Tag Archives: CostCo

Plan Ahead Pork Tenderloin and Potatoes……


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more plan ahead easy dinners! Who ever dared to suggest that the days of summer were lazy clearly wasn’t busy running their family all over creation. While some nights might be nice and leisurely, others are fraught with a flurry of activity. But what’s a family to do? They still have to eat. That’s when a little planning ahead comes in handy.

I am such a super fan of anything that can be prepped in advance, which is why I favor marinated meats and do-ahead potatoes. I knew this pork tenderloin was a real hit when my Nick said, “It tasted even better than it looked.” From a teenager; that’s quite an endorsement!

Rosemary and Garlic Marinated Pork Tenderloin;

I love, love, love my vacuum sealed pork tenderloins from CostCo. I recently picked up two packs of two tenderloins for a mere $20.00. One packet went in the freezer for a rainy day, while I made this flavorful marinade for the other.

I’m also a big fan of the Good Season’s Italian Seasoning packets. I always have them on hand. For a salad, I mix it up with balsamic vinegar, while for a marinade I might use a good white wine vinegar.

1 cup of Italian salad dressing (I make a double batch and used the rest for a quick, fresh salad)

2 Tbsp fresh chopped rosemary

3 Tbsp Dijon mustard

3 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp fine ground sea salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together in a Zip-loc baggie and add the two pork tenderloins from the vacuum sealed pack.

 

Marinade in the refrigerator over night.

An hour or so before you are ready for dinner, either Pre-heat the oven to 350° or Pre-heat the grill and reduce to a medium-high heat.

Roast in the oven for about an hour, or on the grill for approximately 35-45 minutes; until the meat reaches 145°-150° on an instant read thermometer.

Allow to rest for 10-15 minutes, slice and serve…

Twice Is Nice Baked Potatoes;

If you’re already doing the work, you may as well make two meals. I always make one more potato than there are people that I will be serving, just in case there is a casualty in the scooping process.

You’ll need one half of a potato per person, per serving.

To make 8 twice baked potatoes, I used;

5 baked potatoes

¾ stick of butter

½ brick of cream cheese

Generous splash of milk (and more for mixing)

2 Tbsp of chopped chives or scallions

Shredded cheddar for mixing or sprinkling

Pre-heat your oven to 350°

Scrub each potato with a brush until clean

Pour a little olive oil in a small bowl

Cut one sheet of aluminum foil per potato

Poke each potato with the prongs of a fork in several locations

With a basting brush, rub olive oil over each potato

 Wrap up each potato in a sheet of aluminum foil

I line a baking sheet with foil and line up the potatoes

Bake the potatoes for a very long time, until they are extremely soft and easy to work with, up to two hours

Lay potatoes out to cool until easy to handle

Slice each potato in half lengthwise

Score each potato; I take a sharp knife and cut all the way around the edge of the potato, leaving about ½” of a border

Then I slice a line down the middle, and score two more times horizontally, making six quadrants

Using a teaspoon, I allow the scoring to be my guide, and scoop out the flesh of the potato

In a large bowl, I place the softened butter and cream cheese, and the chopped chives or scallions, adding the potato pulp

Add a good splash of milk and beat with a hand mixer

Once the mixture is nice and creamy (you made need to add a few more splashes of milk), add the shredded cheddar should you so desire

As much as my kids really like shredded cheddar cheese, they prefer their twice baked potatoes cheese-less. Since I am practically a short order cook, I prepare their potatoes without shredded cheddar; Hold the pickles, hold, the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us………

Fill each hollowed out potato with potato mixture

Since I was making  double batch, I placed 4 potatoes on a foil lined baking sheet to cook immediately and the remaining 4 in a glass baking dish that I sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. I sealed the baking dish with a lid and placed the pan in a large freezer bag to keep the potatoes fresher, longer after I put them in the freezer. Now I’ve got a nice side dish for dinner another evening (defrosting before baking).

Pre-heat oven to 350°

Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until golden and  bubbly

Cool and serve

Veggies are an important element to every meal. Add an easy lettuce, chopped tomato and chopped cucumber salad, tossed with the left over salad dressing as a side.

Plate the meat, potato and salad, and…..serve!

More planning ahead, more east dinners, more marinated meat, more twice baked potatoes!

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Plan Ahead Pork Tenderloin…

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Thoughtful, Last Minute, Holiday Hostess Gifts..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more thoughtful, last minute hostess gifts! It’s always a gift to be invited into someone’s home, but it is a particularly special treat this time of year when we’re all so busy. The best way to say thank you is with a small token of appreciation. It’s not necessary to give a great big extravagant gift. No, a thoughtful and meaningful gesture is much more appropriate and touching.

Boys will be boys, with absolutely no sense of urgency or need to accurately communicate their plans. Saturday morning, my Nick announced that he had just gotten a text from one of his hockey teammates informing him that they decided to have an impromptu game film review at the home of one of the boys in the afternoon. Wow! There is nothing like having 17, incessantly hungry, teenage boys (and their darling girl goalie) descend upon you at the very last minute. One boy could eat you out of house and home, much less a Varsity Hockey Team! Had I only known, I would have whipped up a homemade tray of cookies or brownies. On such short notice, cookies from the grocery store bakery department would have to do. Besides, as quickly as boys inhale snacks, I’m not sure they fully appreciate treats made with tender loving care anyway.

 

I made a quick trip to the grocery store for star shaped sugar cookies with red and green sprinkles. Last minute can still be festive! Next on my list was a fast Target run so I could pick up a little holiday platter. There is no reason to burden your hostess with the task of digging out a serving piece as she has guests descending upon her. You know my mantra is more of everything is always better, which includes festive, decorative ribbon. I have boxes of spools of ribbon for every conceivable occasion (I stock up at the worlds greatest stock up store; CostCo. They sell spool after spool of seasonal wire ribbon, which is amazing. The perfect ribbon is one of those small details that transforms your gift presentation from nice to spectacular. It even makes an ordinary item, like store bought cookies, a showpiece.). All wrapped together, the cookies and the platter, made for a lovely presentation. One Nick was completely embarrassed to bring into the game review get together. I knew I had done my job.

Another one of my favorite, quick and inexpensive, personalized hostess gifts is a serving piece, showcasing hand-dipped chocolate covered pretzels embellished with festive sprinkles.  This is sooooo easy. All you need is a bag of pretzel rods, 2 bags of chocolate chips (I prefer milk chocolate) and decorative sprinkles. I stock pile clear, flat plastic gift bags, which can be found at craft stores, party supply stores like Party City, or even Target. They are perfect for individual servings of chocolate covered pretzels and are great for showcasing gift cards as gifts. For the gift card, stuff the bottom of the bag with either crinkly shredded paper filling, or small candies (like M n M’s or Hershey’s Kisses). Tie a ribbon around the bag at the top and you have a charming gift presentation.

 

Chocolate Covered Pretzels

 

Chocolate Covered Pretzels in Clear Gift Bag Sleeves

 

Platter for the hostess, treats for the kids....

To make the pretzels, line a baking sheet or two with wax paper. In a deep microwave safe bowl, melt a bag of chocolate in the microwave for 1 ½-2 minutes. You’ll want to watch it so the chocolate is creamy and smooth, not over cooked and burnt. There is a very fine line. Stir until smooth. Dip a pretzel rod in the chocolate, using a spoon to drizzle the chocolate evenly over the rod. Over another bowl, shake sprinkles over the pretzel rod, turning until the rod is festive enough for your taste. Line the chocolate covered rods on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching. Melt more chocolate as necessary. Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets.

I like to make up a gift bag of chocolate covered pretzels for each individual child in the home. College students totally count. Anywhere between 4-6 pretzel rods make for a nice treat. I tie each bag off with a gift card and a ribbon for each child. Using double-sided tape, I secure the bag to a serving piece that I have selected for my hostess. The tape prevents the bags from sliding around all over the place, and makes for a much more orderly and neat presentation. I then wrap the whole platter with ribbon from my treasure trove of decorative ribbon, making a gorgeous and sumptuous presentation.

Ornament embellished gift bag and picture frame with message of gratitude.....

 

Always a sucker for photographs of family and friends, I think that picture frames make a delightful gift. You’ll never go wrong with a classic and elegant silver frame. If you don’t have a picture to accompany the frame, insert a note of thanks behind the glass until you do. How easy is it to format the page size of a Word Document to the same size as the photo intended for the frame and type in a message expressing your appreciation for your host’s hospitality? Coordinate the ink to the ribbon you’ll be using to wrap it up and you’ll have a beautiful gift. To sweeten the deal, if you have an opportunity to snap a photo at the get together, print one to size and send it with a thank you note after the party is over. It will serve as a fond reminder of a great celebration.  

For friends that can’t possibly pack one more thing into their home, a CD is a great gift. Classic Christmas tunes or recording from a favorite performer or movie soundtrack is a thoughtful and personal gift. Slide the CD into a small gift bag, tying an ornament to the handle with pretty ribbon and note. The ornament could relate to the music, the particular event, or the interests of your hosts.

More thoughtful gifts, more entertaining, more celebrations…..

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Be Prepared: Party Essentials (Scouts Honor)


As the More is More Mom, I am all about….. more stocking up on party essentials! There is nothing worse than being like Old Mother Hubbard and finding your cupboards bare.  You never know when an impromptu celebration will break out this time of year. It’s best to be prepared……

What could be more fun than chatting outside with your neighbors and inviting them in for a cocktail? or friends just popping in because they are in the neighborhood? Spur of the moment get togethers can be a blast, as long as you are ready for them. While you won’t have time to whip up your favorite home made specialties, you can certainly have a few provisions on hand.

The most important element to consider when stocking your pantry and refrigerator is shelf life. Typically dry goods will last a little bit longer than those that must remain cold. Unless you are planning to consume these savory treats immediately, check the expiration date.

 

Snacks, Keep your cool:

  • Frozen Shrimp: I prefer the Jumbo because they make for a very generous presentation. What I love about the shrimp is that they’re elegant and can be defrosted in a flash. If you happen to have any left over, you can grill or saute them for dinner the following day. Please click on the link below for a great recipe:

http://moreismoremom.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/1588/

  • Cocktail Sauce: If you’ve got the shrimp, you won’t want to forget the tangy sauce. Be sure to keep a jar chilling in the fridge. You never know when you’re going to need it.
  • Assorted Cheeses: There are such a beautiful variety of cheeses. Select a few of your favorites to keep on hand. It’s so easy pull put a serving tray and lay out a nice selection of cheeses for your guests to enjoy. The following day you can make gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches with any of the leftovers for a special treat.
  • Hard Salami: Meat is a nice addition to a cheese platter. The nice thing about salami is that it lasts for a very long time unopened. Of course, it’s unlikely that there will be any left at the end of the night.
  • Dips and spreads: While my preference is to make my own, there are quite a few delicious, pre-made offerings from your local markets such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Costco. I am partial to tapenades and hummus. Archer Farms, from the Target super stores, has an awesome Red Pepper and Feta dip, as well as a Parmesan Bacon. They are great to keep on hand when guests arrive unexpectedly.
  • Lemons and Limes: Squeeze the lemon on your shrimp, slice them both for cocktails or place them in a bowl as a quickie centerpiece.
  • Eggs and Bacon: What could be easier than scrambling some eggs and frying some bacon for a Sunday breakfast or an evening treat?
  • Smoked Salmon: Served on crackers, in a dip or with a bagel, smoked salmon packs a flavorful punch!

 

Snacks, Pantry Pairings:

  • Cocktail Sauce: Keep a spare on hand for safe keeping.
  • Crackers: Stock up on your favorites; Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Table Water, Flat Bread. The possibilities are endless.
  • Nuts: Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t. Mixed nuts, honey roasted, macadamia, cashews; scatter them near the bar, on your buffet or on your coffee table as a little nibbler.
  • Party mix; The spice of life. There’s something for everyone.
  • Olives: Stuffed with garlic, pimentos, blue cheese, or whatever you fancy, olives are an easy and tasty gourmet snack.
  • Gourmet cookies & a box of chocolates: It’s always nice to offer your guests something decadent and sweet. How simple is that?

 

Beverages and Spirits:

  • Bottled water, sparkling water, tonic water, club soda, sodas & fruit juice
  • Vodka and Gin
  • Wine: Why not try something new? I visited the wine department at Whole Foods to learn about some great new wines for under $15.00

Chardonnay: Los Alisos

Sauvignon Blanc: Joel Gott

Pinot Noir: Cycles Gladiator

Sparkling: Presto, Prosecco Brut

More stocking up, more snacks, more beverages, more potential for fun with friends…

 

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Who Doesn’t Like a Rack (of Lamb)?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…..more delicious Halloween Dinners! Forever and ever, we have had a gaggle of kids and their parents in our home for cocktails, appetizers and dinner. What better way to bring families and friends together? But, our kids are big now; Nick hasn’t dressed up in years, and Amanda and her pal, Rosebud, decided just last night, on the fly, what costumes to wear. Long ago are the days where we planned and plotted their costumes for weeks on end, visiting fabric and party stores, my mom and I turning our basement into a sweatshop with dueling sewing machines. No, this year was quiet, so I decided to cook a special dinner: Rack of Lamb.

Lamb is such a treat and is really very easy to prepare. The Cabernet Sauce is perfect for a cool and spooky night. I think you’re going to love it all autumn and winter long!

Roasted Rosemary Encrusted Rack of Lamb, with a Shallot and Cabernet Sauce:

There will be approximately 24 ribs, 3-4 ribs per serving, 6-8 servings

Pre-heat the oven to 400°

Spray a roasting pan with non-stick spray

Place 3 racks of lamb in pan (I always have good luck at Costco for my meat, and the lamb is no different)

Salt and pepper both sides

In a medium size bowl, mix:

1-½ cups of fresh, white bread crumbs (about 6 slices chopped in the food processor)

 3 Tbsp chopped rosemary

8 cloves if garlic minced

1 stick of butter, softened (not melted, for a nice, spreadable consistency)

 

Coat the tops and sides of the racks with the bread mixture

Roast for 25-30 minutes or until a meat thermometer registers 125-130°

Remove from the oven and place on a cutting board

Reserve the pan juices for the sauce

Shallot and Cabernet Sauce:

I found that the pan didn’t have that many juices, because of the bread crumb mixture, there were more brown bits. I placed my roasting pan directly on a burner over medium-high heat.

 

Add;

½ stick of butter

 

Once melted, add;

¾ cups finely chopped shallots

Cook until tender, 2-3 minutes

Add;

1 ½ cups of Cabernet

For about 2 minutes, and reduce

Stir in;

12 oz beef broth

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

Cook on medium-low heat until heated through and liquid starts to reduce

Through a mesh colander, filter sauce into a sauce pan

Bring liquid in the saucepan to a boil, to continue the reduction process

To thicken;

Add 1-2 more Tbsp of softened butter

Turn off heat

If the sauce needs to be thickened further add a few Tbsp of flour and stir

Slice racks into ribs

Serve with sauce

Such rich, amazing, flavorful goodness!

What better to accompany the beautiful rack of lamb than mashed potatoes and roasted green beans?

Everybody knows how to make mashed potatoes. If you don’t, please email me at moreismoremom@gmail.com

Roasted Tomatoes and Green Beans

Pre-heat oven to 400°

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

Prepare;

3 lbs greens beans, ends trimmed (or purchase them that way at the grocery store)

2 pints of grape tomatoes, rinsed

 In a bowl combine;

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 ½ tsp salt

In a large bowl, toss;

Green beans

Grape tomatoes

Vinaigrette

 

Place coated veggies on baking sheet

Sprinkle;

2 Tbsp mustard seeds

Roast 20 minutes, until veggies are tender

Plate and serve…

 

More family meals, more trick-or-treating, mote elegant Halloween suppers…

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The Case of the Crabby Patty….


As the More is More Mom®, I am all about…..more delicious dinners! I had a canister of jumbo lump crabmeat burning a hole in my refrigerator and I knew I had to make something special. Why, you may ask, was there a canister of jumbo lump crabmeat sitting, with no purpose, in my fridge? Well, as a hoarder, whenever I’m at Costco I stock up on a container of crabmeat to have on hand. It’s exquisite in a salad, an appetizer, soup and…..as crab cakes.

Spicy Crab Cakes with a Remoulade Dressing:

In a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients;

 

1 whisked egg

2 tsp lemon juice

½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

2/3 cup mayonnaise

Stir until well mixed.

In a smaller bowl, mix;

 

1 tsp dry mustard

¼ tsp celery

2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (see note for making your own)

½ tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

Combine well.

 

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until well blended.

In another bowl, gently combine;

 

1 lb jumbo lump crabmeat (remove shells if necessary)

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

¾ cup of fine bread crumbs

Mix without breaking up too many of the nice lumps.

 

Fold the crab mixture into the wet mixture and combine until blended well.

Form into 3” cakes and coat with a light dusting of bread crumbs.

Place on a greased cookie sheet and chill covered for at least an hour, or over night.

When ready to cook, Pre-heat oven to 425°

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned.

Serve on a dressed bed of lettuce (dressing to follow) with a dollop of Remoulade dressing.

Note: Homemade Old Bay Seasoning

Combine;

2 Tbsp paprika

2 ½ Tbsp salt

2 ½ Tbsp garlic powder

1 ½ Tbsp cracked black pepper

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

1 Tbsp dried oregano

1 Tbsp dried thyme

Mix well and store in a sealed container.

Remoulade Dressing:

In a medium sized bowl, combine;

1 cup mayonnaise

¼ cup green onions

1 Tbsp chopped, fresh parsley

2 Tbsp dried mustard

2 tsp fresh lemon zest

3-4 garlic cloves, pressed

½ tsp of cracked black pepper

Mix well and store until ready to use (overnight is fine)

Serve on top of Crab Cakes. Yummy!

Sometimes a simple bed of greens is most appropriate, with a nice dressing; no tomatoes, no cucumbers, no carrots. A pure, straight forward salad.

Parmesan Balsamic Vinaigrette:

This dressing might almost be even better alone than it is with all the fixings; pure and simple and yet delicious.

 

Mash;

2-3 cloves of garlic

½ tsp salt

Whisk together with;

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp lemon juice

3 Tbsp fresh chopped basil

¼ cup finely grated parmesan

½ tsp salt

½ tsp cracked black pepper

¾ cup olive oil

Whisk until well blended

Toss with tender greens.

Place cooked, crab cake on top of greens, with a dollop of Remoulade dressing.

 

This recipe is a beautiful thing; everything can be prepped in advance and simply popped into the oven 20 minutes before you’re serving lunch or dinner. How special is that? A gorgeous and decadent dinner, allowing you more time with family and friends. What could be more perfect?

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