this. Drain canned vegetables and beans to slash sodium, or opt for the no salt added varieties. Choose canned fruits packed in 100% juice or light syrup rather than heavy syrup to reduce added sugars. Some canned fruits and vegetables even have more beneficial nutrients than fresh because of the heat/canning process itself. Canned peaches and tomato products are two examples.
  1. Breads and grains. Food technology in the bread aisle means I can buy a loaf of bread or bag of hamburger buns on February 10 and it’s good until February 25. The approved and safe preservatives in these baked goods mean quality, taste and texture are maintained with a longer shelf life. That’s a good thing, because I really don’t want to be baking homemade bread every couple days. Or throwing out store-bought bread and buns without preservatives. Nothing affordable about that. By the way, I’d miss out on my favorite 100% whole wheat bread slices if I only shopped the perimeter.

  1. Bags of baby spinach leaves. I find cleaning and trimming fresh spinach bunches incredibly annoying, so I love the convenient bags lining the produce shelves. Just open and eat. I don’t even need to wash that spinach thanks to food processing technology – those leaves have already been triple-washed for me at the production plant. And they’re packed in a thoroughly tested and safe plastic bag that keeps those leaves fresh and eye-appealing for many days. Safe, convenient, affordable and yes, incredibly nutrient-rich.
  1. Canned seafood. It’s a lot like the fresh fruit and vegetable thing – fresh isn’t best and isn’t the only thing that counts as nutrient-rich. Canned tuna, salmon and all seafood varieties are packed with protein and valuable omega-3 fats. The process of canning keeps my tuna safe and affordable. And ready to grab anytime I want to whip up some curried tuna salad with my favorite light mayo (processed), golden raisins (processed by drying fresh grapes), cashews (processed to remove shells), and enjoy a sandwich on that whole wheat bread (processed) with some baby spinach leaves from the bag (processed). So nutrient-rich and so processed.

  1. Ready-to-eat bacon. Those little boxes of precooked bacon are a far cry from the jars of bacon-like bits we used in the 60’s and 70’s. That was the only option back then, but now advanced food technology processes have created pretty decent precooked slices. You can’t beat them when you’re short on time and want to add some crumbled bacon to salads and casseroles. Or make a quick BLT. On slices of that whole wheat bread. Maybe even a few baby spinach leaves. I also love processed chicken breasts and chicken strips (refrigerated and frozen) that make mealtime a snap.
  1. Apples that don’t brown. Surprise! This one is brand-new technology and the apples aren’t even available yet locally. So I’ll tell you more about them when they’re on the shelves. But I’m very excited that I can now serve apple slices with my pumpkin cheesecake dip and in salads without that unappealing brown tinge. All thanks to genetic modification and food processing.


Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana Agriculture and Farmers, I’m happy to mention this is a sponsored post for The Glass Barn. All content/opinions created solely by me. The Glass Barn is a physical and online resource providing educational materials on Indiana farming to educators and students; it’s funded by the soybean checkoff. You can visit the Glass Barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.


Grilled Meatball Pizza

Ready for my grilled pizza surprise? This kid-friendly meatball pizza on the grill is fantastic for family dinners, picnics and cookouts.

Kid-friendly meatball pizza on the grill for family dinners, picnics and cookouts.pinterest_pin-it_icon-50

But as a dietitian, I’ll bet you think I’d say no to this kid-and-family-friendly meal.

Wait! Wait! Hold on! Before you ditch your frozen pizza and stop ordering delivered pizza for family movie night, let me explain.

No. It’s not junk food. Far from it. Doesn’t matter what kind, homemade, frozen or store-bought, it always contains at least three of the nutrient-rich food groups: grains (crust), dairy (cheese) and vegetables (tomato pizza sauce.) And by the way, I detest the term “junk food.” In my realistic dietitian book, no food is a junk food. Sure, some foods don’t give you the valuable nutrients you need to stay healthy. But all foods give you calories for energy and I prefer to call these foods treat foods, or fun foods (or non-nutrient-rich foods technically) because they give you satisfaction and happiness. A big piece of white cake with double white buttercream frosting is my favorite example. No real nutrient benefits but lots of satisfaction and happiness.

Kid-friendly meatball pizza on the grill for family dinners, picnics and cookouts.

No. Grilling pizza is not difficult. It’s actually quite easy and even better, it’s a great way to add more fruits and vegetables to your meal. And get everyone in the family involved in making/rolling out the pizza dough, shredding cheese and prepping toppings. Join me in celebrating all of pizza’s positive points:

  1. Protein provider. Whether from the meats or cheese, you’ll get plenty of protein.
  2. Whole grains. Or just grains in general from that crust. Remember – aim for at least half of your grains every day from the whole category, so it’s okay to enjoy white pizza crust. Or the whole grain crusts or dough. Your choice.
  3. More fruits and vegetables. Onion and green pepper are the most common veggies on a pizza. Pineapple (with ham which is naturally lean!) is the most common fruit. But shake things up and go for colored bell peppers, mushroom, spinach, arugula, carrots, squash (leftover garden zucchini anyone?) or any veggie you like. Peach and plum slices, apple slices, any fruit you want.
  4. Calcium. Cheese (any variety you want on this pizza) give you lots of bone- and teeth-building calcium.
  5. RQ. That’s “restaurant quality.” Your homemade grilled pizza is by far better than any you’d get at a restaurant because YOU made it! Here’s my favorite grilled pizza that combines TWO kid favorites – pizza and meatballs.

Grilled Meatball Pizza
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Kid-friendly meatball pizza on the grill for family dinners, picnics and cookouts.
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound refrigerated white or whole-grain pizza dough
  • ⅓ to ½ cup favorite pizza or thick pasta sauce
  • 12 prepared, frozen and thawed meatballs, cut in half
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
  • ½ to ¾ cup shredded Italian three cheese blend
  1. Divide dough in half. On a floured surface, roll into two 8-inch circles roughly.
  2. No need to create perfect circles.
  3. Oil grill grates and preheat grill to medium-low heat.
  4. Place the pizza crusts directly on the grill grates.
  5. Close cover and cook 1 to 3 minutes or JUST until the dough puffs and bubbles up in some places and starts to become firm.
  6. Remove crusts with tongs, turn over and place on baking sheet.
  7. Divide pizza sauce between both crusts and spread.
  8. Top with half the meatballs and green onion.
  9. Sprinkle each pizza with half the cheese.
  10. Return pizzas to grill, cover and grill for 3 to 6 minutes or until the crust is crisp (not burned!) and cheese is melted.
  11. Remove pizzas and cut into 4 slices each.

 Kid-friendly meatball pizza on the grill for family dinners, picnics and cookouts.

Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana Agriculture, I’m happy to mention this is a sponsored post for the Indiana’s Family of Farmers. And did you know Indiana’s dairy farmers rank 14th in the US for production? And the average American eats 31 pounds of cheese every year! That’s a lot of calcium and protein!

Healthy Hot Dog Toppings

Hot Dog Toppings Trio1Curious how a dietitian serves hot dogs? Three ways:
1. Topped with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
2. Served inside whole wheat hot dog buns.
3. Grilled outside for the best “at the ballpark” flavor.

That’s right. I balance those mouth-watering summer favorites with plenty of nutrient-rich ingredients. I know hot dogs aren’t the leanest of meats. Or the lowest in sodium. But that’s perfectly okay in my practical dietitian way of eating, because I prefer to celebrate the goodness of absolutely every food.

So let’s celebrate!
1. Protein provider. The typical hot dog – whether made from all beef, or part beef, pork, turkey and chicken – gives you at least 5 grams protein, and this protein helps keep your muscles strong and healthy. Concerned about nitrates and nitrites in hot dogs? Let me help allay your fears and concerns. These two ingredients are actually added to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. And the allowable amount has been proven safe by extensive and thorough research. And did you know? The majority of the nitrates/nitrites in your diet come from a variety of vegetables! That’s right, nitrates/nitrites are naturally occurring in many vegetables like celery, beets, spinach and numerous lettuces.
2. Vehicle for whole grains. Hot dogs fit perfectly in those widely available whole grain and whole wheat buns. Every day, if you choose at least half your grain servings from the whole grain category, you’ll be giving yourself a huge health boost. Not only do whole grains give you more vitamins, minerals and usually more fiber, you’ll also help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
3. Conduit for consuming more fruits and vegetables. Think about it…you enjoy fruit and vegetable-based salsa with pork, beef, fish, and poultry. Why not hot dogs?! And you love tons of vegetables on your deli sandwiches…why not on hot dogs?!  Just FYI, the average adult needs at least 2 cups fruit and 2 1/2 cups vegetables every day. Every little bit of those fruits and vegetables adds up, so start sprinkling and topping and stuffing away on those hot dogs!
4. Fastest of the fast. Nothing is faster on the grill than hot dogs. Plop, turn, remove. Hot dogs are already fully cooked when you buy them. You’re just reheating.
5. FTQ. That’s “food truck quality.” You know how tacos, dogs, and everything under the sun is a food truck trend and favorite? Well now YOU can serve up FTQ hot dogs with customized toppings right at your own backyard grill! Here are my three favorites – Vietnamese Hot Dogs, Hawaiian Hot Dogs, Chicago Hot Dogs.

Hot Dog Toppings Trio1


Vietnamese Hot Dogs
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Serves: 6
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 2-3 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • ½ large cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ¾ cup shredded carrots
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • 6 hot dogs
  • 6 whole wheat hot dog buns
  1. Make spicy mayonnaise by mixing mayonnaise and Sriracha sauce together in a small bowl. Spread mixture on buns then add hot dog. Arrange cucumber slices, shredded carrot and mint leaves over hot dog.

Hot Dog Toppings Trio1
Hawaiian Hot Dogs
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Serves: 6
  • 1 ¾ cup Pineapple Corn Salsa*
  • 6 hot dogs
  • 6 whole wheat hot dog buns
  • *Pineapple Corn Salsa
  • 1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits in 100% juice, drained
  • 1 can (15.25 ounces) sweet corn kernels, drained
  • 1 very large red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely minced
  • ⅓ – ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4-6 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 heaping teaspoon lime zest
  • ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Top each cooked hot dog in a bun with about ¼ cup salsa.
  2. To make salsa, toss pineapple, corn, red bell pepper, red onion, green onion, jalapeno pepper and cilantro together in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together lime juice, lime zest, garlic powder, cumin and salt. Pour over pineapple-corn mixture and toss lightly. Adjust seasonings to your liking. Refrigerate leftovers in tightly covered container.Yields 5 ½ cups salsa

Hot Dog Toppings Trio1
Chicago Style Hot Dogs
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Serves: 6
  • 1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 6 thin dill pickle spears
  • Hot sport peppers
  • Yellow mustard
  • Celery salt
  • 6 hot dogs
  • 6 whole wheat hot dog buns
  1. Divide tomatoes, onion, sweet pickle relish and dill spears between 6 hot dogs on bun. Add desired amount of sport peppers and mustard. Sprinkle with celery salt.

Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana Agriculture, I’m happy to mention this is a sponsored post for the Indiana’s Family of Farmers. And did you know that mint on your Vietnamese Hot Dog may have been grown in Indiana! That’s because Indiana is one of the top mint-producing states.

Jeff’s Favorite Asian Sweet & Sour Bean Salad


Yes, you have to have a vegetable in your lunch. At least whenever I pack your lunch. Which is a lot. This is by far his #1 favorite side-dish vegetable: My award winning Asian Sweet & Sour Four Bean Salad.
Award-winning because years ago I entered it in a Canola Oil contest and won $500! Lucky me! And lucky Jeff because he’s getting fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals and lots of phytonutrients. Lucky me, too, because the only thing I have to chop is the red onion. Everything else is open, drain, rinse, stir, whisk, stir again.

Jeff's Favorite Asian Sweet & Sour Bean Salad
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Perfect salad for make 'n take pitch-ins, lunches and time-pressed cooks.
Serves: 6 - 12 servings
  • 3 cans (14.5 oz.) cut green beans, drained
  • 1 bag (16 oz.) frozen shelled edamame, thawed and microwaved
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) dark kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • ¾ cup finely chopped red onion
  • ½ cup corn, canola or vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup unseasoned rice wine vinegar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 heaping teaspoon Chinese mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  1. In a large bowl, lightly stir all beans and red onion together. In a separate small bowl, whisk together vegetable oil, rice wine vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Add to beans and stir just to combine/blend. Enjoy immediately. Refrigerate salad in a tightly covered container. Makes about 11 ½ cups salad.
  2. Kim’s Healthy in a Hurry Lunch Tip: Enjoy a big serving of this salad with Jeff’s favorite Ham, Apple & Cheese Sandwich (whole wheat pita pocket with deli ham, sliced cheese and thinly sliced apples…a little honey or zesty mustard, too.)

Making Papa Pancakes


Kims papa pancake

Really they’re just 100% whole grain pancakes. Easy to make in one bowl. But they are now known as Papa Pancakes that’s what grandson Elijah named them. Because Papa Jeff loves them. So does Elijah! And he started cooking them with me when he was 2 1/2. Easy tasks, stirring, whisking and tap-tapping to level the flour. Tasting, too. He loves to taste many ingredients in a dish. Brown sugar is a favorite, but flour not so much. He even learned how to crack eggs making these pancakes. Expert egg-cracker at 3 years old.

I love these pancakes as a dietitian because they’re 100% whole grain, filled with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals for your heart, skin, brain and overall health.

Eli Grammy Aprons


Papa Pancakes
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100% whole grain goodness. Easy and fast for breakfast, brunch or breakfast-for-dinner.
Serves: 20
  • 1¾ cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ cups quick-cooking oats, uncooked
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups low-fat 1% buttermilk or regular 1% milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Whisk all dry ingredients together in large bowl. With a spoon, stir in milk, eggs, oil and vanilla. Pour ¼-cup portions of batter on hot (350-375°F) griddle or skillet. Cook until bubbles form, flip and brown other side until done. Makes about 20 pancakes.
  2. *Tip for holiday decadence: add chopped white chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate in these 100% whole grain pancakes!


Cocoa Chile Pork Tenderloin with Triple Cherry Sauce

Pork Full bowl BLOGPT[pinit]

Pork tenderloin is so versatile – grill it outside or oven roast it inside, and either way, it’s typically done in 30 minutes or less.

Pork tenderloin tastes terrific with just a simple salt and pepper rub, but it also goes with numerous flavor profiles. Sweet. Savory. Zesty. Spicy. Tangy. In less than 2 minutes you can whisk up a smoky BBQ, Cajun, Caribbean, Latin, Thai or Asian rub. Or my 3-in-1 sweet, smoky and spicy Cocoa Chile Rub. Deep chocolate flavor to compliment the smoky and spicy.

Want more pork versatility? Try pork tenderloin with savory chutney, zesty salsa and sweet or sour sauces. I vote for a sweet sauce to balance the spicy and smoky Cocoa Chile Rub, like my Triple Cherry Sauce. Cherries happen to be my #1 favorite fruit and this sauce counts toward your daily fruit servings!

Time to celebrate the goodness of this recipe:

  • Weight watcher. Pork protein (about 24 grams in every 3-ounce cooked serving) helps fill you up, keeps you full and satisfied and therefore, helps curb cravings and prevent mindless munching and overeating. This helps weight loss and weight maintenance efforts.
  • Muscle manager. Protein is critical for optimal muscle repair and growth day-to-day, after exercise and especially as you age. The latest research suggests spreading that protein throughout the day, so 20-30 grams at breakfast, lunch and dinner…not just at dinner!
  • Monotony breaker. Attention gym goers and weight trainers! There’s more than chicken to help you “eat more protein!” There are 7 slim cuts of pork. And pork tenderloin is just as lean as chicken breast with only 2.98 grams fat in a 3-ounce serving.
  • Processed with perks. This cherry sauce is a shining example of processed foods that provide big nutrient perks. Like canned, frozen, dried and 100% juices in the fruit and vegetable category. They’re just as nutrient-rich as fresh. Tart cherries contain natural anti-inflammatory properties, too.
  • RQ. That’s short for restaurant quality, the term my good friend Rick uses for home-cooked recipes that are just as good as restaurant foods. My husband Jeff says this Cocoa Chile Pork Tenderloin with Triple Cherry Sauce is better than RQ!
    Cocoa Chile Pork Tenderloin with Triple Cherry Sauce
    • Cocoa Chile Rub
    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 2 teaspoons ancho chile pepper
    • 1 teaspoon chipotle chile pepper
    • ½ teaspoon paprika
    • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
    • ½ teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon firmly packed light brown sugar
    • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt
    • Pork
    • 2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼ - 2 ½ pounds total)
    • Triple Cherry Sauce
    • 1 can (15 oz.) unsweetened tart cherries, drained and juice reserved
    • ½ - 1 cup 100% tart cherry juice
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar*
    • ¾ cup dried tart cherries
    • ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
    1. Heat oven to 425°F.
    2. Whisk all rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Divide mixture between both tenderloins, completely rubbing, coating and pressing into pork thoroughly. Place tenderloins in large rimmed baking covered with foil.
    3. Roast pork until it reaches 145°F with an instant read thermometer, about 20 – 35 depending on tenderloin thickness. Check temperature regularly after about 15 minutes of roasting. Let pork rest at least 3 minutes before slicing.
    4. While pork cooks, make cherry sauce. Drain cherries and reserve juice. Add enough additional 100% tart cherry juice to make 1⅓ cups total liquid.
    5. In a small bowl, stir cornstarch into ¼ cup cherry liquid. In a small saucepan, combine cornstarch mixture with remaining juice, canned cherries, brown sugar and dried cherries. Cook, stirring nearly constantly, until mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in mustard and vinegar. Enjoy warm or room temperature with pork tenderloin.
    6. Makes 6-8 servings (about 2 ½ cups total sauce)

    [pinit] Disclosure: As a proud supporter of Indiana Agriculture, I’m happy to mention this is a sponsored post for the Indiana’s Family of Farmers. And did you know? Indiana ranks 5th in pork producing states.

Stock Smart: Budget-Friendly Pantry Picks

Potatoes Fox59 5.20.15Potatoes are my #2 all-time favorite food. That’s a good thing, because not only are they extremely nutrient-rich and count as a vegetable, they’re budget-friendly, too! Just cents per potato will get you fiber, vitamin C, potassium and numerous other vitamins and minerals. That’s why I keep them stocked in my pantry all the time.

I keep a lot of things stocked, so I can whip up fast, easy, flavorful and nutrient-rich breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. For myself. Or for me and my hubby Jeff. Or so Jeff can whip up something for me! Which he does frequently….even my #1 favorite food: Steak. An occasional treat for a huge Porterhouse, T-Bone or New York Strip Steak.

Here’s what you’ll find in my pantry, fridge and freezer nearly every day of the year!

Stock Smart: Pantry & Fridge Picks on a Budget
Budget-friendly and Nutrient-rich Foods to Keep in your Fridge, Freezer and Pantry
  • Pantry
  • Canned beans (everything from black and pinto, refried and black-eyed, garbanzo and kidney, red and great northern)
  • Canned corn, green beans, carrots and beets
  • Canned tomato products (sauce, crushed and petite diced tomatoes (Jeff hates big tomato chunks!)
  • Canned mandarin oranges, peaches and pineapple (in light syrup or 100% juice)
  • Dried fruits (raisins, figs, tart cherries, dates)
  • Dry cereal (from whole-grain frosted mini wheat squares, cheerios, raisin bran and oat squares, to Jeff's favorite night-time snack of sugary cereals!)
  • Oatmeal (quick-cooking and old-fashioned in big canisters)
  • Pastas and noodles (both whole-wheat and white versions)
  • Rice (white and brown)
  • Nuts & seeds (peanuts, cashews, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds)
  • Peanut butter (creamy & crunchy)
  • Corn tortilla chips
  • Whole wheat crackers
  • Spices from A (allspice) to Z (za'tar) I literally have dozens of spices and herbs
  • Flour, sugar, brown sugar, low-calorie sweeteners
  • Fresh onions and garlic
  • Fresh red, russet and gold potatoes
  • Assorted oils and vinegars
  • Canned black olives & mushrooms (my favorite pizza ingredients!)
  • Canned/jarred pizza sauce
  • Diet soda
  • Canned tuna and salmon
  • Chocolate chips
  • Fridge
  • Eggs, large and extra large
  • 100% orange, apple and grapefruit juice
  • Milk (we're a 1% family)
  • Chocolate syrup (to make chocolate milk & also for ice cream sundaes!)
  • Buttermilk
  • Yogurt (assorted light and Greek)
  • Butter sticks (salted and unsalted)
  • Light tub margarine
  • Salsa in jars
  • Cheese (mozzarella blocks for fast shredded for pizza, string cheese, shredded Mexican and cheddar)
  • Whole wheat flour tortilla shells
  • Corn tortilla shells
  • Whole grain cornmeal
  • Maple syrup
  • Assorted Asian sauces and seasonings
  • Lemon and lime juice (bottled)
  • Baby carrots
  • At least one in-season fruit and/or vegetable
  • Freezer
  • Frozen vegetables (plain unseasoned varieties like green peas, edamame shelled, broccoli florets, corn, Brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas)
  • Frozen mixed berries (unsweetened)
  • Uncooked pork, beef and chicken (bought on sale to use later)
  1. Have plenty of zippered freezer bags and freezer paper on hand so you can take advantage of sales to stock up!



How to Make Perfect Deviled Eggs Every Time

RECIPE:  Smoky Chipotle Deviled Eggs 12 hard-cooked large eggs 1/3 cup reduced fat, light mayonnaise

Ever been frustrated trying to peel hard-cooked eggs so your Deviled Eggs will turn out picture perfect? I have numerous times. But with these simple tips, you’ll have a better chance of more eggs turning out picture perfect – rather than rough and ripped.

How to Make Perfect Hard Cooked Eggs: Start with 1 dozen large eggs. Older eggs are better than fresher eggs to peel surprisingly. Place eggs in a single layer in a large saucepan. Don’t stack the eggs. Add enough cold water to cover the eggs by at least 1-inch. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat (water will have large, rapidly breaking bubbles.) Remove from heat, cover and let them stand 12 – 15 minutes (depending on how “done” you like the yolk.) Drain hot water and run cold water over the eggs for several minutes or place them in ice water until cool enough to handle. Drain thoroughly.

How to Peel Hard Cooked Eggs: Gently tap both ends of egg on the counter top, then roll it on counter or in between the palms of your hands gently. Under cold running water, peel off shell, starting with the larger end.

Now enjoy some smoky Deviled Eggs at your next football party or family gathering.

Smoky Chipotle Bacon Deviled Eggs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 12 servings (2 halves per serving)
  • 12 hard-cooked large eggs
  • ⅓ cup reduced fat, light mayonnaise
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 2 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, very finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
  • ½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cooked bacon plus additional 2 or 3 tablespoons for garnish
  1. Cut the eggs lengthwise in half.
  2. Scoop out the yolk and place in medium bowl. (Be careful not to damage the white halves.)
  3. Mash the yolks with a fork.
  4. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chile pepper, smoked paprika and ¼ cup chopped bacon.
  5. Stir well to blend all ingredients.
  6. Place filling in the whites using a small spoon or pipe in with a pastry bag and decorative tube. Garnish with remaining bacon as desired.
  7. Serve immediately or refrigerate in tightly covered container.