All of these recipes may be doubled or tripled easily. The pork can be prepared in advance and baked just before serving; the soup may be made entirely in advance and served chilled, and the salad and dressing may be prepared in advance but dressed just before serving.
APRICOT-OLIVE STUFFED PORK
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 pound boneless pork tenderloin
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine the cumin, sugar, salt, ginger, garlic powder and cayenne in a small bowl. Chop the apricots and olives and combine in another small bowl.
3. Cut the tenderloin lengthwise nearly in half - but don't cut all the way through. Open up the pork, as though it were a book, along the cut. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the tenderloin and pound it with a mallet until it is about 1/3 inch thick. Place the apricot mixture in a row down the center, and roll the tenderloin lengthwise to enclose the filling. Tie the roast in 3 or 4 places to secure it.
4. Coat the pork evenly in the spice mixture and place it seam-side down on the baking sheet. Roast for 26 to 28 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 to 150 degrees.
5. Remove from the oven and let the roast sit 5 minutes before cutting across into 1/3-inch-thick slices. (Remove the twine before serving.) Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 225 calories, 23 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 63 mg cholesterol, 501 mg sodium
SPINACH SALAD WITH ORANGES AND ALMONDS
If you can't get pomegranate juice, substitute cranberry juice. Either adds lovely tartness and beautiful color to this light dressing.
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
6 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1. Whisk together the orange juice, pomegranate juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just before serving, toss the dressing with the spinach, onion, oranges and almonds. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 180 calories, 3 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 10 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 209 mg sodium
MINTED BUTTERMILK PEA SOUP
Serve the soup warm, room temperature or chilled. If you choose to serve it warm, be sure that, once you add the buttermilk, it doesn't come to a boil. (The buttermilk will separate.)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chicken broth
1 (10-ounce) box frozen peas
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Mint leaves and additional buttermilk for garnish
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in a medium-size pot. Add the onions and cook, stirring, 4 to 5 minutes, or until they are soft. Add the broth and frozen peas and bring to a boil; immediately reduce to a simmer and cook another 5 minutes.
2. Remove the soup from the heat and add the buttermilk, mint, salt and pepper. Using a blender or food processor, puree the soup in batches.
3. To serve, ladle the soup into 4 bowls. Swirl a teaspoon of buttermilk into the center of each bowl and top with a sprig of mint. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 144 calories, 7 g protein, 22 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 547 mg sodium
When doubling the pork recipe - or any recipe cooked in the oven - be sure to allow extra cooking time. Two tenderloins should be checked starting at about 33 minutes (depending on your oven, they make take longer to reach temperature). Also, be sure not to crowd additional meat on the baking sheet: Allow room in between so the meat bakes rather than steams.