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Chef Cocoy's Healthy Recipes

The Filipino chef adds nutritional punch to your dinner menu

Asian pork, Chef Cocoy's Healthy Holiday Recipes (Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services)

Bored with turkey? Pork tenderloin is a delicious addition to a holiday meal. — Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services

The large, dinner spreads we make for family and friends are often loaded with sugar, fats and calories. Chef Cocoy Ventura developed three recipes exclusively for AARP that provide balance and wholesomeness. Focusing on the seasonality of produce, the recipes feature ingredients that can be found easily at your nearby grocery or farmers market. Best of all, the dishes are easy and quick to make.

Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 pound natural pork tenderloin
  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove, ground
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • peel of 1 orange
  • salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with a double layer of aluminum foil. Lay tenderloin on prepared sheet and season with salt and black pepper, ground cinnamon and ground clove.

Tuck in the thinner end of loin. Spread mustard onto the seasoned loin (top part only) and encrust with brown sugar. Using a peeler, peel long strips of one orange, avoiding the white pith. Arrange peel on top of the loin. Bake for 20 minutes until caramelized. Optional garnishes: prunes, golden and dark raisins, candied orange peel, radishes.

brussel sprouts, Chef Cocoy's Healthy Holiday Recipes (Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services)

Brussels sprouts add color and cholesterol-lowering benefits to any holiday spread. — Cocoy Ventura Culinary Services

Caramelized Pearl Onions and Brussels Sprouts

  • 15 pearl onions (fresh or frozen)
  • 15 Brussels sprouts, washed and cut into halves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Over high heat, heat sauté pan and olive oil. When hot, add pearl onions and turn heat down to medium low. Let the onions caramelize and stir with wooden spoon occasionally, approximately 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the pearl onions. When golden and soft, add garlic. Sauté and add water or chicken broth, just enough to briefly steam the Brussels sprouts. Stir in Brussels sprouts plus salt and pepper, and cover. Bring heat on high and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until Brussels sprouts are cooked but still bright green. Cook longer if softer vegetables are preferred. Serve hot or cold.

Next page: How to make kale salad and homemade dressing. »

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