Pesto Stuffed Pork Loin

Watching what you eat DOESN’T have to mean you can only have bland boring food (that doesn’t even fill you). Whether you are counting calories or fat, my Pesto Stuffed Pork Loin is the answer. It is stuffed with my Healthy (No Oil) Pesto or you can use store bought pesto. Pork Loins are low in calories and low in fat, and filling…but are usually bland – but not anymore.

First, gather all your ingredients and equipment needed because you will be touching raw meat. Grab 2 knifes and 2 cutting boards (or wash the knife and cutting board while the loin is cooking), mallet, parchment paper, 6 pieces of kitchen twine, pesto, salt and pepper (best to put your S&P in a small bowl at this point), 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula, pan (oven safe), baking sheet with rack (if pan is not oven safe). And preheat your oven to 350o.

To cut open a pork loin, place the loin onto a cutting board and make a slit down the enter (lengthwise) 2/3rd the way down and open it to reveal the inside. Then cut each side 2/3rd down and open the sides.

To eliminates splatter, place a piece of parchment paper over the loin to completely cover it with a few inches extra on all sides (about the size of your cutting board). With the side of a mallet, gently pound the loin to flatten it to about 1/2 inch. Start from the center and pound to the ends. This process may take few times. If you don’t have a mallet, you can use the long part of a rolling pin or even the side of a can. Remember, whatever you use to pound, you need to wash it with soap and water later.

Remove and discard the parchment paper and season both sides with salt and pepper. Get 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula. Scoop the homemade or store bought pesto with one spoon and drop it on the loin (do not touch the loin with the spoon) and spread the pesto with a 2nd spoon or a spatula on the inside of the loin. Why 2 spoons? To avoid cross contamination of E. coli, salmonella and listeria. You don’t want to touch the spoon to the loin, decide you need more pesto, then put that spoon back in the pesto.

Roll the loin as tight as you can back to how it looked before you cut it. Slide 6 pieces of twine under the loin a few inches apart and tie it up. At this point you’re done touching the raw pork – so wash your hands. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of olive oil. With a pair of tongs, place the loin in the hot pan and sear the outside for a few minutes on each side. Then place the pan (if it’s oven safe) or place the seared loin on a baking sheet pan with a rack into the oven and cook it in the oven at 350o until the center of the loin reaches 140o, about 45 to 50 minutes.

When the pork loin is done cooking, take it out of the oven and place it on a clean cutting board. Let it rest for 15 minutes and the loin’s internal temp should be raised to above 145o, then remove the twine, slice the stuffed pork loin with a clean kitchen knife and serve. I served this with a side of garlic steamed broccoli. I really hope you enjoy this recipe and the pesto recipe. Please follow my blog and enter your email address to get notifications of new recipes – and leave a comment too! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • 2 knives (or clean 1 after cutting into the raw loin)
  • 2 cutting boards (or clean 1 after using with the raw loin)
  • Pan (oven safe if you have one)
  • Baking sheet pan and rack (if you pan is not oven safe)
  • 2 spoons (or 1 spoon and 1 spatula)
  • 6 pieces kitchen twine
  • Tongs

Prep time 15 minutes
Bake time 45-50 minutes
Rest time 15 minutes
Total time 75-80 minutes


Directions:

  1. Gather all your ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350o.
  3. Place the loin onto a cutting board.
  4. Slit down the enter (lengthwise) 2/3rd the way down and open it to reveal the inside.
  5. Then cut each side 2/3rd down and open the sides.
  6. Place a piece of parchment paper over the loin
  7. With the side of a mallet, or rolling pin, gently pound the loin flatten it to about 1/2 inch, starting from the center and pound to the ends.
  8. Remove and discard the parchment paper.
  9. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  10. Use 2 spoons or a spoon and a spatula to avoid cross contamination.
  11. Scoop store bought or homemade pesto with one spoon and drop it on the loin (do not touch the loin with the spoon).
  12. Spread the pesto with a 2nd spoon or a spatula on the inside of the loin.
  13. Roll the loin as tight as you can back to how it looked before you cut it.
  14. Tie it up with kitchen twine.
  15. Wash your hands.
  16. With a pair of tongs, place the loin in a hot pan with a tablespoon of olive oil.
  17. Sear the outside for a few minutes on each side.
  18. Place the pan (if it’s oven safe) or place the seared loin on a baking sheet pan with a rack into the oven and cook it in the oven at 350o until the center of the loin reaches 123o, about 45 to 50 minutes.
  19. Remove from the oven when the pork loin reaches 140o.
  20. Place the loin onto a clean cutting board, letting it rest for 15 minutes and the temp is raised above 145o.
  21. With a clean knife, cut off the twine, slice the pork loin and serve.
  22. Enjoy!!!

Roasted Cauliflower Curry Soup

One of my hubby’s favorite flavors is curry. Curry is a smooth luxurious soup that has a warm and inviting aroma, with a deep spiced and coconut background. Regular curry soup has a lot of calories, so I developed this recipe to cut those calories in half – but with all the spice and flavors.

The main component of this soup is roasted spiced cauliflower. In a small bowl add 2 tablespoons of red curry powder, and tablespoon each of cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Cut up, in semi-small pieces and florets, the cauliflower. Place the pieces in a large bowl and mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of the spice mix. Then place the spiced cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast in a 375o oven for 45 minutes – until the cauliflower is soft and slightly brown. Set a few aside for garnish (and remember to tell your better-half do NOT eat those for a snack!).

Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot and add chopped up onions. After a few minutes the onions will look translucent. Add graded garlic and graded ginger. See Helpful Hint below.

After 30 seconds add the rest of the spice mix to bloom in the oil. After 30 seconds add 2 cups of homemade stock or box stock and 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce. Bring to a boil and scrape up the spices from the bottom of the pot. Take the pot off the heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk. Then, in batches, add 1/2 of the roasted spiced cauliflower and half of the stock to a blender. Make sure the top is on tight and hold a kitchen towel of the top. Blend until smooth and place aside (I put it in the same bowl I mixed the cauliflower in). Repeat with the second half of the cauliflower and stock, then put all of it back in the pot. Heat until hot while stirring, about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

Some might use a hand-held emersion blender, but I like my stand blender better. It makes for a more smooth texture. If you do use an emersion blender, you can blend the cauliflower and stock all at once right in the pot.

To finish the soup, I use a 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt. Place most of it in the soup and mix, keeping 2 tablespoons in the container. Add a few tablespoons of cashew milk to the remaining yogurt in the container and mix to loosen.

Put a couple of scoops of the soup in a bowl. Place one of the cauliflower florets and a few parsley leaves on top as a garnish, and swoosh a tablespoon of the yogurt/milk on the top in a circle. I really hope you enjoy this soup and my hubby and I did. Please leave a reply if you make this recipe. Happy healthy cooking, and please Follow this blog, and enter your Email address for future recipes.

Helpful hint: Keep the skins and ends of the onion and garlic for future homemade stock.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 2 tsp red curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin powder
  • 1 tsp smoked ground paprika powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 chopped medium onion
  • 1 tbsp graded garlic
  • 1 tbsp graded ginger
  • 2 cups of stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt
  • Salt to taste

Equipment:

  • Sheet pan
  • Large bowl
  • Grader
  • Large pot
  • Blender or hand-held emersion blender

Prep time 10 minutes
Bake time 1 hour


Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375o.
  2. In a small bowl add the spices: red curry powder, cumin, paprika, and turmeric.
  3. Cut up, in semi-small pieces and florets, the cauliflower.
  4. Place the cauliflower pieces in a large bowl.
  5. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of the spice mix.
  6. Place the cauliflower on a sheet pan and roast for 45 minutes, until soft and slightly brown.
  7. Remove the pan from the oven when ready, and set a few aside for garnish.
  8. Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil in a large pot.
  9. Add chopped up onions and cook for a few minutes until translucent.
  10. Add graded garlic and graded ginger and cook for 30 seconds.
  11. Add the rest of the spice mix to bloom in the oil for 30 seconds.
  12. Add 2 cups of stock.
  13. Add 2 tablespoons of reduced sodium soy sauce, and bring to a boil.
  14. Scrape up the spices from the bottom of the pot.
  15. Take the pot off the heat and add 1 cup of unsweetened cashew milk.
  16. In batches, add 1/2 of the roasted spiced cauliflower and half of the stock to a blender.
  17. Make sure the top of the blender is on tight and hold a kitchen towel of the top.
  18. Blend until smooth and place aside (I put it in the same bowl I mixed the cauliflower in).
  19. Repeat with the remaining cauliflower and stock, then put all of it back in the pot.
  20. Note: If using a hand-held emersion blender, blend all of the cauliflower and stock right in the pot until smooth.
  21. Heat until hot while stirring, about 5 minutes.
  22. Add salt to taste.
  23. Add most of a 5.3 oz single container of low-fat coconut flavored Greek yogurt, keeping a few tablespoons in the container.
  24. Add a few tablespoons of cashew milk to the remaining yogurt in the container and mix to loosen.
  25. Scoops the soup into a bowl. Place one of the cauliflower florets and a few parsley leaves on top as a garnish
  26. Swoosh a tablespoon of the yogurt/milk on the top in a circle.
  27. Enjoy!

Healthy, No Oil, Pesto

Pesto is a herb paste and can be used alone, like as a dip, or added to a recipe as a flavor enhancer, like a condiment or in sauces. I even add pesto to my tuna salad sandwiches so I can decrease the amount of mayo I use, and it brings such a light and flavorful taste to it. Pesto is packed with fresh herbs and parmesan cheese – even nuts if you like. Sounds healthy, right? Except there is also oil in it. It can make some recipe a bit oily and runny. This pesto recipe is healthy because there is no oil, but has all the fresh herbs and cheese, with a couple of twists.

The twists I use are replacing the fatty oil with roasted green peppers and the zest and juice from a lemon or a lime. The peppers give a fatty yet smooth texture to the pesto, with no fat! And a lemon or lime will not only brighten up the pesto with the citrus, it also provides the liquid to blend it all together. And instead of nuts I use a half of a shallot, minced.

To roast the peppers, cut off four sides off of each, leaving the top, center with seeds, and bottom attached. (Hint: save the unused portions of the peppers for free homemade stock). Place them on a tinfoil lined baking sheet, skin side up. Place the oven shelf as high as it will go and set the oven to broil. Spray the pepper skins with cooking spray and put them in the oven for 5-8 minutes. The skins will burn, which is exactly what you’re looking for. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and cover the entire sheet with loose or tented tinfoil. The carry-over heat will steam the peppers and loosen the skin while they are cooling. When the peppers are cool, the skin will feel like tissue paper. Rub the skin off, which is very easy, with a dry paper towel or clean dish rag. Discard the skins, roughly cut up the pepper flesh and place them in a food processer or blender.

If you grow your own herbs, rinse them and lay them on a paper towel or dish cloth to dry. I used the herbs from my garden: basil, oregano, and chives. Once dry, rip off the leaves of the herbs (or break apart soft herbs like chives that have no stems) and place them in the food processor. Add the lemon or lime zest and juice. Cut up 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese from a block of cheese (or you can use reduced fat graded parmesan cheese). And add a few cloves of chopped garlic and a 1/2 chopped/minced shallot. I usually do not add salt or pepper because the parmesan cheese is salty, so if you do add salt, only add a pinch. (Hint: save the herb stems, shallot skin, and garlic skin for free homemade stock).

You can also make this pesto yours. Add what you have on-hand. Maybe you have extra fresh spinach or blanched kale, or a variety of nuts. You can also switch up the cheese with another kind of hard or semi-hard cheese. Let me know if you make this – enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 green peppers
  • Zest and juice from a lemon or lime
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1/2 shallot chopped/minced
  • 1/2 cup cubed parmesan cheese (or grated cheese)
  • Bundle of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, chives)

Equipment:

  • Baking tray
  • Tin foil
  • Food processor or blender

Prep time 5 minutes
Bake time 5-8 minutes


Directions:

  1. Cut four sides off of each pepper, leaving the top, center with seeds, and bottom attached.
  2. Save the unused portions of the peppers (see helpful hit at the bottom)
  3. Place the peppers on a tinfoil lined baking sheet, skin side up.
  4. Place the oven shelf as high as it will go and set the oven to broil.
  5. Spray the pepper skins with cooking spray.
  6. Broil the peppers in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the skins are burnt.
  7. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and cover with loose or tented tinfoil until cool.
  8. Rub the skin off of the peppers with a dry paper towel or clean dish rag.
  9. Discard the skins.
  10. Roughly cut up the pepper flesh and place them in a food processer or blender.
  11. Add the leaves of your herbs to the food processor: basil, oregano, and chives.
  12. Save the herb stems (see helpful hint at the bottom)
  13. Then add the lemon or lime zest and juice.
  14. Add 1/2 of a chopped/minced shallot
  15. Cut into blocks 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese (or you can use reduced fat graded parmesan cheese).
  16. And add a few cloves of garlic.
  17. Optional: pinch of salt and pepper.
  18. Optional: 1/2 cup of soft greens like spinach or blanched kale
  19. Optional: 1/4 cup of nuts
  20. Blend until smooth
  21. If using later or you have extra, place the pesto in a container and put it in the fridge

HELPFUL HINT:

(Hint: save the unused portions of the peppers, herb stems, and skins from the shallot and garlic for free homemade stock).

Freeze Your Stock Into Perfect Portions

I absolutely hate to waste food – and I hate even more to throw anything away. So, when I have extra homemade stock or soup, I save it as perfect portions in the freezer. This can also be done with all kinds of liquids – sauce, gravy, stew, pesto…

My Free Homemade Stock is just that – FREE – made from scraps (remember, I don’t throw anything away if I can use it). And it has a short shelf life. So if I don’t use it within that time, which is unusual but it happens, I freeze it.

Just pour the cold or room temperature liquid in ice-cube trays and place in the freezer. Then once frozen, put the cubes in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to label and date it.

Now, not only will you have stock whenever needed, you can choose how much or how little you want. If you need just a bit, for when you’re cooking and it looks a bit dry or needs a flavor boost – or a lot, for soup – you can grab as many cubes needed. All you have to do is heat it up on the stove until hot – and bam, you got stock.

Just remember that when you add these frozen cubes to a pot, it will lower the the temperature of the pot – so plan accordingly and increase the time of the cook. For example, if you want to make rice, you usually add the rice to the liquid, simmer and cook. When using frozen cubes of stock, you’ll need to melt the cubes first – then add the rice and simmer from there. Or when you are making veggies and they suddenly look dry – sure, you can add plain water, but that’s boring – just grab a cube and add it to the pot to melt then steam (or you can even melt it in the microwave before you add it to the pot).

Save money, save time, and save your stock!

Low Calorie Creamy Peanut Butter Dip

One of my fav snacks is an apple slice dipped in peanut butter, but PB has sooo many calories. PB has 190 calories and 16g fat for just 2 tbsp. This entire recipe, including an apple (which has about 95 cal) is less calories and fat than 2 tbsp of PB. How? I used PB2.

So what is PB2? It is a powder form of PB. It is made by pressing out most of the natural oils from roasted peanuts and then grinding the nuts into a fine powder. Once mixed with water or another form of liquid, it becomes peanut butter, but with only 60 calories and 1.5g fat for 2 tbsp.

To make low calories creamy peanut butter, mix 2 tbsp of the PB2 with 3 tbsp of fat free Greek Yogurt and 1 tbsp of Vanilla Cashew Milk. Cut up an apple into slices and dip away!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp PB2 powder (60 cal)
  • 3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt (22 cal)
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Cashew Milk (1.5 cal)
  • 1 apple sliced (95 cal)

Prep time 5 minutes


Mix together in a bowl 2 tbsp PB2 powder, 3 tbsp Fat Free Greek Yogurt, and 1 tbsp Vanilla Cashew Milk. Slice apple and dip into the creamy PB dip.

Tuna Avocado Egg Tower

Have you ever had Tuna Tartar at a restaurant? Delicious, but who has that type of tuna at home? We all have can tuna! And with an avocado and egg, you can make the “tartar” tower at home. It’s a great low-fat, low-calorie, low-carb lunch or dinner, or even a quick appetizer for guests.

First you need to hard boil some eggs. You only need one for this recipe, but I like to boil a few more for future snacks. You start by adding eggs to a pot, then fill the pot with water an inch above the eggs and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add a splash of white vinegar and a pinch of salt. Turn the burner off but leave the pot on the burner for 10 to 12 minutes. Then, with a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and shock them in a bowl of ice water. Once cooled, slightly crack the eggs on the counter, then put them back in the water and peel the shells off (the shells slide right off in water and you are cleaning them making sure no shell pieces stick). Drain the water and set aside.

Next, slice an avocado. Set aside 2 slices and mash up the rest (rustic, not too smooth). Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the avocado and set aside. Then, open a can of tuna.

Place a cookie cutter or mold on a plate (preferably round or you can use the tuna can if you open both sides). Add the tuna to the bottom of the mold and tamp it down (using anything small enough to fit in the mold like a squeeze bottle).

Reserving a spoonful of avocado, add the avocado to the mold and tamp down. Then slice one of the eggs. Reserve one slice and cut up the rest. Add the cut up portion of the egg to the reserved avocado and mix. Add a pinch of salt then add that to the mold and tamp down. Top the mold with the slice of egg. Lightly pushing down on the egg slice and remove the mold by sliding it up.

Add a slice of whole wheat toast cut in corners and enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • Can Tuna
  • Avocado
  • 1/2 lemon or tablespoon of lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Eggs (1-6)
  • Slice of whole wheat bread

Equipment:

  • Pot
  • Slotted spoon
  • Bowl with ice water
  • Round mold (or the tuna can)
  • Something with flat bottom to tamp down food (ex: squeeze bottle)

Prep time 15 minutes
Bake time 10-12 minutes


Instructions:

HARD BOIL EGGS

  • Add eggs to a pot
  • Fill the pot with water enough to cover the eggs and an extra inch above and bring it to a boil.
  • Once boiling, add a splash of white vinegar and a pinch of salt.
  • Turn the burner off but leave the pot on the burner for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • With a slotted spoon, remove the eggs and shock them in a bowl of ice water.
  • Let cool
  • Slightly crack the eggs on the counter
  • Put the cracked eggs back in the water
  • Peel the shells off (the shells slide right off in water and you are cleaning them making sure no shell pieces stick).
  • Drain the water and set eggs aside.
  • Slice an avocado.
  • Set aside 2 slices and mash up the rest (rustic, not too smooth).
  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon or a tablespoon of lemon juice over the avocado and set aside.
  • Slice one of the eggs.
  • Reserve one slice and cut up the rest.
  • Add a tablespoon of the mashed avocado to the cut up portion of the egg .
  • Add a pinch of salt

ASSEMBLE THE TOWER

  • Place a cookie cutter or mold on a plate (preferably round or you can use the tuna can if you open both sides).
  • Add the tuna to the bottom of the mold and tamp it down (using anything small enough to fit in the mold like a squeeze bottle).
  • Add the remaining avocado to the mold and tamp down.
  • Add the egg to the mold and tamp down.
  • Top it with the slice of egg
  • Lightly pushing down on the egg slice, remove the mold (slide up)
  • Add a slice of whole wheat toast, cut in corners, for a dipping vessel.

Individual Beef Wellingtons

Beef Wellington is a luxury steak meal that can be made at home. The puff pastry makes an amazing presentation, the ingredients taste fresh and earthy, and the dipping sauce is light and aromatic.

While Chef Gordon Ramsay did not create the Beef Wellington, he did make it famous. My recipe is a smaller, individual meal for two. I make these Individual Beef Wellingtons for my hubby and I on special occasions.

The Individual Beef Wellingtons are made with 2 filet Mignons (tenderloin steaks, which is kind of pricy but you can’t skimp on the main ingredient) brushed with mustard, wrapped in a crepe, lined with prosciutto and mushrooms, then encased in puff pastry, with a side red wine dipping sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about this meal. There are a few steps you can do the day before or early.

First thing to do is defrost 1 sheet if frozen puff pastry in the fridge the day before or on the counter the day of making this recipe.

Make the crepe early, the day before, or even buy it pre-made at the store. To make it, beat 1 egg, add 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of half & half (I use fat free), chopped soft herbs (parsley or chives), chopped thyme, and a dash of salt. This is a very loose pancake mix. Let that rest in the fridge for about 1/2 hour. Take a crepe pan (or a small round frying pan) and heat it on medium. Spray it with cooking spray, and place 1/4 cup of the crepe mix into the pan and swirl the pan in a circular motion so the crepe mix fully covers the bottom of the pan all the way to the edge. Cook for about 30 seconds until you can slide a flat spatula under the crepe and carefully flip it. If you’re daring, you can flip it with just the pan. Cook the other side for about 30 seconds. Both sides should have little to no brown color. Slide the crepe onto a dish and cover it with parchment paper, and repeat for the 2nd crepe. Place the 2nd crepe on the parchment paper over the 1st crepe. Place the crepes in the fridge to cool.

Note: Most recipes use chives, but I never have that in the house and I always have parsley, so I use parsley. You can experiment with all kinds of soft fresh herbs, whatever you have on hand. I would not use a hard herb like rosemary for the crepes.

Shape the steaks the day before or early. Take a long sheet of plastic wrap and place the steaks on their side at one end of the plastic wrap. Roll them into the plastic wrap, towards the end, into a round shape. Wrap twine around the plastic sides. Put the steaks in the fridge up to overnight.

When the steak’s round shapes are set, remove the twine and plastic wrap and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steaks. Heat oil in a small pan and sear the steaks for 1 minute per side, on all sides. Use the sides of the pan to help you sear the round edge. Why a small pan? You’ll use this pan for the mushrooms, then for the wine sauce. When the steak are seared, move them to a plate and (while still hot) brush Dijon mustard over the entire steak, then move them to the fridge to chill.

Prepare the mushrooms. Clean the mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel. Then chop them up (even the stems if they are pliable and not hard) and sauté them in the same small pan as the steaks in a little oil until all the moisture is gone, about 10 minutes. You can cook these in batches if needed. After the mushrooms are cooked, cool them and chop them up into very small pieces (do this last step after they are cooked or they can overcook in the pan).

When everything is cooled, assemble the steak and crepe. Place 3 sheets of plastic wrap on the counter, lay 1 crepe, then 2 prosciuttos (over lapping them) on top of the crepe. Top that with a scoop of the mushrooms. Place 1 steak on top of the mushrooms. Cut the sides of the crepe to cover the steak from top to bottom. Using the plastic wrap, form the crepe around the steak tightly. Use a twist tie to secure it and place it in the fridge for an hour.

After an hour, place another 3 sheets of plastic wrap on the counter. Place 1/2 of the sheet of defrosted puff pastry on top and roll it out. Take the steaks from the fridge, remove and discard that plastic wrap and place the crepe/steak on the puff pastry. Using the new plastic wrap, surround the steak with the pastry, using the plastic wrap to help you push the pastry up and over the steak until the edges melt together. Tie a twist tie to secure the plastic wrap, and put it back in the fridge for an hour to set.

Preheat oven to 450. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the Wellingtons on the parchment paper seam side down. Scramble 1 egg yoke and brush the yoke over the puff pastry. Then, using a butter knife, cut slits into the pastry, do not cut all the way through.

Bake for 20 minutes, then take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.

While the Wellingtons are baking, make the red wine dipping sauce. In the same pan you used for the steaks and mushrooms, heat oil and add thinly sliced onions to the pan with a pinch of salt. Saute for a few minutes, then add wine and stock (beef, chicken or veggie stock). Scrape up all the bits at the bottom of the pan. Bring to a strong simmer and reduce by half.

Serve. Cut the Beef Wellington in half and serve the red wine dipping sauce in a small side bowl.

To reheat, preheat the oven to to 250. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray it with cooking spray. Cut the leftovers into 1 inch slices and place them on the parchment paper and bake for 15 minutes. You are just heating it, not cooking it. And reheat the dipping sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Ingredients:

PASTRY

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted, divided in half
  • 1 egg yoke

CREPE

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup half & half (fat free or full fat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped soft herbs (parsley or chives)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
  • Dash of salt

CREPE FILLING

  • 2 filet mignons
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 slices prosciutto
  • Handful button mushrooms
  • Salt and pepper

WINE DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1 small onion or shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups stock (beef, chicken or veggie stock)
  • Salt and pepper

Prep time 3 hours up to overnight
Bake time 20 mins
Rest time 5-10 mins


Instructions:

DAY BEFORE OR EARLY

  • Defrost 1 sheet if frozen puff pastry in the fridge.
  • Make the crepe…..
  • Beat 1 egg.
  • Mix in 1/2 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of half & half, chopped parsley, chopped thyme, and a dash of salt.
  • Let that rest in the fridge for about 1/2 hour to 1 hour.
  • Take a crepe pan (or a small round frying pan) and heat it on medium.
  • Spray it with cooking spray.
  • Place 1/4 cup of the crepe mix into the pan and swirl the pan in a circular motion so the crepe mix fully covers the bottom of the pan all the way to the edge.
  • Cook for about 30 seconds, then flip it.
  • Cook the other side for about 30 seconds.
  • NOTE: Both sides should have little to no brown color.
  • Slide the crepe onto a dish and cover it with parchment paper.
  • Repeat for the 2nd crepe. Place the 2nd crepe on the parchment paper over the 1st crepe.
  • Place the crepes in the fridge to cool for at least an hour.

PREPARE THE STEAKS

  • Place a long sheet of plastic wrap on the counter
  • Place the steaks on their side at one end of the plastic wrap.
  • Roll them into the plastic wrap, towards the end, into a round shape.
  • Wrap twine around the plastic sides.
  • Put the steaks back in the fridge for an hour up to overnight.

PREPARE THE MUSHROOMS

  • Clean the mushrooms with a slightly damp paper towel.
  • Chop them up (even the stems if they are pliable and not hard)
  • Add a little oil to a pan and sauté the mushrooms until all the moisture is gone, about 10 minutes.
  • NOTE: You can cook these in batches if needed.
  • Cool the mushrooms and chop them up into very small pieces (do this last step after they are cooked or they can overcook in the pan).

PREPARE THE WELLINGTONS

  • Remove round steaks from the fridge.
  • Remove the twine and plastic wrap.
  • Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the steaks.
  • Heat a small pan with a little oil and sear the steaks for 1 minute per side, on all sides.
  • NOTE: Use the sides of the pan to help you sear the round edge.
  • Move them to a plate and (while still hot) brush Dijon mustard over the entire steak.
  • Move them to the fridge to chill.
  • When the steaks are cooled, assemble the meat and crepe.
  • Place 3 sheets of plastic wrap on the counter.
  • Lay 1 crepe, then 2 prosciuttos (over lapping them) on top of the crepe.
  • Top that with a scoop of the mushrooms.
  • Place 1 steak on top of the mushrooms.
  • Cut the sides of the crepe to cover the steak from top to bottom.
  • Using the plastic wrap, form the crepe around the steak tightly. Use a twist tie to secure.
  • Repeat for the 2nd steak.
  • Place both in the fridge for an hour.
  • After an hour, place another 3 sheets of plastic wrap on the counter.
  • Place 1/2 of the sheet of defrosted puff pastry on top and roll it out.
  • Take the steaks from the fridge, remove and discard that plastic wrap.
  • Place 1 of the crepe/steak on the puff pastry.
  • Using the new plastic wrap, surround the steak with the pastry, using the plastic wrap to help you push the pastry up and over the steak until the edge melts together.
  • Tie a twist tie to secure the plastic wrap.
  • Repeat for the 2nd pastry/crepe steak.
  • Put then back in the fridge for an hour to set.

BAKE THE WELLINGTONS AND PREPARE WINE DIPPING SAUCE

  • Preheat oven to 450.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the Wellingtons on the paper seam side down.
  • Scramble 1 egg yoke and brush the yoke over the puff pastry.
  • Then, using a butter knife, cut slits into the pastry, do not cut all the way through.
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • While the Wellingtons are baking, make the red wine dipping sauce.
  • Slice an onion into thin slices.
  • In the same pan you used to sear the steaks and mushrooms, heat a little oil.
  • Add thinly sliced onions to the pan with a pinch of salt.
  • Sauté for a few minutes.
  • Add wine and stock (beef, chicken or veggie stock).
  • Scrape up all the bits at the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring to a strong simmer and reduce by half.
  • Take the Wellingtons out of the oven and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Cut the Wellingtons in half and place the wine dipping sauce on the side

Enjoy

Rolled Lasagna Christmas Wreath

Lasagna is a family favorite. I make lasagna every holiday and family get togethers. The ingredients are traditional, with some healthy alternatives. The difference with this recipe is the presentation. Instead of layering the pasta, I roll it up. It tastes the same as layered, but rolled is a prettier presentation (and less messy).

You can make the rolled lasagna in a 13×9 inch baking dish, or a 12 inch round cake pan.

Ingredients

  • 1 box of uncooked lasagna noodle (18 count) (less for smaller pans)
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • (optional) 1 bl. ground beef (*healthy alternative – ground turkey)
  • 1 (or 2) 24 oz. tomato sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons Italian seasoning or fresh herbs minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped, divided
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (*healthy alternative – fat free)
  • 12 oz. whole milk Ricotta cheese (*healthy alternative – low fat)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 large egg

Wreath and Bow Ingredients

  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes

Equipment

  • 12 inch round cake pan (or 13×9 inch baking dish)
  • Pot
  • Mixing bowl
  • Roll of plastic wrap
  • Cooking spray
  • Tin foil
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Small container for dipping sauce

Prep time 30 mins
Bake time 60 mins
Rest time 15 mins


Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350o
  • Heat a pot and add oil
  • Add the chopped onion and sprinkle with salt, cook a few minutes on low
  • Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds
  • Add meat (if using) to the pot and mix with the onion and garlic. Cook until the meat is browned.
  • Add the tomato sauce and herbs, and simmer on low
  • When the sauce is ready, cool it
  • Boil the lasagna noodles (use the package directions)
  • When the noodles are cooked, drain and rinse
  • On your counter, lay down 1 piece of parchment paper (large enough for a few noodles) and spray it slightly with cooking spray
  • Place a layer of a few noodles on the paper, leaving room between noodles) and spray with cooking spray
  • Place another piece of parchment paper on top of noodles
  • Repeat with another layer of noodles, then paper
  • In a bowl, mix together the mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, egg, and most of the parsley. Set aside.

Assemble for the Lasagna Wreath

  • Spread a circle of sauce in a round (12 inch) cake pan, set aside
  • Place a dollop of the cheese mixture on each of the top layer off noodle’s, and spread
  • Place a dollop of sauce on the cheese and spread
  • Roll each noodle away from you, and place the filled rolled noodle, seam side down, in the pan on top of the sauce in a circle
  • Repeat until finished with 16 rolls leaving 2 noodles (removing the parchment paper when that layer is done)
  • Cut the last 2 noodles long ways 2/3 width
  • Place the noodles, over lapping, inside the circle (helps keep the cheese in the rolled noodles in place)
  • Place a long piece (folded) of tin foil inside the circle (to keep the shape)
  • Pour most of the sauce on top of the noodles, reserve some for dipping
  • Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese and parsley to top
  • Cover with tin foil (tent the foil so it doesn’t touch the cheese)
  • AT THIS POINT you can put it in the fridge to cook later, or continue below
  • Bake covered for 45 minutes
  • Remove foil and bake another 15 mins (or broil 5 minutes)
  • Take it out if the oven and cool for about 15 minutes, remove all the tin foil
  • While cooking, heat the dipping sauce
  • Place the dipping sauce in the center

Assemble green Wreath and Bow

  • Wreath
  • Remove a few leaves from the bottom of the rosemary stems to make a skewer
  • Slide a cherry tomato from the bottom up on the rosemary stem
  • Add a ring of plain rosemary, inside the center, then add the skewered rosemary over them
  • BOW
  • Remove a few leaves from 2 rosemary stems to make skewers
  • Slide 1 into the side of a cherry tomato, then slide the other on the opposite side
  • Place the bow on the top of the noodles wreath
  • Serve warm

Notes

For the rosemary wreath, find 1 rosemary stem with a sturdy stem and set aside to use last. If other stems are a bit weak, you can use the sturdy stem to make the hole, remove, and place the weaker stem in the hole. Use the sturdy one last

For the filling, for those that do not like ricotta cheese, these rolled up lasagnas can be made with out it. I do have a few family members who don’t like too much cheese, and they call this “Maureen’s Special Lasagna”. I always make one with and one without, so everyone is happy.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please let me know if you make this.

Fruit and Cheese Christmas Tree

I can’t remember the last holiday gathering where fruit and cheese wasn’t an appetizer. It’s easy to assemble, can make it ahead of time, and everyone can enjoy it while the meal is cooking.

I made this for our family’s Christmas gathering. It’s pretty simple. Just arrange the fruit and cheese in a triangle, and add crackers. Adding some greenery (like parsley, kale, or rosemary) brings this tree to life. The base of the tree is simply crackers.

You can assemble this in the morning, cover it and place in the fridge until your guests arrive.

Deviled Eggs Christmas Wreath

Deviled eggs is a easy appetizer that looks and tastes great. It can go with about any holiday or family gathering. I made this Christmas Wreath for the family and it was a win!

The recipe has all the traditional ingredients, and with some food coloring, it transforms the normal deviled eggs into a holiday treat.

Ingredients

  • Hard boiled eggs (homemade or store bought)
  • Red and Green food coloring
  • 2 cups of Water, divided
  • 2 bowls
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (fat free for a more healthier meal)
  • 1 teaspoon of yellow or Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paprika
  • Bow: Small red or yellow pepper and a cherry tomato (optional)

Recipe and plating

  • Cut the eggs in half (lengthwise) and scoop out the yolks into a bowl
  • Stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper, set aside
  • To one bowl filled with 1 cup of water, add about 5 drops of red food coloring (more or less to get your desired color)
  • In another bowl of water, add about 5 (more or less) drops of green food coloring.
  • Place half of the egg whites into one of the bowls of colored water, and the other half in the other bowl (you may have to do this in stages) and allow to sit in the water until the eggs are the shade you like
  • Pat the eggs dry
  • Fill the egg whites with the egg mayonnaise mixture
  • Place a ring of greenery and place the eggs on top (in a circle)
  • Sprinkle paprika on top of each egg
  • For the bow, cut a slice from a small red pepper
  • Remove any seeds and cut part of the bottom of the slice off
  • Cut a small cherry tomato in half (vertically) and keep the bottom
  • Place the pepper slice at the bottom of the place and top it with the bottom part of the cherry tomato
  • Cover and refrigerate until your guests arrive (up to 24 hours)

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