Here’s how to make Christmas dinner frugal but still festive – Orange County Register

We are reducing 2022 vacation spending at home. There will be fewer gifts and less extravagant entertainment. This means that Christmas dinner will not feature a giant beef tenderloin this year. And the prime rib came out. But the culinary joy will not diminish. We won’t suffer even a little bit.

The revised menu will be different, but very delicious. Instead of beef, the celebratory meal will feature prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloin served with an enticing apple chutney. The marriage of juicy meat flavors and that perky fruit flavor is irresistible.

Not to be confused with pork loin, tenderloins are elongated, somewhat slender beauties, the flesh a reddish-pink hue. They are usually sold in side-by-side packs of two, each weighing about a pound. The mild taste of pork tenderloins makes them extremely versatile. They cook quickly over high heat, roast in the oven.

Rounding out the menu, a simple no-fault rice is a perfect accompaniment. It can be made ahead if desired, then cooled, refrigerated, and reheated in the microwave before serving. A simple vegetable like green beans, roasted carrots or roasted butternut squash is a welcome addition, along with a crisp green salad.

As for dessert, a tempting pear crostarda is a succulent finish. Martha Stewart dubbed this dessert with the Italian term, calling it a “crostarda.” More often than not, these rustic, open-faced pies take on a French name and are called galettes. Both terms refer to the dessert prepared with a rolled out dough which is placed on a baking sheet and a mixture of fruits is placed in the middle. The dough is folded like a rag over the fruit, partially covering it. Once cooked, the dough is golden brown and crispy, the pears are perfectly tender.

If desired, serve the savory finish with sweetened whipped cream, fresh cream or ice cream.

Ho ho ho!

Pork Tenderloin with Prosciutto and Apple Chutney

Sure, these prosciutto-wrapped pork tenderloins are delicious, but in my opinion, it’s Ina Garten’s apple chutney that puts them on top. Sure, you could use a store-bought chutney, but this homemade relish showcases the apples, fresh ginger, spices, and raisins in an incredible way. You can prepare the chutney up to 2 weeks in advance and store it airtight in the refrigerator.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


2 pork tenderloins (2½ to 3 pounds total)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Good olive oil

10 to 12 slices of prosciutto (about two 3-ounce packages)

kitchen rope

Apple Chutney (recipe below)

Cook’s notes: If desired, fully assemble pork and wrap tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate up to 24 hours. Roast before serving. Garten notes that the pork can be cooked medium because there is no longer a problem with trichinosis. She explains that overcooked pork will be dry and tasteless.


1. Set oven rack to middle position. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Place fillets on a rimmed baking sheet and pat dry with paper towel. Combine rosemary, thyme, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a small bowl. Rub the fillets with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle all sides with the herb mixture. If there is a thinner “tail”, fold it under so that the fillet has an even thickness throughout. Completely wrap the fillets with a single layer of prosciutto. (I place the prosciutto on its side with the ends rolled up under the fillets.) Tie in several places with kitchen twine to hold the prosciutto and “tail” in place.

3. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the end of the tenderloin registers 145 degrees for medium-rare and 150 degrees for medium-rare. Cover fillets tightly with aluminum foil and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Cut into thick slices and serve warm with the apple chutney.

Source: “Ina Garten Make It Ahead” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)

apple chutney

Yield: About 5 cups


1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 tablespoons chopped or grated fresh ginger

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice or tangerine juice

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon whole mustard seeds

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice

3/4 cup raisins


1. Combine onion, ginger, orange juice, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard seeds, red pepper flakes and salt in a large saucepan. Add the apples, adding them as you go to prevent them from browning. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.

2. Reduce heat and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated (there will probably be about 1/2 to 1 inch of liquid left in the bottom – but it will thicken as it cools down a bit).

3. Stir in raisins and serve hot, at room temperature or cold.

Source: “Ina Garten Make It Ahead” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35)

This "no failure" rice dish can be made a day ahead and reheated for Christmas dinner.  (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
This “no-fault” rice dish can be made a day ahead and reheated for Christmas dinner. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

rice without failure

This delicious, foolproof rice can be made the day before. Cool it down and refrigerate tightly closed. To reheat in the microwave, place the rice in a microwave-safe container on High, uncovered, until heated through. It will take about 4 or 5 minutes. Stir with a fork every 2 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings (recipe can be doubled if desired, using a larger pan)


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter; see cook’s notes

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 large garlic clove, minced

1 cup uncooked long-grain rice

2 cups of chicken broth; see cook’s notes

Freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste

Optional garnish: Sprinkle generously with seasoned salt such as Lawry’s and chopped fresh chives

Cook’s notes: To make this dish vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth. To make it vegan, also replace the olive oil with butter.


1, Melt the butter in a 2-quart saucepan. Add onion and garlic; cook over medium heat until onion is softened and translucent, stirring occasionally. Add rice and stir over medium-high heat until browned, stirring frequently.

2, Add the broth off the heat. Return to heat and increase to high heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the lid and look at the bottom of the pan; all the broth should be absorbed. Fluff with a fork. Season to taste with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Transfer to a dish. If desired, sprinkle a little seasoned salt and sprinkle with chopped fresh chives.

Martha Stewart's recipe for pear crostarda is the perfect dessert to top off a holiday meal.  (Photo by Cathy Thomas)
Martha Stewart’s recipe for pear crostarda is the perfect dessert to top off a holiday meal. (Photo by Cathy Thomas)

Pear Crostada (Galette)

Yield: One 14-inch patty, about 10 servings


Pie dough (recipe below)

3 pounds ripe but not mushy pears (about 10), peeled, cored, sliced ​​1/2 inch thick

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

All purpose flour for dusting

Egg wash: 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water

Optional: 1/4 cup sanding sugar; see cook’s notes

Optional to serve: whipped cream or fresh cream or ice cream

Cook’s notes: Sanding sugar is a coarse granulated sugar that adds shine to baked goods. It is also called “pearl sugar” or “decorative sugar”. It is sold at stores that stock baking supplies, such as Michael’s (multiple locations).


1. Prepare dough (recipe follows) and refrigerate as directed. Mix fruit with granulated sugar and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.

2. Set oven rack to middle position. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Flour a large piece of parchment paper (at least 18 inches long). Place the dough on parchment paper. Using your fingers, press down the edges of the dough so it doesn’t crack while rolling. Lightly flour the top of the dough to prevent it from sticking; Roll into an 18-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough (still on the parchment paper) to a large baking sheet.

3. Mount the fruit in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch border all around. Fold the dough over the fruit, creasing it as you go (there will be an area in the center where the dough will not cover the fruit). Brush the exposed dough with the egg wash and dust with sanding sugar, if using.

4. Bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let the pie cool completely. If desired, serve with whipped cream, ice cream or fresh cream.

Source: “Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebrations” by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $75)

Martha’s Pie Dough

Yield: Enough for a 14 inch patty


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup (2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water, plus more if needed


1. Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few large chunks remaining. Drizzle 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon ice water (without the ice) evenly over the mixture. Pulse until the dough is crumbly but holds together when pressed. If the dough is too dry, add more water, 1 tbsp at a time, and pulse to combine.

2. Place the dough on the work surface and knead once or twice, then shape into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or overnight. (Dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in refrigerator before using.)

Source: “Martha’s Entertaining: A Year of Celebration” by Martha Stewart (Clarkson Potter, $75)

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