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Menu Planner: Have some charred sesame pecan green beans on the side

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

Charred sesame pecan green beans.
American Pecans

Charred sesame pecan green beens

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

12 ounces trimmed fresh green beans

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/3 cup chopped pecans

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, sesame oil and syrup. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the beans and 1/4 cup water. Cover; microwave on high (100% power) 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain; pat dry with paper towel. In a large skillet, heat canola oil on medium-high. Add beans and cook, without stirring, 3 minutes, until charred on one side. Stir; continue cooking 3 more minutes or until lightly charred all over. Remove skillet from heat; add the sauce mixture and pecans, tossing repeatedly to coat.

Per serving: 155 calories, 3 grams protein, 13 grams fat (69% calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 133 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 0.5.

Pork-apple summer salad

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: to toast the walnuts

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE SALAD:

1 to 1 1/2 pounds cooked pork tenderloin, diced

2 ribs celery, chopped

1/2 medium red onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 medium Granny Smith apple, diced

2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)

1 teaspoon less-sodium seasoned salt

6 cups salad greens

1/4 cup toasted walnut halves, for garnish

FOR THE DRESSING:

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a large serving bowl, mix together pork, celery, onion, bell pepper, apple, basil and seasoned salt. In a separate bowl, mix together vinegar, sour cream, mayonnaise, sugar, garlic, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over pork mixture and toss to coat. Arrange greens on 4 individual plates; top with pork mixture. Garnish with walnuts and serve.

Per serving: 320 calories, 34 grams protein, 13 grams fat (35% calories from fat), 3.5 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 93 milligrams cholesterol, 496 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1.

Vegetable stew

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cups diced baking potatoes

2 cups chopped onions

2 cups sliced zucchini

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid

1 cup unsalted vegetable broth

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

In a large nonstick skillet, heat canola oil on medium-high. Add potatoes and onions; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until the potatoes are golden and onions are softened. Add zucchini, tomatoes, broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes on low or until zucchini is tender. Serve hot.

Per serving: 107 calories, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fat (21% calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 50 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1.5.

Herb-crusted Mediterranean pork tenderloin

Place 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin on a large piece of plastic wrap. Rub with olive oil; sprinkle 2 teaspoons dried oregano and 3/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning evenly over surface. Cover tightly in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 2 hours to overnight. When ready to cook, heat grill to medium. Unwrap pork. Make lengthwise cut down center of pork, but not all the way through. Open, so pork lies flat. Spread 3 tablespoons mixed olive tapenade on half of pork. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons crumbled Greek feta cheese. Fold other half of pork over to form original shape. Tie pork with twine at 2-inch intervals. Grill, uncovered, 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees; turn halfway. Remove pork to cutting board; cover loosely with foil and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. To serve, remove twine and slice. Serve with asparagus, orzo and dinner rolls.

Pizza macaroni

In a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound lean ground beef for 6 minutes on medium-high or until no longer pink; drain, wipe pan with paper towel and return meat to pan. Stir in 1 cup pizza sauce, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook 3 minutes on medium. Add 2 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni; cook 3 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon shredded 50% light cheddar cheese.

BLT&G

(Bacon, lettuce, tomato and guacamole — the tomatoes are in the salsa). Spread 4 (8-inch) flour tortillas with 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese; top with some salsa and shredded lettuce; spread evenly. Place 2 slices cooked bacon on each tortilla; top each with 2 tablespoons guacamole. Roll and serve immediately.

Tuna and white bean salad

Combine 1 medium cucumber (peeled, seeded and diced), 1/2 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, 1 medium red onion (thinly sliced), juice of 2 lemons, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans (rinsed), 3 (6-ounce) cans water-packed albacore tuna (drained and flaked), and 1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimentos (drained) in a large bowl; toss to coat and let stand 15 minutes to blend flavors (if time permits). Arrange 8 cups mixed greens on a serving platter, top with tuna mixture and serve with Italian bread.

Shrimp and peppers over polenta

In a large nonstick skillet on medium, cook 1/2 cup chopped Canadian bacon 3 minutes or until lightly browned; stir frequently. Add 1 large green bell pepper, cut into strips, 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips, 1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added or regular diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained; cook 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are pink and opaque throughout. Stir in 1/2 cup sliced green onions. Meanwhile, slice and heat 1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated cheese polenta according to package directions. Serve shrimp and peppers over polenta.

Turtle terrine

Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with foil; spread with 1 pint softened chocolate-chocolate chip ice cream. Drizzle with 1/4 cup caramel sauce; top with 1 pint softened butter pecan ice cream. Repeat layers once. Freeze until hardened. Remove from freezer, turn upside-down, peel off foil and let stand a few minutes. Slice and top with light whipped cream and toasted pecans.