January 2008


Happy almost Super Bowl! Last year, I sent out a few dips that got some rave reviews. If you’re in the mood for something a little fancier for Sunday’s big game, look no further than this recipe that can be made with either beef tenderloin or reast beef slices (basically the same thing). I made this a while ago for a little get together at our apartment and it was a hit!




36 slices (1/2-inch thick) baguette bread
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup roasted red peppers, preserved in water, drained well and patted dry
1/3 cup mayonnaise
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2-pound) piece beef tenderloin, trimmed
3 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
Coarse sea salt, to serve

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Arrange the bread slices on 2 heavy large baking sheets. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over the bread slices. Bake until the crostini are pale golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Blend the bell peppers and mayonnaise in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Season the bell pepper mayonnaise, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Cover and refrigerate.

Tie the beef with kitchen string to help maintain its shape. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add the beef to the skillet and cook until brown and cooked to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for rare. Freeze the beef until it is just frozen (this will make it easier to slice), about 3 hours. Using a large sharp carving knife, cut the beef into thin slices.

Spread the bell pepper mayonnaise over the crostini and top with the sliced beef. Arrange the crostini on a platter. Scatter over the capers, sprinkle with the coarse sea salt, and serve.

Do-Ahead Tip: The bell pepper mayonnaise and sliced beef can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and refrigerate.

Alternative: If you’d like, the beef tenderloin can be substituted with 1 pound freshly sliced roast beef. Since the roast beef is already cooked and can be used as is, it makes a great time-saving (and money-saving) alternative.

Happy eating! Go Pats!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings



As I said last week or the week before, the next few recipes are going to include some flavors that I love, however I don’t get to use them very often. Earlier this week, I made this wonderful dish with eggplant that was supposed to be a stew.

Well I don’t really know what it was! The first night I ate it with couscous and the second night I ate it over whole wheat spaghetti. If I had a spaghetti squash, I would definitely eat it with that also. Sounds like a sauce more than a stew, right?

Whatever it is, it’s GOOD! You can add chicken or beans to make it heartier, or just eat it as is!


Serves 4

1 medium cubed, peeled eggplant
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups (1-inch) bell pepper strips
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can no salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (6-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at HIGH 8 minutes.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and zucchini; sauté 8 minutes or until onion is tender. Add eggplant mixture, basil, and next 4 ingredients (basil through tomato sauce) to pan; cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Serve over couscous, rice, pasta etc; sprinkle with cheese.

Happy eating!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings


I’m always looking for new vegetable (and new ways of cooking boring ones) to add to my repertoire. Earlier this week I decided to try roasting fennel, a flavor (anise) I don’t really care for. It turned out really good! I have resolved to try a new vegetable each month – you should do it too!

The mashed peas recipe I took from CookingLight. It was so good and easy that I just had to share it.



Fennel is that weird-looking thing in the produce department with white bulb with green stalks sprouting from it. Normally fennel tastes like a cross between celery, cabbage, and licorice. Roasting, however, brings out an entirely new flavor – as if pine nuts decided to join the party.

2 fennel bulbs (thick base of stalk), stalks cut off, bulbs thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub just enough olive oil over the fennel to coat. Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, also to coat. Line baking dish with aluminum foil. Lay out pieces of fennel and roast for 15-20 (maybe 25) minutes, until the fennel is cooked through and beginning to caramelize.

1 teaspoon butter
1 cup thinly sliced leek
1/4 cup water
1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Heat butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add water and peas; cook 5 minutes or until peas are tender.

Place pea mixture in a food processor. Add basil, juice, and tarragon; process until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; keep warm.

Get out there and try a new veggie!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

So easy and tasty! Enjoy!

Salmon with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes
Serves 2

2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
Cooking spray
2 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 6 ingredients in a jelly roll pan coated with cooking spray; toss to coat tomatoes. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes. Add fish to pan. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Serve the tomato mixture over fish. Drizzle with lemon juice.

I had a few friends over for dinner last week for Moo Shu Shrimp. I am a HUGE fan of chinese take-out, but I know what it can do to your waistline. So, I found a recipe that is guilt free!


Moo Shu Shrimp

Serves 4

2 teaspoons peanut oil, divided
1 tablespoon minced garlic, divided
1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped green onions
6 cups Napa cabbage, shredded
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon Sriracha (hot chile sauce, such as Huy Fong)
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic and shrimp; stir-fry 3 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Remove shrimp from pan; keep warm.
Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic and mushrooms; stir-fry 1 minute or until mushrooms are tender. Add carrot and onions; stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in cabbage; cook 2 minutes or until wilted.

Combine soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water, cornstarch, and Sriracha in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Stir soy sauce mixture into cabbage mixture. Remove from heat; stir in shrimp, tossing to coat. Serve with hoisin and tortillas.


I hope those of you in the Northeast are enjoying the lively spring-like weather we’ve been having. I hear it’s going to end very very soon.

I’ve been dreading January/February for a while because Mr. Hillman’s Helpings had to pack up and go to work in North Carolina for 7 whole weeks. There is a silver lining to every cloud, however. I can now cook with the ingredients he hates! So be prepared for some recipes incorporating eggplant, mushrooms and crab in the coming weeks!

The recipe below takes probably 30 minutes from start to finish, and it was really really good! If you can’t find tilapia, you can substitute any white flaky fish such as flounder or cod.


Serves 4


Cooking spray
4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup white wine
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
4 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (if you don’t have sherry, use white wine vinegar)


Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle fish evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add 2 fillets to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. Remove from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining fillets.

Add white wine to pan; cook 30 seconds or until liquid almost evaporates. Combine shallots and remaining ingredients, stirring well with a whisk; stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add shallot mixture to pan; sauté 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Place 1 fillet on each of 4 plates; top each serving with about 3 tablespoons sauce.

Happy eating!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings


Happy New Year! I know slacked off the last two weeks of the year, but things were very busy between the holidays and a beautiful bridal shower my aunt threw for me in Florida.

Now it’s back to the grindstone and definitely back to healthy eating. Do you know what the number one New Years Resolution is every year?? I’m sure you guessed it. To lose weight/eat healthy/ etc… I tried to start early this year. For a New Years Eve party, I made a wonderful dish that is just 63 calories per serving (1/4 cup)! Everyone who tried it said it was like nothing they’d ever tasted before, but it that was so great!

It comes from my favorite recipe encyclopedia: CookingLight.



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped fennel bulb (white parts only)
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons capers
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, fennel, and garlic; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in raisins and next 8 ingredients (through artichokes). Bring to a simmer; cook over medium-low heat 5 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Serve with toasted baguette slices.

Bon appetit!

Here’s to a fun, flavorful and healthy 2008!


Lauren Hillman
Hillman’s Helpings

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