Menu planner: Pan-seared tuna steaks will more than satisfy

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

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Pan-seared tuna steaks

America’s Test Kitchen

Pan-seared tuna steaks

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 2 to 4 minutes


4 (6- to 8-ounce) tuna steaks, 1 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon canola oil

Pat tuna dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sugar evenly over 1 side of each steak. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Place steaks sugared side down in skillet and cook, flipping every 1 to 2 minutes, until center is translucent red when checked with tip of paring knife and internal temperature reaches 110 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and slice 1/2 inch thick; serve.

Per serving: 209 calories, 37 grams protein, 5 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 0.

Variation: Sesame-crusted pan-seared tuna steaks

Omit sugar. Spread 3/4 cup sesame seeds in shallow dish. After patting dry with towels, rub steaks all over with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season with salt and pepper; press both sides of each steak in sesame seeds to coat. Proceed to heating oil in skillet as above.

Leek and white bean soup

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 leek bulbs, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups unsalted vegetable broth

2 (15- to 19-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 cup couscous

1 (5- or 6-ounce) package spinach leaves

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add leeks and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the broth, beans, bay leaves and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; stir in couscous. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in spinach until it wilts. Remove and discard bay leaves; ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 245 calories, 9 grams protein, 3 grams fat (12% calories from fat), no saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 436 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Chicken with Spanish rice and tomatoes

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) package yellow rice mix (see NOTE)

2 1/2 cups water

1 pound ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 to 3 teaspoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add chicken; sprinkle with black pepper and cook 5 minutes or until almost cooked through; add garlic during last 2 minutes. Remove chicken to plate; set aside. To skillet, add rice mix and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 12 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. (Add more water if rice is not done.) Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, beans and jalapenos. Top with chicken. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until rice is tender; serve.

NOTE: To reduce sodium, you may remove as much of the seasoning from the rice as possible.

Per serving: 318 calories, 25 grams protein, 5 grams fat (13% calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 654 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Barbecue pork tenderloin

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together 2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons orange marmalade and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Spread over a 1- to 1 1/4-pound pork tenderloin. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with baked sweet potato wedges, broccoli, mixed greens and biscuits.

Pork tacos

Shred pork and moisten with taco sauce. Heat and spoon into warm taco shells. Garnish with chopped avocados, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream and more taco sauce. Serve with vegetarian baked beans.

Burger fajitas

Season lean ground beef with a little chili powder and cumin (to taste). Shape into hot-dog-size logs and pan-fry. Roll logs in warmed whole-grain flour tortillas along with shredded lettuce, mild salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Serve with rice and guacamole.

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