• By Jason Howland

Mayo chef prepares healthy Valentine’s Day dinner

February 11, 2022

Rather than eating out on Valentine's Day, consider making a healthy dinner at home for you and your sweetheart.

Jen Welper, a wellness executive chef with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, has just such a dinner in mind. It's a quick and easy meal that's good for the heart in more ways than one. And the recipes are taken right out of the pages of her new cookbook, "Cook Smart, Eat Well: Mayo Clinic Recipes and Strategies for Healthy Living."

Watch: Chef Jen Welper prepares a healthy Valentine's Day dinner

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video (3:25) is in the downloads at the end of this post. Please courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network. Name super/CG: Jen Welper/Wellness Executive Chef/Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. Read the script.

The following is a transcript from Chef Jen Welper's cooking video:

"So today we're making a maple balsamic pork tenderloin with honey sage carrots. So what we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and get our pork tenderloin already marinating so it has a little time to sink in. So we have some balsamic vinegar, just basic balsamic vinegar, and then we're going to do some really good maple syrup. This is going to be that sweet and savory. And as it sears, we're going to add some herbs to it. So you want those herbs to be chopped really small. Every bite should be a good bite, essentially."

"So we'll just sprinkle a little bit of kosher salt right there on the tenderloin and do some cracked pepper. Then I'm going to go ahead and peel our carrots because the flavor is just a little bit better. Because my tenderloin is round, I'm going to cut these into sticks. I'm going to kind of cut these into long logs here and then take my logs, cut those in half. We're just going to blanch these for just a little bit. And so it's really about making sure we have a nice tender carrot. When you chop sage really small, again, that's going to give you that really nice, even seasoning throughout the carrot. So I'm just going to use some long strips here and chop. Just put a little bit of olive oil, I'm just going to move it around just a little bit."

"We'll go back to our pork tenderloin. You want to hear that sizzle. That sizzle is extremely important. But as juices are going to be pulling out, you want to leave it in the pan and not touch it. It's so important to do that. You can always just take a peek, see how it's looking and then put it back. I really want to get some color on that. You want to make sure that you just let it do its job. So what's so simple and beautiful about this recipe is we're taking first sage, some honey, salt and a little bit of olive oil, nothing crazy — and, of course, our carrots. We'll put just a little bit of oil in the pan. And again, we'll use the same spatula and kind of move it around. We can always do a little test here. Perfect, heard that little sizzle and we can put in our carrots. There's not a lot of extra work, that's so nice. We've got so much flavor and love in your carrots in your pork tenderloin, do another check. Looks pretty good. I'm going to even lay it a little bit longer."

"So with our carrots, we can just make sure that we're kind of moving it around a little bit but not too much. And the last-minute thing we will do is add the honey, but we can go ahead and add just a little bit of salt. You can add in our sage what those flavors really release, yummy! So I think it's a good time now to pull our pork over, so we have a really nice color. The balsamic is also going to add in some color, too, so that's always handy — and then that maple. And at any time, you have some, what I've called, stickage in your pan. Go ahead and use the pork to kind of clean that up because that's going to be flavor. From there, our carrots are just about done. What I'm going to do is add just a little bit of our honey — doesn't need a whole lot."

"It's going to be quick because it's already hot — excellent! We'll give that just another 30 seconds, and then we'll put this right in the oven. And then we are good to go. It'll take about 15 minutes. Oh my gosh, this smells so good! I'm excited. What I'm going to do is slice this at a little bit of an angle. I like to slice it really thin and it helps create a nice look to it. Then we add some of our carrots. Make sure there's lots of love in it, vegetables and flavor. And there we go. So this is a cute, little, quick, easy, healthy Valentine's meal."

Maple Balsamic Roasted Pork Tenderloin Recipe

Honey Sage Carrots Recipe


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