Treat your holiday guests to the taste of beef

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SUCCULENT ROAST: The savory taste of Hearty Glazed Tri-Tip Roast with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce is sure to tempt the taste buds of your guests.
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SAUCY STEAK: Beef Tenderloin with Savory Saucy Mushrooms and Lentils is a delectable dish that will melt in your mouth

Beef up holiday entertaining with luscious recipes that will make your guests feel merry.

These lean beef recipes are rich in essential protein and nutrients needed to fuel and strengthen the body. The meals will not only help keep you energized, they’ll make it easier to maintain balance in your diet throughout the holidays. Who knew healthy eating could taste so good?

Remember to always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of beef steaks and roasts. Be sure to let roasts stand before carving. That will allow the temperature to rise to the desired doneness and the juices to redistribute, resulting in easier carving and serving.

For more on beef cookery, nutrition and recipes, visit www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

Hearty Glazed Tri-Tip Roastwith Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 beef tri-tip roast (1½ to 2 pounds)

1 red onion, cut into 16 wedges

4 cups broccolini or baby broccoli, trimmed

Nonstick cooking spray

Salt and pepper

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic. Reserve 2 tablespoons marinade for basting. Place roast and remaining marinade in a large, resealable plastic bag; turn roast to coat. Seal bag securely and marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Heat oven to 425°F.

Remove roast; discard marinade. Place roast on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Place onion wedges around roast. Do not add water or cover. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes for medium-rare, or 40 to 45 minutes for medium doneness, basting with reserved marinade halfway through roasting time.

Remove roast when an instant-read thermometer registers 135°F. for medium-rare, or 150°F. for medium. Transfer roast to a carving board; cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let stand for 15 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise about 10°F. to reach 145°F. for medium-rare, or 160°F. for medium.)

Meanwhile, prepare Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce (recipe follows).

Spray broccolini with nonstick cooking spray, tossing to coat. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 425°F. for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp-tender and slightly browned. Toss onion wedges with broccolini. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve roast across the grain into thin slices. Top with Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce. Serve with vegetables. Yields 6 to 8 servings.

To make Creamy Gorgonzola Sauce:

¼ cup reduced-fat cream cheese, softened

¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt

2 tablespoons crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1 tablespoon minced onion

¼ teaspoon pepper

Combine all ingredients in small bowl; mix well.

Beef Tenderloin with Savory SaucyMushrooms and Lentils

½ cup uncooked lentils

½ cup water

2 cups ready-to-serve beef broth, divided

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

   or ½ teaspoon crushed dried thyme leaves

Salt and pepper

4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1-inch thick

2 teaspoons olive oil

1½ cups assorted mushrooms (shiitake, enoki,

   straw, cremini, button or chanterelle), whole     

   or cut in half

¼ cup minced shallots

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine lentils, water and ½ cup broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, or until lentils are tender, but not mushy. Stir in thyme; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add steaks and cook for 10 to 13 minutes for medium-rare (145ºF) to medium (160ºF) doneness, turning occasionally. Remove to a platter; season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Heat oil in the same skillet over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Add remaining broth, stirring until browned bits attached to the bottom of the pan are dissolved; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and Worcestershire sauce in a small bowl; stir into mushroom mixture and cook for 2 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. Yields 4 servings.

Tips on shopping for beef:

  •     Choose cold packages that are tightly and completely wrapped, without any tears or punctures.
  •     Be sure the packages do not contain excessive liquid – this can be an indication of problems with temperature or storage.
  •     Choose steaks and roasts that are firm to the touch, not soft.