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Make it quick and know it’s good for you

By Deirdre Parker Smith


Though we’re getting a break from winter this week, it’s still just February, and you’re still looking for something to fix for dinner that’s not been in your weekly rotation forever.

Some of these recipes are also lower in calories and higher in protein, and they’re good for the kids as well as adults.

The added benefit is that these dishes don’t take long to fix and contain ingredients you probably have or can easily find.

After the big pig-out for the football game, and all that holiday eating, it’s time to settle down and get back into a healthier eating style.

These recipes are also fairly inexpensive.

Skillet Pork Chops with Peas, Carrots & Pearl Onions

1 Tbsp. canola oil

4 (6 oz.) bone in, center cut pork chops

1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

1 1/2 cups diagonally sliced carrots  (2 medium)

1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed (about 6 oz.)

2 tsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

1/2  cup frozen green peas

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut in small pieces

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle pork chops with 1/2 tsp. of salt. Add pork to skillet and cook until well browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove pork from skillet and set aside.

Add carrots and onions to skillet and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Add flour to skillet and cook, stirring often, about 30 seconds. Add stock, peas and mustard and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes.

Return pork to skillet, nestling pork in liquid. Sprinkle with pepper and remaining salt. Cover and cook until sauce is slightly thickened, pork is warmed through and carrots are tender, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with butter and parsley.

Serve with a wild and brown rice blend or potatoes.

Eating Well

Gimme Delicious For a quick and balanced dinner, roast cut-up chicken with fresh vegetables.

15 Minute Healthy Roasted Chicken and Veggies

2 medium chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 onion, chopped

1 zucchini, sliced into rounds

1 cup broccoli florets

1/2 cup grape tomatoes

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. Italian seasoning

1/4 tsp. paprika

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Chops all veggies into approximately the same size. Cut chicken into similar size pieces, so it will cook quickly.

Put the chicken and veggies on a roasting or sheet pan. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, Italian seasoning, and paprika. Toss to combine.

Bake for 15 minutes or until veggies are charred and chicken is cooked. Serve with rice, pasta or a salad.

You can substitute chicken thighs, if desired, or Polish sausage.

Also feel free to use your favorite vegetables.

Gimme Delicious

Black Bean Tomato Tacos

1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (1 oz.) package taco seasoning

2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained

4 large tomatoes

1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese bland

1/2 cup shredded lettuce

1/4 cup sour cream

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat oil; add onions and cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add drained beans and taco seasoning. Cook, stirring well until beans are heated through. If desired, mash some of the beans with a potato masher for a smoother texture.

Flip tomatoes to stem side down and slice almost all the way through to make 6 wedges. Carefully spread open.

Divide bean mixture among tomatoes and top with cheese. Place on a sheet pan and broil until cheese bubbles. Top with lettuce and sour cream and serve.

Variation: Use 3/4 pound ground beef or turkey in place of the beans.

Adapted from Delish

Grandma’s Famous Salmon Cakes

1 (14.75 oz.) can salmon, drained and flaked

2 eggs, beaten

1 small onion diced

1 tsp. ground black pepper

3 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Pick through the salmon to remove any bones. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs and add the diced onion, salmon and pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Shape into seven or eight patties. Place on a baking try and refrigerate for 20-30 minuts so they hold their shape, then heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and fry each patty about 5 minutes per side or until crispy and golden brown.

Variation: Coat with panko bread crumbs before frying.


Bean and Barley Soup

4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 medium fennel bulb , cored and chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. dried basil

1 (15 oz.) can cannellini beans, rinsed

1 (14 oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

6 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley

6 cups baby spinach (5 oz. package)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 tsp. ground pepper

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onions, fennel, garlic and basil. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and just beginning to brown, 6-8 minutes.

Mash 1/2 cup of the beans. Stir the mashed and whole beans, tomatoes, broth and barley into the pot. Bring to boil over high heat.

Reduce to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and pepper.

Serve with warmed applesauce or a green salad.

Pineapple Nice Cream

1 (16 oz.) package frozen pineapple chunks

1 cup frozen mango chunks, or 1 large mango, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon or lime juice

Process pineapple, mango and lemon or lime juice in a food processor until smooth and creamy. If using frozen mango, you may need to add up to 1/4 cup water. For best texture, serve immediately.

One serving has just 55 calories.



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