2 Pork Tenderloins, 8 Dollars, 3 Dinners!

Last night, someone asked me how much of my day was devoted to cooking dinner for my family every night.  I think they were imagining me spending hours in the kitchen preparing home cooked and healthy meals.  Nothing could be more wrong!  I would love to spend hours in the kitchen but for now I must make do with about 20 minutes (if I am lucky).

DAY ONE: Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Whenever I see pork tenderloins on sale for half price I must buy them!  They freeze very well and are incredibly versatile.  I bought a package of 2 pork tenderloins for about $8 and decided that this week would be all about pork.  Think about it – if you could spend $8 on your main protein and make that last for three delicious meals – how much money could you save on your weekly grocery bill!? 

On Saturday I took the pork out of the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator for the day.  Sunday morning after church I made a very fancy marinade – McCormick Southwest Seasoning marinade packet, vinegar, and oil (follow the directions on the back!).  I mixed the marinade in a large freezer bag, added the two pork tenderloins, and threw it back in the fridge for the day.  Since my husband was home, I took advantage of his culinary expertise – the grill – and told him he would be cooking Sunday dinner.  Cooking pork tenderloin on the grill is very easy – cook it about 10 minutes per side, bring it inside, put it on a plate and cover it with foil for about 10 to 15 minutes.  The pork will continue to cook, but it will stay incredibly moist.  Slice the pork and serve with your favorite sides – my children chose green beans and mashed potatoes.  I promise you that there will be plenty of leftover pork – probably enough for two more days.

DAY TWO – Southwest Green Chile: 

While my kids were eating lunch on Monday, I quickly prepared the ingredients to make a Southwest Green Chile.  I have been told that the addition of potatoes and corn is what makes Southwestern Green Chile “Southwestern.”  I took about half of the pork tenderloin that was left and diced it into 1 inch pieces.  I threw that in the crockpot and added the following ingredients:

1 can diced tomatoes
2 cans diced green chiles
1 large white potato, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 cup corn, frozen (or 1 can corn)
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 can black beans
1 Tablespoon cumin

Cook on low for about 5 hours.  Serve with corn bread!  Delicious.

DAY THREE: Pork Fried Rice

Fried rice is one of the easiest dinners I can make.  I usually save this meal for nights that we have late swimming lessons and I need to whip something up for starving kids quickly!

Earlier in the day (or even the day before), prepare the rice so that it is cold – or at least room temp – when you are ready to use it.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 1/2 cups rice (I used brown jasmine)
2 1/2 cups water

Lightly saute garlic in the olive oil.  Add the rice.  Coat the rice in the oil and let it cook for about a minute.  Add the water and a little salt.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 20 minutes if you are using white rice and about 35 to 40 minutes if you are using healthier brown rice.  When the rice is done, set it aside until dinner.

Stir Fry

Make your sauce: Combine about 2 Tablespoons soy sauce with 2 Tablespoons duck sauce (hoisin sauce) with some minced garlic and powdered (or fresh) ginger.  Taste it – add flavor according to your preference.  Stir well, set aside.

In a large saucepan, heat about 1 Tablespoon oil, lightly scramble 1 or 2 eggs.  Set aside in a separate bowl.

Choose your veggie (or veggies) – check your crisper and your freezer – almost anything will do.  This week, we used a bag of frozen broccoli as our veggie.  I steamed the broccoli in the microwave for about 2 minutes and then added it to the hot pan.  Add the diced pork.  Pour the sauce over the veggies and pork.  Add the rice.  Mix well.  Chop 3 scallions – white and green parts.  Add the scallions to the fried rice at the end with the scrambled egg.  Easy and delicious!  This can really be on the table in 10 minutes.    

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Erin Brighton

I am a native New Englander now living in beautiful Charlotte, North Carolina and enjoying summers in sea-breezy Scituate, Massachusetts with my five small kids and two large dogs. I love to cook easy, local, and gluten-free for friends and family.

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