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7-DAY MENU PLANNER: Cherry reduction amps up Sunday pork chop meal

by Andrews McMeel Syndication | September 21, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Gwynn Galvin, SwirlsOfFlavor.com

SUNDAY: Family day

Enjoy pork chop saute with cherry balsamic reduction (see recipe) on family day. Serve the sweet and savory entree with brown rice, sugar snap peas and crusty bread. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pie for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Kids favorite

Treat the kids (and adults) to chicken with carrots and potatoes. Into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place eight medium potatoes (cut into 1/4-inch slices), one 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 eight 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.

Serve with green beans. Slice kiwis for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save chicken and vegetables for Tuesday.

TUESDAY: Heat and eat

Heat the leftover chicken and vegetables and serve over biscuits. Add a spinach salad. The leftover Boston cream pie will be dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: biscuits, fresh spinach.

WEDNESDAY: Express cooking

Make it quick tonight with 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 11/2 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, two thinly sliced green onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to combine. Serve over couscous.

Add sliced cucumbers and flatbread. For dessert, top blueberries with light whipped cream.

THURSDAY: Meatless meal

Skip meat tonight for 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.

Serve alongside a red-tipped lettuce salad with hard-boiled egg wedges and garlic bread to round out the meal. Fresh tropical fruit is an easy dessert.

FRIDAY: Budget dining

Oven-fried chicken with crunchy broccoli slaw (see recipe) holds the line on food costs. Serve with steamed zucchini and whole-grain bread. Serve plums for dessert.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Tonight would be a great night to invite friends for top loin steaks and mushrooms. For the rub: In a small bowl, combine 3 large cloves minced garlic, 21/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning and 11/2 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 two (about 11/2 pounds total) boneless top loin steaks (1 inch thick). Place steaks and kebabs on grill over medium. Grill steaks, uncovered, 15-18 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Grill kebabs 6-8 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.

Add creamy potato salad (see recipe), snow peas, a romaine salad and whole-grain bread. For dessert, pair any sorbet with butter cookies.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected]

The recipes

PORK CHOP SAUTE WITH CHERRY BALSAMIC REDUCTION (Sunday)

Servings: 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

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 5-6 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 4-5 minutes. Add remaining butter and sugar, stirring continuously, until butter is melted and sauce forms.

OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN WITH CRUNCHY BROCCOLI SLAW (Friday)

Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30-35 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 (2-2 1/4 pounds)

1 cup crushed 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 30-35 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.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD (Saturday)

Servings: makes about 11 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10-12 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 12-15 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.

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