Menu Planner: Savor the spring flavors in pan-seared paprika salmon with spicy green beans

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

SHARE Menu Planner: Savor the spring flavors in pan-seared paprika salmon with spicy green beans
Invite friends over for the spring flavors in pan-seared paprika salmon with spicy green beans.

Invite friends over for the spring flavors in pan-seared paprika salmon with spicy green beans.

Daniel J. van Ackere/America’s Test Kitchen

Pan-seared paprika salmon with spicy green beans

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 8 to 12 minutes


4 (6- to 8-ounce) skin-on salmon fillets, 1 inch thick

1 1/4 teaspoons smoked paprika, divided

1/2 teaspoon plus 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 pound trimmed green beans

6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup hot banana pepper rings (from jar)

Additional salt and pepper to taste

Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Place salmon skin side up in skillet; cook until well browned and center is still translucent when checked with a tip of paring knife (internal temperature of 125 degrees for medium-rare), 4 to 6 minutes per side. Transfer to serving dish and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon paprika. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in empty skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Add green beans, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring often until green beans and garlic turn spotty brown, about 6 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons water; cover and reduce heat to medium, cooking until green beans are softened, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in banana pepper rings; season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. (Adapted from “Five-Ingredient Dinners,” America’s Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 311 calories, 38 grams protein, 13 grams fat (36% calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 774 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Mashed sweet potatoes and apples with pecan streusel topping

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: less than 1 hour


2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine potatoes and apples; cover with 1 inch cold water. Bring to a boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well; return to pan. Add butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cardamom and salt; mash until potatoes are well-blended and smooth. Spoon into 1 1/2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. For the topping: In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cardamom until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through.

Per serving: 216 calories, 2 grams protein, 8 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 169 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Santa Fe rice and beans

Makes 5 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes, plus rice


1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth

1 teaspoon cumin

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 (16-ounce) can reduced sodium pinto beans, rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added or regular diced tomatoes with green chilies, with liquid

1 (10-ounce) package frozen shoepeg corn

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 cups cooked brown rice (see NOTE)

Reduced-fat sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet on medium. Add bell pepper, onion and garlic; cook 6 minutes. Stir in broth and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add both beans, tomatoes, corn and vinegar. Simmer 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice. Garnish as desired.

NOTE: I used boil-in-bag brown rice; it cooks in 10 minutes in microwave.

Per serving: 334 calories, 14 grams protein, 4 grams fat (10% calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 62 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 242 milligrams sodium, 12 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Tortilla casserole

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 7-by-11-inch baking dish, combine 1 (10- to 13-ounce) package refrigerated cooked carved chicken breasts, 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream-style corn, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 2 medium seeded and chopped tomatoes until well blended. Smooth top. Cover and bake 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle top with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed baked tortilla chips and 1/2 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese. Bake 2 more minutes or until tortillas are toasted and cheese is melted. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad.

Fettuccine with no-cook tomato sauce

Have an easy, meatless meal. In a medium bowl, combine 12 chopped, seeded plum tomatoes, 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and 1 teaspoon minced garlic; mix well. Toss with hot cooked fettuccine and serve. Add a spinach. salad with hard-boiled egg wedges and garlic bread.

Layered beef salad

In a glass serving bowl (straight sides if available), layer shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, canned artichokes (drained) and strips of deli roast beef and any cheese. Repeat layers once. Top with reduced-fat ranch dressing. To serve, spoon through all layers. Serve with deli minestrone soup and flatbread.

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