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Menu planner: Bulgur salad with carrots and almonds makes a scrumptious side dish

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

Bulgur salad with carrots and almonds.
America’s Test Kitchen

Bulgur salad with carrots and almonds

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; standing time: 1 1/2 hours

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups medium-grind bulgur (not cracked wheat) rinsed

1 cup water

6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons), divided

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 carrots, peeled and shredded

3 thinly sliced green onions

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/3 cup chopped fresh mint

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Additional coarse salt and black pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine bulgur, water, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and let sit at room temperature 1 1/2 hours or until the grains are softened and liquid is fully absorbed. In a large bowl, whisk remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice, oil, cumin, cayenne pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt together. Add bulgur, carrots, green onions, almonds, mint and cilantro and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Serve.

Per serving: 331 calories, 8 grams protein, 19 grams fat (50% calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 289 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Brunswick stew

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 8 hours on low

INGREDIENTS

4 pounds skinless bone-in chicken thighs, well-trimmed

2 cups unsalted chicken broth

2 cups water

2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into bite size pieces

2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chilies, with liquid

1 (16-ounce) package frozen succotash

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Hot pepper sauce to taste

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine all ingredients. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are tender. Remove bones and serve.

Per serving: 297 calories, 29 grams protein, 9 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 138 milligrams cholesterol, 585 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Smoked paprika lamb chops with fresh grape sauce

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 boneless sirloin or other boneless leg lamb chops (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

3/4 cup dry white wine

2 minced shallots

1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 cups seedless red and green grapes

1 tablespoon butter

In a small bowl, combine paprika and pepper. Rub chops with mixture; set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add chops; cook 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium doneness. Transfer to a platter; cover to keep warm. Add wine to skillet, bring to a boil and scrape any browned bits in bottom of pan. Cook until wine is reduced to glaze, about 5 minutes. Add shallots, broth and thyme; cook 4 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in grapes and butter; swirl to melt butter. Pour sauce over chops and serve.

Per serving: 363 calories, 36 grams protein, 15 grams fat (37% calories from fat), 5.7 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 117 milligrams cholesterol, 152 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Turkey salad sandwiches

In medium bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups diced turkey, 1/2 cup diced unpeeled apple, 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 thinly sliced medium rib celery and 2 tablespoons chopped green onions. Spread on 4 slices whole-grain bread; top with another slice bread.

Ravioli with garlic herb oil

Cook 1 (20-ounce) packaged refrigerated four-cheese ravioli according to directions; drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, put 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 sliced large clove garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Heat on medium until garlic is light golden; remove from heat. Add garlic oil mixture to pot with ravioli. Add 2 tablespoons minced chives and 2 tablespoons flatleaf parsley to pot; toss to coat.

Crepes a la romanoff

In a blender, combine 2 cups strawberries, 1 cup plain yogurt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Refrigerate at least one hour or until slightly firm. To assemble: Lay 1 crepe on each of 4 plates. Divide additional 2 cups halved strawberries and spoon down center of each crepe. Divide and spoon the sauce over strawberries. Fold one side of crepe over filling to cover, then the other side over first one to form a roll with the filling showing at both ends. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Black-eyed peas with ham

Combine 2 ham hocks (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Meanwhile, rinse and pick over 1 pound dry black-eyed peas; place peas in 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with ham hocks, 4 cups of the hot ham water, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 medium onions cut into thin wedges, 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (with liquid) and black pepper to taste. Cook on low 5 to 7 hours or until peas are soft but not mushy. (I cooked mine 5 hours, and they were perfect, but it depends on your cooker). Remove ham hocks and trim off the fat. Add meat from hocks back to the stew; mix well.

Find more recipes at suntimes.com/recipes.