Menu planner: Tomato basil fettuccine is tasty and easy on the budget

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

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Tomato basil fettuccine.

Tomato basil fettuccine.

Gwynn Galvin/

Tomato basil fettuccine

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes, plus pasta


8 ounces fettuccine

4 tablespoons butter, divided

1 cup chopped Vidalia onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1/4 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

Cook pasta according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter on medium-high and add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or just until softened. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes or just until tomatoes begin to wilt. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in reserved pasta water and remaining butter and cook until sauce forms. Stir in fresh basil and cooked pasta, tossing until evenly coated; cook 1 minute or until heated through.

Per serving: 366 calories, 9 grams protein, 13 grams fat (31% calories from fat), 7.5 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 359 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3.5.

Ham, asparagus and Swiss quiche

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 to 60 minutes


1 refrigerated piecrust (from a 15-ounce package)

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, sliced

8 ounces fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces

8 ounces ham, cubed

2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

3 whole eggs

1/2 cup 1% milk

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Dash hot sauce

8 ounces shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use a 10-inch quiche pan and prepare crust according to package directions for a 1-crust pie. Trim excess dough and refrigerate pan. In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter on medium-low and cook onion and asparagus 5 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to low. Add ham and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, nutmeg and hot sauce. Spoon ham mixture into prepared piecrust. Add Swiss cheese and pour egg mixture over all. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until center is set.

Per serving: 428 calories, 27 grams protein, 27 grams fat (54% calories from fat), 12 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 145 milligrams cholesterol, 751 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1.5.

Spicy cheese and rice bake

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes, plus rice


1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies

6 ounces reduced-fat sour cream

4 cups cooked rice

4 ounces grated 50% reduced-fat cheddar cheese

3 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeno peppers

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and sour cream. Layer half of rice, half of tomato mixture and half of cheese in the baking dish. Repeat layers. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and casserole is bubbly. Garnish with jalapeno peppers and cilantro.

Per serving: 359 calories, 15 grams protein, 10 grams fat (25% calories from fat), 6.4 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 759 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3.5.

Blueberry-vanilla napoleons

In a large bowl, beat 1 (3.4-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix into 1 1/2 cups cold 1% milk for 2 minutes or until well-blended; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup pudding to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Into the remaining pudding, fold 1 cup (of 1 1/3 cups total) fresh blueberries. Reserve remaining blueberries. Thaw 1 (11 3/4-ounce) frozen pound cake and cut into 12 thin slices; toast until golden. Place 1 slice on each of 6 dessert plates. Spoon blueberry-pudding mixture onto slices, dividing evenly. Top each piece with another slice of cake. Garnish with reserved pudding and reserved blueberries. Serve immediately.

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