Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin (Robyn & Nance)

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pork Loin with a Brown Sugar & Balsamic glaze found over at C & C Marriage Factory.  Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.

Nance’s Take:


Truth Game: Robyn always takes the heat for finding recipes that involve a crock-pot, but I am all about using one when I can.  The convenience of being able to walk away from meal preparation for hours at a time is just perfect for a flaky person like me.

When it’s my turn to look for the recipe of the week I always pick something that involves food I already have in the freezer/house.  I buy pork tenderloin at Sam’s Club in the big huge log and cut it into 3-4 separate chunks before freezing.  Truth Game:  I have never in my life remembered making a pork loin that hasn’t been dry as shit and inedible.  My mother throws it in a casserole dish with sauerkraut and it’s fabulous, but my shit is dry, dry, dry.  Let me put it another way:  The dogs really enjoy it when I make the pork loin because they think they’re living high off the hog (yes, I did just write that).


Here’s my thawed pork loin. Impressive, no?


And here it is after I added the seasonings. Please note that I a) do not even bother working with garlic in the raw and b) my pepper is fancypants cracked pepper that comes from a grinder. Truth game: I use minced garlic from a jar because I do not have the time or patience to mess around with garlic cloves and my fancypants cracked pepper is one of those disposable deals that you buy at Sam’s Club or even better, Aldi’s. There’s no shame in my game!


This is what it looked like 1 hour before it was finished. I admit to being a bit concerned because it appeared to be swimming in a shit-ton of grease.  That needed to go.  The recipe didn’t mention it, but I saw no purpose in having a grease-filled balsamic glaze.


I pulled it from the crock-pot, threw it on a plate and decided to slice it because I wanted to make sure the glaze went everywhere. Truth Game: I thought it might help out with any potential dryness that may occur considering it was me cooking the pork.


The glaze was pretty uncomplicated and I was, as you can see, pretty sloppy about it. A true food blogger would not let you see that her corn startch blew every where when she was dumping it into her pan. She also wouldn’t let you see one of her favorite spoons in the entire world.


Red rubber spoon brought to you by KitchenAid. This damn spoon cannot be destroyed (yet) and I’m pretty sure you will not find this bad boy at Williams Sonoma. Just saying! I cooked the shit out of this stuff and it didn’t get as thick as I thought it should be.  But I didn’t mess with it as I wanted the recipe to be authentic (and that way Jane couldn’t call my dumb ass out for not doing the recipe right).


Action shot! I put the meat back in the crockpot, poured the glaze over it and walked away for an hour. Truth Game: I really did walk away, but that’s only because I had shit to read on the Internet (trainwreck blogs, FTW!).  My mom and Rick were in the kitchen so they handled brushing the meat with the glaze every once in a while.


This is what it looked like when I came back.


And this is what it looked like when I threw it on a platter and set it down on the dinner table.  I could have made it prettier and put the extra glaze in a bowl, but we’re a typical family that doesn’t really plate our meals and fuck that noise, we were hungry!  Truth Game: Because we are a bunch of starch eaters we had baked potatoes and corn with this meat. It, of course, was a fabulous dinner. FABULOUS. Truth Game: We had the baked potatoes (huge restaurant variety) because I did not have faith in the meat coming out right. I fully intended to make the potatoes a complete meal if needed. We had leftover potatoes for a week. Heh.

Truth Game: This meat was moist and delicious. It will most definitely be going into the menu rotation.


Robyn’s Take:

When I saw what Nance had chosen for this week’s recipe, I was THRILLED. Not only because it’s a crock pot recipe, but also because it was a pork roast recipe. Since we raise our own pigs, I end up with a LOT of pork roasts in the freezer, and I’m never quite sure what the hell to do with them. This looked like it was going to be easy enough, for sure.


RoastPork (1)

To start with, all you need is a roast, sage, salt and pepper, crushed garlic, and water. I had minced garlic on hand, so used that (I see no need for mincing your own garlic when you can buy the pre-minced stuff. Nance and I are clearly on the same page in this regard). Also, the recipe called for a boneless pork tenderloin or regular pork loin. When we have our pigs processed, the loin goes into chops, so I had no pork loin in the freezer. I did, however, have a shoulder roast, so I used that.

RoastPork (2)

Basically, you make a rub with the sage, salt and pepper, and garlic, and rub it all over the roast. Then you throw it in the crock pot and ignore it for 6 or 7 hours. If you’re me, you might open the lid and stare in at it from time to time just for the hell of it.

Do I know how to party, or what?

So I had to put the pork in the crock pot at 7:30 am because I had a morning full of errands ahead of me, and I was pretty sure that if I waited ’til I got home to start it, we’d be eating dinner at 6. Fred Anderson would eat dinner at 3:30 in the afternoon every day if I allowed it – you think I’m kidding, and I am so NOT – so dinner at 6:00 wasn’t going to work for me. The recipe instructed to leave it in the crock pot for 6 – 8 hours, but an hour before the roast is done, you combine glaze ingredients and then brush it over the roast two or three times during that last hour of cooking.

I had all kinds of math to do – how long did I want to cook the roast? It was a small one, so probably 7 hours. Except that when it comes to crock pot recipes, I tend to go with the longest time, so okay 8 hours. Which meant that at the 7 hours point I needed to mix up the glaze ingredients. And then I had to think very very hard to decide that the 7 hours point would be 2:30. Then I forgot. Then I had to figure it out again. Then I forgot that I’d decided 2:30, and at 1:30 I went into the kitchen to gather the glaze ingredients.

And it’s a good damn thing I was early. Because one of the ingredients was balsamic vinegar. I’d checked in the cupboard to make sure I had a bottle of that stuff before I ran my errands (because one of the errands was to the grocery store, and if I’d needed a bottle, I could have picked it up. But I didn’t, because I had a bottle in the cupboard. God, is this reasoning fascinating, or what?)

In the gathering of my ingredients, I realized that the bottle of balsamic vinegar, which had been sitting in the cupboard for god knows how long, had solidified.

RoastPork (4)

And it looked really, really gross.

RoastPork (5)

I mean seriously, what the HELL? GAH.

RoastPork (6)
Totally solid.

I thought maybe, perhaps, possibly, that the dollar store (which I can see from my front porch) might have a bottle of cheap balsamic vinegar, but alas it was not to be. Luckily I’m only about 10 minutes from the grocery store AND I was an hour ahead of schedule, so it wasn’t a big deal.

And the glaze ingredients are:

RoastPork (3)

Brown sugar, cornstarch, balsamic vinegar, water, and soy sauce.

Mix everything up in a small sauce pan, then heat and stir ’til it thickens. Or if you’re me, put the sauce pan on the stove on medium heat, wander off, and then remember about five minutes later that OH SHIT, I’ve got something on the stove! It was bubbling quietly by the time I got back to the stove and was ready to come off the heat.

RoastPork (8)

Brush the glaze over the roast 2 – 3 times in the course of the next hour. Which I did! Then save the rest of the glaze to serve on the side.

Then I let it cool and THEN I cut it up, and I might have taken a bite or two while I was cutting it up, and wow. It was REALLY good!

RoastPork (10)

RoastPork (11)
Gratuitous cat pic!

But what would Fred think? He’s not super crazy about soy sauce, would he like it or not? WOULD HE LIKE IT? WOULD HE NOT? Oh, I was on pins and needles, I really was.

(No I wasn’t.)

RoastPork (12)

Turns out, Fred thought it was really damn good, too! My only complaint is that it didn’t make much (I used a 2 1/2 pound shoulder roast, but a large part of that was bone), we were barely able to get two meals out of it. Which actually, now that I say that, doesn’t sound too bad. But I would have liked to get a lunch or two from it as well, so maybe next time I’ll do two smaller roasts at the same time. There was certainly room in the crock pot!

We will definitely be having this again. Two thumbs up!


Brown Sugar & Balsamic Glazed Pork Loin
Original Source/Author:
: Main
  • 1 (2 pound) boneless pork tenderloin (or regular pork loin)
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup water
  • Glaze
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  1. Combine sage, salt, pepper and garlic. Rub over roast. Place in slow cooker with ½ cup water. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 1 hour before roast is done, combine ingredients for glaze in small sauce pan. Heat and stir until mixture thickens. Brush roast with glaze 2 or 3 times during the last hour of cooking. Serve with remaining glaze on the side.



Pork and Corn Stuffing Bake

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pork and Corn Stuffing Bake, found over at AllRecipes. 


Robyn’s take:

This week, after Fred looked through my pile o’ recipes and turned up his nose at every one of them, I threw up my hands and said “Okay, goddamnit, YOU pick one, you picky motherfucker!” So he communed with his best friend Google and sent me a link to this recipe, and I sent it on to Nance, who had no problems with it, and thus that is how this week’s recipe was chosen.

I thought that Fred had carefully considered the recipe before suggesting it, but as it turned out, he glanced at it and was all “I like cornbread stuffing! I like Cream of soups! Done and done!” So the entire time I was making the pork chops, he kept wandering in and questioning each step until I wanted to stab him in the eye.

That said, it was a pretty simple recipe. The ingredients are as such:


Pepperidge Farm Cornbread or Herb Seasoned Stuffing (or, to be honest, I’m sure ANY kind of stuffing would do), Cream of Celery soup, whole kernel corn (the recipe calls for 1/2 c., but when I froze corn last summer, I did it in 1-cup servings, so that’s how much I used), onion, celery, pork chops, brown sugar (not pictured) and spicy brown mustard (I used Dijon).

About the pork chops: we have tons of pork chops here, since we grow our own pigs and thus always have plenty of pork in the freezer. The recipe called for boneless pork chops, but I’m not one for deboning pork chops when you can just cook them with the bone in and eat around them. That’s just the kind of wild party girl I am!

Like I said, this was a simple recipe. The hardest part was finely chopping the celery and onion. But I have a super awesome tool to help me do the fine chopping. A few years ago, my mother sent me a Vidalia Chop Wizard, and I’ve been using it ever since. I use it to chop lots of stuff – onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and in this case, celery. All I had to do for the onion was skin the onion and then slice it, put it on the Vidalia Chop Wizard, lower the top, and voila! Finely chopped onions.



I did the same with the celery.

After the celery and onion is chopped, it’s just a matter of tossing the dry stuffing into a bowl and adding the condensed cream of celery soup, onion and celery, and corn. Then you stir ’til it’s reasonably combined, like such:


Take a pie dish, spray it with cooking spray, dump the stuffing mix into the pie dish, and spread it evenly. Top with the pork chops. Mix your brown sugar and mustard, and brush the pork chops with that.


Then stick it into the oven and cook for half an hour. Now, here’s a note: pork chops with bones need to cook a bit longer, apparently. After ours had cooked for 30 minutes,Fred and I got our pork chops and sat down, and his pork chop wasn’t completely done.

Nothing makes me want to run around screaming like underdone pork. Because, BLEH. So we cooked everything for an additional ten minutes, and that was perfect.

(We eat green beans as a side pretty often, because we grow a metric ton of them every year.)

The verdict? Two thumbs up from both of us! The pork chops were really good with their sugar/ mustard glaze, and the stuffing was nice and moist. The onion and celery was a bit crunchy, which I like – but if you prefer yours uncrunchy, probably 2 – 3 minutes in the microwave before you add them to the stuffing mix would take the crunch out.

Fred said that the meal was good enough that he’d like to have it again (which is a good thing, since we have leftovers and will be eating it again for dinner Monday night), though he thinks (and I agree) that Cream of Mushroom soup would be perfectly good. I believe that pretty much any kind of Cream of soup could be substituted for any other; we keep the Cream of Mushroom on hand, so that’s what I tend to use.

Also, of note: Kim was kind enough to share her celiac-friendly make-your-own cream of anything soup mix, here (thanks, Kim!).

Like I said, we’ve got plenty of pork chops in the freezer, so I’ll definitely be making this again – though I think that next time, instead of using a pie dish, I’ll use a 9×13 Pyrex dish. Some of the pork chops were overlapping, and that’s probably part of the reason they didn’t cook all the way through in 30 minutes.



Nance’s take:  

Fucking Fred (shush, it’s an endearment, sometimes).  When I heard he was picking out the recipe this time I knew in my heart it was going to involve some kind of pork (Mr. Fred and I sometimes share a brain and it is not always a good thing).  I was appalled when I saw cornbread stuffing, but I figured I had signed up to try new things (even if they did make me barf) so I went with it.

A little FYI about Nance.  I freaking hate pork chops.  With a bloody passion.  I have no idea why, but they are just a cut of meat that does absolutely nothing for me – so, of course, I must hate them!  God forbid, I dislike something and not be all dramatic about it!

I really don’t like typing these entries up on the night before they go up, but I’ll be honest by saying that I avoided this recipe like the plague (note: hate pork chops).  I was making this meal up on Sunday afternoon and already had plans to order a pizza for the evening – just in case things didn’t work out (see: hate pork chops).  Thank God I have my husband as a witness because I know that Fred would never believe me, but we could not find Pepperidge Farm stuffing at the store.  With the additional bonus of not being able to find any cornbread stuffing!  (see: Win for the Pittsburgh Yankees, hee).  I ended up substituting Stove Top stuffing, pork flavored, which I considered to be sorta kinda “herbed”, maybe?  Oh, things were not looking so great for me and this recipe.  It was looking even worse when I realized at the last hour that I had no Cream of Celery soup.  I actually had Rick run to the store for it because I already felt bad about the stuffing situation.


Check out this stuffing.  Gross, huh?  I mean, yuk.  When I was in my early 20s I used to love this shit, but as I grew older my taste buds got a little more refined (although corn dogs are still one of my favorite foods so apparently I am not only overly dramatic, but a liar as well). Refined my ass.


DO NOT DO WHAT I DID HERE! I screwed up BIG TIME and pre-made the stuffing. What do I know of recipes that involve packaged stuffing? NOTHING. So I made it up like the package said because Robyn was a little too slow in my her email reply and THIS WAS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT. And I wish I would have added more corn like Robyn did, but I was TRYING TO FOLLOW THE RECIPE, AHEM.


SO yeah, kinda looks shitty, but I’m hoping for the best. You can tell by the way I was getting fancy with the laying of the pork chops. Around here, we don’t have pigs in our backyard so I just went to the local grocery store and bought them since I’m rich. I’m not going to lie. The rule about following the recipe went out the window and I totally didn’t measure the mustard/brown sugar. It just didn’t seem like enough (says she who hates pork chops and will do anything to try and make it more likable). It’s about this time that we were leaning towards taco pizza. Our local Fox’s makes a fabulous one.

This was at 30 minutes. And I thought maybe I should just rename it pork chop soup and call it a day. I am all paranoid about pork being under cooked (my mother loves to pass on her Crazy and it’s one of the reasons I usually eat pork and chicken in a petrified state) so I put it in for another 10 minutes. Honestly? I was hoping that the “soup” would dry out a bit.


Here’s my plate. Please note the spoon. Just sayin’!


I was busy doing other things so I just yelled for my kid to come down and get some food. He slopped it on his plate like this (he had never seen anything like it before) and I cracked up when I saw it. Tell me that doesn’t look like a pile of BARF right there. I was rolling. And debating what time we should call to order the pizza.


It was motherfucking delicious! 3 out of 4 loved it and the other one (who hates mustard) only liked the pork chop (which had the mustard on it, go figure). Rick was the lone dissenter, but I bet he would change his mind if I made it with my own stuffing.

So kudos to the FredMonster for picking out a good recipe and giving me absolutely nothing else to bitch about today.

Robyn & Nance try the same recipe - Pork and Corn Stuffing Bake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Main, Entree, Pork
Serves: 4
  • 1½ c. Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing or Herb Seasoned Stuffing
  • 1 (10.75 oz) can condensed Cream of Celery soup
  • ½ c. whole kernel corn
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ c. finely chopped celery
  • 4 boneless pork chops, ¾-inch thick
  • 1 T packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  1. Stir the stuffing, soup, corn, onion and celery in a medium bowl. Spoon the stuffing mixture into a greased 9-inch pie plate. Top with the pork.
  2. Stir the brown sugar and mustard in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth. Spread the mixture on the pork.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes or until the pork is cooked through.
If you're using bone-in pork chops, give it an extra 10 minutes of cooking time.

Hot Honeyed Spare Ribs

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Hot Honeyed Spare Ribs by Sandra Lee of Food Network Fame.

Nance’s take:

It was my turn to pick the recipe for the week. Boo-yah!  No healthy eating and/or vegetables up in this hizzy!  And if you thought that my recipe choice was well thought out and done with thorough research you are just nothing but Chris Brown wrong.  I picked this type of recipe out because I had a package of ribs in my freezer and was completely over eating anything that involved chicken or ground beef.  I chose this particular recipe because I googled rib recipe images and it caught my eye.  I’m easy that way (insert whore joke here, I don’t mind).  I also have to admit that I don’t watch Food Network television so the only thing I really know about Sandra Lee is that she apparently likes the alky-haul.  Whatevs, I’m not judging.  I save my judging for bloggers that end up on video because whoa, seeing that fake shit makes me so uncomfortable.  Just type your words, fixate on your husband’s ass and stay off of video because YOU. CANNOT. ACT.

So yeah.  RIBS.  I finally looked  at the recipe after it was all settled between Robyn and I that it was going to be the recipe we would do together.  And that’s when  I realized that I didn’t have all of the ingredients that I needed.  I also didn’t know what one of the ingredients was.  Chili Garlic sauce.  The fuck?  I had to google it.  And I did find out that you can buy the stuff at Walmart, but Rick was going in a different direction (I was having him pick the stuff up while he was out).  I told him that any brand would do as long as it was Chili Garlic Sauce.


I ended up with this. Apparently Rick is dyslexic. But I don’t think that it matters. We’re trying to eat a little healthier (says she who picked ribs) so I had him get the lighter dressing.


This is my homemade broiler (cookie rack/cookie sheet). I had a beautiful one that I gave to the thrift store because I never used it. I hate broiling anything because I usually burn foods (I get bored and walk away) or it makes a mess of my oven. Blech, to the broiling. You’ll see why I changed my mind about broiling at the end of this entry.


I’m also easing up on the sugar in this house. We use Splenda when we can and this is our favorite brand of “artificial” honey. It’s sold at Walmart and it’s cheap.


I just threw all of the ingredients in a measuring cup (that’s a two cup one) because measuring honey is a pain in the ass so I started with it in the bottom. I knew that once I mixed it all up it would come out easily with a spatula and save me from a sticky mess.


Once I dumped it all over my pre-broiled ribs (crock pot was sprayed with cooking spray, of course) I was pretty sure this recipe was going to be a total flop. When I walked past it I would try to baste it because I was worried that the meat would have no flavor.  I can honestly say that I was getting PISSED that I wasted good money on a shitty recipe. After I splashed myself with the sauce for the third time I said the hell with it and walked away.


And that’s when things started to get good. I should have left it the hell alone from the very beginning and let it do its thing!


Once cooked, my runny mess turned into a delicious sauce. And the ribs came off the bone like butter.


Crappy picture by my husband. I was too busy shoving my piehole with this deliciousness to even bother taking a picture. I like some spice to my food. Not a lot because I don’t want to have my taste buds burned off, or have to suck down Tums or Prilosec after I eat. This had just enough heat to let me know it was there, but it was really about the flavor. Everyone in the house liked this (except my mother who does not eat ribs, weirdo).

It will definitely be in the mealtime rotation because it’s a great way to do ribs when you can’t do them on the grill. Just follow the directions, have a little faith and don’t mess with ’em!


 Robyn’s take:

I will be honest with y’all, when I looked at the list of ingredients and saw Catalina dressing on there, I was like “Uh… really?” Because while I like Catalina dressing on a salad (it’s what I always get at a salad bar!), I wouldn’t have guessed it to be a terrific ingredient when it comes to ribs. But then, I rarely make ribs and when I do, I toss them in the crock pot with BBQ sauce and call it good enough, so what do I know?

First of all, the recipe calls for “baby back ribs, cut in 1/2.” This sent me into a slight tizzy because we had ribs in the freezer – ribs from our very own pigs – but what was the difference between those ribs and baby back ribs? I decided to look at baby back ribs at the grocery store, and if there was some huge, visible difference between those and what we had on hand, I’d go with the baby back ribs. Well, I couldn’t find anything labeled “baby back ribs” at the grocery store, so using our own ribs was what I ended up doing.

Gratuitous ingredients shot:


(The low-sodium soy sauce is missing from this picture.)

Like Nance, I had no idea what Chili Garlic Sauce was. I got in my head that it was something I’d find in the marinade section. So I stood there for about ten minutes looking and looking for something that said Chili Garlic Sauce on it, and nothin’. I was getting frustrated and on the verge of texting Nance to be all “WTF?” when I remembered that I have a smart phone, so I Googled around and found that I’d do better off looking in the Asian section. I looked, and whattaya know, there it was. I think it’s funny that Nance and I both ended up with the exact same brand. Same brand of dressing, too! Here’s a handy tip when it comes to dressings (same holds true for cheeses) : reduced calorie is fine, but for god’s sake, don’t ever buy the fat free stuff. It tastes like plastic, and I am not even kidding you.

I actually had to broil my ribs in two batches, because I ended up with more than four pounds of ribs (and also, they weren’t cut in half like the recipe called for because I could only imagine that I’d have hacked my thumb off in the process).

I do actually have a broiling pan, aren’t you jealous? I’ve used it maybe three times, ever.

Nance’s idea of using a big measuring cup to mix up the sauce is a good one – I didn’t think of that, so I mixed everything up in a smallish bowl while the first batch of ribs were broiling. Then as I put each section of ribs into the crock pot, I poured some sauce over each, front and back, so I wouldn’t need to do any stirring.


I was afraid that the sauce wouldn’t thicken up, but right around 3 hours, it got nice and thick. I took my ribs out at the 3 1/2 hour mark to let them cool a bit, while I made our side dishes (rice and veggies).


As you can see, I put some of the sauce over my rice.

The verdict? Really, really good. Both Fred and I liked it a LOT. We don’t eat ribs very often, and in the past we’ve only eaten them because we had them in the freezer. I don’t know that we’re going to eat ribs more often in the future, but when we have them (I believe we’ve got another couple of packs of ribs left over from the previous pig), this is going to be the go-to recipe.

I love that we’re going to probably get another two meals out of this. The best part of living in a house with two people? You don’t have to cook as often!

Two thumbs up to the ribs. Obviously Nance needs to pick our recipes more often!

PS: I think a heaping tablespoon of minced garlic would have been a nice addition, too.


Hot Honeyed Spare Ribs
Original Source/Author:
: Main
  • 4 pounds baby back ribs, cut in ½
  • 1 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup chili garlic sauce
  • 1 cup Catalina dressing
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  1. Preheat broiler. Line bottom portion of broiler pan with foil for easy clean up. Spray top rack lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Season ribs with garlic salt and pepper. Broil for 5 to 6 minutes, turn and broil for an additional 5 to 6 minutes. Place browned ribs in slow cooker.
  3. In a mixing bowl, stir together remaining ingredients. Pour sauce mixture over ribs. Move ribs around to make sure they are all coated. Cover and cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.
  4. With tongs, remove ribs from slow cooker and let cool slightly before cutting into individual rib pieces. Skim grease from sauce. Serve ribs with sauce on the side.