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What to Make For a Fall Dinner? Pork Tenderloin With Fig and Balsamic Glaze

How about a tasty supper that is nice enough for company but simple to make? If you work from home, the meal is even easy enough for a week night. Pork tenderloin with a fig and balsamic glaze goes well with inexpensive bulgur pilaf and a green vegetable--perhaps some butter beans, green beans, or broccoli? A spinach and blue (cheese and berries) salad can be readied quickly and far, far better than the stuff found in the plastic bags. Fresh hot rolls are a treat and a great accompaniment to the dinner. I use a secret recipe for the fluffy white rolls that cuts down on the kitchen fuss and makes the rolls doable with the remainder of the meal (okay, I use Bridgeford frozen roll dough, thawed, baked, and the bag stashed in the trash or use sourdough rolls I've made in advance). And for dessert, how something simple? Ice cream with fresh berries--strawberries, raspberries, or whatever you have available--makes a great ending to the meal. If you want to be fancy, you can drizzle a little orange liqueur over the berries and ice cream (for adults, only). So, try a special fall meal that's easy to make and great for serving your family and friends (hopefully outside or in a ventilated area). Enjoy!

What to Make For a Fall Dinner?  Pork Tenderloin With Fig and Balsamic Glaze
What to Make For a Fall Dinner? Pork Tenderloin With Fig and Balsamic Glaze

Pork Tenderloin With Fig and Balsamic Glaze -- Serves 6+

2-3 tablespoons of canola oil

2 pork tenderloins, about 2 pounds, total

1/3 cup of flour

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

2 tablespoons of minced dried onions

1 3/4 cups of chicken broth (low sodium)

2-3 tablespoons of fresh rosemary (or 3-4 small sprigs)

1/2 - 3/4 cup of fig preserves

1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar

Heat a large nonstick skillet on the stove over medium heat and add a tablespoon of the oil. Pat the tenderloins dry with a paper towel and remove as much of the white silver skin as you easily can. Cut the tenderloins crosswise into slices about an inch thick. Toss the slices into a large plastic bag, add the flour, salt, and pepper, and shake the bag to coat the tenderloin slices with the flour. Put about a third of the slices in the pan with the oil and brown the slices on each side for 5-6 minutes, flipping the slices mid-way through. Remove the slices to a plate, add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, and another third of the tenderloin slices, repeating the browning process and removing the slices when they've browned. Add the last tablespoon of oil, if necessary, and brown the remaining pork slices. Remove them to the plate with the rest of the pork.

To the now empty pan, add the minced dried onions and chicken broth and stir to combine the ingredients and loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Let the broth mixture cook about 5 minutes over medium heat and then add the fig preserves, stirring gently to break up the preserves and combine them with the broth mixture. Add the rosemary and stir the mixture again. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, turn down the heat, and let the mixture simmer until it's reduced by about half and becomes syrupy. Add the pork back to the pan to finish cooking, spooning the sauce over the top of the pork slices to coat them. They won't need to cook long, probably only 5-6 minutes (or to 145 degrees). Serve the pork over rice, noodles, mashed potatoes, or the bulgur pilaf below.

Fruity Bulgur Pilaf -- Serves 6+

2 cups of chicken broth (low sodium)

2-3 tablespoons of minced dried onions

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of bulgur

2-3 tablespoons of chives

1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup of dried cranberries

Bring the broth, minced dried onions, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the bulgur, garlic powder, and cinnamon and turn down the heat to medium low. Let the bulgur cook, covered, for about 10 minutes, stirring it periodically. The bulgur will absorb the water quickly, so watch the heat and turn it to low if the bulgur seems to be cooking too quickly. After turning off the heat, add the chives, dried apricots, and dried cranberries and fluff the bulgur with a fork. Let the bulgur pilaf sit, covered, for a few minutes to soften the apricots and cranberries, and fluff the bulgur again before serving it.

Spinach and Blue Salad -- Serves 6+

12 ounces of spinach, washed well, dried, and large stems removed, if necessary

1 cup of blueberries, washed

1/4 cup of shredded carrots

1/4 cup of chopped green onions

1/4 cup of crumbled blue cheese

1/4 cup of sliced almonds (preferably toasted)

1/4 cup of olive oil

1/4 cup of cider vinegar

1/4 cup of strawberry preserves

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon of pepper

In a large salad bowl, layer the spinach, blueberries, carrots, green onions, blue cheese, and almonds. In a large measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, preserves, salt, and pepper until everything is well combined. When you're ready to serve the salad, pour the dressing over top and mix the salad until everything is well coated with the dressing.

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