Menu Planner: Kids will love strawberry-banana smoothies

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

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Strawberry-banana smoothies.

Strawberry-banana smoothies.

Carl Tremblay/America’s Test Kitchen

Strawberry-banana smoothies

Add to blender: 1 1/4 cups plain low-fat yogurt, 2 cups strawberries, 1 small banana, peeled and halved, 4 teaspoons almond or peanut butter or 2 tablespoons hemp seed hearts.

Process on low speed 10 seconds or until mixture is combined but still coarse in texture, scraping down sides of blender as needed.

Increase to high and process 1 minute or until completely smooth. Serve.

Mustard garlic-roasted pork loin

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 40 to 45 minutes; Standing time: 5 minutes

4 cloves minced garlic

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (3- to 3 1/3-pound) well-trimmed boneless center-cut pork loin roast

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine garlic and thyme. Whisk in mustard, oil, salt and pepper. Brush pork with mustard mixture; transfer to a roasting pan and roast 40 to 45 minutes or until the center of roast reaches 145 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes. Carve into slices and serve.

Carb Count: 0

Maple-mustard chicken thighs

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: fewer than 20 minutes


1/3 cup spicy brown mustard

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 clove minced garlic

8 bone-in, skinless chicken thighs

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Combine spicy brown mustard, sugar, syrup, yellow mustard, onion powder, vinegar, soy sauce, pepper and garlic; mix well. Place half of the mixture in a resealable plastic bag; reserve other half. Add chicken to bag; seal. Refrigerate 2 hours; discard marinade. Heat grill to medium-high. Remove chicken from bag. Sprinkle with salt. Place the chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 8 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with reserved mustard mixture.

Per serving: 329 calories, 39 grams protein, 13 grams fat (37% calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 208 milligrams cholesterol, 495 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb Count: 1/2

Root beer sloppy Joes

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: fewer than 30 minutes


1 (1-pound) ground sirloin or turkey breast

1 medium finely chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 cup ketchup

1/2 cup root beer or other dark soda

4 whole-grain sandwich rolls or buns

Heat oven to 400 degrees to toast buns. In a large nonstick skillet, cook ground meat 6 minutes until no longer pink; drain. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chili powder, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in ketchup and root beer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Serve on toasted rolls or buns.

Per serving: 377 calories, 30 grams protein, 7 grams fat (16% calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 50 grams carbohydrate, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 1,079 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb Count: 3 1/2

Tuna, tomato red onion and olive pita

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons each fresh lemon juice and olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper. Add 3 (5-ounce) cans drained solid white tuna, 1/2 small thinly sliced red onion, 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes, 1/4 cup each pitted, halved Kalamata olives and coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley. Gently toss to combine. Open 4 small whole-grain pita halves and fill with mixture.

Asian chicken burgers

Heat broiler. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound ground chicken breast, 1 egg (slightly beaten), 3 chopped green onions, 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro; mix gently. Form into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties (mixture will be moist). Broil on broiler pan coated with cooking spray 6 minutes or until browned on top. Turn; broil 2 to 3 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve the burgers on whole-grain buns with pasta salad and sliced lettuce and tomatoes.

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