Thursday, July 5, 2012

My Plate, My Way

Where's the beef? Since our home-raised beef is in the freezer, it's the most common protein on our dinner plates. This Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad was a first-time recipe at our house, but it won't be the last time I serve it, especially as the hot summertime continues.

The Kansas Beef Council asked me to take an online personality assessment. The new My Plate, My Way interactive tool offers personalized tips and recipes to guide healthy eating choices that fit in with USDA’s new dietary guidelines.

The short quiz asks a series of questions. Once completed, users receive information and resources—including tips and recipes—tailored to the personality assessment. The profiles include:
  • Lean Lover - "I'm always looking for foods and recipes to help me lose or maintain weight."
  • Buff and Cut - "Food is a means of building muscle."
  • Cost Slicer - "I have to stick to my budget."
  • Health Seeker - "Food does more than fill me up—it has many health benefits!"
  • Family Chef - "Family time is precious to me, so my meals have to please the whole gang."
  • Time Tackler - "Just because I'm short on time, doesn't mean I want to compromise taste and health."
  • Flavor Saveur - "It's all about the taste!"
  • Two-Stepper - "I'm no top chef, but I'm willing to try to make a recipe if I think I can do it."
The quiz revealed that I'm a Family Chef. I wasn't surprised. I began cooking family meals when I was a teenager. I've been cooking them ever since. And while there are only two of us at home these days, I still consider myself a Family Chef, though I also see "time tackler" and "flavor saveur" as top vote getters in my book. 

You can take the My Plate, My Way quiz, too. Just click here. The salad recipe wasn't one that came up with my Family Chef profile. But it was one featured on the website that I thought would appeal to both Randy and me. 

Randy, who often chooses honey mustard dressing at restaurants, really liked the homemade dressing. I probably would prefer a little lighter taste, either a bottled raspberry vinaigrette or this homemade Orange Vinaigrette.

You could also add other seasonal fruits to this salad. Mix and match to suit your own family. For more beef recipes, check out this link to the Beef: It's What's for Dinner website sponsored by the Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association. I'll be trying more of them, too.

Tenderloin, Cranberry and Pear Salad 
with Honey Mustard Dressing
Recipe adapted from
The Healthy Beef Cookbook
published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (4 ounces each)
1/2 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
1 package (5 ounces) mixed baby salad greens
1 medium red or green pear, cored, cut into 16 wedges
1/4 cup dried cranberries
Salt (to taste)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled goat or feta cheese (optional)
Honey Mustard Dressing:
1/2 cup prepared honey mustard
2 to 3 tablespoons water
1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon coarse grind black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Season beef steaks with 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 7 to 9 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally.  Note: Though the original recipe called for a stovetop preparation, I used my outdoor gas grill. Also, instead of seasoning the steaks with black pepper, I used a dry, commercially-prepared steak seasoning. For grilling instructions, refer to this Harness the Power of the Grill guide.

Meanwhile whisk Honey Mustard Dressing ingredients in small bowl until well blended. Set aside. Note: I added two packets of non-calorie sweetener to the dressing to make it a little sweeter. You could add regular sugar, agave or honey as well. I used all 3 tablespoons of water.

Divide greens evenly among 4 plates. Top evenly with pear wedges and dried cranberries.

Carve steaks into thin slices; season with salt as desired. Divide steak slices evenly over salads. Top each salad evenly with dressing, pecans and goat cheese, if desired. Note: I substituted feta cheese for the goat cheese specified in the original recipe.

Cook’s Tip: To toast pecans, spread in single layer on metal baking sheet. Bake in 350°F oven 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Set aside to cool.

Makes 4 servings. Total preparation and cooking time: 25 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving: 321 calories; 14 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 7 g monounsaturated fat); 67 mg cholesterol; 434 mg sodium; 21 g carbohydrate; 3.3 g fiber; 26 g protein; 7.6 mg niacin; 0.6 mg vitamin B6; 1.4 mcg vitamin B12; 2.4 mg iron; 30.0 mcg selenium; 5.1 mg zinc.
This recipe is an excellent source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, selenium and zinc, and a good source of fiber and iron.

I was asked by the Kansas Beef Council to take the My Plate, My Way quiz and then try a recipe from their website. The opinions are my own, and I modified the recipe as indicated in the recipe notes. 

So, what kind of chef are you? Take the quiz and let me know by leaving a comment!


  1. Looks great, Kim. I just might invite myself over, lol! Beef and fruit are a great flavor combination that I don't think we give enough credit to.

    1. I'd love to have you visit anytime, Robyn!