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Menu planner: Clafoutis of cherries amandine adds sparkle to your meal

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

Clafoutis of cherries amandine.
Clafoutis of cherries amandine.
Tom Hopkins

Clafoutis of cherries amandine

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 (20-ounce) bag frozen pitted cherries (or about 1 1/2 pounds fresh, pitted)

2/3 cup cherry preserves

1 cup unskinned almonds

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 eggs

2 tablespoons dark rum

Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the cherries in a gratin dish (about 1 1/2 inches deep and 10 inches in diameter). Add the preserves, mix and set aside.

For the frangipane: Place almonds, sugar and cornstarch in a food processor and process to a powder. Add melted butter, eggs and rum; process for a few seconds until well mixed.

Pour the frangipane mixture over the cherries; mix gently. Place dish on a cookie sheet and bake 40 minutes or until top is browned and custard is cooked through. Allow to cool to lukewarm. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

NOTE: Frangipane is a French pastry made with egg yolks, flour, butter and milk, similar to choux pastry.

Per serving: 311 calories, 6 grams protein, 14 grams fat (38% calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 54 milligrams cholesterol, 23 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Chicken, tomato and barley stew

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 4 to 5 hours on low; 30 minutes on high

INGREDIENTS

1 (26-ounce) jar no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley

2 cups unsalted chicken broth

2/3 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup raisins

2 medium fresh zucchini, diced

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, stir marinara sauce, vinegar, cumin and cinnamon together. Mix in chicken, barley, broth, onion and raisins. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours. Stir in zucchini, turn cooker to high and cook 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender.

Per serving: 333 calories, 26 grams protein, 10 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 77 milligrams cholesterol, 191 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Vegetable curry

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 4 to 5 hours

INGREDIENTS

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup water

3/4 to 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste

1 medium onion, chopped

8 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces

4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch chunks

4 cups cauliflower florets

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

In a small bowl, whisk together coconut milk, flour, water and curry paste; set aside. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add all ingredients except green peas and cilantro; mix well. Pour coconut milk mixture over all. Cover and cook 4 to 5 hours on low or until vegetables are tender. Stir in peas and cilantro and cook 2 more minutes. Serve warm.

NOTE: For tender mouths, use less curry paste.

Per serving: 235 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat (17% calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 297 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Digon steak kebabs

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons coarse-grain Dijon mustard, 2 cloves minced garlic, 2 teaspoons canola oil and 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Place the marinade and 1 pound boneless beef round tip steak (1 inch thick, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces) in a resealable plastic bag. Turn to coat. Refrigerate 6 to 24 hours. Remove beef, discard marinade and pat beef dry. Thread beef on 4 metal skewers; grill 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness.

Stuffed peppers

Core, cover and microwave any color bell peppers upside down in a baking dish, 1 minute on high for each pepper. Heat the leftover chicken stew and stuff the peppers. Top with crumbled Greek feta cheese.

Serve with buttered noodles, green beans and crusty rolls.

Chicken taco pie

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 10-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray. Combine 2 cups cooked diced chicken, 1/2 cup finely chopped onion and 2 tablespoons less-sodium taco seasoning mix (from packet). Scatter in pie plate. Mix together 1 cup baking mix (such as Bisquick), 1 cup 1% milk and 2 eggs with a fork until blended. Pour into pie plate. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese; bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Garnish with chopped lettuce, diced tomatoes and reduced-fat sour cream.

Tuscan tomato soup

In a food processor or blender, combine 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce, 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium cannellini beans, 1 (7-ounce) jar drained roasted red peppers, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and 1 clove garlic; process until smooth. Pour into a medium saucepan; add 1 3/4 cups unsalted chicken broth. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (cut into strips) and serve.

Coriander-crusted pork tenderloin

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread Dijon mustard over a (1- to 1 1/4-pound) pork tenderloin. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon crushed coriander seeds, 1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, pressing into the mustard. Bake 20 minutes in a foil-lined roasting pan or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Remove from oven; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.