Menu planner: Red potatoes with walnut-mint pesto

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

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Red potatoes with walnut mint pesto.

Red potatoes with walnut mint pesto.

Courtesy of California Walnuts

Red potatoes with walnut mint pesto

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 12 minutes


2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces

2 cups frozen green peas, divided and thawed

2 cups chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 clove garlic

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Cover potatoes with cold water in medium pot by 1 inch; boil for about 12 minutes. After potatoes have cooked, add 1 cup of peas to pan and then immediately drain. While potatoes cook, in a food processor, combine the parsley, mint, cheese, walnuts and garlic; pulse until roughly chopped (about 10 times). Scrape sides of processor, add remaining cup of peas and pulse until roughly chopped. Scrape down sides. Turn on processor and drizzle in oil and add salt. Immediately turn off processor so pesto remains slightly chunky. Place potatoes and peas in serving bowl, then add the pesto and toss gently to coat. Serve at room temperature. (Recipe compliments of California Walnuts.)

Per serving: 249 calories, 8 grams protein, 11 grams fat (38% calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 162 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Creamy peppered chicken and mushrooms

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 (8-ounce) packaged sliced cremini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire ground black pepper blend, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 (5- or 6-ounce) package baby spinach

Crumbled bacon for garnish

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium high. Add chicken, onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of pepper blend, garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning. Cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in cream and remaining pepper blend; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened. Meanwhile, microwave spinach, covered, 30 seconds on high or until wilted. Place spinach on platter; spoon chicken over spinach and garnish with bacon.

Per serving: 333 calories, 30 grams protein, 21 grams fat (56% calories from fat), 8.6 grams saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 117 milligrams cholesterol, 212 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

All-American burgers

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, 1 tablespoon lower-sodium Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Shape into 6 patties; grill 5 or 6 minutes, turning once. Top with any cheese and serve on whole-grain buns along with your favorite trimmings, such as tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, ketchup, mustard and low-fat mayo.

Chicken chili

Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium in a Dutch oven. Add 1 chopped large onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add 2 tablespoons cumin, 2 teaspoons dried oregano and 3 minced medium cloves garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in 2 to 3 cups cooked chopped chicken and 1 (4-ounce) can drained diced green chilies. Add 4 cups unsalted chicken broth, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium white beans. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, partially covered, 20 minutes to blend flavors. Meanwhile, mash another can of rinsed white beans with fork or potato masher. Spoon into Dutch oven along with 1 cup frozen corn (thawed); cook 5 more minutes to heat through.

White pizza with tomato and basil

For a summery, no-meat meal: Heat broiler to high. Place baking sheet in oven; heat 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 (10-ounce) Italian-cheese-flavored thin pizza crust on another baking sheet sprinkled with some cornmeal. Lightly coat crust with cooking spray. Spread 3 tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto over crust, leaving a 1-inch border; sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese over pesto. Dollop 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta by teaspoonfuls, evenly, over mozzarella. Slide crust onto preheated baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven; top evenly with 4 sliced Roma tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired. Cut into 8 slices.

Muffin heads

Top toasted whole-grain English muffin halves with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce and slices of 50% reduced-fat cheddar cheese; broil until cheese is melted. Top with a silly vegetable face using halved red pepper rings (mouth), baby corn (nose), sliced black olives (eyes) and julienne carrots (hair).

Apple pie in a bowl

In a small bowl, spoon alternating layers of chunky applesauce, vanilla low-fat yogurt and crumbled gingersnaps; dust with cinnamon.

Yucatan pork tenderloin wit jicama, avocado and red onion salad

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes


2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice, divided

2 (1- to 1 1/4-pound) pork tenderloins

1 small jicama (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into match-stick pieces (4 inches by 1/4 inch)

2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and cut into thin slices

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, chile powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Add enough grapefruit juice (about 1/4 cup) to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the pork; set on rack in small roasting pan. Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board; tent with foil and let stand covered 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine jicama, avocados and onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with lime juice and the remaining grapefruit juice. Slice pork and serve with salad.

Per serving: 276 calories, 27 grams protein, 13 grams fat (41% calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 238 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

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