Menu planner: Walnut-crusted pesto salmon is hard to resist

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

SHARE Menu planner: Walnut-crusted pesto salmon is hard to resist
Walnut-crusted pesto salmon takes only 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook.

Walnut-crusted pesto salmon takes only 10 minutes to prepare and 15 minutes to cook.

California Walnuts

Walnut-crusted pesto salmon

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: fewer than 15 minutes


4 (6-ounce) boneless salmon fillets

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup walnuts

4 teaspoons canola oil

1/4 cup pesto

Heat oven to 425 degrees; line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Sprinkle both sides of salmon with salt and pepper; set aside. Pulse walnuts in food processor until they resemble fine crumbs. Place them in a pie plate. Press salmon into walnut crumbs to coat on all sides. Place fillets on baking sheet; drizzle with oil. Bake 10 minutes. Broil on high 3 minutes or until tops of salmon are golden. Remove from oven; top each salmon with pesto. Let stand 3 minutes.

Per serving: 439 calories, 40 grams protein, 30 grams fat (61% calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 383 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Serve the salmon over orzo along with citrus marinated tomato salad: In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup Italian dressing with 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only). Add 1 pound ripe diced tomatoes (about 2 1/2 cups); toss gently and let stand 15 minutes. Add sourdough bread and buy a cheesecake for dessert.

Carb choices: 0.

Barbecue eye of round

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place a 3- to 5-pound eye of round (halved). Mix together 2 cups barbecue sauce, 2 cups water and 2 large, thinly sliced sweet onions; pour over meat. Cook on low 7 hours; remove roast. Cool slightly, slice and serve with barbecue sauce.

Raspberry-chocolate cream

Divide half of 1 (8-ounce) thawed container frozen whipped topping among 4 dessert dishes. Layer each with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup and 1/4 cup fresh raspberries; repeat layers once more and serve.

TIP: Cook the brown rice the day before.

Italian chicken

Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot; cook 1 pound chicken tenders 2 minutes per side or until browned. Mix together 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-sodium less-fat cream of mushroom soup, 1/3 cup water, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon dried basil and 2 chopped plum tomatoes; add to skillet. Cover and simmer 3 minutes or until heated through. Serve over spaghetti.

Hula ham sandwiches

Drain 1 (20-ounce) can sliced pineapple. Slice 5 kaiser rolls in half and spread 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard on each bottom half. Layer each with: 1 lettuce leaf, 2 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese, 2 ounces deli sliced smoked ham and 1 drained pineapple slice; cover with top of roll.

Ravioli casserole

Crumble 1/2 pound lean ground beef and 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots into a 2-quart baking dish. Cover and microwave on high (100% power) 4 to 6 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and carrots are tender; drain. Stir in 2 (15-ounce) cans beef ravioli. Cover and microwave 5 to 7 minutes or until hot, stirring after 3 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 cup 50% light cheddar cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese is melted.

Texas two-step black-eyed pea salad

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: for the rice; standing time: 15 minutes


3 cups cooked brown rice

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black-eyed peas, rinsed

1 (11-ounce) can no-salt-added corn, rinsed

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and diced

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup sliced red onion

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together rice, black-eyed peas, corn, avocado, salsa, cilantro, red onion, lime juice, salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes and serve.

Per serving: 156 calories, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fat (22% calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 198 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 2.

Chunky vegetable chili

Makes about 14 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 35 minutes


5 medium carrots, chopped

2 medium potatoes, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 medium zucchini, cubed

Microwave the carrots, potatoes, onion and bell pepper 8 minutes on high (100% power); drain. Add microwaved vegetables to a Dutch oven along with the chili powder, cumin, tomatoes, vegetable broth, garbanzo beans, black beans, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cover; bring to boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low and simmer 25 minutes. Add zucchini; cover and simmer 5 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Per cup: 105 calories, 5 grams protein, no fat (no calories from fat), no saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 124 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1.5.

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