Menu planner: Raspberry gratin is sweet enough for any occasion

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

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Raspberry gratin.

Raspberry gratin.

Tom Hopkins

Raspberry gratin

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen (or fresh) unsweetened raspberries in a 5-cup gratin dish.

Place 3 croissants or Danish pastries or leftover cake, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 cups), in a bowl.

Add 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter and 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar to bowl; mix well.

Sprinkle on berries.

Bake about 25 minutes or until browned. Serve warm with creme fraiche or sour cream.

Garnish each serving with fresh mint.

Honey-ginger grilled salmon

Makes 2 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 to 3 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup sliced green onions

3/4 pound salmon fillet with skin (1 inch thick in center), cut into 2 servings

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine ginger, garlic powder, soy sauce, orange juice, honey and green onions; mix well. Add salmon. Refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes (longer for a stronger flavor), turning bag occasionally. Coat grill rack with cooking spray. Heat grill to medium. Remove salmon from marinade; reserve marinade. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and coat salmon with cooking spray. Place salmon on grill, skin-side up. Grill 10 to 12 minutes per inch of thickness or until fish is opaque throughout; turn once. Brush with reserved marinade last 5 minutes of cooking. Discard leftover marinade. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 264 calories, 36 grams protein, 8 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 326 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Creamy country chicken and vegetables

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 hours on low

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds peeled potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/2 pound baby carrots

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

2 to 2 1/2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs

2 (0.87-ounce) packages less-sodium chicken gravy mix

1 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning or ground sage

1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place potatoes, carrots and onion. Top with chicken. In a small bowl, combine gravy packages, water, thyme, poultry seasoning or sage and seasoned salt. Pour mixture over chicken and vegetables. Cover and cook 6 hours on low or until chicken is done and vegetables are tender. Place chicken and vegetables on platter and cover to keep warm. Whisk sour cream into drippings in cooker; pour over chicken and vegetables and serve.

Per serving: 354 calories, 25 grams protein, 13 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 138 milligrams cholesterol, 564 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Lean bean bake

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 cups chopped onion

1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies, with liquid

3/4 cup medium picante sauce or salsa

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium rinsed black beans

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, divided

8 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese, divided

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

2 cups shredded lettuce

Sliced green onions and black olives, if desired

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, combine onion, bell pepper, tomatoes with liquid, picante sauce or salsa, garlic and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in beans. In a 9-by-13-inch dish, spread one-third of bean mixture over bottom. Top with half the tortillas, overlapping as necessary, and half the cheese. Add another one-third bean mixture, remaining tortillas and remaining bean mixture. Cover and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Let stand 10 minutes. Top with tomatoes and lettuce (and green onions and black olives, if desired). Cut into squares and serve with sour cream.

Per serving: 309 calories, 15 grams protein, 12 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 6.4 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 33 milligrams cholesterol, 907 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Spanish rice and beef stew

In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons butter on medium-high until melted. Add 1 pound beef cube steak (cut into 1-inch cubes) and 1 clove crushed garlic; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes or until outside of beef is no longer pink (do not overcook). Remove from pan; season beef with 2 teaspoons seasoning mixture from 1 (6.8-ounce) package Spanish rice mix. In same pan, combine rice mix, remaining seasoning mixture, 5 cups water and 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies with liquid; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover tightly and simmer 15 to 17 minutes or until rice is tender. Return beef to soup, heat through and stir in chopped fresh cilantro if desired.

Baked taco chicken fingers

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Blend 1/2 package mild taco seasoning with 1 tablespoon flour and 2 tablespoons cornmeal in a shallow dish. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. With water, moisten 1 pound boneless chicken tenders. Coat each tender with seasoning mixture. Place tenders on baking sheet 1 inch apart. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes.

Fettuccine with white beans and tuna

Drain 2 (6-ounce) cans water-packed albacore tuna and 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium cannellini beans. Combine tuna and beans with 2 cups marinara sauce; heat. Toss with hot cooked fettuccine.

Broiled herbed lamb chops

Heat broiler. With a fork, mash together 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon dried rosemary. Stir in 2 teaspoons olive oil. Spread on 4 (4- to 6-ounce) loin, rib, arm or blade lamb chops. Broil 4 inches from heat source 7 to 11 minutes for medium-rare to medium.

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