Menu planner: Slow-cooker pork pozole is flavorful and economical

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

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Slow-cooker pork posole is packed with flavor and easy on the budget.

Slow-cooker pork pozole is packed with flavor and easy on the budget.

Joseph Keller/America’s Test Kitchen

Slow-cooker pork pozole

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium white or yellow hominy, rinsed

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

Additional salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle pork with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Add half of pork and cook 7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer all pork (browned and uncooked) to 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add onion and remaining salt to now-empty skillet; cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until softened and browned. Stir in garlic, chili powder and oregano; cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Stir in hominy, broth and tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook until pork is tender, 6 to 7 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low. Skim fat. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste; serve. (Adapted from “The Healthy Back Kitchen,” Griffin R. Baum, M.D., America’s Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 332 calories, 25 grams protein, 9 grams fat (23% calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 1,378 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Soft and crunchy tacos

Makes 8 tacos

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

8 taco shells

8 fajita-size whole-wheat flour tortillas

1 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese

1 pound lean ground beef

1 (1.25-ounce) packet reduced-sodium or regular taco seasoning

3/4 cup water

1 cup shredded romaine

1 cup taco sauce

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put taco shells on a baking sheet; spread tortillas on another baking sheet. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1 tablespoon cheese; set aside. Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium and add beef; cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and water. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Meanwhile, put baking sheets in oven; bake 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Center a taco shell in each flour tortilla and bring up sides of tortillas. Fill tacos with beef mixture, lettuce, remaining cheese and taco sauce. Serve immediately.

Per taco: 287 calories, 16 grams protein, 9 grams fat (30% calories from fat), 3.5 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 780 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Warm Greek shrimp salad

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 (8- to 10-ounce) package baby spinach leaves

1 small red onion, chopped

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 pound large, uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup Greek oil-and-vinegar dressing (or another vinaigrette), divided

1/3 cup halved kalamata olives

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons lemon zest (yellow part only)

Crumbled Greek feta cheese for garnish

Place spinach in a large salad bowl; set aside. Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add onion and pepper; cook 4 minutes or until softened. Add shrimp and 1/4 cup dressing. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are just opaque. Remove from heat. Stir in olives, remaining salad dressing, lemon juice and lemon zest. Immediately pour over spinach; toss to coat and slightly wilt spinach. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.

Per serving: 216 calories, 25 grams protein, 10 grams fat (39% calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 183 milligrams cholesterol, 698 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Leg of lamb

Serve with baked Dijon potato wedges. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 medium red potatoes into wedges. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder; mix well. Add potatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Spread potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet covered with nonstick foil. Bake 15 minutes; turn potatoes. Bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until tender. Add fresh green beans, and spinach salad and sourdough bread.

Tex-Mex layered bean salad

Go meatless. In a 3 1/2-cup straight-sided salad bowl, layer salad as follows: 1 seeded and chopped large red or yellow bell pepper, 1 cup chopped red onion, 1 (16-ounce) bag salad mix (iceberg lettuce, carrots and cabbage, or make your own mixture), 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese, 2 (15-ounce) cans drained three-bean salad. Set aside. Mix together 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Spread mayonnaise mixture over top of salad. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with 1/2 cup crumbled tortilla chips and 1 small sliced avocado. Toss and serve.

Rotisserie chick with apricot glaze

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan on medium-high; add 2 thinly sliced shallots and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in 1/2 cup apricot preserves, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce and 1/4 teaspoon Creole seasoning. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes or until heated. Brush glaze over 1 (2- to 4-pound) deli roast chicken. Place chicken on rack of nonstick foil-lined roasting pan. Bake 15 minutes. Serve with Potatoes O’Brien (from frozen), a packaged green salad. and biscuits.

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