Menu planner: Relax and enjoy holiday morning French toast

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

SHARE Menu planner: Relax and enjoy holiday morning French toast
Enjoy French toast with cranberries for your holiday morning breakfast.

Enjoy French toast with cranberries for your holiday morning breakfast.

Holiday morning French toast

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes; refrigeration time: 4 to 24 hours

Cooking time: 50 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes


1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup melted butter

3 teaspoons cinnamon, divided

3 Granny Smith (or other tart apples), peeled, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins)

1 (1-pound) loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch slices

6 eggs

1 1/2 cups 1% milk

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, mix sugar, butter and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Add apples and cranberries; stir to coat well. Spread evenly in bottom of dish. Arrange slices of bread on top. In a medium bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon until blended. Pour mixture over bread, soaking it completely. Cover with nonstick foil. Refrigerate 4 to 24 hours.

When ready to bake: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake, covered, 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. (Optional presentation: Loosen edges with small knife; invert onto a large serving platter.)

Per serving: 329 calories, 8 grams protein, 12 grams fat (32% calories from fat), 6.2 grams saturated fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 115 milligrams cholesterol, 343 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3.

Pork tenderloin with roasted mixed potatoes

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 1 hour; standing time: 5 minutes


3/4 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3/4 pound white potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 medium onion, cut into 1-inch wedges

1/2 cup Italian dressing

1 1/2 pounds pork tenderloin

1 envelope seasoned coating mix for pork (such as Shake ‘N Bake or another brand)

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a broiler pan with nonstick foil. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, onion and Italian dressing; toss to coat. Spread vegetables in pan. Bake 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly moisten pork with water; coat with coating mix (discard any extra mix). Stir vegetables and place pork on top. Roast 20 minutes per pound or until meat thermometer registers 145 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil. Let stand 5 minutes. Slice pork and serve with vegetables. Garnish with parsley.

Per serving: 299 calories, 24 grams protein, 7 grams fat (23% calories from fat), 1.6 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 483 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 2.

Ditalini with zucchini and sweet onions

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; standing time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes, plus pasta


4 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 large sweet onions (such as Vidalia), cut into 1/3-inch pieces

1 tablespoon coarse salt

12 ounces ditalini or other short tubular pasta

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 or 2 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 teaspoon dried marjoram

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Toss zucchini and onions together in a bowl with the salt; let stand 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium; add garlic, marjoram and cayenne pepper and cook 2 minutes or until garlic is softened. Drain zucchini and onions; wrap and squeeze dry in a clean terry towel (or other towel) to remove moisture. Add vegetables to skillet and cook 5 minutes or until softened; drain. Add 1/2 cup reserved pasta water to skillet. Drain pasta and divide among 4 plates; divide vegetables and spoon over pasta.

Per serving: 319 calories, 10 grams protein, 8 grams fat (22% calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 500 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3 1/2.

Pork and peppers fajitas

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high and stir-fry 1 green bell pepper (cut into thin strips) 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in 3/4 cup salsa and 1 cup cooked leftover pork (cut into thin strips) and heat through. Spoon pork mixture onto 4 large heated fat-free flour tortillas; sprinkle with 1 cup 50% reduced-fat shredded jalapeno cheese. Fold ends and wrap. Serve with additional tortillas and rice.

TIP: To heat tortillas, wrap a stack in a damp white paper towel and microwave on high (100% power) 30 seconds or until heated.

Mexican beef stew

Place 1 1/2 pounds well-trimmed beef stew meat (cut into 1-inch pieces) in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour over beef and toss to coat. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup unsalted beef broth with 1 cup thick and chunky salsa and pour over beef. Cook on low for 6 hours. Add 3 medium zucchini (cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces), 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 1 cup frozen corn. Cook 1 hour on high or until zucchini is tender and stew is heated throughout. Garnish with chopped tomato, chopped fresh cilantro and reduced-fat sour cream if desired.

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