Pernil Style Roasted Pork Tenderloin

ImageThis next recipe is for a very simple pork tenderloin that is sure to please. I don’t do a whole lot of tenderloin recipes as they can be pretty boring and can be overcooked fairly easy if you aren’t careful. This recipe however turned out to be anything but boring or dry.  It has plenty of flavor and can be on the table fast for a weeknight meal. It pairs well with simple side dishes such as mashed potatoes and steamed broccolini.  Growing up my mom always made us pork but she was old school and always brought the internal temperature up too high due to the old USFDA guidelines.  Thanks to Emeril Lagasse and The Food Network when I began cooking for myself I realized that the old guidelines ruined a good cut of pork. I’ve cooked many pork dishes and haven’t been sick yet when I’ve pulled them out of the oven at 145 degrees internal. You decide for yourself. The picture included was pulled at 145 internal, sliced after a short rest and no one died or got sick. A good instant read thermometer should be in everyones kitchen arsenal as well if you want to get dishes like this right. (Adapted from FIne Cooking Magazine).

Here is what you will need,

  • 3 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, coarsely chopped
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. distilled white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1-1/4-lb. pork tenderloin
  • 4 lime wedges

Here is what you need to do,

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees

In a food processor, combine the garlic, shallots, 3 Tbs. of the oil, the vinegar, chili powder, cumin, oregano, sugar, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper. Process until a paste is formed.

Cut the tenderloin in half crosswise. Then cut the tenderloin lengthwise stopping before cutting all the way through forming a pocket in each half.  Spread 1 Tbs. of the paste inside each slit. Tie with kitchen string or secure with toothpicks and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a heavy-duty ovenproof skillet on the stove top. Add the tenderloins and sear on all sides until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for 8 minutes. Turn the tenderloins over and spread the remaining paste on top. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of each registers 145°F. Transfer to a cutting board, remove the string or toothpicks, and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice 1/2 inch thick and serve with the lime wedges.


Lazy Golabki (Lazy “Unstuffed Cabbage”)

ImageAs promised another lazy post. As a matter of fact these were pictures that I took months ago when I was considering re-starting my blog. How lazy is that?  This recipe satisfies the craving for stuffed cabbage when you don’t have the time or the strength to make the real thing. I’m sure these type of recipes would make any Babcia cringe so just reserve them for when she isn’t invited to dinner and you don’t have a lot of time. You can also double this recipe and use a deep Lasagna style pan if you need to feed a larger crowd.







What you will need,


1 pound of lean beef (but not too lean).

1 Medium onion chopped.

1 small to medium green bell pepper chopped.

Scant 1/4 cup of long grain white rice.

1 10.5 oz can of condensed tomato soup diluted with one can of water.

1 Tablespoon of tomato paste (optional but suggested).

At least 3 Cups of chopped cabbage.

1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste).

Black pepper to taste.

What you need to do,


Begin browning beef in a pan. Before it is fully browned add the chopped onion and bell pepper and sauté until they soften a bit.

Stir in the rice and salt and pepper.

Add the tomato soup and water and simmer for a few minutes for the flavors to blend.

Layer the un- cooked cabbage on the bottom of a baking dish. (Use cooking spray if desired)

Add all of the other ingredients over the top of the cabbage and spread. (Do not mix)

Bake at 325 for 1.5 hours or until the cabbage is soft and the rice is tender. Also making sure it is not too soupy and that you have given it time for the liquid to be absorbed. (Add additional 1/2 hour if necessary checking after 15 minutes)

Lazy Pierogi

ImageWell after taking an almost two year sabbatical (and giving up on blogging) I decided to check my statistics after someone subscribed to my site even though I hadn’t been posting. To my surprise I am still receiving daily hits from around the world and have decided to rekindle the fire. I figured a great way to start would be with some “Lazy” recipes to accompany my laziness over the past few years. I didn’t stop cooking (confirmed by my scale numbers) I just stopped posting. Hope you enjoy my next two posts, they are quick, easy, and are full flavored for those “Lazy Nights”. This recipe goes back over 20 years so I can’t remember how it came to fruition or if someone deserves credit other than myself.






Here is what you will need,


  • One 12 oz. package wide noodles or spirals
  • ¼ lb. butter
  • 2 Cups onions, chopped (or to your taste)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (secret ingredient, adds great flavor and no one will guess “what is that?” .)
  • One 4 ounce can mushroom pieces
  • ¾ lb. bacon, fried and crumbled (or smoked Kielbasa chopped small)
  • 1 small can sauerkraut, rinsed

Here is what you need to do,


1. Saute chopped onions in butter until golden brown.
2. Add the rinsed sauerkraut; (brown kraut slightly) pour over the cooked noodles.
3. Add undiluted mushroom soup and stir.
4. Add drained mushrooms and bacon and stir.
5. Place in casserole and bake covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Just wanted to …

Just wanted to say hi and to let everyone know I’m still here. Been busy with the Spring Walleye run here in Michigan. Also did some out of state turkey hunting along with Spring clean up around the house. I will be posting again soon. Unfortunately my iCloud deleted all of my back up pictures so I will have to start over again. See you after the Michigan Spring turkey season. As always thanks for visiting and leaving comments when you have enjoyed a dish, Ken

Porcupine Meatballs

There are many variations of this recipe out there with several optional ingredients. For me this is pure comfort food. As far back as I can remember my mom always made these for us and they are still a treat to this day. Many recipes call for the addition of brown sugar, more Worcestershire sauce etc. but I have never seen another recipe that includes my mom’s special touch. She always would shred fresh cabbage, a chopped green pepper, and a few stalks of celery to the pot. This puts this simple recipe over the top and I think anyone who tries it would agree that it makes this recipe better than all the others out there on the internet. (O.K. I am a bit biased here but try it and you will see it’s true). So here is what you will need and what you will need to do to take the journey to Porcupine Meatball greatness.


1 pound 80/20 ground beef

1/4 cup uncooked long grain rice

1 egg

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)

1/4 cup fine chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt (then to taste)

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

1 can condensed tomato soup (reserve 2 tablespoons for meat mixture)

1  15oz can stewed tomatoes including juices

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 to 2 cups fine chopped cabbage (I like 2 cups)

1 fine chopped green bell pepper

1 large or two small fine chopped celery stalks

Directions:   Mix first seven ingredients in a large bowl along with two tablespoons of condensed tomato soup.  Form into meatballs and add to a pot large enough to keep them in a single layer.  Make sure you do not make the meatballs too large or the rice will not cook properly.  Blend the remaining condensed soup with the stewed tomatoes (including juices) in a blender adding 1/4 cup of water if you feel its necessary. Add Worcestershire sauce. Pour into the pot with the meatballs. Top with the chopped cabbage, green pepper, and celery pushing down into the soup in between the meatballs.  Bring to a short boil, place a lid on the pot and lower to a simmer for 20 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs. Turn once halfway through making sure the rice cooks evenly.

Polish Schnitzel (Sznycel) (Kotlet Mielony)

The big difference between Polish and German Schnitzel is that Polish Schnitzel uses ground meat in place of thin cutlets. ( Addendum, read the comments on this topic from some viewers in Poland, they have corrected me on this. I guess mine is more common in the Detroit area ). I prefer the Polish style as you can add extra ingredients to the mix and are not limited to dry spices mixed in with the flour.  Although I don’t remember my mom making these when I was a kid, I do order them at my favorite Polish restaurant Polonia in Hamtramck Michigan. Based on the fact that the Schnitzel at Polonia tasted similar to their meatballs with some subtle differences, I started with my base recipe for meatballs. I also included some internet searching (can’t remember all of the sites) and began tweaking the ingredients until I was happy with the results.  Although these always turn out well and my wife likes them better than my meatballs, I’d love to find the missing spice that I can’t seem to identify at the restaurant.  I guess I’ll have to keep trying which isn’t all that bad. I think if you make these you will agree that eating these while tweaking the recipe is far from being a punishment.  As always if you change one of my recipes and think you have made it better please drop me a line and let me know what changes you have made. Here is what you will need to get started.


1/2 pound of 80/20 beef

1/2 pound of ground pork

1/4 cup of fine chopped onion

2 green onions white and green parts sliced into thin rounds

1/3 to 1/2 cup homemade coarse breadcrumbs (not the store-bought sawdust garbage) plus more for dredging

2 tablespoons double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand in the squeeze tube)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (then to taste)

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper (then to taste)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon Emeril’s Essence (optional) I know, Emeril is not Polish but it works

Directions:  Mix all of the ingredients in a large bowl (except for the bread crumbs for dredging). Shape to your desired size. (I make five oblong patties out of this recipe). Press the patties into more homemade breadcrumbs on a platter (whatever sticks is fine) and fry in the oil of your choice until done. Serve with the side dishes of your choice. I’ve served these with mashed potatoes, Pierogi, German Spaetzle, etc. you name it it’s all good.

COOKS NOTE:  Prior to completing any of my ground meat recipes I always fry a small patty and taste for seasoning before completing the entire batch. (Ancient Polish secret)

Kapusniak (Polish Sauerkraut Soup)

So I’ve been kinda on a soup kick the last couple of weeks. I thought it was only proper to follow-up my Dill Pickle Soup recipe with another of my favorite Polish soups Kapusniak. Now, Kapusniak like Bigos can have many different variations and there really aren’t very many rules when it comes to this one pot meal. I like mine extremely thick and full of meat. My Stepdad likes his with more broth and less meat and he is from Poland. So who is right? We both are, as always eat the way you like right? Right. I like to make my initial broth the day before I finish the soup so I can cool it and remove the fat that rises to the top. Think of this recipe as a guideline. You can follow it exactly if you like or compromise with what you have on hand in the fridge. So here is what you need to make this recipe the way I do. I had some chicken wings in the freezer I threw in the broth as well just to use them up. Not sure if it really made a difference but if you have that left over piece of something or other hanging around in the freezer throw it in unless it is freezer burned of course.


2 to 2.5 pounds of bone in pork ribs (I use left over rib tips and flap meat from my St. Louis cut spareribs)

3 quarts of water (2 quarts after the 2 hour simmer)

1 – 24oz jar of sauerkraut with juice (I like Bavarian style made with white wine)

1/2 small head of cabbage chopped small

1 onion chopped

3 carrots shredded

2 to 3 medium ribs of celery finely sliced

1 medium potato peeled and chopped (I like Yukon Gold)

1/4 cup of long cooking Pearl Barley

2 tablespoons of double strength tomato paste (I like Amore brand)

2 Bay Leaves

2 whole allspice

2 Tablespoons of reduced sodium Better than Bouillon beef base

1 pound of smoked Polish sausage sliced into rounds

Salt and Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS: The day before you want to eat the soup, simmer the pork ribs uncovered in 3 quarts of water for two hours. Remove from heat, cool overnight in the fridge leaving the ribs in the broth. Simmer the barley in water for 30 minutes. Rinse and drain reserving for the next day. The following day remove the fat from the top of the broth and discard. Remove the rib meat from the bones and set aside. Measure your broth and top off with water if necessary until you have two quarts of broth. Place all of the remaining ingredients along with the reserved meat into the broth. Bring to a simmer, cover with the lid slightly cracked and simmer for one hour until the fresh cabbage and vegetables are tender.  If possible serve with a Sourdough Rye and butter.

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