Recipe ideas to cook for the whole week

For the family: Cider-glazed pork chops can be garnished with cranberries for a comforting fall meal.
For the family: Cider-glazed pork chops can be garnished with cranberries for a comforting fall meal.

Monday: Meatless

Pesto doesn’t always have to be made of basil, just fresh herbs, and tonight that means cilantro (or, for a new twist, try culantro). Prepare a pound of vermicelli and dress it with lemon artichoke pesto.

To make it, place 1/4 cup cilantro, 8 medium garlic cloves, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 cup walnuts, 1/3 cups each canola oil and extra-virgin olive oil, and salt into a food processor. Pulse until smooth, then pour into a large bowl. Gently stir in chopped 8-ounce box of thawed frozen artichokes and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Toss with hot pasta.

Tuesday: Go Swiss

Here’s something that I don’t think I’ve ever suggested: Swiss steak (see recipe). That’s mostly because it’s not a quick dish.

Just to be clear, it’s not an invention of a clever cook from Switzerland. Swissing is a process that softens fabrics by pounding or running them through rollers.

So, swiss steak starts with tough meat that’s tenderized by pounding. (Maybe this will be a question on Jeopardy this week.) I want my swiss steak with mashed potatoes.

Wednesday: Chicken tacos

Remove meat from a rotisserie chicken and shred. Heat with green salsa and stuff into hard or soft shells with shredded pepper Jack cheese, fresh cilantro leaves and a healthy squeeze of lime juice.

Serve with slices of melon and seasoned ranch beans.

Thursday: Colorful cooking

Sautéed salmon looks mighty festive served with rice and sautéed snap peas.

Thaw frozen snap peas and blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture. Sauté in a bit of vegetable (not olive) oil and finish with a drizzle of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.

Friday: TGI-Shrimp

Break the Friday night pizza take-out tradition by making shrip stir-fry salad.

In a large skillet or wok, sauté peeled shrimp in vegetable oil. Remove shrimp and add chopped peanuts, grated fresh ginger and about 1/4 cup Asian sesame salad dressing to the pan. Remove from heat and return shrimp to pan.

In a large bowl, toss baby spinach leaves, packaged broccoli slaw, thinly sliced cucumber and red pepper strips with another 1/4 cup of the dressing. Toss with warm shrimp mixture.

SATURDAY: Easy Entertaining

Entertain your guests with shrimp Creole (see recipe). Add a mixed greens salad and baguettes.

Fruit parfaits are as pretty as they are delicious. Drain 2 1/2 cups fat-free vanilla yogurt in a paper towel-lined strainer set over a bowl for 2 hours. Place the solids in a bowl and discard the liquid. Stir 5 tablespoons apricot spreadable fruit (such as Polaner) into the solids. Place half the yogurt mixture in 4 stemmed dessert dishes. Top with light whipped cream.

Mix together 1 peeled chopped apple and 1 chopped pear; spoon half the mixture into the 4 dishes on top of whipped cream. Sprinkle each dish with 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped walnuts. Repeat layers once. Garnish with more whipped cream and walnuts.

Sunday: Family Day

The combination of apples and pork is always a family pleaser, so enjoy these glazed pork chops.

Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil on medium-high in a large nonstick skillet until hot. Brown 6 (3/4-inch) boneless pork loin chops sprinkled with pepper 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Add 1/3 cup apple cider or juice. Cover tightly; cook on low 4 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Let stand 3 minutes.

Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times, and Susan Nicholson, Universal UClick.

Main dish

Shrimp Creole

3 cups cooked rice

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion

1 medium chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon light or low-sodium Creole seasoning (such as Tony Chachere)

2 to 3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 pound medium raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat 4 sheets heavy-duty foil (each 12 by 18 inches) with cooking spray. Combine cooked rice, tomatoes, green pepper, celery, onion, Creole seasoning, brown sugar and oregano; mix well. Stir in shrimp. Divide mixture and spoon onto foil sheets. Bring up foil sides. Double-fold tops and ends to seal, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Bake 14 to 16 minutes on baking sheet. Serves 4.

Per serving: 317 calories, 1 g fat (0.2 g saturated), 27 g protein, 48 g carbohydrate, 183 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 324 mg sodium. Carb choices: 3.

Main dish

Swiss Steak

1/2 cup sifted flour

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 pounds round steak

2 tablespoons oil

1 small onion, minced

2 cups diced tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt and pepper. Sprinkle mixture over steak. Pound mixture into steak with a meat mallet or potato masher. Pound evenly until the meat is about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 4 serving-size pieces.

Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides (4-6 minutes). Transfer meat to a shallow baking dish.

In a separate bowl, stir together onions and tomatoes and pour over steak. Cover the dish with foil and bake until the meat is tender when pierced with a fork (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours). Serves 4 to 6.