For the winter holidays, or any day, pork tenderloin with a thorough rubdown of brown sugar and spices is always a winner. Karen Schneider / For The Forecaster

The holidays are upon us with all the joy, extra activities and delightful culinary treats. While some of us will become exhausted attempting to outdo what we did last year, let’s go easy on ourselves, OK? You can still create some lovely meals and treats for the season without overextending your energy or your budget.

Best of all, here’s a couple more recipes to put in your kitchen repertoire to make again and again. This roasted pork tenderloin will be equally welcomed by your family and/or guests on Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve or an ordinary weeknight. With minimal prep (no searing required) and a brief time in the oven, you’ll have a juicy feast in front of you. All you need to do is add side dishes. (I like mashed potatoes, bright, barely steamed veggies, and cranberry sauce or homemade applesauce.)

Karen Schneider cooks and writes in the village of Cundy’s Harbor. You can reach her at

For snacking, we have sugared walnuts (pecans and almonds can also be used) punched up with Christmasy spices. I was gifted a tin of these yummy nuts recently and I can’t leave them alone. Of course, I had to get the recipe from the giver, who got it from a friend of hers. I love that I still know people who write out cooking instructions on cute recipe cards.

You can tweak the recipe by using different spices. The main thing is to keep an eye on these while they’re baking in the oven. You want them to be nice and dry so they’ll stay crunchy. Just don’t scorch them, it would be too sad.

These gems are a fabulous food gift as they are great on their own or, for example, they can be mixed in with salted nuts or popcorn. They can also elevate ice cream and oatmeal or decorate a cake or cheesecake. Add them to your charcuterie board or use them to give some pizazz to roasted vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beets, squash, green beans and carrots.

So make a big batch – you won’t break the bank. They’ll keep in a tin or glass jar for several days, or store them in the freezer up to two months for those times when you want to add an unexpected accessory to your dish, or you just have the munchies and want to toss back a big handful of crunchy delightfulness. These are a bit addictive, so you better watch out, and don’t forget to leave some for Santa.


Happy Christmas, everyone.

Roasted pork tenderloin

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder


1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup butter, cut into pats

Chopped parsley for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees with oven rack in the middle position.

Prepare the tenderloins by cutting off any excess fat and the silver skin (the tough part that may cover some of each tenderloin). Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towels.

Combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper in a small bowl and stir together. Coat the tenderloins all over with the spice rub.

Place the pork tenderloins in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar size) baking dish and place the butter pats on top.

Bake uncovered for about 25 minutes, or until the pork has reached 145 degrees. (It’s always best to use a meat thermometer.) Allow the tenderloins to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing them into medallions so they remain juicy.

Pour the pan juices over the pork and sprinkle with chopped parsley if using.


Yield: 6 servings

Sugar and spice walnuts

4 cups granulated or organic cane sugar

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons ground cloves

4 teaspoons salt


4 beaten egg whites (1/2 cup total)

12 cups shelled walnut halves and/or large pieces

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves and salt and set aside.

In a large bowl, gently mix walnuts with beaten egg whites to coat them evenly. Sprinkle in spice/salt combo and gently stir again to coat evenly.

Spread coated walnuts in a single, even layer on two large, parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 45-60 minutes, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Yield: 12 cups

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