Menu planner: Grilled pork chops with pecan salsa just right for any season

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

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Grilled pork chops with peach pecan salsa.

Grilled pork chops with peach pecan salsa.

Courtesy of American Pecans

Grilled pork chops with peach pecan salsa

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes


4 (1-inch-thick) boneless pork loin chops

3/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 medium peaches, diced

2/3 cup raw pecan pieces

2 tablespoons diced red onion

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper

2 teaspoons lime juice

Season the pork chops with 3/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper. Heat the grill or grill pan to medium-high. Add pork chops to the grill and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the chops and continue to cook until the center reaches 135 degrees or another 5 or 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let rest for at least 5 minutes (the interior temperature will continue to rise and should reach 145-160 degrees before eating).

Meanwhile, prepare the salsa: Gently stir together the peaches, pecans, onion, basil, jalapeno, lime juice and remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add a generous amount of salsa on top of each chop and serve remaining salsa on the side.

Per serving: 305 calories, 29 grams protein, 17 grams fat (49% calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 299 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

‘Gazpacho’ sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes; chilling time: 4 hours to overnight

Cooking time: none


1 (8-ounce) baguette, cut into fourths

1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered

1/2 cup peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped cucumber

4 thin slices red onion, separated into rings

4 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1 cup fresh basil leaves

Cut each piece of baguette horizontally. Use a knife to carefully remove bread from center of each piece, leaving 1/4-inch shells. Set aside. (Save the center pieces of baguette for another use.) In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, onion, cheese, mint, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Line bottoms of baguettes with basil leaves. Fill baguettes with tomato mixture. Replace tops. Wrap each sandwich in plastic wrap. Chill 4 to 6 hours or overnight.

Per serving: 234 calories, 12 grams protein, 9 grams fat (33% calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 18 milligrams cholesterol, 686 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Grilled fresh tuna salad

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: about 10 minutes; marinating time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 4 minutes


2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1/8 teaspoon dried

1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/8 teaspoon dried

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

4 (4- to 6-ounce) tuna steaks

2 (8-ounce) packages Mediterranean or other green salad blend

Heat grill to medium-high. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar and salt. Whisk in mustard, pepper, oregano and thyme. Slowly drizzle in oil, whisking until thickened. Reserve 1/4 cup for salad. Pour remaining dressing into a large glass dish; marinate fish 15 minutes at room temperature. Remove fish; discard marinade. Grill fish 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and keep warm. In a large bowl, dress salad with reserved dressing. Serve salad topped with grilled tuna.

Per serving: 228 calories, 33 grams protein, 9 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.

Double blueberry pie

In a small bowl, microwave 1 (10-ounce) jar blueberry all-fruit spread and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon on high (100% power) for 1 minute or until the spread melts. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups fresh blueberries and fruit spread mixture; spoon into a 9-inch baked pie crust (from frozen). Cover loosely with waxed paper and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours or until set. Slice and garnish with light whipped cream.

Thai turkey wraps

Spread four (8-inch) whole-grain tortillas with Thai peanut sauce. On each tortilla, lay deli sliced turkey breast, thinly sliced red onion, shredded lettuce and chopped cilantro. Roll, cut diagonally and chill until serving time.

Black-and-brown burritos

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 cup chopped onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon cumin; cook 7 minutes or until onion is softened. Add 3 cups cooked brown rice, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 1 cup frozen corn; cook and stir 6 minutes or until mixture is hot. Remove from heat. Spoon about 1/2 cup rice mixture down center of 6 (8-inch) flour tortillas. Top each with 2 tablespoons shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese blend, 1 tablespoon sliced green onions and 1 tablespoon plain yogurt; roll and top with 1 tablespoon salsa. Serve with guacamole.

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