clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Menu planner: For an economical dinner, try Southwestern black bean salad

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

Southwestern black bean salad.
Southwestern black bean salad.
America’s Test Kitchen

Southwestern black bean salad

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels

4 green onions, sliced thinly

1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 limes’ worth)

1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

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

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and chopped

2 tomatoes, cored and chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet on medium-high until shimmering. Add corn and cook 5 minutes until spotty brown; cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together green onions, lime juice, chilies, honey, salt and black pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 2 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Add beans, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and corn; toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste; serve.

Per serving: 385 calories, 11 grams protein, 19 grams fat (43% calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 207 milligrams sodium, 13 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Cheesy pasta

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

12 ounces whole-wheat or regular penne or bow tie pasta

6 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-fat less-sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (4 ounces)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Freshly chopped chives or green onion tops for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions; add broccoli the last 3 minutes of boiling. Drain; rinse and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until reduced slightly. Add soup. Bring to a boil on medium high, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring, 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until smooth. Stir in mustard; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Spoon sauce over pasta and broccoli. Toss to mix. Garnish each serving with chives or green onion tops.

Per serving: 289 calories, 13 grams protein, 8 grams fat (23% calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 17 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.

Sloppy Joe meatball subs

Makes 4 subs

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 pound 93% to 95% lean ground beef

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (1.31-ounce) package sloppy Joe seasoning mix

1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste

1 1/2 cups water

4 (6-inch) submarine or other sandwich rolls

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, mix beef, garlic powder, 3/4 of the Italian seasoning and pepper. Shape into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add seasoning mix, tomato paste, water and remaining Italian seasoning; stir until smooth. Simmer 5 minutes. Place meatballs on rolls. Spoon sauce over meatballs; top with cheese and serve.

Per sub: 516 calories, 38 grams protein, 13 grams fat (23% calories from fat), 4.8 grams saturated fat, 63 grams carbohydrate, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1,317 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Roasted chicken with macaroni salad

Cook 8 ounces macaroni according to package directions; rinse and drain. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 grated carrot, 1 rib chopped celery, 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon pickle relish, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir mixture into macaroni; toss to mix and refrigerate. Sprinkle with paprika before serving. Add steamed asparagus, a green salad and dinner rolls.

No-bake cheesecake

Beat 2 (8-ounce) packages of softened reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in 2 cups frozen whipped topping (thawed) until blended. Spoon into 1 (6-ounce) graham cracker pie crust. Cover lightly and refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Top with fresh blueberries.

Baked tomatoes with tuna salad

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Core large tomatoes; stuff with deli tuna salad and top with buttered panko breadcrumbs and sliced almonds. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Add a packaged green salad and bread sticks.

Steak with golden onions and horseradish sauce

Heat a nonstick skillet on medium high. Sprinkle a 1-pound boneless trimmed sirloin steak with a little pepper; add to skillet. Scatter 2 medium sliced yellow onions around steak. Cook, turning steak once and stirring onions often, 12 minutes or until steak is medium-rare and onions are tender. Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Slice steak thinly against the grain; serve with grilled onions and sauce.