Cook Once and Eat Twice – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Becomes Pork Soft Tacos

Slow cooked pulled pork is a favorite recipe here at The Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen. Made with lean pork, bell pepper, onion, carrot, and BBQ sauce, it’s delicious and nutritious … and the recipe always makes enough for leftovers, which can easily be turned into these Pork Soft Tacos.

Pork Soft Tacos via

Cook Once and Eat Twice is the theme of this month’s Recipe Redux cooking challenge, so we took our recipe for Pulled Pork Primavera Sandwiches and morphed it into Pork Soft Tacos.

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Favorite Foods of Spain

Spain is known for many things including flamenco dancers, paella, tapas, seafood, and wine. I was lucky enough to attend a conference in Madrid recently and even luckier to have my daughter, Carolyn, fly over at the end of the conference to travel with me for several days. Here are some of the highlights from the trip.

Slicing jamon in Madrid

I arrived in Madrid the day before the conference to explore the city with Kate Geagan and Chris Mohr, two fellow registered dietitian nutritionists. Our first stop was to a tapas bar called El Miajón de los Castúos where we enjoyed the first of many nibbles of fresh-sliced jamón and Manchego cheese. Amazing!

Spanish lunch

Next, we feasted on a six-course lunch, courtesy of Chris’ colleague, Luis, who lives in Madrid. I won’t even attempt to describe all these dishes, but the clams were the best I’d ever eaten. The octopus was, um, interesting!

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How to Make Homemade Tamales

Tamales. I had enjoyed them in Mexican restaurants but never considered making homemade tamales for myself… until my friend, Catherine, invited me over for a tamale-making gathering at her house.

Homemade Tamales with Guacamole

Tamales are packets of corn dough with a savory or sweet filling. They are usually wrapped in corn husks or banana leaves and steamed.  Tamale making is often a community event, and we enjoyed our creations with a bowl of vegetarian posole soup and a side of guacamole. Comfort food at its best!

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Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Strata for Your Next Brunch

This lightened-up Overnight Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Strata will hit the spot for breakfast or brunch. The English muffins add a fun, playful twist for kids. 

Sausage and Mushroom Breakfast Strata

Every month, we participate in the Recipe Redux blogger cooking challenge, and this month’s assignment was to“grab your nearest cookbook and ReDux the recipe on page 42 or 142.” Recipe Redux was launched 42 months ago, hence the 42 theme. Clever, no?

For starters, I grabbed my own cookbook, No Whine with Dinner (hey, it was the nearest cookbook), and since all of my recipes have already been “reduxed” (AKA made over), I decided to reach a bit further and go with a classic cookbook that my mom gave me years ago, Joy of Cooking.

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Asian Pork Tenderloin and My Adventures in Oregon (Podcast #252)

This recipe for Asian Pork Tenderloin is rich in protein and flavor, and you’ll definitely want to include it in your family’s weekly meal planning!

On this week’s Cooking with the Moms podcast, Liz and I dish about our summer food and fitness adventures and share recipes for Asian Pork Tenderloin and Wild Blueberry & Chia Seed Smoothies. On the show, we take you traveling to the wild blueberry barrens of Maine, the beautiful island of Nantucket, and my two favorite states in the Union: Washington and Oregon. Read on for highlights from my family’s vacation in Oregon.

Astoria, Oregon

Check out the view from our hotel in Astoria, Oregon, and notice the bridge from Washington to Oregon, which is in the background. We could practically jump from our balcony onto the boats!

A flight of beers at St. George's Brewery

In addition to producing fabulous Pinot Noir, Oregon is also known for their microbreweries. Since Carolyn is 22, we decided to include her in our tasting of a flight of beers at Fort George Brewery.

Tillamook Cheese

Did you know Oregon is also known for their cheese (rain = green pastures = happy cows = lots of milk)? We visited the Tillamook Cheese Factory—they welcome about a million visitors per year—and sampled lots of cheese … and a little bit of ice cream!

Olive Tree

Can you identify this tree? It’s an olive tree at the Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms. That’s right: Oregon, not California! Each olive tree is hand harvested before the first frost and yields enough olives to produce about 8 ounces of extra virgin olive oil.

Olive Mill

Erin was so sweet and gave us a tour of the olive grove and olive oil processing room. Of course, the best part was tasting the amazing olive oils. If you think Italy makes the best olive oil, I challenge you to try the olive oil from Oregon Olive Mill!

Asian Pork Tenderloin via

After a long day touring the Oregon countryside, we ended up at my sister Diane’s house for a home-cooked meal. She made her “famous” Asian Pork Tenderloin and served it with wheat berries, grilled summer squashes, local green beans, and salad from her CSA.

Asian Pork Tenderloin

Makes 6 Servings

My sister clipped this recipe many years ago from the FoodDay section of the Oregonian, and she’s been making it ever since!

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (I use reduced-sodium soy sauce)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (2 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pork tenderloins, about 3/4 pounds each

1. To make the marinade, place the soy sauce, honey, lime juice, olive oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, and pepper in a large bowl or Ziptop bag and whisk together until well combined. Place the pork in the bowl or bag and marinade for 1 hour or up to overnight.

2. Remove pork from marinade; reserve marinade. Grill the pork over medium heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 155°F, 20 to 25 minutes. The pork should still be slightly pink in the center.

3. Meanwhile, place the reserved marinade in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Slice the pork and serve with the sauce.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 250 calories, 10g fat (2.5g saturated), 490mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 25g protein

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The day before we left Oregon, we stopped by Flat-Top Frankie’s Summertime Corndog Fry. Frank is friends with my sister, and he graciously hosts this event every year for his neighbors and friends.

Frank is also a home brewer and produces vast quantities of beer to go with his corndogs. Frank’s motto in life is to “Spread Extra Joy,” and he lives up to that in all areas of his life.

I don’t know how many corndogs were served at Frank’s party, but it was a lot. My sister Diane is sure enjoying hers and I have to admit that I also loved every bite … and sip. 🙂

A Recipe for Easter Egg Salad Cups … Made with Easter Leftovers

The beauty of working at Janice’s house — which we do most Tuesdays — is that we get to cook as we work … and work as we cook. Today, we took advantage of Janice’s Easter leftovers by creating this better-for-you egg salad recipe. We used two classic Easter ingredients: spiral cut ham and hard-cooked eggs. (Check out our How To Hard Cook Eggs tutorial.)

A few simple ingredients come together quickly for this family-pleasing Easter leftover lunch.

Easter Egg Salad Cups via #easter #leftovers #eggs #

The presentation possibilities for our Easter egg salad are endless. You can serve in Bibb lettuce cups if you don’t have Romaine, place in a whole grain pita pocket or inside slider buns, or as the topping for a Cobb-style salad.

Easter Egg Salad Cups

Makes 4 Servings

  • 6 large eggs, hard cooked, shelled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely diced leftover spiral cut ham
  • 1/3 cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup light mayonnaise
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 6 Romaine lettuce leaves

1. Place the eggs, ham, bell pepper, and mayonnaise in a bowl and mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in lettuce cups.

Nutrition Information per Serving (1/2 cup salad + 1 lettuce leaf): 180 calories, 11g fat, (2g saturated), 350mg sodium, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 13g protein, 45% vitamin A, 40% vitamin C, 10% iron

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Tips for Saving Money at the Grocery Store … And a Recipe for Rainbow Veggie Coleslaw

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a producer at NECN, a TV station here in the Boston area. The station runs a segment called, Money Saving Mondays, and they asked me to help with a piece on saving money at the supermarket. What followed was an afternoon shoot at my house featuring the following cost-cutting tips: (1) Cook in the Slow Cooker, (2) Choose Inexpensive Cuts of Meat, (3) Pack Lunch vs. Going Out to Eat, (4) Go Meatless at Least Once a Week, and (5) Drink Tap Water vs. Buying Bottled. I also created a new recipe for homemade coleslaw to go with the slow cooker Pulled Pork Primavera Sandwiches showcased in the segment.

Why buy prepared coleslaw when you can make it yourself with better-for-you ingredients …

I just discovered this colorful coleslaw mix from Mann’s. I adore the addition of tiny broccoli florets. How cute. Read on for my new coleslaw recipe … and click here to watch the NECN segment on saving $ at the supermarket.

Making family meals in the slow cooker or Ninja saves big because I’m able to cook A LOT of food all at once. For example, with our Pulled Pork Primavera Sandwiches, I make sandwiches one night, quesadillas filled with pulled pork, corn kernels, sauteed diced bell pepper, low-fat shredded cheese, and BBQ sauce the next, and I date and freeze anything that is left over.

Rainbow Veggie Coleslaw

Makes 6 Servings

This is an easy veggie side dish for sandwiches, grilled anything, or fish tacos.

  • 1/4 cup 2%-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons low-fat canola mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey mustard
  • One 12-ounce bag rainbow salad (I used Mann’s)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons roasted & salted pumpkin seeds
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

1. Place the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and honey mustard in a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Add the veggie mix, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds and stir well until evenly coated with the yogurt mixture.

2. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition Information per Serving (about 3/4 cup): 70 calories, 2.5g fat (0g saturated, 0.2g omega-3), 140mg sodium, 10g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein, 45% vitamin A, 50% vitamin C

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Lesley Gaydos, reporter extraordinaire from NECN and mom of three, happily taste tested my pulled pork, quesadillas, and salmon salad. And so did her crew 🙂

MyPlate for Moms, a Recipe for Pork, Asparagus, and Cashew Stir Fry and a Recipe for Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie. PLUS a Book Giveaway (Podcast #169)

Are you old enough to remember The Four Food Groups? We certainly are. If not, you probably remember the Food Guide Pyramid. Last spring, the Pyramid was replaced with a new symbol called MyPlate. On this week’s Cooking with the Moms, registered dietitian, Elizabeth Ward joins the show to tell us all about this plate-shaped icon and to dish about her new book, MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better.

On the show, Elizabeth, a mom of three, explains how to customize MyPlate to your family’s likes, dislikes, and lifestyle. She also explores the importance of protein and whole grains, and she cooks up two recipes from the book: Pork, Asparagus, and Cashew Stir Fry and Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie.

Elizabeth visited us at The Meal Makeover Moms’ Kitchen with ingredients in hand and whipped up this easy and oh-so satisfying stir fry.

A few simple ingredients and you’ve got a dinner worthy of MyPlate!!

Pork, Asparagus, and Cashew Stir Fry

Makes 6 Servings

Pork tenderloin is as lean and low in calories as boneless, skinless chicken breast. Cashews provide flavor, crunch, and heart-healthy fats.

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cup unsalted cashews, chopped

1. Cook the asparagus until crisp-tender. Do not overcook.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chicken broth, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until no lumps remain. Set aside.

3. Cut pork into 1/2-inch medallions, then cut each medallion into 1/2-inch thick strips. Add pork to a large bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to pork mixture and toss to coat the meat.

4. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Cook half the pork, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from skillet and set aside, covered, on a plate. Repeat with remaining oil and pork. (We cooked the pork in one batch in a large wok.) Remove pork from pan. Add asparagus to pan, along with garlic and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds.

5. Stir broth mixture before adding to skillet. Cook until thickened, about 2 minutes. Add pork and cashews to pan and cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 308 calories, 14 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (3 grams saturated) 22 grams protein, 410 milligrams sodium, 30 milligrams calcium

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Cinnamon Pumpkin Smoothie

Makes 1 Serving

Cinnamon brings out the natural sweetness of pumpkin, so you don’t need much added sugar.

  • 1/2 cup fat-free milk (we used 1% low-fat)
  • 1/2 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • 2 ice cubes

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend. Pour into a tall glass and drink immediately.

Nutrition Information per Serving: 106 calories, 22 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 0 grams fat (0g saturated), 5 grams protein, 60 grams sodium, 190 milligrams calcium

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GIVEAWAY NEWS: We are giving away a copy of MyPlate for Moms by Elizabeth Ward to three lucky winners. If you’re looking for easy ways to give your family’s diet a healthy makeover, this is the book for you. Packed with solid nutrition advice and lots of tips and tricks for adding healthier foods to YourPlate, it’s a must-have for any busy family.

To Enter: Leave a comment here or on Facebook and tell us about the biggest downfall in your family’s diet and/or one big change you’ve made lately that’s brought better nutrition to YourTable!


We will enter you into the giveaway a second, third, and/or fourth time if you …

> Subscribe to our RSS feed.
> Tweet about the giveaway with a link back to this post.
> “Like” us on Facebook or share the giveaway news with your Facebook fans and friends with a link back to the post.

Please be sure to leave us a new comment every time you do something extra, and GOOD LUCK! The giveaway ends on December 15th (Janice’s birthday) at noon, and as always we’ll use to pick our winners.

Good luck 🙂

My Visit to the Houde Family Farm Meat CSA in Vermont

When my CSA (community supported agriculture) offered a share in a Vermont dairy farm a few years ago I decided to give it a try. Three years later we continue to enjoy our monthly delivery of ground meat, steaks, roasts, eggs, bacon, pork chops, and ham from the Houde Family Farm in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Last week, as Don, Leah, and I drove to Vermont to visit some of Don’s family, we paid a visit to “our” farm. Tina Houde and six of her nine children gave us a tour and told us about the history of the farm.

The Houde children do all sorts of farm chores — things like washing eggs, feeding the animals, and plucking the geese!

My day on the farm was educational and eye opening, and it made me think that it would certainly be nice if everyone had an opportunity to see firsthand where their food comes from.  I will definitely remember our trip the next time I use my farm shares to make some of my family’s favorite dinners: Minty Lamb Burgers with Walnuts & Feta, Have-it-Your-Way Tacos, and Slow Cooked Barbecue Beef sandwiches (photo to right). I may even try a pork burger recipe 16-year-old Elizabeth Houde makes with ground pork:

Mix together ground pork, minced garlic, garlic salt, ground black pepper, oregano, parsley, cayenne pepper (be careful with the cayenne – it is easy to put in too much), grated parmesan cheese (or blue cheese dressing), eggs, and American cheese, shape into burger patties, and bake in the oven at 350F. Sounds delicious!

Here is how the Houde family describes their farm and why they decided to raise their animals organically:

“We are a small family run organic dairy farm located in the northeast part of Vermont. Tina and I and our nine children started milking cows in 2002. We raised our animals for meat and were amazed at the difference. Our meats were tastier, fresher, and healthier for us. We started selling to our neighbors and friends and everyone told us how good the meats were. We  started out as a conventional farm but did not like the normal practices associated with farming. In 2004, after meeting organic farmers and feeling this  practice was more in line with our values and beliefs, we decided to transition to organic. Our first load of organic milk was sent out on August 1,  2005. We do not believe in or use any unnecessary antibiotics or hormones on our animals. We raise them as it was intended with lots of fresh air and TLC. I have  been farming since 1976 and really enjoy raising healthy, happy animals with my  family!”

Have you ever seen Organic Valley milk at the supermarket? Turns out that Houde Family Farm supplies milk to Organic Valley as part of their farmer cooperative.

Free-range chickens run around behind me. Luckily I was warned not to back into the electronic fence!

My new friend Lamby! I decided not to get too attached though (need I say more?).

If you live in the Boston area and would like to receive a monthly delivery of organic meat and eggs, check out the Houde Family Farm website to learn more. On a final note, I recently sent the Houde family a copy of our cookbook, No Whine with Dinner, and 10-year-old Rebecca reports that this summer, she’s been especially fond of the smoothies!

Are you a member of a meat CSA? If so, what have been some of your favorite recipe creations?

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