Working with smaller cuts of meat is an easy way to get supper on the table in a flash.

But smaller cuts of, say, chicken or pork that are packaged and labeled as cutlets cost a little more.

But if there's one trick to being a savvy shopper, it's to buy larger portions and cut them yourself.

Pork tenderloins, which are considered a lean protein, are in this category. If you buy them on sale, they're not terribly expensive. If you're cooking, say, just for two, you still have to handle a whole tenderloin. When you cook them whole they take about 40 minutes total, depending on the size, which isn't all that long. But if you slice a tenderloin into medallions, as we did for today's Grilled Pork Tenderloin, they cook quickly. You can cook them on the grill, pan-sear or even broil them.

When slicing the tenderloin, start at the tapered (smaller) end and slice on a slight diagonal for even pieces. To get them to an even thickness, place the slices between plastic wrap and use a meat mallet to pound them gently to desired thickness. I was able to simply press down on them with my palm.

Having pork tenderloins tucked away in the freezer is a must. They're easy to work with and usually thaw quickly. You can thaw them in the microwave or in the refrigerator. If you thaw them in the microwave, planning on cooking them right away. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that foods thawed in the microwave could become warm enough for bacteria to grow.

This recipe easily serves four with a vegetable side dish and a salad. Be sure to buy a package of pork tenderloin that's at least 1 1/4 pounds. Most come two to a package with each one weighing 1 pound. They freeze beautifully so wrap one for the freezer. For best quality, use within nine months.

The recipe also is perfect for two with plenty of leftovers. And because the pork is seasoned only with salt and pepper, it can be used many different ways. You can serve the slices as a sandwich with roasted red bell peppers and top with pesto or store-bought tapenade. Or cut the pork in pieces and toss in a stir fry during the last two minutes just to heat through. Or, if you have leftover rice, make pork fried rice.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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