Spicy & Saucy

Today’s lunch was last night’s supposed dinner. So much for meal planning! If it weren’t for my workout at the gym and getting stuck in a thunder storm with the tornado sirens going off, I may have been able to pull off dinner without a hitch!

But I can say that enjoying this on a nice, sunny day makes for a great lunch. I came across this recipe for Asian Spiced Pork Tenderloins with Apricot Sauce and loved the spices involved along with the sweetness of apricots. The verdict? It was not only easy to prepare, but flavorful and on the healthier side. I served this with steamed rice and broccoli.

Here’s the recipe for Asian Spiced Pork Tenderloins with Apricot Sauce:

2 12-ounce pork tenderloins
Easy Apricot Sauce (see recipe, below)

Asian Rub
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Easy Apricot Sauce
2/3 cup apricot preserves,
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce in small saucepan.
– Combine sauce ingredients and bring to boil; remove from heat. Cool to room temperature. Makes about 3/4 cup.

Prepare Easy Apricot Sauce. Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Combine brown sugar, salt, Chinese five spice and pepper in small bowl. Sprinkle and rub mixture evenly on surfaces of pork tenderloins.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in grill. Grill tenderloins, uncovered, over direct heat for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F., turning tenderloins over halfway through cooking. Transfer pork to cutting board. Loosely cover with foil. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Serve tenderloin with apricot sauce.

*I’m also submitting this to the Perfect Party Dishes blogging event, hosted by Dhanggit of Dhanggit’s Kitchen. The blogging event is in honor of her daughter’s first birthday. I chose this recipe because it can easily be made in advance and doesn’t require many ingredients for an elegant meal perfect for guests. Check out the round up for the event the week of August 15th on her site!*

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Spicy, Sweet & With an Attitude

I was in the mood for something fruity & sweet for dinner and found this recipe for Apricot Honey Chicken. The recipe looked like it needed a bit more complexity and attitude. So with a few changes noted below, we had success! Dinner definitely hit the spot because the sweet flavors of the honey and apricot preserves paired well with the bite and kick of the ginger and chili paste. I served this with brown jasmine rice and steamed broccoli.

Here’s my adapted recipe for Spicy Apricot Honey Chicken:

1/3 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 bone in chicken breasts
1/4 teaspoon of Thai chili paste
salt & pepper to taste

1. Blend mustard, preserves, ginger and chili paste. Marinate chicken in mustard mixture for at least an hour or even overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place marinated chicken on lined baking sheet and baste with marinade.

3. Bake chicken in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until juices run clear.

*You can also grill the chicken if you’d like!

Turkish Apricot Cream Blondies

This recipe was featured in my Blondie & Brownie swap event, which you can read about HERE.

Turkish Apricot Cream Blondies

Apricot Cream Cheese:

1/4 c. butter, softened
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 T. flour
2 t. vanilla
2 c. diced dried Turkish apricots

Blondie Base:
2/3 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/4 t. baking soda
1 c. toasted shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream Cheese mixture:
Butter 9 X 13 panIn a small bowl, beat together 1/4 c. softened butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
Add 1/2 c. sugar, 2 eggs, 2 T. flour and 2 t. vanilla; beat well.
Fold in diced apricots; set aside.

Blondie Base:
In a large saucepan, melt 2/3 c. butter.
Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar.
Beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Stir in 2 cups of flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; blend well.
Fold in coconut.

To Assemble:
Spread 1/2 of coconut batter evenly in pan.
Spread cream cheese mixture over top, covering batter completely.
Spoon dollops of remaining coconut batter over cream cheese layer, covering as much as possible.
Lightly swirl top batters with a knife.
Bake about 50 minutes, or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool completely in pan. Chill, and then cut into bars.

Sarah’s Banana Cranberry Apricot Bread

We made the following bread during my Quick Bread Cooking Class, which you can read & view pictures of HERE.

Sarah’s Banana Cranberry Apricot Bread
3 cups flour

3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. ginger ale
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/2 cup mashed bananas

Combine all ingredients.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes

Arlene’s Cranberry Apricot Orange & Walnut Bread

We made the following bread during my Quick Bread Cooking Class, which you can read & view pictures of HERE.

Arlene’s Cranberry Apricot Orange & Walnut Bread

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
12 oz. orange soda
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup walnuts

Combine all ingredients.
Pour into greased loaf pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 50-55 minutes