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Weekday dinner inspiration: Slow-Cooker Pork Stew and more

Mon | Meatless meal

White Bean and Fennel Soup is a simply delicious meal to start the week — and very filling, especially when augmented by slices of country bread. To make the soup, saute 1 diced onion and 1 small sliced fennel bulb in oil until tender. Add 5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, 1 (14-ounce) can each drained cannellini beans and diced tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, pepper to taste and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until fennel is tender. Discard bay leaf. Add 3 cups spinach and cook until wilted.

Tues | On top of Old Smokey

I am hankering for some old-school Spaghetti and Meatballs tonight. Problem is, I am sort of a new-school cook and I suspect you are, too. Find a prepared sauce you like and doctor it with sauteed garlic, onions and green pepper. Thaw frozen meatballs and add to heat through. Ladle over piping hot spaghetti, and garnish with big shaves of Parmesan. French bread, green salad and mamma mia, it's almost Italian!

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Barbecued Chicken Quesadillas make quick work of the rotisserie bird tonight. For each quesadilla, mix about 1/2 cup shredded chicken, 1/3 cup shredded cheese, some chopped onion and a tablespoon (or more to taste) of barbecue sauce. Spread it on a flour tortilla and place in a hot, dry skillet. Cook until tortilla is golden and cheese begins to melt. Flip and repeat. Serve with melon slices.

Thurs | Slow food

Get the Crock-Pot cranking this morning for Slow-Cooker Pork Stew (recipe below). An interesting ingredient is grated fresh ginger, which adds flavor depth to the dish. Toss a green salad and you've got a hearty weeknight dinner.

Fri | The state you're in

Fire up the grill and call the relatives up north to gloat. It's December and you're wearing shorts with your sweat shirt. Mojo Chicken starts with marinated boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Toss the chicken into the marinade in the morning and it'll be flavorful by dinnertime. Serve with beans and rice and a salad of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers with vinaigrette.

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>>EASY

Slow-Cooker Pork Stew

1 pound fingerling potatoes

3 carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

2 stalks celery, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and grated

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

3 bay leaves

1 bone-in pork shoulder or pork sirloin roast (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Combine the potatoes, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger in a slow cooker. Toss in half of the flour and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the bay leaves over the vegetables.

Season the pork generously with salt and pepper, sprinkle with the thyme and allspice and toss with the remaining flour to coat. Place the pork over the vegetables in the slow cooker. Add 2 cups of water and the tomatoes, cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Discard the bay leaves. Remove the pork roast and slice or pull the meat off the bone into large pieces. Serve in bowls with the vegetables and broth.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 630 calories; 29g fat, 601mg sodium, 30g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 61g protein.

Source: Food Network magazine

Weekday dinner inspiration: Slow-Cooker Pork Stew and more 12/08/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 3:30am]

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