Spinach Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

It’s Friday. That means it’s the weekend! I only have to remind myself of this because I woke up Wednesday and thought it was Saturday…and I can’t even blame NyQuil!

Normally I try to throw some faux bar food your way on Fridays…but this was just so good that I had to share with you so that you could break out your grill and try this while you’re busy making deviled eggs for Easter Sunday!

Speaking of which – what is everybody making for Easter? We are splitting up duties this year…I think we had to talk my mom into letting us help so the entire meal wasn’t all on her! She’ll be doing ham, scalloped potatoes and her amazingly delicious popovers! (As long as my dad doesn’t open up the oven to “see what’s in there” – they always turn out great!). My Biffer is making a delicious green bean and corn casserole and a mandarin orange salad.

I’m in charge of deviled eggs (WW friendly people, it’s all about the fat-free mayo and the right seasoning!). I’ve also volunteered myself for the dessert. That scares me – since, you know, I’m not a huge fan of baking! Any delicious Easter dessert recipe ideas? I’m thinking some sort of strawberry delicacy – I’m sure whatever I make, I’ll share with you (as long as it doesn’t turn out horribly).

Anyways, with the beautiful weather we had this past weekend, grilling was on my mind. Not desserts. But I needed something that didn’t require a lot of marinating time or hovering – I had been shopping all day and was just plain exhausted! =)

Good thing I picked up a pork tenderloin at the store! This recipe is great because you can start it off in the oven and then transfer it to the grill and it really takes no maintenance at all! Just a few ingredients and you have a delicious dish that is sure to impress – especially since it’s WW friendly!

Spinach Stuffed Pork Tenderloin (serves 2-3)

1 pre-packaged Hormel Always Tender Pork Tenderloin, original (about 1 pound)

4 oz. frozen chopped spinach

2 wedges Laughing Cow Garlic and Herb cheese

1 oz. fat-free feta cheese

3-4 Tbsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. garlic powder

1/4 tsp. onion powder

Salt and pepper to taste

Remove tenderloin from package and rinse.

Preheat oven to 350.

Sprinkle with chili powder, rubbing to completely coat the entire tenderloin.

Slice tenderloin about 3/4 of the way through.

Cook spinach in microwave until warm. Add cheese wedges to a small bowl and add hot spinach, stirring to melt cheese and incorporate.

Add your garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and a pinch of salt and pepper. Then throw in your feta. Mix well.

Spoon spinach mixture into the center of the tenderloin. Secure with a few toothpicks.

Bake for 20 minutes in the oven. In the meantime, heat your grill to medium.

Transfer tenderloin to the grill and cook for another 20 minutes.

I threw some corn on the cob and potato slices on with the tenderloin, did not have to dirty up many dishes for this feast!

Remove from grill, cover and let stand about 5 minutes.

Slice and serve with your sides and an ice-cold beer. It’s a super easy, low-maintenance dish that is pretty much great with anything – just don’t forget to remove the toothpicks!

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Easter everybody!

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Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken

I will be honest – I am a bad Southerner.

I was born, raised and reside in the South and yet I do not like sweet tea. I like wearing jeans and a t-shirt to sporting events. I’m not a fan of bourbon/whiskey concoctions. And up until about a month ago, I had never tasted pimento cheese.

Now, for my friends up north, out west, and well, anywhere you don’t say “y’all” – pimento cheese is a big Southern thing. Pimento cheese sandwiches (white bread slathered with the stuff – crusts cut off of course, if you’re being proper) are a staple. They serve them every year in Augusta, GA at The Masters. Basically, it’s a mixture of cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos (aka the sweet red bits of pepper found inside of a green olive). And maybe some seasoning. Grocery stores sell tubs of it – but it always just looks like orange nastiness to me. Yes, that is a technical term thankyouverymuch.

I think I never got over the mayonnaise thing – always kind of grossed me out. Like, just cheese and mayonnaise? Ew. (I am like a 6-year-old – I have to disguise mayonnaise in recipes so I can’t tell it’s in there.) But perusing my cooking magazines, there was a special section on pimento cheese and different variations. With bacon or jalapeno or roasted garlic. Hm, maybe I could handle this – I mean, minus the mayonnaise, these were all things I liked! Then I recalled, the husband ate a pimento cheese burger at a bar we went to and loved it. So really, how bad could it be?

Ummm, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, it’s amazing and I’m already coming up with other ways I can use it. But for starters…it’s delicious all wrapped up and baked inside of a chicken breast.

Oh, and the best part about this bad Southerners’ pimento cheese? It’s healthy!

Pimento Cheese Stuffed Chicken (serves 4)

Let's pretend you see a lemon in here too...

Lightened Up Pimento Cheese

3/4 cup shredded, fat-free cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp. onion, minced

1 1/2 Tbsp. pimento, minced

1 Tbsp. fat-free mayonnaise

2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 tsp. hot sauce

1/2 tsp. salt

1 slice turkey bacon

In a medium bowl, add cheese, minced onion, minced pimento, mayonnaise, lemon juice, hot sauce and salt. Cook your turkey bacon and crumble and add to the mixture.

Using a fork and some serious elbow grease, mash everything together. You want to break the cheese into small pieces – until it’s a “spreadable” consistency. I’ve been meaning to try this out in a food processor, but I hate cleaning it – so I’ll stick to the lazy approach!

Refrigerate until ready to use…oh look, you’re ready!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 (4 – 5oz.) chicken breasts (I get the thin ones)

Seasonings – I use salt, pepper and smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine!)

About 20 toothpicks

Pimento cheese (recipe above)

Preheat your oven to 375.

Place chicken breasts between two pieces of wax paper with at least 2 inches between. Using a meat mallet, take out any aggression you may have on the chicken breasts and pound until about 1/4 inch thick (maybe less – I didn’t measure).

Season both sides of chicken with a little salt, pepper and paprika. Now scoop about 1 1/2 – 2 Tbsp. of your pimento cheese in the middle of each breast, leaving some space on the sides.

This is where I must apologize that it stops looking “pretty”…it is a skill I need to master, but right now, you’ll just have to trust me that it tastes better than it looks!

Fold the tips of the chicken to the center and secure with a toothpick. Now fold up the sides, creating a sealed pocket with the chicken. I use about 4 toothpicks per breast…sometimes 6 for the really stubborn ones. The cheese is going to heat up and melt, so you don’t want it spilling out everywhere!

(But it’s okay if some does – because burnt cheese is delicious in my humble opinion.)

Transfer chicken to a lightly greased baking dish, and bake for 20 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. I know you want to dive right in – but remember to take the toothpicks out before you do.

Now wash it down with some sweet tea if you’re into that kind of thing. I chose wine.

Pimento Cheese Chicken, Baked Chili Fries and Green Bean Casserole - WW Points = 10!

I will keep you posted on what other delicacies I pimentocheesify – my first experiment was a stuffed turkey burger AND cheese fries…

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

(Dang, if only I liked sweet tea…)