Menu planner: Grape and feta quinoa

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

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Grape and feta quinoa.

Ty Mecham/Shadow Mountain

Grape and feta quinoa

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/4 teaspoon plus pinch coarse salt, divided

Zest from 1 lemon

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup grapes

2/3 cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled

1/3 cup toasted and broken walnuts

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

Rinse quinoa in a fine mesh strainer under faucet until the water runs clear. Transfer to a medium saucepan; add water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and cool. Meanwhile, whisk together zest, lemon juice, garlic and oil. Set aside. When quinoa is cool, add grapes, feta, walnuts and parsley. Toss with dressing and serve. (Adapted from “Delicious Gatherings” by Tara Teaspoon, Shadow Mountain Publishing.)

Per serving: 189 calories, 6 grams protein, 11 grams fat (48% calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 178 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Smoked turkey tetrazzini

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: less than 45 minutes, plus pasta

12 ounces fettuccine

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons unsalted chicken broth

1 (8-ounce) package sliced fresh mushrooms

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon hot sauce

3 cups 1% milk

2 to 3 cups diced smoked turkey

1 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high, melt butter. Add broth, mushrooms and onion; cook 7 to 10 minutes or until softened. Gradually stir in flour, pepper and hot sauce until smooth. Add milk; cook, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in turkey and wine. Layer a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray, with half of pasta, half of turkey mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Per serving: 335 calories, 21 grams protein, 8 grams fat (22% calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 45 milligrams cholesterol, 463 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Easy paella

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes


2 teaspoons olive oil

8 ounces reduced-fat kielbasa, sliced

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup rice

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup water

12 large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined

2/3 cup sofrito sauce

3/4 cup frozen tiny green peas, thawed

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add sausage and onion; cook 4 minutes or until onion is golden. Add rice, broth and water; bring to a boil. Cook, covered, 17 minutes or until rice is almost tender. Add shrimp; cook, covered, 2 minutes. Stir in sofrito sauce and peas; cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until rice is tender and shrimp are pink. Remove from heat; stir in parsley and serve.

Per serving: 330 calories, 20 grams protein, 5 grams fat (12% calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 58 grams carbohydrate, 92 milligrams cholesterol, 1058 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

BLT pasta

Cook 12 ounces rigatoni pasta according to directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Transfer it to a large bowl. Meanwhile, cook 4 slices Canadian bacon on medium-high in a large skillet; remove from skillet and set aside. Using the same skillet, lower heat to medium (leaving any bacon drippings); add 1 (5- to 7-ounce) package arugula and stir 45 seconds or until wilted. Transfer to pasta bowl. Return skillet to medium heat; add 1 pint halved grape tomatoes and 2 tablespoons olive oil; cook 2 minutes. Add to pasta and arugula; toss. Chop the bacon and sprinkle over top. Season with pepper, toss again and serve.

Chicken ranch tacos

Heat 1 (5-ounce) package taco shells (10 shells) in oven as directed on package. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, place 3 cups diced cooked chicken breast. Sprinkle with 1 (1.25-ounce) package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix; toss to coat. Microwave chicken, uncovered, on high (100% power) 2 to 3 minutes or until hot. Stir in 1/2 cup reduced-fat or regular ranch dressing. Spoon warm chicken mixture into heated shells. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomato and shredded 50% light cheddar cheese. Add a kid-favorite, carrot sticks, for munching.

Mushroom burgers

Go meatless. Get your mushroom burgers from frozen for an easy no-meat dinner. Serve on whole-grain buns with such favorite toppings as lettuce, tomato low-fat mayonnaise and mustard. And oven fries (from frozen) on the side.

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