Many of you know that I enjoy cooking. I enjoy cooking even more when the meal that I prepare can be done quickly. (Remember, I’m a mom of four kids who likes to get things done!) So, that means that if I have kitchen gadgets or trusted ingredients that I buy to make my life in the kitchen easier, then I am a happier momma who’s feeding my family well.
So, when I attended the #DoleChefMom event with some of my friends, I knew that I would be able to pick up some helpful tips and hints from another multitasking, Momma, Chef Rosebud Benitez. While waiting for the rest of our Chef Mom friends to arrive, we all sat around chatting and sharing our experiences in the kitchen. I was in fact super surprised to learn that Chef Rosebud didn’t always have the desire to be in the kitchen, and she wasn’t always as inspired to cook! In fact, she shared that it wasn’t until she graduated culinary school that she realized she could have fun in the kitchen as well.
Chef was pleasant, engaging, and very easy to understand. When she was teaching us our new Dole dishes, we not only had fun cooking all together, but I realized we could even get the kids in on preparing these dishes, because they were so easy.
We started the event out by everyone answering the question “What is your cooking style?”
I don’t even know if I answered the question properly back then, because I rambled on a bit…but I will answer that question now…
My cooking style involves simple, easy to prepare dishes. I use quality ingredients and don’t believe in fab diets. I prepare balanced healthy dishes, serve them family style, and I like using lots of tools in the kitchen that make my life easier. I have staples that I keep in the pantry so that if I need to, I can whip something up on a moment’s notice. I enjoy getting in the kitchen with my kids. I want them to play with flavors, prepare snacks for themselves, and develop a fondness for food that is healthy.
I guess Chef Rosebud feels the same way because it’s like she prepared the menu we would all be learning that day…exactly for me.
The first recipe she taught us was Pork Tenderloin Tacos. Admittedly, I have never thought of putting tenderloin in my tacos (and we have tacos pretty often in my house) so this already was a revelation for me. Chef shared that she chose tenderloin for us, but we could really use any kind of meat for this dish. (normally, I use a mix of ground beef and pork)
We all settled into our stations at The Cookery. I loved how the place made it really easy for the personalized cooking lessons provided for us by Dole and Chef Rosebud. It was intimate, encouraging, and even if all of us weren’t so adept in the kitchen, there were people to help near by who knew their stuff too. Each of us had two burners to use and an oven to share if we were to have baked something…
All six of us in the kitchen have different styles as well…so it was really nice to get to meet other Mommas who like to have fun in the kitchen too.
But the thing about what was impressed upon us for the entire time we were together was that we should also be able to have #funcooking in the kitchen. It’s easy to whip up dishes when you are having fun, right?
I got to thinking about it too…got to thinking about why no one is smiling in the photo…and then I tried smiling and cooking at the same time…it took such an effort!! But not because I was stressed-it’s just not what I was used to doing. SUPER EFFORT TALAGA.
In all honesty, I find cooking to be very therapeutic and relaxing, most of the time. (I think I might have shared that while we talked about our cooking style during the event.) When I first moved here from NY, and I was homesick looking for food I wanted to eat from back home, I would fire up all six burners on my stove top and have an eggplant parm baking in the oven…
Simply because, that’s how I roll. The beauty in being that homesick is that I wouldn’t have to cook for a week after a bout of homesick sickness…
Ok. But back to our cooking lesson.
Don’t these tacos look beautiful? When I made them at home again I put a ton more pineapple tomato topping and a LOT more cheese…but these tacos were perfect to enjoy with the rest of the ladies that were there cooking together. They weren’t too messy, nor too full, and I was able to share…
- 400 g Pork Tenderloin sliced into strips
- 432 g can of Pineapple Chunks, drained
- 2 medium onions sliced
- 6 plum tomatoes diced
- Hard or Soft Tacos depending on your preference.
- In a non stick frying pan, saute the onions, tomatoes and drained pineapple chunks until the pineappple has caramelized a bit.
- You want the onions to be crystalline, the tomatoes to be soft, and the pineapple to be lightly caramelized.
- Meanwhile, in another pan on medium high heat saute the pork tenderloin seasoning with salt, pepper, paprika and a dash of cumin. Be sure not to overcook as it will make the tenderloin tough because it has very little fat.
- Cooking time of the pork will be fast depending on the way you sliced the strips.
- *Helpful Tip: Keep the pineapple juice and use as a base to a vinagrette.
- *Helpful Tip: You can swap out pork for boneless chicken, ground beef, or ground pork.
I would even consider marinating the chicken breast before hand in either the pineapple juice with a little garlic, evoo, and maybe some honey to just change it up a little.
Whenever you make a salsa-you need an acid. In the past, I have used lime, lemon, calamansi, and even just plain ole white vinegar. The thing I love about a salsa like this is that it’s so light and refreshing you could choose to serve it with chicken, fish, and even grilled shrimp.
- 4 pieces butterflied and pounded boneless skinless chicken breast marinated
- 1 423 g can Pineapple tidbits drained, juice reserved for later
- 1red bell pepper chopped
- 1/2 cucumber chopped
- 1 whole ripe mango chopped
- 4 plum tomatoes seeded and chopped
- 1 small red onion finely chopped
- handful of cilantro/wansoy (leaves only) chopped
- 1 lime
- Marinate chicken breast in a GLAD storage bag with 2 gloves of crushed garlic half of the juice from the can of pineapple, and 2 TBS of honey.
- Toss the chopped veggies and fruits with the juice of one lime and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. You can add sili if you like it spicy or keep it just the way it is for a more mild salsa that the kids would enjoy.
- Grill the chicken in a grill pan lightly brushed with canola oil.
- Make sure your pan is quite hot so you will achieve searing levels and marks.
- When your chicken is done you can serve it atop a green salad with the salsa.
- *Marinating chicken is always best in the refrigerator.
Thank you Dole for inviting me to be part of this wonderful campaign that empowers Mommas like me to have fun in the kitchen with the whole family!
I can’t wait to share some more easy to make recipes that will keep the kiddos coming back for more.
PLUS: Stay tuned for a huge giveaway from DOLE! We are teaming up to give away four big baskets of DOLE goodness for you to have #funcooking in your own kitchen!