To make the beans for Cajun red beans and brown rice, saute 1 small chopped onion, 1/2 diced bell pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves and 2 diced ribs of celery in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add 2 cans drained and rinsed red beans and 1 can of diced tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. Cook on low for about 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with cooked brown rice and hot sauce.
Oh, and a slab of corn bread.
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Tuesday: Apple a Day
It’s fall, which makes me think of apples and the wonderful selection at the grocery stores now. Eat them out of hand, add to a green salad, and stir cubes into yogurt. Or pair them with pork chops. This pork chop with apples and garlic-smashed potatoes (see recipe) is a tasty tribute to the season and a hearty meal that your family will ask for again. I promise.
Wednesday: Chicken salad
OK, I’ve still got apples left and am dicing them to add to curried chicken salad. You can serve scoops on a bed of lettuce or as the filling for wraps or sandwiches. First, make the dressing for the salad by mixing 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and a teaspoon of curry powder. This should be enough for the meat you pull off a rotisserie chicken and dice. Add to your salad sliced almonds and diced apples (or halved grapes). Raisins are good, too.
Thursday: Greek pasta
To make shrimp and feta pasta, cook a package of orzo according to instructions. While that’s cooking, saute 1 pound peeled, uncooked large shrimp in olive oil and minced garlic. Remove from heat when just pink. Mix drained, cooked orzo with shrimp and 1 can diced tomatoes, 1/2 cup of white wine, a couple teaspoons of Greek seasoning, and salt and pepper. Layer in lightly greased casserole and dot with feta cheese crumbles. Bake at 350 degrees until cheese is bubbly, about 12 minutes. Before serving, garnish with chopped, fresh parsley. Sliced tomatoes on the side.
Friday: Asian salmon
Marinate salmon in a ginger-sesame marinade: Mix 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 2 thinly sliced scallions and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Grill fish, then serve with sautéed spinach and couscous that’s ramped up with sliced almonds.
SATURDAY: Easy Entertaining
Prepare steak with peppercorn wine sauce for your lucky guests. Heat a large, heavy skillet coated with cooking spray on medium for 5 minutes. Place 4 beef-round or tenderloin steaks (cut 1-inch thick) in skillet and cook 8 to 10 minutes for rare to medium, turning once.
Sunday: Family Day
Roast a large turkey breast. Baked risotto with asparagus, spinach and parmesan (see recipe) is perfect with it. Add a mixed-greens salad and crusty bread. For dessert, chocolate malt ice cream cake will win fans. Arrange 4 ice cream sandwiches, long sides touching, on a serving plate. Spread an even layer of light whipped cream over top. Scatter with 1/3 cup chopped malted milk balls. Repeat layers twice, garnishing top with a few whole malt balls. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Slice and serve.
Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times, and Susan Nicholson, Universal UClick.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 cup arborio rice
8 cups (about 4 ounces) fresh spinach
2 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups fresh asparagus, diagonally sliced
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add rice; stir well. Stir in spinach, broth, salt and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer; cook 7 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Stir in asparagus; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese. Cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed. Makes 10 servings.
Per serving: 117 calories, 3 g fat (1.2 g saturated), 5 g protein, 18 g carbohydrate, 5 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 360 mg sodium. Carb choices: 1.
1 pound fingerling potatoes
2 cloves garlic
4 (1/2-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 large onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
2 green apples, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup buttermilk
Put the potatoes and garlic in a saucepan, cover with cold water and season with salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then uncover and continue cooking until tender, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, rub both sides of the pork chops with the sage; season to taste. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat, then add 1 teaspoon olive oil and sear the chops until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to a plate.
Wipe out the skillet and add remaining olive oil. Add onion and apples and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cider. Return chops to the skillet. Cover and cook, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes, reserving 1/4 cup liquid. Return the potatoes to the pan; add the buttermilk and mash, adding cooking liquid as needed. Season. Serve with the pork chops, onion and apples. Drizzle with pan juices. Serves 4.
Per serving: 413 calories, 16 g fat, 26 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 98 mg sodium.
Source: Food Network.