Menu planner: Go tropical and try bacon-wrapped pork with mango-basil relish

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

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Bacon-wrapped pork with mango-basil relish.

National Mango Board

Bacon-wrapped pork with mango-basil relish

Servings: 4

Preparation time: 20 minutes; marinating time: about 1 hour

Cooking time: 12 to 16 minutes

INGREDIENTS

8 strips bacon

4 boneless pork chops (1 1/2 inches thick)

1/2 cup less-sodium soy sauce

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

For the relish:

1 mango, peeled, pitted and finely chopped

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Wrap 2 strips of bacon around the sides of each pork chop, securing in several places with wooden picks. Mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, cayenne pepper and garlic. Reserve half of the mixture for basting and place half in a shallow baking dish. Add pork to dish and turn to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning pork occasionally. (Marinate longer for more flavor.) Remove from marinade, discard marinade, and place pork on grill over medium coals. Cook for 12 to 16 minutes, basting with reserved marinade several times, until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees.

In a small bowl, stir together relish ingredients. Serve each chop with a large dollop of relish.

Per serving: 390 calories, 44 grams protein, 17 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 132 milligrams cholesterol, 547 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 1.

Couscous with roasted vegetables

Servings: 4

Preparation time: Less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 12 to 14 minutes, plus couscous

INGREDIENTS

1 cup couscous

1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 large orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch strips

1 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch diagonal slices

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 ounces crumbled Greek feta cheese (basil-and-tomato flavored, if available)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare couscous according to package directions; set aside. In a large bowl, mix together bell peppers, yellow squash and zucchini. Separately, mix together salt, black pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil and vinegar. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Spread vegetables evenly over large baking sheet covered with foil, reserving marinade. Roast 12 to 14 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Cool vegetables; toss with reserved marinade, couscous and cheese.

Per serving: 326 calories, 13 grams protein, 11 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 3.1 grams saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 870 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.

Taco monster mouths

Servings: 6

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

12 large pimento-stuffed green olives

3 slices American cheese

6 flat-bottom taco shells

1 pound 95% lean ground beef

2 tablespoons less-sodium taco seasoning mix

1/3 cup water

Shredded lettuce

2 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into thirds and pulp removed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a slit into 1 side of each olive. Cut each of the cheese slices in half vertically with a zigzag line to look like teeth. Arrange taco shells on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until hot. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook beef on medium high 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix and water. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until water has evaporated.

To assemble, add lettuce to taco shells to look like hair that’s sticking out. Divide beef and fill shells. Place each taco on its side on serving plate; insert 1 tomato slice into meat filling to look like the tongue. Place 1 cheese slice with zigzag edge toward meat along top side of taco between the shell and filling for teeth. Press 2 olives onto shell to look like eyes on top.

Per serving: 236 calories, 20 grams protein, 12 grams fat (47 percent calories from fat), 4.8 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 51 milligrams cholesterol, 838 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 1.

Split-pea soup with pork

In a Dutch oven, combine 12 cups water, 1 (16-ounce) package split peas (picked over and rinsed), 3 chicken bouillon cubes and 2 cups chopped onion; bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour or until peas are almost tender; stir occasionally. Add 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fresh carrots; simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Stir in 1 to 2 cups diced leftover pork and simmer 10 more minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons and reduced-fat sour cream.

Across-the-border chicken

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips, and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1 (14.5-ounce) can rinsed no-salt-added corn, 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon onion powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve it over warmed rice.

Dijon chicken

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; mix well and set aside. Brush 3 tablespoons creamy mustard-mayonnaise blend on 4 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts. Coat in bread crumb mixture; shake off excess. Arrange on a rack coated with cooking spray and place rack in shallow baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees.

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