Menu planner: Farro with pesto, tomatoes and pecans hits the spot

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

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Farro with pesto, tomatoes and pecans.

Farro with pesto, tomatoes and pecans.

American Pecan

Farro with pesto, tomatoes and pecans

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes


1/2 cup pecan halves

1 cup farro, rinsed

3 cups water

1/3 cup prepared basil pesto

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

1 cup water-packed and drained artichoke hearts

1 cup grape tomatoes cut into quarters

Coarse salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. Scatter pecans on baking sheet; bake 8 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool enough to handle, then chop coarsely. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine farro and water. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until grains are tender but chewy. Drain excess water and fluff with fork. Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Stir in pesto and stir to coat. Stir in parmesan, artichokes, tomatoes and pecans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 293 calories, 11 grams protein, 15 grams fat (46% calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 414 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Chicken and chive fettuccine

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: for the fettuccine


8 ounces spinach-flavored or other fettuccine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

3 ounces chive-and-onion cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Cook fettuccine according to directions; reserve 1/3 cup cooking liquid and drain fettuccine. In pasta pot, heat oil on low. Add cooked fettuccine and toss with oil. Add chicken, tomatoes, cream cheese, Italian seasoning and reserved cooking liquid. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 373 calories, 20 grams protein, 13 grams fat (32% calories from fat), 6 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 144 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Shrimp scampi

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails intact

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Lemon wedges

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add shrimp, garlic, red pepper and salt. Cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn opaque throughout, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with chopped parsley; serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 130 calories, 23 grams protein, 4 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 183 milligrams cholesterol, 258 milligrams sodium.

Carb count: 0.

Lemon roast chicken

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over a 4 1/2- to 5-pound chicken; put rind in cavity. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush chicken with canola oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and dried thyme. Roast 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Salmon chowder

Cook 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn in butter sauce according to directions. In a large bowl, combine the cooked corn, 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can drained salmon, 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, 1 cup 1% milk and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper. Microwave on high (100% power) 3 or 4 minutes or until hot. Mix well; stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Broiled pepper jack cheese and roasted red pepper sandwiches

Heat broiler. Drain red peppers (from a jar) on paper towels before placing on rye bread. Top with cheese slices. Broil until cheese melts. Serve with deli or canned vegetarian vegetable soup.

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