Grilled Herb Pork Tenderloin, Pesto Pasta Salad, Crunchy Veggie Salad

Champagne is Thicker Than Blood

Do you have old family friends that feel more like family than many of your own blood relatives?  I have such fond memories of my second “family” that date back to when I was only about 5 years old.  My “Aunt” and “Uncle” and all their kids generously invited my entire family over for pool parties that included lots of fabulous food (even lobster!), plenty of champagne and an unlimited supply of stories and laughter.  Through the years we have remained connected by our love of food and fun.  Today, as our parents are aging, the “kids” have taken over hosting the parties and now our kids play together.  We may not share a last name, but what we do share is a lifetime of love, laughter and great memories.  In my book, champagne is thicker than blood.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin (I cooked 6 – figure about 3 people per tenderloin)

Marinate Pork:  ½ cup olive oil, 4 cloves of garlic, ¼ cup of white wine, ¼ cup of chicken broth, 2 TBS of fresh chopped rosemary, 1 TBS of Thyme, Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon, Salt/Pepper.  Marinate in Ziploc for 10 mins. or 10 hours.

  • Cook pork on (sprayed) tin foil for about 10-15 minutes on High.
  • Flip and cook for 10-15 mins. on Medium (or turn off middle burner).

Pesto Pasta Salad: 
You can buy basil (or sun-dried tomato) pesto in a jar or tube which is MUCH easier but I try to make a big batch and freeze it.


  • In food processor, combine ¼ cup of pine nuts, 2 cups of packed (dry) basil leaves, 1 TSP of salt, ½ TSP of pepper and 1 clove of garlic.  Pulse until chopped.
  • Keep processor on and gradually add about ½ cup of EVOO (add more as needed) until smooth and creamy.
  • Pour into a bowl and stir in ¼ cup of parmesan cheese and zest/juice of ½ lemon.
  • You can also use it as a dip for the pork.

       Pasta Salad (Little Rotini – curly pasta):

  • Cook 1 pound of pasta and reserve some pasta water.
  • Drain pasta.  Mix 1-2 TBS of pesto into a small bowl and mix with ¼ cup of pasta water.  Stir into pasta.  Repeat again if necessary adding more pesto/pasta water as needed.  Pesto is strong so you don’t need too much.
  • Add a container of grape tomatoes cut in half.  This adds color and sweetness.

Crunchy Veggie Salad:

  • Cut up Peppers (yellow, red, orange), peel and cut celery, slice grape tomatoes and baby carrots.  Finely chop ¼ of onion and add to veggies.
  • Drizzle about 2 TBS of EV olive oil, ¼ cup of red wine vinegar and ¼ cup of rice wine vinegar.
  • Mix with salt, pepper, and some chopped fresh basil leaves.
  • You can make this several hours ahead of time.

Caesar Salad:

  • Cut up Romaine lettuce
  • Add croutons and some good bottled Caesar dressing
  • Toss and serve

Fresh Fruit Salad:  We bought it this time but it’s easy to make (or tell someone else to bring it!)

  • Cut up cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries and pineapple – add blueberries if you have them!
  • Squeeze a drop of lemon (if you add apples to avoid getting brown)

How Can Kids Help?

  • Help measure and mix the pork marinade and pour into the Ziploc bags.
  • Teach kids to smash the garlic to open it and then peel (use a wooden spoon or cake knife).
    Mia saw the garlic had brown spots and said “look mom, the garlic has acne!”.
  • Help using the food processor to make the pesto (ask them to add the oil or press the button to food processor).
  • Help count the colors in the veggie salad – ask them to be a taste tester too!

Did You Know?

The name “pesto” derives from the preparation of the sauce with a pestel and mortar.


4 responses to “Grilled Herb Pork Tenderloin, Pesto Pasta Salad, Crunchy Veggie Salad

  1. And pesto sauce is thicker than champagne”

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