Menu planner: Plan your dinner around pork chop saute

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

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Pork chop saute with cherry-balsamic reduction.

Pork chop saute with cherry-balsamic reduction.

Gwynn Galvin,

Pork chop saute with cherry balsamic reduction

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes


4 bone-in, center-cut pork loin chops, about 1 pound 12 ounces

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, divided

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons butter, divided

2 large shallots, finely chopped, about 1/2 cup

1/2 cup dried tart red cherries

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high. Sprinkle chops with 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Cook chops 5 to 6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Transfer to serving dish; keep warm. In same skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add shallots, cherries and remaining thyme and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until shallots are just tender. Add broth and vinegar. Boil until mixture reduces slightly, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add remaining butter and sugar, stirring continuously, until butter is melted and sauce forms. Serve sauce with pork chops.

Per serving: 341 calories, 40 grams protein, 11 grams fat (30% calories from fat), 5.4 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 122 milligrams cholesterol, 388 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Oven-fried chicken with crunchy broccoli slaw

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes


1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

8 well-trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)

1 cup crushed reduced-fat whole-grain crackers

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 (12-ounce) package broccoli slaw

2 green onions, chopped

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking pan and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a shallow baking dish, combine paprika, 1 cup buttermilk and salt and pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate while crushing crackers. Place crushed crackers in a pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; coat with crackers, pressing gently to help them adhere. Place chicken on rack; bake 30 to 35 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and temperature reaches 165 degrees in the center of thickest piece of chicken. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Add broccoli slaw and onions to dressing; toss to combine. Serve dressing with chicken.

Per serving: 436 calories, 43 grams protein, 17 grams fat (35% calories from fat), 4.2 grams saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 209 milligrams cholesterol, 645 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Creamy potato salad

Makes about 11 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes


3 pounds small new potatoes

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 ribs celery, thinly sliced

6 medium radishes, thinly sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, diced

3/4 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon (optional)

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut into quarters. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and black pepper. Add potatoes, celery, radishes and bell pepper; toss to coat. Fold in the parsley and tarragon, if using.

Per cup: 110 calories, 4 grams protein, 1 gram fat (11% calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 166 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Chicken with carrots and potatoes

Into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place 8 medium potatoes (cut into 1/4-inch slices), 1 small sliced onion and 2 cups baby carrots. Combine 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme; pour over vegetables. Combine 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt; rub over 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Cover and cook on low 5 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are softened.

Lemony shrimp salad with couscous

Place 1 cup couscous in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper over couscous. Cover; let stand 5 minutes and fluff with fork. Meanwhile, into a medium bowl, place 1 1/2 pounds cooked and deveined shrimp, 8 ounces trimmed fresh snap peas (cut into bite-size pieces), 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved), 3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to combine. Serve over couscous.

Pasta pesto with goat cheese

Cook 12 ounces gemelli or other short pasta according to directions; drain and return to pot. To the pasta, add 1/2 cup prepared pesto, 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat.

Top loin steaks and mushrooms

For the rub: In a small bowl, combine 3 large cloves minced garlic, 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning and 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound medium whole fresh mushrooms, 1 medium onion (cut into 1-inch pieces), 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the rub; toss. Alternately, thread mushrooms and onion onto six (12-inch) metal skewers. Finish with a lemon wedge. Press remaining rub onto 2 (about 1 1/2 pounds total) boneless top loin steaks (1 inch thick). Place steaks and kebabs on grill over medium. Grill steaks, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Grill kebabs 6 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, turning occasionally. Remove vegetables from skewers; toss with 1/4 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese. Carve steaks. Season steaks and vegetables with salt and pepper; serve.

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