Menu planner: Curried leek vegetable soup is an inexpensive delight

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

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Curried leek vegetable soup.

Sharon Palmer for the Tomato Products Wellness Council

Curried leek vegetable soup

Makes about 9 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 40 minutes

INGREDIENTS

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 medium leek (green and white parts), chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Pinch coarse salt

1 (10- or 12-ounce) can chicken breast, drained

In a Dutch oven, combine broth, garlic, tomato sauce, leek, carrot, celery, zucchini, curry powder, crushed red pepper, cilantro and salt. Stir well; cover and bring to a simmer. Cook 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in chicken; heat through and serve.

Per serving: 70 calories, 7 grams protein, 1 gram fat (12% calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 199 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Sloppy chicken pizza Joes

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours on low

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 to 2 1/2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast

2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce

2 cups frozen sweet pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables (or other combination), thawed, drained and chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet; add chicken or turkey and cook 5 minutes or until browned. Drain, if necessary. Spoon into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add pizza sauce, stir-fry vegetables and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Serve warm on buns.

Per serving: 211 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (28% calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 414 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Penne with tomatoes, kalamata olives and feta

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes, plus pasta

INGREDIENTS

1 (13.25-ounce) box penne or other pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained

1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives

1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh)

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil on medium in a large, nonstick skillet. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Stir occasionally. Add mixture to pasta along with the olives, feta, parsley and basil. Gently toss to mix. Sprinkle each serving with Parmesan.

Per serving: 254 calories, 9 grams protein, 7 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 241 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Grilled flank steak

In a resealable plastic bag, combine 1/2 cup dry red wine, 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Add 1 (1 1/4- to 1 1/2-pound) flank steak to bag, turn to coat and marinate overnight. Remove steak and discard marinade; pat steak dry. Grill 17 to 21 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness.

Balsamic roasted onions

Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray, combine 2 large red onions cut into wedges, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Toss to coat. Bake, stirring often, 40 minutes or until onions are softened and lightly browned.

Sesame grilled tuna

In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons sesame oil (dark, if you have it) and 1 teaspoon chili oil. Add 4 (6-ounce) tuna steaks (about 3/4 inch thick). Toss to coat steaks; marinate at room temperature 10 minutes. Remove tuna; discard marinade. Grill on medium-high 2 to 4 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once.

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