Menu planner: Potato, turkey and vegetable casserole is both economical and tasty

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

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Potato, turkey and vegetable casserole.

Potato, turkey and vegetable casserole.

Courtesy of READ Salads

Potato turkey and vegetable casserole

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 40 minutes


1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

3/4 pound ground turkey breast

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 (15-ounce) can German potato salad

1/2 cup light sour cream

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (thawed and drained)

1/2 cup panko

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium. Add turkey, thyme, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally and breaking turkey into large crumbles. Stir in potato salad and sour cream. Add vegetables; stir to combine. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Toss together panko and remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Per serving: 243 calories, 18 grams protein, 9 grams fat (32% calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 535 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Lamb kebabs with fresh mint

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 2 to 4 hours

Cooking time: 8 to 12 minutes


For the marinade

2 bunches fresh mint, divided

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

4 cinnamon sticks

For the kebabs

1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Coarsely chop 1 bunch mint leaves to make 1/2 cup and reserve the remaining mint. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped mint, olive oil, wine, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Add lamb to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning several times. Drain the lamb; discard marinade. Thread lamb onto 6 metal skewers, placing a whole mint leaf between pieces. Grill on high 8 to 12 minutes (for medium-rare to medium) or until browned, turning several times.

Per serving: 143 calories, 23 grams protein, 5 grams fat (31% calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 0.

Pork tenderloin Cancun with chorizo potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; refrigeration time: 2 to 4 hours

Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes; resting time: 3 to 5 minutes


1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin

1/2 cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced

Juice from 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits

4 tablespoons minced cilantro, with extra sprigs for garnish (if desired)

1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce

1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 ounces chorizo, loose or in casing

Place pork in resealable plastic bag; add coconut milk, peppers, pineapple juice, cilantro and soy sauce; seal bag and toss to blend well. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Dry potato cubes well with paper towels and toss with olive oil; spread potatoes in pan and crumble chorizo evenly over potatoes. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Keeping potatoes and chorizo in a single layer, place pork in center of roasting pan. Roast pork and potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees, stirring potatoes occasionally for even browning. Brush pork with saucepan juices during final 5 minutes of roasting and allow the tenderloin to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Slice pork; serve potatoes alongside. Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.

Per serving: 281 calories, 27 grams protein, 10 grams fat (31% calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 326 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Lamb pitas

Chop the lamb and heat. Spoon into 4 whole-wheat pitas lined with lettuce leaves. Meanwhile, combine 1 1/2 cups finely chopped, seeded cucumber, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, coarse salt and pepper to taste, and 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt; mix well. Divide and spoon mixture over lamb.

Serve with baked chickpeas: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium chickpeas, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Spread on a nonstick, foil-lined baking pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes on bottom rack of oven. Shake pan every 15 minutes. Cool and serve.

Cheesy poblano rice soup

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium-high. Cook 1/4 cup minced shallots and 3 poblano peppers (seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces) 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in 3 (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth and 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can drained no-salt-added diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add 3 cups cooked rice. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add 2 cups shredded 50% light cheddar cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted.

Chili tacos

Heat your favorite canned chili; spoon into heated taco shells. Garnish with such favorites as shredded lettuce, mild salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Add steamed carrots on the side.

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