Menu planner: Have a treat for the family with grilled Monterey chicken

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

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Grilled Monterey Chicken

America’s Test Kitchen

Grilled Monterey chicken

Makes 5 servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes; chilling time: 30 to 60 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 to 13 minutes; standing time: 5 to 10 minutes


1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

5 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts, trimmed

4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) shredded pepper jack cheese

4 slices red onion (1/2 inch thick)

Lime wedges

In a medium bowl, whisk together the mustard, honey, salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup mixture for basting. Transfer remaining honey mustard mixture to large resealable plastic bag. Working with one breast at a time, starting on thick side, cut chicken in half horizontally, stopping 1/2 inch from edge so halves remain attached. Open breast like a book, creating single flat piece. Place chicken in bag with honey mustard mixture, toss to coat and refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes. Meanwhile, cook bacon on medium 5 to 7 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper-towel-lined plate. Reserve bacon fat. Once cool, toss bacon with pepper jack. Remove chicken, discard marinade. Grill chicken on hotter side of grill 5 to 6 minutes per side or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165 degrees. Push toothpick through onion; brush lightly with bacon fat. Grill 5 minutes or until tender. Brush chicken with reserved honey mustard. Remove onions from grill; remove toothpicks. Divide onion rings over 4 breasts. Divide bacon-cheese mixture over onions. Cover and cook until cheese is melted. Transfer to platter; tent with foil for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve with lime wedges.

Per servings: 392 calories, 49 grams protein, 18 grams fat (41% calories from fat), 7.9 grams saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 162 milligrams cholesterol, 637 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Pasta fagioli

Makes 9 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup sliced carrots

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water, divided

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

8 ounces uncooked ditalini pasta

2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium cannellini beans

4 ounces diced ham

1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium high. Microwave carrots with 2 tablespoons water for 3 minutes on high (100% power); drain and set aside. Add garlic to Dutch oven; cook 1 minute. Stir in broth, 2 cups water, tomato sauce and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and carrots; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beans, ham, salt and pepper. Heat through. Garnish with cheese and serve.

Per cup: 218 calories, 10 grams protein, 3 grams fat (13% calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 7 milligrams cholesterol, 408 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

Sweet onion casserole

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 55 minutes


1 tablespoon canola oil

4 cups (about 1 3/4 pounds) chopped sweet onions (such as Vidalia)

1 cup cooked white rice

2/3 cup shredded part-skim Jarlsberg or Gruyere cheese

1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onions; cook 10 minutes or until softened. Place in a large bowl. Stir rice, cheese, salt, pepper and allspice into onions. Spoon mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Cover and bake 40 minutes. Uncover; bake 5 more minutes. Top with parsley, if desired.

Per serving: 153 calories, 7 grams protein, 6 grams fat (33% calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 145 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Ravioli with asparagus walnut

Skip meat: Cook 1 (14- to 16-ounce) package cheese ravioli (fresh or frozen) according to directions. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet. Add 2 cloves sliced garlic and 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts; cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often, or until nuts are lightly toasted and fragrant. Add 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal; cook 2 minutes or until just tender. Serve over ravioli and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Layered Mexican casserole

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In an ungreased 8-inch-square baking dish, spread 2 1/2 cups of Corn Chex (or similar) cereal. Spoon 2 cups rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans (from 19-ounce can) over cereal. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese. Spoon 1 1/2 cups mild salsa over cheese. Sprinkle with 2 more cups cereal and 1 more cup cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Serve with reduced-fat sour cream.

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