Menu planner: Curried chicken and rice, easy and delicious

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

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Curried chicken and rice.

Curried chicken and rice.

America’s Test Kitchen

Curried chicken and rice

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 35 to 40 minutes


1/2 cup flour

4 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups rice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon curry powder

4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup light coconut milk

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup fresh cilantro

2 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds

Spread flour in shallow dish. Pound chicken to uniform thickness. Pat dry with paper towels; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Dredge 1 breast lightly with flour; shake off excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high until shimmering. Cook chicken 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown on both sides. Transfer to plate. Heat remaining oil in same skillet. Add carrots, onion and remaining salt and cook about 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in rice, garlic and curry powder and cook 30 seconds. Stir in broth, scraping up browned bits. Nestle chicken into skillet along with juices. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook 8 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees. Transfer chicken to serving platter, brushing any rice sticking to chicken back into skillet. Tent chicken with foil when finishing rice. Add coconut milk to skillet, cover, cook 12 to 15 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Off heat, sprinkle peas over rice, cover and let stand about 2 minutes. Gently fold in cilantro and almonds. Serve chicken with rice.

Per serving: 466 calories, 32 grams protein, 12 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 2 grams saturated fat, 54 grams carbohydrate, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 343 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.5.

Moroccan vegetable and pasta soup

Makes about 8 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups water

1 (1-pound) package frozen mixed vegetables

2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 (15- to 19-ounce) can reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, rinsed

2 teaspoon dried basil

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons paprika

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons ketchup

1/2 cup uncooked whole-wheat rotini pasta or elbow macaroni

In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium high. Add onion; cook and stir 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook one more minute. Stir in water, mixed vegetables, tomatoes, beans, basil, turmeric, paprika, pepper, cinnamon and ketchup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add rotini; cook, uncovered, 15 minutes or until rotini is tender. Thin with additional water if desired.

Per cup: 148 calories, 6 grams protein, 3 grams fat (16% calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 347 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Unstuffed cabbage

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes


2 teaspoons canola oil

1 pound ground turkey breast or 95% lean ground beef

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can stewed tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste

1 1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (10-ounce) package shredded cabbage (for coleslaw)

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add turkey or beef; cook 6 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Drain, if necessary. Stir in onion; cook 4 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir in water, parsley, salt, oregano, sugar and pepper. Simmer 5 minutes. Mix in the cabbage; cook, covered, 6 to 8 minutes or until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally.

Per serving: 187 calories, 21 grams protein, 3 grams fat (14% calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 622 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Turkey enchiladas

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups shredded cooked turkey, 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese. Stir in 2 cups green salsa. Spread 1 cup mixture over bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down center of 8 (6-inch) flour tortillas. Roll and place seam side down in dish. Pour remaining mixture over top; bake, uncovered, 35 minutes. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup more cheese and bake 15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Turkey breast

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel, halve and cut 2 pounds sweet potatoes into wedges. Line a rimmed baking pan with nonstick foil. In a large bowl, microwave 2 tablespoons cut-up butter until melted; stir in 1/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup orange juice, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Microwave 1 to 2 minutes until syrupy. Add potatoes to bowl; pour syrup over potatoes and toss to coat evenly. Spread evenly on pan. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, stirring once, until tender and glazed. Serve it with sweet and spicy sweet potatoes.

Crunchy nacho dogs

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll 1 (8-ounce) can refrigerated reduced-fat crescent dinner rolls; separate dough into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Place 4 slices reduced-fat American cheese on rectangles. Place 4 low-fat low-sodium hot dogs on cheese. Fold short sides of dough over hot dogs; roll up each one. Press edges to seal. Brush rolls with milk; roll in 1/2 cup crushed baked tortilla chips. Place rolls seam side down on cookie sheet. Bake 15 to 22 minutes or until deep golden brown.

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