Easy Like Sunday Morning Crock Pot Pork & Mashed Potatoes

2014 is the year of the crock pot, in my book. But finding recipes that use my favorite staples, like pork tenderloin, without delving into canned this or processed that, can be difficult. So this morning, I borrowed from some basic crock pot concepts and added my own healthy spin, to attempt pork tenderloin and carrot stew with mashed potatoes. Fortunately, it worked!

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You will need:
– 1 onion
– Pork tenderloin
– Baby carrots (1 package)
– Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes
– Salt & pepper
– Optional: green onions, butter for mashed potatoes; flour for gravy

Slice a whole onion and spread evenly to create a layer on the bottom of the crock pot. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add two pork loins (from one package) on top of onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Pour one small package of baby carrots on top of the pork. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For the final layer, add as many freshly peeled potatoes as you can fit on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Cook on low for 6 hours, and then keep on warm while you prepare the potatoes (or as long as needed).

For the mashed potatoes, remove the cooked potatoes one by one with a spoon from the crock pot (they will be soft). Then mash in an oven-safe casserole dish with desired ingredients. I used 1 cube of melted butter, 1 cup of almond milk, 1-2 chopped green onions, and salt & pepper to taste. Keep warm in the oven at 200 degrees until ready to serve.

For gravy, I ladled some of the juice from the crock pot into a small saucepan and whisked in about 1/8 cup of flour slowly. My gravy turned out pretty lumpy, so this part will require further refinement.

I may also add more liquid next go around, so there’s even more juicy goodness. But all in all, this was a hearty and health home style meal without a parade of dishes!

Accidental Gravy and Other Experiments

Buttery potatoes + leftover chicken + broth = surprise gravy! Tonight I was short on time, but had a random burst of ideas for a “hands-off” meal. First, a fresh delivery from Farm Fresh to You arrived, so I prepared “Herbed New Potatoes” from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot in Paris” cookbook (using red potatoes, even though she calls for white or Yukon Gold).

While the potatoes steamed for 30 minutes or so, I microwaved frozen corn and pulled out the leftover “honey-baked” chicken breast from last night. The potatoes left a nice frothy butter sauce in the pan, so I poured chicken broth in and added the chicken breast. After bringing it to a boil, a delicious aroma started rising. Suddenly David was asking for some of the “sauce” to pour over the chicken – and voila, gravy!

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In our quest to eat healthy in 2010, I thought I’d share some of my other recent experiments:

Honey-Baked Chicken Breast with Sauteed Peas & Baby Bella Mushrooms and Brown Rice

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Leftover Turkey & Butternut Squash Meatballs with Broccoli and Flax Fettuccini

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