I’ve always loved the idea of a Sunday dinner–a time when your family comes together to eat something special and spend time together before the start of another long week. Though my parents never did this when I grew up, the Sunday dinner is a tradition that I want to start with my own family. Last week, I made the first of what I hope are many Sunday dinners.
Since it’s now officially autumn, and the weather was crisp that day, I decided to make some classic comfort food–roasted pork loin, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, green beans and an apple galette for dessert.
My main aim was to make delicious food for my family, but I also had a hidden agenda. For some reason, my husband hates Trader Joe’s. He’s never been able to explain why, but he has held a grudge against the store for years. I happen to like Trader Joe’s and was determined to change my husband’s mind.
While he was at the Seahawks game, I went grocery shopping and bought everything from Trader Joe’s. Then I had to figure out the order of what I was going to cook. Timing was going to be everything with this meal. I turned on the oven, put a pot of water on the stove to boil and then started chopping potatoes. I cut them into small pieces so that they would cook faster.
I heated up a pan with some olive oil to cook the pork loin. And let me just make a plug for Trader Joe’s pork tenderloin with garlic and pepper right now. Yes, I know I could probably make a delicious pork loin on my own, but the Trader Joe’s version is so good, and I wanted to show my husband that Trader Joe’s has great products.
I threw my potatoes in the boiling water, seared the pork loin on both sides and then put it into the oven. Then I started prepping the ingredients for my mushroom gravy. When I was shopping at Trader Joe’s, I picked up a potted herb garden with oregano, rosemary and thyme. I wanted the thyme for my gravy, and it was good buy to get an abundance of three herbs for just $7.99. I knew that my husband would also dig the fresh herbs bought at a good price.
I had forgotten to buy an onion for the gravy so I improvised by cooking chopped garlic, thyme and a tablespoon of onion powder together. Then I added the mushrooms and about a teaspoon of water. After the mushrooms got soft, I put in a tablespoon of flour and then cooked it until it was a light golden brown. Then I poured in about a cup of water and a tablespoon of soy sauce. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but I learned to make this from a vegetarian cookbook, and it is really adds the right level of salt–and makes the gravy brown. I brought everything to a boil and let it reduce and thicken. After the gravy was done, I drained the potatoes, mashed them and added cream and butter.
Now onto dessert. I peeled, cored and sliced six small Gala apples and got my pie crust ready for the apple galette. I bought pre-made pie crust because (like many people) I’m really afraid of making pie crust and because I had read several reviews that said the Trader Joe’s version was very good. I unfolded the crust and put it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I followed a recipe from Pinch My Salt that caught my attention because it was called “No Fear Apple Pie.” Galettes always look so impressive, and they are so easy to make.
The pork was done, and I put the meat on a cutting board to rest and loosely covered it with aluminum foil to keep it warm. I gave some green beans a quick steam and put the galette in the oven. Whew! It was a lot of hard work but totally worth it when I got to sit down and enjoy this Sunday dinner with my husband and son. (It was fun to tell my husband afterwards that it was a Trader Joe’s dinner too!)