Menu planner: Green bean salad can make every meal special

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

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Green bean salad with cherry tomatoes and feta.

America’s Test Kitchen

Green bean salad with cherry tomatoes and feta

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 to 8 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

12 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 ounces Greek feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)

In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 2 quarts water to a boil. Add green beans and 1 tablespoon salt; return to boil and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until beans are bright green. Meanwhile, fill a large bowl halfway with ice and water. Drain beans in colander and immediately transfer to ice bath. Drain when beans are no longer warm to touch. Dry thoroughly. Place beans, tomatoes, oil, mint, parsley, juice, pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter; sprinkle with feta and serve.

Per serving: 153 calories, 4 grams protein, 12 grams fat (63% calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 340 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Turkey and bulgur salad

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; standing time: 30 minutes

1 cup bulgur

2 cups boiling water

12 ounces cooked turkey breast, cut into bite-size pieces

2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 small cucumber, seeded and thinly sliced

1/2 small red onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped flatleaf parsley

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Red-tipped lettuce leaves

Place bulgur in a medium bowl; pour boiling water over bulgur, cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain well. In a large bowl, combine bulgur, turkey, tomatoes, cucumber, onion and parsley; mix gently. In a small bowl, whisk together the juice, oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over bulgur mixture; mix well. Spoon over lettuce leaves and serve.

Per serving: 337 calories, 32 grams protein, 9 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 266 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Bow tie pasta with alfredo sauce

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

8 ounces bow tie pasta

1/2 cup frozen tiny green peas

1 1/2 teaspoons butter

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1 cup half-and-half

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; place peas in colander and pour pasta over to drain. Return to pot. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan on low heat; add garlic and cook 1 minute. Whisk flour into mixture. Slowly add half-and-half until well blended. Whisk in salt, pepper and nutmeg; bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Simmer 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in cheese until melted. Add sauce to pasta; toss to mix and coat. Serve.

Per serving: 310 calories, 14 grams protein, 4 grams fat (11% calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 56 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 304 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Roast sausage, peppers and onion

Roast any nonbreakfast sausage links in a 400-degree oven along with wedges of bell peppers and onions for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Slice sausage before serving. Add hash browns (from frozen), a lettuce wedge and rye bread to round out the meal. Sprinkle peaches with nutmeg for an easy dessert.

Dijon chicken

Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a medium skillet. Brown 1 pound chicken cutlets; remove to plate. In same skillet, whisk 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed lower-sodium cream of chicken soup, 3/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Add cutlets; cover and simmer about 5 minutes or until no longer pink in center. Serve the chicken with brown rice, steamed broccoli drizzled with lemon juice, a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette.

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