Menu planner: Black bean corn chili makes an excellent meatless meal

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

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Meatless black bean corn chili.

Black bean corn chili.

Tomato Wellness Council

Black bean corn chili

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus overnight soak of beans

Cooking time: about 1 hour


1 pound dried black beans

4 cups water

2 cups unsalted vegetable broth

2 cups frozen sweet corn

1 yellow onion, diced

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tablespoon agave nectar

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin

Soak black beans overnight in a pot filled with water. Discard water. Place drained, soaked beans in a large pot. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 60 to 70 minutes, until chili is thick and beans are tender. Serve warm.

Per serving: 263 calories, 13 grams protein, 1 gram fat (2% calories from fat), no saturated fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 139 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.5.

Ginger pork loin

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 4 hours to overnight

Cooking time: 20 minutes per pound; standing time: 10 minutes


2 tablespoons orange marmalade

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger root

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons less-sodium soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless pork loin, well-trimmed

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except pork; mix well. Place pork in a large resealable plastic bag; pour marinade over pork and turn to coat. Refrigerate 4 hours to overnight, turning occasionally. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove roast; discard marinade. Place pork on a rack in roasting pan. Bake 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Per serving: 175 calories, 23 grams protein, 8 grams fat (43% calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 58 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 0.

Dijon chicken

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes


6 boneless skinless chicken cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 medium sweet onion, chopped

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth

3 tablespoons flour

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add chicken and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken to plate; cover to keep warm. Add bell pepper to skillet along with onion; cook 5 to 6 minutes or until softened. Return chicken and accumulated liquid to skillet. Whisk together broth, flour and mustard; pour over chicken. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through; serve.

Per serving: 190 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (28% calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 401 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Pork and broccoli stir-fry

In a small bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce and 1 tablespoon dry sherry; add to 3/4 pound cooked leftover pork (cut into strips); stir to coat. In a large nonstick skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium-high heat. Add pork mixture and stir-fry 2 minutes. Stir in 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 tablespoons minced ginger root and 3 cups broccoli florets; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup water; cover and steam 2 minutes or until broccoli is softened. Stir in 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce if desired.

Ultimate chicken fingers

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. In a resealable plastic bag, combine 2/3 cup reduced-fat baking mix (such as Bisquick), 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Dip 1 pound chicken tenders (several tenders at a time) into 2 lightly beaten egg whites and then toss in bag. Shake off excess coating mixture and place tenders on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake 12 to 14 minutes, turning after 6 minutes.

Fettuccine with cherry tomatoes

Cook a 9-ounce package refrigerated fettuccine according to directions; drain and return it to pot. To pot, add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 (6- to 10-ounce) package refrigerated cooked chicken breast strips. Return pot to low heat; toss to coat and heat through. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 pint cherry tomatoes (halved) and 1/2 cup pitted ripe olives (halved). Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste; toss again and serve.

Tuna paninis

In a medium bowl, combine 3 tablespoons minced red onion, 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 3 slices cooked and crumbled bacon and 2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked. Mix well and spread on 4 slices sourdough bread. Top tuna with 1 slice provolone cheese and another slice of bread. Heat a large skillet on medium high; lightly coat each sandwich with cooking spray. Grill sandwiches until lightly browned, pressing flat with another heavy skillet throughout cooking time. Halve sandwiches and serve.

TIP: Use a panini pan if you have one.

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