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GREAT MEALS CAN BE MADE IN (ABOUT) 20 MINUTES

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Hints for 20-minute menus: In many recipes alternative foods are offered: If fresh pasta is not available, dried is recommended. If fresh herbs are difficult to find, dried can usually be substituted. There are many more substitutions that can be made and an experienced cook knows how to make them. The recipe may not turn out the same, but that's not the point; if it tastes good and the meal can be made in 20 minutes, that is the bottom line. This is not classical French cooking we are talking about!

The items on the shopping list that accompany each menu include the amount needed in parentheses. Obviously you cannot buy 1 tablespoon of parsley, but it helps to know what you actually need. And that way you are reminded that if you already have some left over you may not need to buy the ingredient.The Pork with Red Peppers and Onions is a close one. It may take a little longer than 20 minutes.

GAME PLAN

- Boil water for noodles.

- Wash, dry and cut up pork; cook.

- Cut up onion and red pepper.

- Set aside pork; heat oil in pan and saute onion and red pepper with cumin.

- Slice tomatoes.

- Cook noodles.

- Cut up scallions and cilantro.

- Add vinegar and black pepper to onion and red pepper.

- Make salad dressing and pour over tomatoes.

- Add pork to onion and red pepper.

- Drain noodles and top with pork; sprinkle with scallions and cilantro.

FROM YOUR PANTRY

Corn, safflower or canola oil

Ground cumin

Red-wine vinegar

Whole black pepper

Medium egg noodles

Rice vinegar

Grainy mustard

Dark brown sugar

SHOPPING LIST

12 ounces lean boneless pork

8-10 ounces whole red onion or 7-9 ounces sliced (ready-cut)

16 ounces whole red bell pepper or 14 ounces sliced (ready-cut)

Bunch scallions (3 large)

Fresh cilantro (3 heaping tablespoons)

12 ounces ripe tomatoes

(C) 1989 by Foxcraft, Ltd.

Excerpted from "20-Minute Menus," by Marian Burros

Reprinted by permission of Simon and Schuster

Distributed by Special Features/Syndication Sales

Pork with Red Peppers and Onions

12 ounces boneless lean pork

8-10 ounces whole red onion or 7-9 ounces sliced (ready-cut) (1 1/2 cups)

16 ounces whole red bell pepper or 14 ounces sliced (ready-cut) (4 cups)

1-2 tablespoons corn, safflower or canola oil

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 large scallions

3 heaping tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and dry pork; trim off fat and cut pork into strips or cubes. Rub skillet with a little of the trimmed-off fat. Saute pork quickly in hot skillet until brown on both sides. Do not overcook or meat will become tough. Remove pork and set aside.

Cut whole onion and red pepper into fourths and slice with thin slicing blade in food processor.

Add oil to skillet in which pork was cooked. When oil is hot quickly saute onion and red pepper with cumin until they are soft, about 10 minutes.

Wash and slice scallions.

Wash, dry and coarsely chop cilantro.

Turn off burner. Add vinegar and black pepper to skillet; stir well and heat through. Return pork to pan and stir to mix well.

Serve pork and vegetables over noodles and sprinkle with scallions and cilantro. Makes two servings.

Noodles

3 quarts water

4 ounces medium egg noodles

Bring water to boil in covered pot. Add noodles and cook according to package directions. When noodles are cooked, drain and serve under pork.

Tomatoes with Mustard Dressing

12 ounces ripe tomatoes

1 1/2 teaspoons corn, safflower or canola oil

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

1 teaspoon dark brown sugar

Wash, dry and slice tomatoes thickly onto two salad plates. In a small bowl beat remaining ingredients and pour over tomatoes.