Try this Cajun pork roast for family dinner. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub all sides of 1 (3-pound) well-trimmed boneless pork loin with Cajun seasoning. Place in a shallow roasting pan and roast 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil, and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve the juicy pork with roasted red potatoes and carrots. Alongside, add this colorful spiced pomegranate and orange salad. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, a pinch of coarse ground pepper and a pinch of coarse salt. Toss 8 cups salad greens with vinaigrette in a large bowl. Divide mixture among 6 plates. Top each salad with about 5 orange sections and 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils (seeds). Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, poundcake with blueberries will be welcome. Plan ahead: Save enough pork for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Shred and heat 2 cups of the leftover pork, mix with 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, spoon down center of fat-free flour tortillas and call it barbecue pork tortillas. Serve with guacamole on shredded lettuce and canned reduced-sodium pinto beans. For dessert, pineapple chunks are easy.
Go meatless with black bean soup (see recipe). Serve it over packaged yellow rice. Chop some red bell peppers and add them to deli coleslaw for a little color and extra vitamin C. Serve with crackers. Plums are a simple dessert. Plan ahead: Buy enough coleslaw for Friday.
Kids will go for mushroom sloppy joes (see recipe) served on whole-grain hamburger buns. Add oven fries (frozen) and green beans. Munch on peanut butter cookies for dessert.
Your food budget is safe and your taste buds will be happy eating unstuffed cabbage. In a Dutch oven, cook 12 ounces lean ground beef, 1 small chopped onion and 1 clove minced garlic 6 minutes on medium or until beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. Add 1 cup water, 8 cups chopped cabbage, 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Serve with boiled potatoes sprinkled with chopped parsley, mixed salad greens and whole-grain rolls. Tropical fruit is good for dessert.
Pan-fry a ham steak for dinner and bake sweet potato wedges to go alongside. Serve with leftover deli coleslaw and cornbread (from a mix). Chunky applesauce is a perfect dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Our guests enjoyed the flavors of Indian cuisine with grilled curry chicken (see recipe). Serve with cucumber-mint sauce for a refreshing accent to the fragrant chicken. Mix together 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt, 3/4 cup seedless diced cucumber, 5 chopped fresh mint leaves, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and a pinch of coarse ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving time. Serve the combo with rice, sugar snap peas, a baby arugula salad and flatbread. Chocolate pirouettes (such as Pepperidge Farm or another chocolate cookie) and lime sherbet are a cool dessert.
BLACK BEAN SOUP
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup thinly sliced fresh carrots
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
2 bay leaves
2 to 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Cook onion and garlic 4 minutes or until onions are softened. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, broth, mushrooms, carrots, tomato sauce, beans and bay leaves. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in lime juice and simmer 10 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and serve.
Per serving: 133 calories, 7 grams protein, 1 gram fat (9 percent calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 213 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.
Yield: 8 servings
MUSHROOM SLOPPY JOES
2 split whole-grain hamburger buns
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound sliced fresh crimini mushrooms (about 6 cups)
1 cup finely shredded fresh carrots
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce or barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup water
Remove some of the soft bread from cut sides of buns, leaving shells about 1/2-inch thick; set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms, carrots, onion and chili powder; cook and stir 5 to 8 minutes or until mushroom liquid evaporates. Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, salt and water. Bring to boil; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Toast rolls; spoon mixture into hollows of each half and serve.
Per serving: 182 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 490 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Yield: 4 servings
GRILLED CURRY CHICKEN
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic salt
6 chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, curry powder, garam masala, onion powder, paprika and garlic salt; mix well. Scrape into a resealable plastic bag. Add chicken and rotate bag to cover chicken completely. Refrigerate 30 minutes (or longer for a more pronounced flavor). Heat grill. Remove chicken and discard marinade. Grill over medium heat, 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, or until chicken is no longer pink. Serve with cucumber-mint sauce (shown above).
Per serving: 174 calories, 24 grams protein, 8 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 294 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Yield: 6 servings