Tag Archives: family dinner

Pork Chops and Applesauce (or Pork Tenderloin with a Sassy Cucumber and Mango Salad)

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more sharing meals together as a family! May was just the busiest month; chock full of exciting Interior Design projects and presenting my Life Style & Entertaining programs. While work is hugely fun, May brought me the happiest of moments…..my Nick came home from college. In fact, my mom accompanied me to College Town USA, where we loaded up all of Nick’s personal belongings; clothes, clothes, golf clubs and more clothes. Rather than race home, we took an overnight detour to Charleston, IL, where Amanda made it to the State Track Meet in the 100m hurdles. Yay!

While everything about Nick being home is awesome, I love when we are all together for dinner. It just feels like everything is right with the world.

As one of our first family meals, I decided to make a fabulous Pork Tenderloin with a sassy side of Cucumber and Mango Salad. Peter Brady was on to something with his, “Pork chops and applesauce.” Pork is absolutely delicious with a side of citrus.

Pork Tenderloin with Cucumber and Mango Salad

Serves 4-6

3 Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp All-spice

½ tsp salt

2 – 12 ounce pork tenderloins

4 green onions – white parts chopped and green parts sliced

2 mango’s peeled and chopped

1 seedless cucumber, very thinly sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped…..how much you use depends upon how much heat you can take!

Pre-heat oven to 425°

Line a shallow roasting pan with aluminum foil

In a small bowl, combine;

Brown sugar



Set aside 1 tsp of the brown sugar mixture for the salad

Rub the brown sugar mixture all over the tenderloins and place in the roasting pan

Roast for approximately 20 minutes, or until a thermometer reads 145°

Remove and tent with foil until ready to serve

In a medium bowl, combine;

Green onions (as many as you like)



Jalapeno (I used about 1 tsp)

1 tsp brown sugar mixture

Stir well

Serve with a savory side of brown rice

More tasty pork and citrus, more having Nick home from college, more sharing family dinners together again……

Please visit me at http://vanessanunleydesigns.com to learn more about my Interior Design services.

To schedule an Interior Design or Life Style consultation, and for any questions or comments, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Dagwood, Eat Your Heart Out; The World’s Greatest Sandwich!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more mixing it up at dinnertime! While most nights we enjoy a great dish with all the fixings, sometimes it’s a real treat to simplify. The other night, I made a sandwich that was so delicious Dagwood would have been jealous!


Grilled Steak Sandwiches Smothered with Pesto-Mayo

Sweet Potato Steak Fries


Grilled Steak Sandwiches Smothered with Pesto-Mayo;


1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak

Course sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Garlic salt

Olive oil

4 Tbsp mayonnaise

4 Tbsp prepared pesto sauce

Large loaf of baguette bread (enough for 4 sandwiches)

2 heads of Romaine lettuce

Red onion, thinly sliced

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced


Pre-heat grill to medium-high


Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper

Grill for approximately 5 minutes on each side, or until desired temperature

Allow to sit for 5 minutes, cut into thin slices

In a small bowl, combine the mayo and the pesto


Slice each head of Romaine lettuce in half lengthwise

Brush both sides with oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic salt

Place on the grill and cook until there are char marks on both sides

Remove from grill and allow to cool

Cut off the stem and discard

Chop the lettuce


Slice the baguette loaf (loaves) into 4 pieces

Slice horizontally and open

Brush with oil

Place on the grill, open side down until lightly charred


Place one serving of bread on a platter

Slather mayo-pesto mixture on both slices of baguette bread

Spread grilled lettuce on top of mayo-pesto picture (this is what makes the sandwich!)

Place tomato slices on one side and onion slices of the other

Top one slice of bread with steak and close the sandwich

Slice in half serve


Sweet Potato Steak Fries

We don’t really eat fried food, but life would not be worth living without French fries. As an alternative to that big fat greasy mess, I like to bake mine; either sweet potatoes or the classic Idaho.


Each potato yields approximately 16 matchstick fries


Scrub potato

Square off the potato by slicing off the ends

Cut each potato in half vertically

Slice into 4-5 wedges

Slice each wedge in half


Throw all potatoes in a large bowl

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper

Toss and place on a foil lined baking sheet

Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes, until soft


Place a sandwich, sliced in half, on a plate with a hearty helping of fries!


More mixing it up, more sweet, sweet potatoes, more delectable Dagwood sandwiches….


To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Summer Grilling……Having a blast!

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……more summer grilling! It’s absolutely amazing to me that there are so many ways to prepare a fabulous chicken dinner. Braised, baked, roasted, smoked, fried, grilled; the possibilities are endless. However, with family life in the summer being so unpredictable, I’m a huge fan of streamlining my meal plans whenever possible, which is why I love to marinate!

Because more of everything is always better, when I know we’ll have a particularly busy week, I like to make enough of a dish to serve as two meals. On day two, just pop it in the microwave and dinner is served in a snap!

Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

Classic Mashed Potatoes


Mediterranean Grilled Chicken

Not only is this a delectable dish to serve for dinner, but it’s great for a party as well. Marinade your chicken and make the tasty drizzle the day before. Bring the drizzle to room temperature and toss the chicken on the grill. How easy is that?

Because the kids had friends over for dinner, I made 8 chicken breasts and 10 drumsticks with this recipe……

Chicken and marinade:

In a large bowl, combine;

1 cup lemon juice

½ cup fresh flat parsley, chopped

2 cups olive oil

14 cloves garlic, minced

3 tsp fine ground seas salt

2 tsp cracked black pepper

Place 8 chicken breasts in a 2 gallon re-sealable plastic bag

Place 10 drumsticks in a 1 gallon re-sealable plastic bag

Divide marinade between them to completely cover

Place bags of chicken on a rimmed baking sheet or pan and refrigerate over night



8 garlic cloves, minced

4 heaping tsp of kosher salt

4 Tbsp lemon juice

 ¾ – 1 cup olive oil (depending how intense you want the flavor, more oil dilutes the impact a bit)

In a mortar, using a pestle, mash the garlic and salt to create a nice and thick paste (You can always use a small bowl and mash the garlic and salt with the back of a spoon, but a mortar and pestle is a great addition to your kitchen arsenal)

In a bowl (preferably with a nice lid), add;

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Garlic paste

Whisk together, cover and refrigerate over night. Bring to room temperature before using.

Meal prep:

I made 5lbs of mashed potatoes, peeling, cubing, washing and placing in a large stock pot, before I started the grill. Once I got the chicken going, I cooked the potatoes.

Pre-heat grill and reduce to medium-high

Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place on the grill rack.

I like to place the breasts skin side up first so I can gage how quickly the grill is working. I like to avoid scorching the skin side especially because the grill is going to be smoking like a son-of-a-gun because of all of the oil in the marinade. Make sure your chicken is cooked all the way through (salmonella is always a huge drag, even if you’re merely enjoying a family dinner). Insert an instant read thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken, checking until it registers at 165°. It may take a good 30 minutes or so.

Remove chicken from the grill and tent with foil until ready to serve.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli:

I thought we should live on the edge by roasting our broccoli rather than blanching it in boiling water for a change of paste. It was light and tasty.

This recipe serves 4

12oz bag of broccoli florets

2 Tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, minced

Dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Pre-heat oven to 425°

In a small bowl, combine;

Olive oil


Crushed Red Pepper

In a large bowl, combine;


Oil mixture

Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil

In a single layer, place broccoli on baking sheet

Roast in oven for about 15 minutes, watching to make sure the florets roast, but don’t burn

Remove and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper

On a plate, place a heaping, helping of mashed potatoes, roasted broccoli and grilled chicken, drizzling the drizzle all over the chicken……enjoy, floss, brush and repeat!

More easy marinades, more summer grilling, more meals for family and friends…….

To schedule and Interior Design appointment, a Life Style consultation or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

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Quick and Tasty Summer Dinner……

As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about……..more quick, but flavorful, family dinners! Now that the blistering heat of summer has finally arrived, who wants to spend hours preparing dinner, melting in the kitchen? Nothing beats planning ahead, marinating your main dish in the refrigerator over night and tossing it on the grill shortly before dinner. And my family loves my Smashed Potatoes. A fast and tasty meal that I think your family will enjoy too……

Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak:

This recipe serves 6 generously.

2-3 lbs of flank steak, also called London Broil

½ cup Dijon mustard

3 Tbsp lime juice (I think bottled works beautifully)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

2 Tbsp Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp hoisin sauce (found in the Asian foods department at your favorite grocers)

2 Tbsp minced garlic

2 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger (very distinctive flavor. You’ll love it!)

In a small bowl, whisk together;


Lime juice

Worcestershire sauce

Soy sauce

Hoisin sauce



In a large, 2 gallon Hefty baggie, place the steak and coat with the marinade.

Place in refrigerator overnight.

When you’re ready to eat, pre-heat grill

Reduce to medium-high heat

Place steak on the grill, discarding the marinade

Cook for approximately 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, a little longer if you want the steak more medium

Remove the steak from the grill and let stand for 10 minutes

Slice across the grain and serve

Smashed Potatoes:

These potatoes are awesome re-heated the following day with leftovers, so it’s worth making a few extras.

3 lbs New Potatoes

Olive oil

Sea salt

Cracked black pepper

Shredded Parmigiano Reggiano (which I buy at CostCo, but you can just shred any hard cheese)

In a large stock pot, fill with water to cover New Potatoes

Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the potatoes are very soft, maybe 20 minutes

Drain the potatoes and spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet, which I like to line with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.

Using a potato masher (if you don’t have one, a fork works fine too), smoosh each potato so it flattens to about ½”

Coat a large skillet with olive oil and pre-heat

Over medium-high heat, place potatoes in a single layer, sprinkling with salt and pepper

Once the bottoms start to get nice and golden, flip the potatoes over to cook on the other side. You may need to add a little more olive oil.

Sprinkle the second side with salt and pepper, and if desired, the shredded cheese.

Remove from the skillet, placing on a platter while you cook the rest of the potatoes. It might take 2-3 batches to complete.

I usually serve my family broccoli on the side (only because everyone is willing to eat it)

Plate, serve and enjoy a quick but tasty dinner with your family!

More flavor, more simplicity, more time to reconnect……

To schedule and Interior Design appointment or a speaking engagement, please email me at moreismoremom@aol.com

Marinated and Grilled Flank Steak Or London Broil

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A Sandwich Just Isn’t A Sandwich….

As the More is More Mom®, I am all about making……more sandwiches. Not your average everyday cold cuts on a hoagie roll or PB & J on ordinary sandwich bread. I’m talking about a little something special; dusting off the Panini maker (a notch above the George Foreman Grill).

Of course, my family is under the impression that I am a short order cook, but why should Panini Sandwich Day be any different than any other? In my perfect sandwich world, my boring, picky eaters would be a bit more adventurous and try a fabulous gourmet delicacy; BLT with homemade Pesto Mayonnaise on Italian Bread. It was out of this world!

BLT with homemade Pesto Mayonnaise:

Pesto Mayonnaise:

Makes enough for about 10 sandwiches

In a food processor, combine;


2 cups of fresh basil leaves

6 Tbsp finely grated parmesan cheese

¼ cup of toasted pine nuts

2-3 cloves of garlic (I like garlic, I like 3)

¾ tsp salt

Gradually add;

¼ cup olive oil (you may need to add a splash more of olive oil for a nice, smooth consistency)


Once blended, combine the pesto mixture with;

¾ cup mayonnaise

Cover and refrigerate. The pesto mayo can be made a few days in advance. It would be lovely on a traditional sandwich as well.


Feel free to use bacon or pancetta. You may like 2-3 slices per sandwich. I actually cooked 2 lbs of bacon, because my people are a bacon eating people, and it warms up so nicely for days. My favored method for cooking bacon is on foil lined baking sheets, in the oven on 350°, for approximately 30 minutes. I store it in a container lined with paper towel. It’s a little “slice” of Heaven.


You’ll want a nice tender green, like arugula or baby spinach.

One big beautiful beefsteak tomato is perfect for three sandwiches. You should be able to get 2-3 nice size slices for each serving.

To assemble:

Warm up your Panini maker, or pull out your skillet.

On the outside of each piece of sandwich bread, brush with oil

Flip over and on the inside of each slice of bread, spread pesto mayo

On one slice of bread, layer on tender greens

Add slices of tomato and sprinkle with salt and pepper

Place slices of bacon on top of tomatoes

I would recommend adding sliced cheese. The beauty of the warm sandwich is the ooey gooey goodness, and the only way to get that is with cheese. I chose slices of chipotle Gouda. It had a nice kick.

Heat up in your Panini maker, or in your skillet, for a warm and delicious treat!

A special sandwich deserves a special side. While your basic chips and dip are always tasty, why not take advantage of the amazing produce at the end of the summer season?

Caprese Corn Salad:

The fresh ingredients are out of this world!

In a pot of boiling water, cook;

2 ears of corn (approximately 12-15 minutes)

Allow corn to cool completely and slice the kernels off of the husk


2 cups of grapes tomatoes, halved

1 cup of fresh mozzarella cubed (similar in size to the tomatoes)

In a large bowl, combine corn, tomatoes and mozzarella


In a small mixing bowl, whisk together;

2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cracked black pepper


Toss corn mixture with herb mixture and you’ve got yourself one gorgeous and fresh salad!


The most important thing about a Panini sandwich is that it is made with love; your family’s favorite ingredients

Chuck likes a smoked turkey with thick slices of tomato and cheese.

Amanda prefers a plain old sandwich with turkey, bacon and pickles, while Nick is a fan of a PB & J melting mess.

No matter how you slice it, the best part about the sandwich is that it is eaten while sharing ……more time together!

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