Spinach and Herb Stuffed Bacon Wrapped Pork Loin with Baked Potato

This recipe is courtesy of my husband, Troy. We had a pork loin in the freezer and wanted to use that up. Since Troy is a wonderful chef, I left it up to him to come up with what to do with it. I believe the first thing he said was to stuff it and roll it up. I was down for that. I initially wasn’t going to post this because I wasn’t going to be home yet to take pictures, and I didn’t want to bother Troy with it. But guess what, he was awesome enough and took pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚ Isn’t he just wonderful?! I may be biased….

This recipe is almost Whole30 approved. I plan on doing an update on my journey and current thoughts as to why I chose to do what I did. Intrigued?! But that’s later. Back to the food because that is ALL that matters.

The food was absolutely amazing, and it hit the spot. It’s very flavorful and you can pick and choose what to include in it. The pork is versatile, which is a great thing. So, don’t feel the need to stick with what I did. Okay?

What you will need for the pork:

  • 2 pound pork loin
  • 2 sprigs of chopped thyme
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary (chop up one sprig)
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 6 pieces of bacon (we like thick cut)
  • 2 handfuls of baby fresh baby spinach (or kale if you have that lying around)
  • meat tenderizer (or a hammer…j/k)
  • butchers twine
  • tin foil

What you will need for the baked potato:

  • 2 russet potatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chopped green onions (or chives)
  • chopped bacon (from the pork when it’s done)
  • cheese (optional)
  • butter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean the pork loin of silverskin (that’s the thin layer of white on top of the meat) and some of the fat.
  3. Butterfly the pork. You will be making 3 incisions. Starting with the loin either vertically or horizontally (whichever way you feel more comfy), you are going to cut it length wise, about 3/4 of the way through. Do not cut all the way through. You will then need to butterfly each of the halves. Once you have the first center cut, open the loin up. Cut each half right down in the middle 3/4 of the way down. Remember not to cut all the way through. It will not be a flat surface. It looks more like there are triangles on each side. Donโ€™t worry about that, youโ€™ll be taking care that in the next step. (If this seemed complicated to follow, I’m sure there are videos online. The way that Troy did it was a lot easier than ways you may find online.)
  4. Take the tenderizer (the side with the spikes) and pound both sides completely. Youโ€™re not looking to make the loin bigger, you just want the meat to be tender.
  5. Add salt, pepper, chopped thyme and chopped rosemary, and minced garlic. Lay flat all of the spinach.IMG_3980
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  6. Starting at one end, start rolling it all up.
  7. Next, you’re going to need the butcher’s twine. Cut 4 equal length strings. Long enough to go around the loin. Tie each end of the pork loin tightly. Then, with the remaining 2 strings, tie them around the middle of the loin. Troy did the fancy thing of trussing the pork, but this is made simple. If you are interested in learning how to truss, I’d say Google it. ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_7683
  8. Rub mustard all around the pork.
  9. With the 3 sprigs of rosemary, fit them underneath the strings so they stay in place.IMG_6287
  10. Take one piece of bacon, cover one end (so you are covering the opening). While holding the ends of the bacon, take the next piece and place it over the loin and over the ends youโ€™re holding, then tuck it under the loin. Do the same thing with the other end of the loin. The last 2 pieces of bacon will go over the middle.IMG_9539
  11. Take 2 pieces of foil and wrap each around each potato leaving it open on top. Think of it as placing the potato into a comfy basket (without a handle).
  12. Place the bacon wrapped loin into an oven safe corning ware. Do not cover. The foil wrapped potatoes can also go into an oven safe dish.
  13. Bake the pork loin and potatoes for 45-55 minutes. Depending on your oven. The bacon will become crispy on top. Push on the loin when you take it out; it should be relatively firm. The potatoes should be soft in the center. You can use a knife to determine if it is done.IMG_0587
  14. Let the pork rest. After it has rested, peel the bacon off, and cut the strings off. (I stuck the bacon back into the oven on a baking sheet to get them more crispy).
  15. Cut the loin into 1/2 to 3/4 inch slices.
  16. Slice a slit along the top the potatoes. Do not cut the ends or go all the way through. Push on the ends to make it open up and look restaurant style. Caution: it will be very hot. Then use a fork to “fluff” it all up. Top it with your favorite toppings! We used the bacon from the pork, chopped it up, and put it on top.
  17. Plate all the food.
  18. Enjoy!

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YUM! Doesn’t it look delicious?! I’ll admit, I ate it all. And very quickly. It was pretty much like I haven’t eaten in centuries.

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Rosemary Shoestring Sweet Potato Fries

I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with fries. I can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anywhere in between! However, they have to be crispy. There are some occasions where they could be a little on the softer side – maybe you’re using thick cut fries as a vessel for chili. Yum. Then it’s okay for no crispiness. But today, I was in the mood for some crunchy delicious fries! Recently, as in the last few months, I fell in love. I met a sweet potato, and fell oh so hard. Now, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “What?! How can she be alive for SO many years and JUST now be loving the sweet potato?” Well, you just hold on here. Let me tell you a story…

My first job, I worked in a daycare as an infant teacher. Don’t worry, I didn’t teach much. Just basically hung out with the tiny humans. Adorbs. Anyway, I think it was around Thanksgiving and we were having a potluck. Gimme all the foods! I don’t remember what was actually brought in except one dish. The sweet potatoes. They were covered with brown sugar, maple syrup, and marshmallows. Now, I adore all of those ingredients minus the potato since I haven’t had one prior. I thought to myself, what could go wrong? I have a huge sweet tooth, and who doesn’t enjoy a potato. When I took my first bite of that concoction, I’m pretty positive all my teeth had rotted instantly from all of the sugar. My oh my, I did not like that! I couldn’t even try it again! No way! None for me! I was ruined! Scarred for life! Until a few months ago…

I wanted to become a lot healthier. I’m not a fan of my weight, and I heard of the Whole30. I instantly became intrigued. It was a strict diet, but I had a feeling I could do it. I can go more into detail later about how Whole30 works. For now, lets just keep talking about the beloved sweet potato. Sound good? So, I read about how the sweet potato is actually pretty darn good for you, so I wanted to have it in my diet. My husband was all for it, too. The first night he made me dinner on our Whole30, he had cubed up the sweet potato and dusted them with some Indian spices. I thought I had really enjoyed Indian spices. Nope! I really did not like those potatoes! I couldn’t believe it. Could it just be that I don’t like the actual potato?! I had to try it just one more time. The next morning, my husband made me breakfast. I know, I’m a lucky gal. Sweet potato hash! Fried egg on top, veggies, bacon, herbs. Yum. I absolutely LOVED that breakfast. It finally happened. That’s where my affair with the sweet potato started. I’m sorry it took me this long to love you, sweet potato.

Now, shall we get on with this recipe?

I used two medium sized potatoes. It was just for me and the hubby. I kept the skins on. You should too. They are good for you. Got it? I cut those bad boys in half. Laid the flat side down on the cutting board. Then cut slices. I kept them pretty thin to make sure I can get them thin enough. I’ll be honest, I’m a horrible cutter. Chopper? Not sure what the correct word is here, but I need to work on my cuts to make them even!ย sliced_potato

Once I had those slices, I took about 2-3 at a time and stacked them. From there, I cut them into strips. Again, you want them thin to ensure the crispiness. I did that for the rest of the half potato, and then worked on the remaining potatoes.ย strips_potato

Now, aren’t those just beautiful?! And the knife! I feel somewhat comfortable using the big chef knife, but use whatever knife you feel comfortable using. Make sure that it’s sharp. You always want to use a sharp knife. Once you have all of the fries, you’re going to give them a water bath. This is to remove starch from the potatoes. I filled up a big mixing bowl with cold water, dumped the fries in, and swished them around with my hand. Then, just emptied the water. Simple! I laid a tea towel down on the counter to throw the fries down for them to dry. You could use paper towels here if you choose to. You want to remove as much as the moisture as you can. I used the paper towels for this part since I didn’t feel like looking for another towel. Ha!ย waterbath tea_towel

Next, is the baking sheet. Oh, make sure you have the oven set at 400 degrees. Preheated oven is a must! You could line your baking sheets with foil, or wax paper. I have fancy baking sheets where nothing sticks to them. They’ve got the grooves on them. With the dried fries, place them onto the baking sheet. I used coconut oil spray to coat my fries. Feel free to use olive oil. Toss to coat. Then make sure the fries are in one even layer. If they overlap, they will be soggy. No thank you! Once you have them evened out, next is the seasonings. Salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh rosemary, and a touch of cayenne pepper.ย fries_bakingsheets

Ok, so the first sheet, I didn’t feel like laying them out one by one. They are crowded on that baking sheet. Wit the second one, I took the extra 2 minutes and laid them out. Once it’s all seasoned, throw them into the oven! I baked them for 9 minutes, then rotated. I set the timer for 8 minutes, but kept my eye on them since they weren’t all even. There were some that were burning, I removed them first. At this point, the kitchen was smelling pretty darn good. I could not wait! When they looked tasty to me, I took them out.ย plated_fries

And there you go. Easy. That was just my plate. I didn’t share. You don’t have to either, I give you permission.

Enjoy!