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Weekday dinner inspirations: Sweet and Sour Pork and more

Mon | Italian sandwich night

Everybody loves sandwiches but we do get in our ruts with the fillings. How about a Caprese Baguette with a mix of oil-cured green and black olives on the side, along with other pickled vegetables? To make the sandwich, split a baguette and layer on slices of fresh mozzarella and thin ripe red tomatoes, plus big, fragrant basil leaves. Sprinkle with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, too.

Tues | It's a crab walk

Monster Crab Salad mixes land and sea with crab salad (crab, mayonnaise, lemon juice, snipped chives and chopped celery) mounded high on mixed greens studded with avocado slices, halved grape tomatoes and crunchy croutons. It might sound like a ladies-who-lunch meal but it's hearty enough for anyone's dinner, especially with flaky croissants or biscuits on the side.

Wed | Rotisserie chicken

Serve up a mess of Rotisserie Chicken Fusion by mixing tabbouleh and cooked orzo, then layering it in a wide, shallow bowl. Scatter shredded chicken on top and maybe even some crumbled feta. That's all you need, really. It can be served at room temperature.

Thurs | Yin and yang

The power of opposites comes together in Sweet and Sour Pork (recipe below), a quick weeknight dinner that's made tender by pork tenderloin. Watch for them on sale and snap up a few.

Fri | TGI-fish

Break out the foil or parchment paper to make Fish Packets, Piccata-Style. On a large square of foil or parchment, layer mild fish fillets — basically anything but salmon — with thin lemon and onion slices then drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with lemon zest and capers, fold up the packets, then roast on a baking sheet for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with baby potatoes that have been boiled, buttered and parsley-ed.

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>>easy

Sweet and Sour Pork

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided use

Kosher salt, divided use

2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

3 tablespoons ketchup

3 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch

1/3 cup water

3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, divided use

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

3 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups snow peas, cut in half

Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.

Serves 4.

Nutritional information per serving: 348 calories, 15g fat (3g saturated), 27g carbohydrates, 4g fiber, 28g protein, 674mg sodium.

Source: Food Network magazine

Weekday dinner inspirations: Sweet and Sour Pork and more 01/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 3:30am]
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