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What's for Dinner? Skillets sizzle with comforting meals

By Beverly Glaze

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Skillet suppers are a fast and easy dinner option for busy families and for the cook who prepares their meals. This week's recipes focus on main dishes that can be prepared and cooked in a skillet.

The recipes feature small portions of a variety of meats including chicken breasts, pork chops, ground beef, ground turkey and top round beef.

The task of cleaning only one pot allows plenty of time afterward to enjoy an evening in front of a roaring fireplace.

One-Pan Potatoes and Chicken

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from University of Kentucky Extension.

4 medium potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 pound chicken breasts, boned, skinned and cut into 3/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons oil

1 cup salsa

1 25-ounce can whole kernel corn, drained

COOK potatoes in a microwave until tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.

BROWN chicken in oil in a large skillet on high for 5 minutes.

ADD potatoes. Cook until potatoes are slightly browned. Add salsa and corn. Cook until heated through.

SERVE with warm whole-wheat tortillas or freshly baked corn bread.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 260 calories, 7 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 19 grams protein, 440 milligrams sodium.

Pineapple Pork

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program.

1 medium green pepper, chopped into strips

4 boneless pork chops (about 1 pound)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 8-ounce can pineapple chunks (un-drained)

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

CUT green pepper into strips.

HEAT oil in a large skillet. Place pork chops on the heated skillet. Sprinkle salt on top. Cook the pork for 5 minutes on low heat on each side. The pork should lose its pink color when it is cooked enough.

REMOVE the cooked pork from the skillet. Place in a serving dish.

PUT the green pepper slices in the skillet. Stir in the pineapple chunks with their juice. Stir in the ginger and cinnamon. Simmer about 3-5 minutes.

SPOON the pineapple mixture over cooked pork.

SERVE with cooked brown rice.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 390 calories, 21 grams total fat, 6 grams saturated fat, 130 milligrams cholesterol, 160 milligrams sodium, 9 grams total carbohydrate, 1 gram dietary fiber, 40 grams protein.

Skillet Noodles and Beef

Makes 8 servings. Recipe from University of New Hampshire Extension.

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon basil

3 cups noodles, uncooked, 1/2-inch wide

1 10-ounce package spinach, frozen, chopped

1 cup nonfat cottage cheese

1/2 cup skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

BROWN ground beef in a large skillet. Drain and rinse to remove fat.

ADD onion, tomato sauce, water and spices. Cover and bring to a boil. Add noodles. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

DEFROST spinach in the microwave. Stir spinach into skillet mixture. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir mixture.

SPOON cottage cheese on top and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add water if mixture gets to dry.

SERVE with fresh green salad.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 170 calories, 5 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 480 milligrams sodium, 8 grams total carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 15 grams protein.

Turkey Patties

Makes 4 patties. Recipe from Ohio State University Extension.

1 1/4 pounds ground turkey

1 cup bread crumbs

1 egg

1/4 green onion, chopped

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

1/2 cup chicken broth

Nonstick cooking spray

MIX ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, onions and mustard in a large bowl.

SHAPE into 4 patties, each about 1/2-inch thick. Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Add patties and cook, turning once to brown each side. Cook until golden brown outside and white inside, about 10 minutes. Remove.

ADD chicken broth to skillet and boil over high heat until slightly thickened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour sauce over patties.

SERVE on whole-wheat buns with baked sweet potato fries.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 340 calories, 14 grams total fat, 4 grams saturated fat, 145 milligrams cholesterol, 450 milligrams sodium, 20 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 33 grams protein.

Black Skillet Beef with Greens and Potatoes

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

1 pound beef (top round)

1 tablespoon paprika

1 1/2 teaspoons oregano

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper

1/8 teaspoon dry mustard

8 red-skinned potatoes, halved

1 cup onion, finely chopped

2 cups beef broth

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into thin 2 1/2-inch strips

2 bunches kale

Nonstick cooking spray

PARTIALLY freeze beef. Thinly slice across the grain into long strips 1/8-inch thick and 3 inches wide.

COMBINE paprika, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, black pepper, red pepper and dry mustard. Coat meat with the spice mixture.

SPRAY a large heavy skillet with cooking spray. Heat pan over high heat.

ADD meat, stirring for 5 minutes. Add potatoes, onion, broth and garlic.

COOK covered over medium heat for 20 minutes. Stir in carrots. Lay greens over top and cook, uncovered until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes.

SERVE in a large bowls with crusty whole-wheat bread for dunking.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 320 calories, 4 grams total fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 410 milligrams sodium, 54 grams total carbohydrate, 9 grams dietary fiber, 23 grams protein.

Shopping list

Chicken breasts



Can of corn

Pork chops

Green pepper

Can of pineapple chunks

Ground beef

Can tomato sauce


Frozen spinach

Notfat cottage cheese

Skim mozzarella cheese

Ground turkey

Bread crumbs

Green onion, chopped

Chicken broth

Top round beef

Red-skinned potatoes


Beef broth



Nonstick cooking spray

Staples: prepared mustard, vegetable oil, ginger, cinnamon, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, egg, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, red pepper, garlic cloves

Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin, and marital or family status. This material was funded, in part, by the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with limited income. To find out more, contact your local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Beverly Glaze has a master's degree in human nutrition and food science and is a WVU Extension specialist in the FNP adult program. Reach her at or 304-634-8449.


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