Menu planner: Crisp roasted fingerling potatoes are a tasty side dish

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

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Crisp, roasted fingerling potatoes.

Crisp, roasted fingerling potatoes.

Tracy Benjamin/flickr

Crisp roasted fingerling potatoes

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 32 to 40 minutes, plus cooling time


2 pounds fingerling potatoes, unpeeled, halved lengthwise (about 3 inches long)

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Adjust oven rack to lowest position. Place rimmed baking sheet on rack and heat to 500 degrees. Bring 2 quarts water to boil in large saucepan. Add potatoes, salt and baking soda, return to simmer, and cook 7 to 10 minutes or until tender but centers offer slight resistance when pierced with paring knife. Drain in colander and shake vigorously to roughen edges.

Transfer to large platter lined with kitchen towel and arrange cut side up. Let sit about 5 minutes until no longer steaming and surface is tacky. Transfer potatoes to bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon oil and pepper. Working quickly, transfer pan from oven and drizzle remaining oil over surface. Arrange potatoes cut side down for 20 to 25 minutes until crisp and spotty brown, rotating halfway through roasting. Flip for 5 minutes and cool.

Per serving: 156 calories, 3 grams protein, 5 grams fat (26% calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 498 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 2

Blueberry and citrus sorbet ‘layer cake’

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; freezing time: 2 hours to overnight


1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons blueberry preserves or jam, divided

1 pint orange sorbet, slightly softened

1 pint lemon or other citrus sorbet, slightly softened

1 cup fresh blueberries

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with a double layer of waxed paper, folding the paper to fit smoothly. In a small bowl, mix together walnuts and 1/4 cup preserves; set aside. Spoon orange sorbet into the lined pan, smoothing the top to make an even layer. Spread the walnut-preserves mixture evenly over sorbet. Spoon lemon sorbet evenly over preserves and smooth the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Freeze several hours to overnight.

Just before serving, in a medium bowl, stir remaining 2 tablespoons preserves until smooth; fold in fresh blueberries. Invert the cake on a chilled serving plate. Remove the pan and paper; spoon about 1/4 of the blueberry mixture down the center of the cake. Cut into 8 1-inch slices. Serve on chilled dessert plates; top each slice with a spoonful of the remaining fresh berry mixture. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 201 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams fat (22% calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1 milligram sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 2 1/2

Chicken spaghetti

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 35 to 45 minutes plus spaghetti; standing time: 5 minutes


1 (14.5-ounce) package multigrain spaghetti, broken into 2- or 3-inch pieces

2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed reduced-sodium, reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup (such as Healthy Request)

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded 50% light sharp cheddar cheese (such as Cabot), divided

1 small onion, finely diced

1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper

1 (4-ounce) jar drained diced pimentos

1 teaspoon 25% less sodium seasoned salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or according to taste

3 cup diced cooked chicken breast

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. In a large bowl, combine cooked spaghetti, soup and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Stir in onion, bell pepper, pimentos, seasoned salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Mix well. Add chicken and reserved pasta water (as needed) and mix.

Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes and serve.

Per serving: 394 calories, 35 grams protein, 9 grams fat (20% calories from fat), 3.8 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 645 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3

Pulled pork

In a medium bowl, combine 1 (10.5-ounce) can condensed French onion soup, 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar; mix until blended. Trim and cut 1 (3- to 4-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast into 2 or 3 pieces. Place in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker; pour barbecue mixture over pork. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Remove pork, shred and return to cooker. Serve the pork with sauce on whole-grain buns; top with sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired.

Pasta shells with chickpea-tomato sauce

Cook 12 ounces medium pasta shells according to directions. Meanwhile, in a skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium. Add 2 cloves minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed chickpeas and cook 5 minutes. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes and 1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced slightly. Add 1 sprig fresh basil; cook 5 minutes. Remove basil. Add sauce to drained pasta; toss to mix. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and garnish with more basil. Serve with a spinach salad and garlic bread.

Grilled steaks with garden-fresh vegetables

Combine 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning. Brush mixture on 2 boneless beef top loin steaks (1 inch thick), about 1 1/2 pounds, and 2 each medium yellow and zucchini squash (sliced 3/4-inch thick, diagonally). Grill beef 15 to 18 minutes and vegetables until tender, turning occasionally. Serve with roasted red potatoes, mixed greens and crusty rolls.

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