Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Meet Linda!

I'm a native Houstonian. I have been married to my high school sweetheart for 37 years and I have two adult children. I started my insurance career as a file clerk right out of high school, and I retired 10 years ago as a licensed Property & Casualty Insurance Agent. My faith and family are my priority. I love to hunt for vintage items and high-end bargains. Much of my home is decorated with things I have inherited or found at garage sales and secondhand stores. I enjoy traveling, especially to see my daughter in Kansas.

I grew up in a household with a single, working mom and elderly grandparents. Since my grandmother was ill, most of
the cooking was done by her housekeepers. However, she continued to bake amazing desserts (with assistance), which was her passion. I never had an opportunity to learn a lot about cooking from my mother or grandmother. So, as a young bride, I cooked by trial and error. My life was very fast paced and my calendar was full with my professional activities, church activities and my husband's/children's activities. Our weekly dinners suffered and were often last-minute and thrown together.

In my late 40s, I had to retire due to illness. Many things changed and I had to pretty much reinvent my life. Working on a healthy lifestyle that included home cooking with healthy, fresh ingredients became a priority. To that end, I got in a cookbook group, which eventually led to my involvement in 37 Cooks. Both groups have taught me a lot. From cooking techniques to spices, I learn something new almost each and every day, and I love to share it all with my family. I also stay busy in both groups by helping out on the administrative side.

I would like to spend more time developing my personal blog,  Seasons to Seasoning. My theme and catchphrase is "adding seasonings to the many seasons of my life". That pretty much sums up my life in a nutshell.

When we were asked to come up with a signature dish, I really could not think of one particular thing. Instead, I decided to share a dish that reflects my new healthier lifestyle and one that brings all kinds of different flavors and vegetables together.

My son Ryan was a very picky eater growing up. He was content with meals consisting of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Spaghetti Os. In an attempt to get him to try something new, I renamed Shepherd’s Pie “Luke Skywalker Casserole”. I cannot say it was a healthy dish with its seasoned ground beef, canned green beans, mashed potatoes, butter and sliced American cheese singles. However, since it was something different and with the new name, Ryan was satisfied and ate it. As an adult, his palate has changed greatly. He had a roommate who introduced him to a wide range of cuisines and dishes, many of which I haven’t even tried. Thai, Indian, Cuban and Greek are now some of his favorite cuisines, and alligator, sushi, and oysters are all things that he now loves. While he still request Luke Skywalker occasionally, for a comforting reminder of childhood, he is happy with Mom’s new style of cooking. 

These sliders were definitely a hit with him! Calories and fat are reduced by using a pork tenderloin vs. pork butt roast. The non-mayo slaw dressing also keeps the calories down, as does limiting the amount of barbecue sauce used. The salad has all the extra flavor and texture you need and you will love the addition of sugar snap peas, avocado and blue cheese.

Pork Sliders with Avocado-Blue Cheese Slaw 

For the Pork:
1 ½ pound pork tenderloin 
½ teaspoon lemon pepper 
½ teaspoon chili powder 
½ teaspoon cumin 
¼ teaspoon seasoning salt 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 cans diet Dr. Pepper 
Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce 

For the Slaw: 
2 cups prepackaged coleslaw mix (the kind with green cabbage, purple cabbage & carrots) 
1 cup shredded carrots 
2 cups sugar snap peas, blanched, drained and cut into small pieces 
1 cup celery, diced 
1 cup purple onion, diced 
2 avocados, medium firmness, diced 
½ cup blue cheese crumbles 
½ teaspoon black pepper 

For the Slaw Dressing:
1 lemon (¼ cup of lemon juice) 
¼ cup rice wine vinegar 
¼ cup olive oil 
Other 12 whole wheat slider buns 

Pork Tenderloin: 
1. Rub the tenderloin on all sides with the spices. 
2. Place in a large crock pot. 
3. Add the minced garlic to the pot. 
4. Pour the two cans of Dr. Pepper over the meat. 
5. Cook on high for one hour, reduce to low and cook for 4-5 hours. 
6. Remove the meat to a plate to cool. 
7. Shred the meat and place in a large bowl. 
8. Lightly coat the meat with Sweet Baby Ray’s Original Barbecue Sauce. 

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and lightly toss. (Be careful not to mash the avocados.) 
2. Pour the dressing over the slaw and lightly toss. 

Slaw Dressing: 
1. In a jar with a tight lid, add all of the dressing ingredients. Shake well!

1. Lightly toast slider buns in the oven on a cooking sheet. I used my broiler high setting and watched very closely. 

To assemble the sandwiches: 
1. Place several spoonfuls of the pulled pork on your slider bun. 
2. Top with several large spoonfuls of the salad. 


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, Linda! I'd like to see Luke Skywalker Casserole sometime! The slider looks terrific; the slaw sounds delicious.