Healthy Holiday Pork Medallions and Coquito

There are many wonderful Christmas traditions—mom’s flan, roast turkey, turrónes (this almond or nougat candy that always seemed to be at my grandmother’s but nobody ever knew why)— but being healthy is not normally one of them. So before we guilt ourselves into a healthy New Year’s resolution (which I’ll get to next week), we’ll try and be proactive with a lighter spin on two traditional holiday dishes, a roast pork and coquito.

Pork, also known as “the other white meat”, is a healthier alternative to red meat, a good source of low-fat protein and is 27 percent lower in saturated fat than red meat according to  Pork tenderloin is one of the six cuts of pork classified by the USDA as extra lean which means it contains less than 5 grams of fat and less than 2 grams of saturated fat per three-ounce serving. 

Pork Medallions with Cranberries

(serves 4)

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 8 (2-ounce) pork tenderloin medallions
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup port wine
  • 1 cup sparkling cider
  • 1 cup whole fresh or frozen berry cranberries
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar


  1. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle both side of pork evenly with salt and pepper. Add pork to the pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan; keep warm. 
  2. Return the pan to the heat, add olive oil. Add cranberries, ginger, and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Deglaze pan with sparking cider, reduce by half.
  3. Add port, reduce, ensure you’re scraping pan to loosen any extra flavor on the bottom of the pan; cook until reduced to 1/4 cup (about 5 minutes), or until the cranberries just begin to burst.
  4. Stir in balsamic vinegar; return the pork to the pan. Cook 1 minute, turning to coat the pork with cranberry glaze.

Nutritional Information:  Calories: 422; fat calories: 73; fat: 8.1; saturated fat: 1.4; cholesterol: 54.4; sodium: 419; carbohydrates: 41.5; sugar: 28.1; protein: 23 grams.

Coquito is a traditional Puerto Rican punch, similar to egg nog, served during the holidays.

(4oz serving size)

  • 12 oz fat-free evaporated milk
  • 12 oz fat-free condensed milk
  • 14 oz coconut milk (if you can find fresh coconut milk in your local gourmet market, its better for you than canned coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup of Egg Beaters
  • ½ cup ice
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rum extract 


Combine all the ingredients together in a blender, blend for about one minute.  Serve chilled, garnish with a pinch of cinnamon in each glass.

Nutritional Information: calories: 198; fat: 1g; protein: 11g; carbohydrates: 38g;  sodium: 179.


 Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at South Miami Hospital, joined Baptist Health South Florida in 2011 for the opening of West Kendall Baptist Hospital. He is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, the Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard Plasencia graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a Bachelor of Science in culinary arts.


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