Menu planner: With all the flavor in spaghetti al limone, you won’t miss the meat

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

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Spaghetti al Limone takes only 15 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook.

Spaghetti al Limone takes only 15 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook.

America’s Test Kitchen

Spaghetti al Limone

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes


1 pound spaghetti

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus extra for drizzling

1 shallot, minced

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 ounce Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus extra for serving

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 cup lemon juice (2 lemons)

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil


Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add pasta and 1 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring often, according to package directions. Reserve 1 3/4 cups cooking water, then drain pasta. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add shallot and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook about 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in cream and 3/4 cup reserved pasta water; bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Off heat, add pasta, Parmesan, zest, juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil and pepper; toss to combine. Cover and let pasta stand for 2 minutes, tossing frequently and adjusting consistency of sauce with remaining reserved cooking water as needed. Stir in basil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle individual servings with extra oil and serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.

Per serving: 419 calories, 11 grams protein, 15 grams fat (33% calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 59 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 254 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Mediterranean steak and pasta with tomato-olive sauce

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 11 to 13 minutes, plus pasta


8 ounces dry fettuccine

4 beef round (sirloin) tip center steaks, cut 3/4 inch thick (about 5 to 6 ounces)

1 (26-ounce) jar pasta sauce with olives

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Heat large, nonstick skillet on medium. Place steak in skillet; cook 11 to 13 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning twice. Do not overcook. Remove from skillet; keep warm. To same skillet, add pasta sauce and oregano; heat thoroughly. Return steaks to skillet; turn to coat with sauce. Place steaks on fettuccine; spoon sauce over all. Sprinkle steaks with cheese to melt. Garnish with parsley.

Per serving: 497 calories, 42 grams protein, 9 grams fat (17% calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 58 grams carbohydrate, 85 milligrams cholesterol, 788 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Chicken with white beans and tomatoes

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 to 55 minutes


2 (15.5-ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed

1 pint grape tomatoes

4 sprigs fresh thyme, plus leaves for garnish

4 to 8 sprigs fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 cloves garlic, smashed

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs, well-trimmed (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds total)

Paprika for garnish

4 slices bacon, halved

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, toss the beans and tomatoes with thyme sprigs, oregano, garlic, red pepper, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Pat chicken dry with paper towels; place skin side up on top of bean mixture. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper and the paprika. Top each thigh with a half-slice of bacon. Roast 35 to 45 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven; sprinkle with thyme leaves.

Per serving: 322 calories, 26 grams protein, 15 grams fat (44% calories from fat), 4.6 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 116 milligrams cholesterol, 499 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Pizza bake

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 8 ounces wagon-wheel or other pasta according to directions; drain. In a 2 1/2-quart baking dish, mix pasta, 1 (26-ounce) jar no-salt-added or regular red pasta sauce, 1 (8-ounce) can rinsed sliced carrots and 1 (2 1/4-ounce) can rinsed sliced ripe olives. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad.

Chicken salad on red-tipped lettuce

Mix toasted chopped walnuts and a chopped apple with deli chicken salad. Add a dash of curry powder. Serve with bean soup and whole-gain crackers.

Scallops with creamy pesto

Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 pound sea scallops (patted dry). Cook 4 minutes, turning once, until golden or just barely opaque at centers. Remove to plate; keep warm. Off heat, add 1/3 cup refrigerated pesto and 2 tablespoons half-and-half to skillet; stir to blend. Spoon pesto cream sauce onto serving plates; top with scallops.

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