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Weekday dinner inspiration: Lighter Pulled Pork Sandwiches and more

Mon | Melt it

Tonight's meal is versatile as well as quick. Look in the pantry for canned tuna, crab, shrimp or chicken. Pick one (or mix crab and shrimp) and make a salad with mayo, celery and possibly a few dashes of hot sauce. Now you've got the building block for Open-Faced Cheesy-Salad Sandwiches. Split English muffins and lightly toast. Pile high with salad and drape with a slice of cheese. Broil until cheese is bubbly. Serve with fruit.

Tues | Go wide

Look for pappardelle, the very wide pasta strips, and use them to make Pasta With Ricotta and Basil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and add your favorite marinara sauce. Pour into a wide serving bowl and dollop with heaps of ricotta cheese and a sprinkle of chopped fresh basil leaves. Make a green salad and serve with bread.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Chipotle Chicken Quesadillas come together quickly with shredded meat from the rotisserie bird. Use it all, white and dark meat. Mix chicken with one or two chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and sour cream. Spread it on a flour tortilla and top with lots of Jack cheese. Top with another tortilla and flip-flop in a dry skillet until cheese is melted. Serve with fresh salsa and guacamole. Rice and beans on the side.

Thurs | Guilt free

Lighter Pulled Pork Sandwiches (recipe below), from the current Everyday Food, take some of the calories and fat out of this Southern favorite. A lean pork tenderloin cooks quickly, so you can make this on a weeknight. Better yet, make the meat one night and serve it the next.

Fri | Green comfort

The Big Green Salad, as Elaine used to call it on Seinfeld, is a great way to get triple servings of veggies. Start with flavorful greens — I like a mix of tender butter lettuce and crunchy Romaine — and add what you like (cukes, tomatoes, sliced onion, shredded carrot, diced zucchini). Make sure to bolster with protein, such as grilled shrimp, feta cheese and garbanzo beans. Since we're going Mediterranean, add briny black olives like kalamata. Dress with a tangy vinaigrette. Breadsticks on the side.

Read Stir Crazy online at www.blogs.tampabay.com/food. Submit your ideas for quick weeknight meals to jkeeler@sptimes.com.

>>MODERATE

Lighter Pulled Pork Sandwiches

1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound), cut into 4 pieces

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar, divided use

1/4 teaspoon celery seeds

1/4 head small green cabbage, shredded

4 whole-wheat rolls, split

In a medium saucepan, stir together tomatoes, sugar, garlic, mustard and 1/2 cup water; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil; add pork and simmer, covered, until tender, 30 minutes. Transfer pork to a plate to cool. Simmer sauce over medium, uncovered, until reduced by half, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make slaw: In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon cider vinegar, celery seeds and 1 tablespoon water; season with salt and pepper. Add cabbage and toss to coat.

Shred pork with 2 forks and return to sauce; stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Serve pork on rolls, topped with slaw.

Serves 4.



Nutritional information per serving: 369 calories, 11g fat (3 saturated), 30g protein, 38g carbohydrates, 7g fiber.

Source: Everyday Food

Weekday dinner inspiration: Lighter Pulled Pork Sandwiches and more 03/03/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 3:30am]

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