March 18 Menu planner: Top off your meal with green ombre cupcakes

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

SHARE March 18 Menu planner: Top off your meal with green ombre cupcakes

Green ombre cupcakes.

Chicken with olives and peas

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 hours on low; 1 hour on high


3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces

1 large green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed olives

1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 small bay leaves, broken in half

3 to 3 1/2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs and drumsticks (about 6 each)

1 1/2 cups frozen green peas

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine potatoes, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce, broth, olives, garlic, olive oil, tomato paste, coarse salt, pepper and bay leaves; mix well. Add chicken and mix well. Cover and cook on low 6 hours; add peas and cook 1 hour on high or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Per serving: 334 calories, 33 grams protein, 13 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 162 milligrams cholesterol, 469 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1 1/2.

Luck o’ the Irish stew

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 1/2 hours


1 pound boneless lamb or boneless beef chuck roast, well-trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

4 cups lower-sodium beef broth

2 medium onions, cut into wedges

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 bay leaf

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about 1 1/2 pounds)

6 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 cup cold water

1/4 cup flour

Coarse salt to taste

In a large saucepan, combine meat, broth, onions, pepper and bay leaf. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 45 minutes; skim fat. Add potatoes, carrots, thyme and basil. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 30 to 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaf.

In small bowl, stir together water and flour. Add to stew. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Season to taste with salt and additional pepper.

Per serving: 382 calories, 29 grams protein, 6 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 588 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3 1/2.

Citrus lamb chops

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 loin lamb chops, 3/4-inch thick

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup minced shallots

1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons dry white vermouth or unsalted chicken broth

1 orange, peeled and cut into sections

1 teaspoon dried Herbes de Provence

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat broiler. In a small bowl, mix garlic and oil. Rub mixture evenly on both sides of chops. Broil 3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt butter on medium. Add shallots and cook 3 minutes. Stir in orange juice and vermouth or broth; bring to boil. Boil 10 seconds or until slightly reduced. Remove from heat. Stir in the oranges and Herbes de Provence. Return to heat briefly to warm the fruit. Season chops with salt and pepper to taste. Place each chop on dinner plate and spoon sauce over chop. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 235 calories, 19 grams protein, 12 grams fat (47 percent calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 126 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb choices: 1/2.

Ranch skillet supper

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 pound ground turkey breast and cook 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in 1 (8-ounce) package seasoned rice and black beans, 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild), 2 cups frozen corn and 2 3/4 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro and 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese.

Serve with carrot sticks and cornbread.

Spread 1 1/2 tablespoons fat-free vanilla ice cream on flat side of small (1 3/4-inch diameter) gingersnap cookies; top ice cream with second cookie. Roll sides in chopped, crystallized ginger or any finely chopped nuts. Wrap individually and freeze until firm.

Green ombre cupcakes

Prepare 1 (2-layer size) box white cake mix as directed on package using whole eggs. Stir in 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract. Divide batter evenly into 2 bowls. Stir 3/4 teaspoon green food color into one bowl, tinting to dark green. Stir 15 drops into second bowl for medium green. Spoon heaping 1 tablespoon dark green batter into 18 paper-lined muffin cups; spread gently. Repeat with medium green batter, spreading over dark batter. Bake as directed on package; cool on wire rack.

For frosting, beat 2 sticks softened butter and 2 teaspoons vanilla until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 (16-ounce) package powdered sugar, then 2 tablespoons (any) milk; beat until light and fluffy. Stir in 3 drops green food color. Frost cupcakes.

Sante Fe salad

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 medium green bell pepper (cut into thin strips) and 1 thinly sliced medium onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1 cup salsa, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium kidney beans, 1 (11-ounce) can drained Mexican-style corn, and 1 1/2 cups cooked (leftover) rice. Cook 5 minutes on medium-high or until thoroughly heated.

For each serving, place 1 cup torn lettuce on 4 serving plates. Surround lettuce with baked tortilla chips. Top with the warm vegetable/rice mixture. Sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese.


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and slightly mashed reduced-sodium white beans, 1 pound ground bison (or 95 percent lean ground beef), 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs, 1 finely chopped carrot and 1 egg. Shape into a loaf and place in a nonstick foil-lined shallow baking dish. Spread top with 1/3 cup drained salsa. Bake 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

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