Menu planner: Instead of a sandwich, try delicious chicken BLT salad

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

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Chicken BLT salad.

America’s Test Kitchen

Chicken BLT salad

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: Croutons and chicken

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, divided

4 (1-inch) slices Italian bread

1 pound bacon, chopped

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 1/2 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved

2 romaine lettuce hearts (12 ounces), torn into bite-size pieces

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Spread 1/4 cup mayonnaise over both sides of bread and lay on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden, flipping halfway through. Let cool 5 minutes, then cut into 1-inch croutons. Meanwhile, cook bacon in 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium-high 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp. Transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat fat in skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Cook chicken 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often, until browned on all sides; transfer to plate. Whisk remaining mayonnaise and vinegar together in serving bowl. Add tomatoes, lettuce, croutons, bacon and chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Per serving: 563 calories, 43 grams protein, 27 grams fat (43% calories from fat), 7.4 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 117 milligrams cholesterol, 1,515 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Vegetarian reuben sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 cup sliced onion

8 slices rye bread

1/4 cup reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing

8 strips (about 2 inches by 1 inch) roasted red pepper from jar, drained

1/2 cup well-rinsed sauerkraut

4 slices Swiss cheese

Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray on medium. Add onion; cook 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Remove onion from skillet. Spread 4 bread slices with dressing. Top each with 1/4 of the onion, 2 strips pepper, 2 tablespoons sauerkraut and 1 cheese slice. Top with remaining bread slices. Heat same skillet over medium-low heat. In batches, coat outsides of sandwiches with cooking spray and place in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, turning after 2 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasted.

Per serving: 241 calories, 12 grams protein, 4 grams fat (15% calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 820 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Glazed salmon

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes; marinating time: 2 hours

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, juice and mustard. Marinate salmon in a large resealable bag in refrigerator 2 hours. Remove salmon; reserve marinade. Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Cook salmon, skin side down, 3 minutes. Turn, remove skin and cook 3 to 4 more minutes (according to thickness). Transfer salmon to platter; cover with foil. Add reserved marinade to skillet; boil 1 minute. Add salmon to skillet; heat through. Serve salmon with sauce.

Per serving: 284 calories, 36 grams protein, 8 grams fat (26% calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 398 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Peach mustard chicken fingers

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 2 teaspoons peach all-fruit spread; stir until blended. Coat 1 pound chicken fingers in mixture; roll coated chicken in 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs. Place on foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees.

TIP: Use a pastry brush to coat chicken fingers.

Roasted sesame balsamic asparagus

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a foil-lined baking pan. Trim 1 pound fresh asparagus and roll in oil. Arrange in a single layer and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds. Roast 10 minutes or until tender-crisp. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar, 2 teaspoons sugar, 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper. Remove asparagus from oven; place on serving platter and drizzle with soy sauce mixture.

TIP: You can buy toasted sesame seeds in the spice section, or toast them yourself in a small skillet on medium for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Immediately remove from skillet to avoid over-toasting.

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