Feeding a family of five is always a challenge. Not because of the quantity of food, thankfully. I have three little people asking me if they can have different things while I’m preparing dinner. They comment while I’m cooking with words of encouragement and discouragement and multiple requests all at once. Often times I find myself yelling “Hey, I’m not a short order cook!”. I don’t even think they know what it means but when the kids start exchanging “uh oh, mom’s getting crazy” looks and pipe down a little bit, I know I’ve made my point.
Sometimes I am tempted to make several different options so dinner is not such a battle. But then I worry it will create the expectation for multiple options at every meal and isn’t that exactly what I am trying to avoid? The other day, I was making my oldest son’s favorite side dish, arroz con guandules, and I knew at least one of my boys would likely refuse to eat it. I debated making him plain rice just to avoid the drama but in the end I held strong and decided to put it in front of him. He threw a fit. I’m not going to lie. However, when he realized there was no other option, he ate it (and actually commented it wasn’t as bad as he thought as long as he put meat on top).
It doesn’t always work out that way but I find the more they realize I am not going to budge by providing an alternative, the more likely they are to eat what I put in front of them. I also have a rule for tasting based on their ages. I don’t really have to worry about it with my 11 year old since he will typically eat whatever I put in front of him (and lots of it!). But for my 5 and 8 year olds the rule is this: they have to have 5 and 8 bites of each food I put in front of them, respective of their ages, before I will give them more of their favorite. For example, if they love this pork loin but aren’t fans of the rice or vegetables, they just have to have the requisite number of bites of everything on the plate and I will give them all of the pork they want.
It seems logical to them and so far has worked pretty well. Both of my younger boys have birthdays in October so I’m also fond of telling them how lucky they are it is only 5 and 8 bites now because in a couple of months they will have to eat 6 and 9! Luckily it wasn’t an issue with this pork tenderloin since they all really enjoyed it.
- 2 lb pork loin
- salt and pepper
- 1 fennel bulb, cut into ½" wedges
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½" thick pieces on the bias
- 1 large spring or yellow onion, peeled and sliced into ½" thick wedges
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 rosemary sprigs, stripped
- 1 cup chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Season pork loin all over with salt and pepper. Lay vegetables in a 7 x 11 baking dish and season with salt and pepper as well. In a small bowl, whisk honey, olive oil, vinegar, chili powder and rosemary together. Pour over pork. Add chicken broth to pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until pork reaches 135 degrees internal temperature. Raise oven heat to 425 and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, or until internal temperature of center of pork loin is 145 and top is golden brown. Allow to rest for about 10 minutes before serving.