Winter meals that feature pecans
FAMILY FEATURES — Seeking comfort from the cold in the form of a wholesome meal is a perfect way to cap off a day with loved ones. During the winter months when brisk temperatures chill you to the bone, warming up with hearty dishes at the family table can bring everyone together.
Full of seasonal flavors with top-notch taste, Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin offers a delicious main course you don’t have to feel guilty about. This easy yet elegant entree puts a unique spin on a dinnertime staple thanks to a crunchy pecan crust.
With cheddar and ricotta cheeses, sour cream and cavatappi noodles, this Mac and Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs is an extra creamy, creative twist on the kid-friendly classic. Pair this family favorite with the pork tenderloin for an easy weeknight combination that little ones can help with in the kitchen by stirring together the cheesy goodness.
This family dinner is made possible with tasty pecans, which are among the lowest in carbs and highest in fiber compared to other tree nuts, helping you stay fuller longer. As a nutrient-dense powerhouse, they have 3 grams of plant-based protein and 3 grams of fiber per 1-ounce serving with 12 grams of “good” monounsaturated fat and only 2 grams of saturated fat. Essential nutrients like thiamin, zinc, copper and manganese – a mineral that’s essential for metabolism and bone health – mean you can feel good about serving pecan-infused dishes to your loved ones.
Visit americanpecan.com to find more winter weeknight recipe inspiration.
Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin
Total time: 35 minutes
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 1/2 pounds)
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons soy sauce, divided
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup pecan pieces
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease large baking dish. Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper, to taste; set aside.
In small bowl, stir 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and minced garlic. Spread mixture over pork.
Press pecan pieces into brown sugar mixture on pork. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes.
In medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine remaining brown sugar, remaining soy sauce, pineapple juice and Dijon mustard. Bring mixture to boil; reduce to simmer 3-5 minutes then remove from heat.
Slice pork, spoon sauce over top and serve.
Mac and Cheese with Pecan Breadcrumbs
Total time: 50 minutes
8 ounces cavatappi pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1 block (8 ounces) cheddar cheese
1/2 cup raw pecan pieces
15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In salted boiling water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in butter.
Using box grater, shred cheddar cheese.
Using food processor, process 1/4 cup shredded cheese with pecans to coarse breadcrumb consistency.
Add remaining cheddar cheese, ricotta, sour cream, salt and pepper to warm pasta. Stir until thoroughly combined. Add egg; stir. Add reserved pasta water to loosen mixture; stir until smooth.
Pour into buttered 9-inch square or round casserole dish and top evenly with pecan topping.
Bake 30 minutes.