Menu planner: Your kids will flip for Sloppy Joe pockets

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

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Sloppy Joe pockets.

Sloppy Joe pockets

Makes 8 pockets

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 to 18 minutes


1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons less-sodium Worcestershire sauce

1 (16.3-ounce) tube refrigerated Grands biscuits (or another brand)

1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high and cook ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let mixture cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (I recommend transferring mixture to a bowl to cool faster.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll each biscuit into a 5 1/2-inch diameter circle. Arrange filling (about a heaping 1/4 cup per pocket) in lower center of each dough circle to within 1 inch of edge. Fold dough over filling to make a pocket and seal edges with fork. Arrange pockets on baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden and baked through.

Per pocket: 287 calories, 16 grams protein, 11 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 753 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Black bean soup

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour


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 a 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% calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 213 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Authentic Tandoori chicken

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 1 to 6 hours

Cooking time: 30 to 40 minutes


1 cup plain yogurt

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons paprika

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

Lemon slices, chopped cilantro and mango chutney for garnish, as desired

In a glass dish or resealable plastic bag, combine the yogurt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Make shallow cuts in the thighs with a sharp knife. Add the thighs to the marinade and rub it into the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 6 hours. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Arrange the thighs on the pan. Roast 30 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Serve with desired garnishes.

Per serving: 251 calories, 26 grams protein, 13 grams fat (45% calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 109 milligrams cholesterol, 392 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Cajun pork roast

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.

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 the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Divide mixture among 6 plates. Top each salad with about 5 orange sections and 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils (seeds).

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 a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender.

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