3 Simple weeknight dinners

Caesar linguine with chicken and vegetables. (August 2012)

Caesar linguine with chicken and vegetables. (August 2012) (Credit: Marge Perry)

Marge Perry

Newsday columnist Marge Perry Marge Perry

Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts,

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The start of a new school year calls for a new batch of easy, healthy and family-friendly meals.

1. CAESAR LINGUINE WITH CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan, divided

4 ounces linguine

3 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces yellow squash, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1. Make the dressing: Combine the mayonnaise, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Stir in 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.

2. Cook linguine in plenty of lightly salted boiling water for 8 minutes. Add broccoli, cook 4 minutes longer; drain.

3. Heat the oil in a large, nonstick pan over medium high. Add the chicken; sprinkle with the salt and cook 3 to 4 minutes without moving, until lightly browned on the undersides. Toss the chicken, cook 1 minute. Add the zucchini and yellow squash to the pan and cook 4 minutes, until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

4. Toss the linguine with the dressing; add the chicken mixture and the tomatoes, stir thoroughly and dish onto 4 plates; sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 394 calories, 33 g protein, 27 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 17 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 666 mg sodium

2. BAKED BLACK BEAN BURRITOS

1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely minced

1/2 cup light sour cream

1 (15-ounce) can lower-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup shredded light Cheddar or Monterey Jack

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 11-by-7- inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine chipotle and sour cream in a bowl. Puree half the beans in a food processor; add to sour cream mixture with whole beans and corn.

3. Warm tortillas according to package directions. Working one at a time, spoon 1/4 of bean mixture down center of each tortilla; roll tortillas closed and place seam-side down in the prepared baking dish. Spoon salsa over tortillas and top with shredded cheese. Cover and bake 20 minutes, until cheese melts and burritos are warmed through.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 330 calories, 14 g protein, 50 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 906 mg sodium

3. BALSAMIC-GLAZED PORK CHOPS

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon dried crumbled sage

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut

pork chops

1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Bring vinegar and honey to a boil in a small saucepan; cook until reduced by half, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

2. Combine sage, salt and pepper in small bowl; pat evenly over pork. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high; add the pork and cook until lightly browned on the undersides, 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook to desired degree of doneness, about another 4 minutes. Spoon the balsamic reduction over the pork and turn the chops over to coat them on both sides with the glaze. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving 220 calories, 19 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fiber, 12 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 327 mg sodium