Dinner Tonight: Soups & Stews
Fresh and fast, these bowls of comfort can be ready in no time.
Time: 40 minutes
Make-Ahead Tip: Freeze individual portions of leftover chili for up to 2 months; thaw overnight and reheat over medium-low heat.
Serve with Jack-Corn Muffins: Combine 1 (8.5-ounce) package corn muffin mix, ½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeño peppers, ½ cup corn kernels, 1⁄3 cup 1% low-fat milk, and 1 large egg. Divide batter evenly among 8 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 16 minutes or until browned.
Time: 30 minutes
Simple Sub: Swiss chard, mustard greens, or escarole can stand in for kale.
Serve with Cheese-Tomato Toasts: Broil 4 (1-ounce) slices ciabatta bread for 1 minute. Turn bread over; top each slice with 2 thin plum tomato slices and 1 tablespoon shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
Time: 40 minutes
Make-Ahead Tip: You can freeze the stew for up to two months.
Serve with Jalepeño Corn Bread: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, ¼ cup canola oil, 3 tablespoons sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 large eggs in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons baking powder over batter; whisk until blended. Fold in 1 cup yellow cornmeal, 4.5 ounces (about 1 cup) all-purpose flour, and 1 chopped jalepeño pepper (do not remove seeds). Spoon batter into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450 degrees for 20 minute or until lightly browned.
Time: 30 minutes
Prep Pointer: Take care not to overcook the noodles, as they’ll turn soggy in the soup.
Serve with Sesame Wontons: Cut 16 wonton wrappers in half diagonally; arrange on 2 baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Brush 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil over wrappers. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ teaspoon salt. Bake at 375° for 7 minutes or until crisp and edges are browned.
Time-Saver: Buy prechopped onion in the refrigerated produce section of the supermarket.
Serve with Mini Ham Sandwiches: Preheat oven to 400°. Combine 1 tablespoon minced chives, 2 tablespoons canola mayonnaise, and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Cut 8 (1-ounce) Hawaiian rolls in half horizontally, cutting to, but not through, other side. Place rolls, cut sides up, on a baking sheet; bake at 400° for 5 minutes or until golden. Spread cut sides evenly with mayonnaise mixture. Divide 4 ounces reduced-sodium thinly sliced ham (such as Boar's Head) evenly among bottoms of rolls. Cover with roll tops; cut into individual rolls.
Prep-Pointer: Scrub and rinse the clams well to remove grit.
Serve with Garlic Sourdough: Preheat broiler. Broil 4 (1.5-ounce) slices sourdough bread for 90 seconds, turning once. Rub toasted bread with cut sides of 2 halved garlic cloves. Brush with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Vegetarian Swap: Omit bacon and add 2 teaspoons olive oil in place of drippings.
Serve with Tomato Bruschetta: Preheat oven to 425°. Arrange 12 thin baguette slices on a baking sheet; bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until toasted. Rub toasts with cut sides of a halved garlic clove. Combine ½ cup finely chopped tomato, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil, 1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar, and ⅛ teaspoon salt; top toasts evenly with tomato mixture.
Simple Sub: Use any combination of colorful, flavorful tomatoes from your farmers' market.
Serve with Crispy Pita Chips: Preheat oven to 375°. Split 2 whole-wheat pitas in half horizontally. Brush rough sides of pita halves with 1½ tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with ¾ teaspoon cracked black pepper and ¼ teaspoon kosher salt. Cut each pita half into 8 wedges. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet; bake at 375° for 14 minutes or until browned at edges and crisp.
Simple Sub: Try shredded rotisserie chicken breast instead of shrimp.
Serve with Cucumber Salad:
Combine 4 teaspoons rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons dark sesame oil, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add 2 cups thinly sliced cucumber, 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes, and 3 tablespoons thinly sliced green onions; toss well to combine. Yield: 4 servings. CALORIES 32; FAT 2.4g (sat 0.4g); SODIUM 83mg
Time: 40 minutes
Vegetarian Swap: Use mushroom broth, omit chicken, and use 2 cans of chickpeas.
Serve with Herb-Scented Drop Biscuits: Preheat oven to 450°. Combine 4.5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cut in 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in center of mixture; add 1/3 cup 1% milk, 2 tablespoons plain fat-free Greek yogurt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, stirring just until combined. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray to form 8 biscuits; coat tops with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Yield: 4 servings. CALORIES 156; FAT 3.5g (sat 2.1g); SODIUM 256mg
Make-Ahead Tip: Refrigerate cooked, cooled soup up to two days.
Serve with Cumin-Lime Tortilla Chips: Preheat oven to 350°. Cut each of 4 (6-inch) yellow corn tortillas into 8 wedges. Arrange wedges in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush wedges evenly with 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil. Combine 3/8 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/8 teaspoon salt, and sprinkle evenly over tortilla wedges. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until crisp and golden. Cool slightly, and drizzle with 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Yield: 4 servings. CALORIES 119; FAT 6.3g (sat 0.4g); SODIUM 109mg
Simple Sub: You can use kale or spinach in place of bok choy.
Serve with Spicy Wontons: Preheat oven to 425°. Cut 8 wonton wrappers in half; place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Combine 1 egg white and 2 teaspoons water. Brush tops of wontons with egg white mixture. Combine 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper; sprinkle evenly over wontons. Press mixture into wontons. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes or until golden. CALORIES 61; FAT 1.2g (sat 0.2g); SODIUM 179mg
Family-Friendly: Use milder green bell peppers in place of poblanos.
Serve with Corn Bread Sticks: Place a cast-iron corn bread stick mold pan in oven. Preheat oven to 400°. Weigh or lightly spoon 3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2⁄3 cup) into a dry measuring cup. Combine flour, 1⁄2 cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir in 1⁄2 cup reduced-fat buttermilk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon canola oil, and 1 large egg, beaten. Remove pan from oven; divide batter among 6 corn bread stick molds. Bake at 400° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on top. CALORIES 161; FAT 5.7g (sat 2.1g); SODIUM 209mg
Simple Sub: Use 1 cup sliced fresh shiitake caps instead of dried.
Serve with Pickled Vegetables: Combine ½ cup sugar, ¾ cup white vinegar, ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a small saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat. Add 2 cups thinly sliced unpeeled English cucumber, 1 cup thinly sliced red onion, and ½ cup cauliflower florets. Let vegetable mixture stand 30 minutes; drain well. CALORIES 123; FAT 0.2g (sat 0g); SODIUM 127mg
Simple Sub: Use littleneck clams or shrimp instead of mussels.
Serve with Basil Green Beans: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 teaspoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add ¼ cup thinly sliced shallots; sauté 2 minutes. Add 2 cups 2-inch-cut trimmed green beans and ¼ cup water. Cover and cook 4 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons thinly sliced basil, ¼ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. CALORIES 44; FAT 2.4g (sat 0.3g); SODIUM 152mg
Time-Saver: Have the fishmonger peel and devein the shrimp.
Serve with Manchego Toasts: Preheat broiler to high. Place 8 (½-ounce) slices baguette on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until toasted. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons Manchego cheese on each toast slice; broil 1 minute or until cheese melts and begins to brown. CALORIES 112; FAT 3.1g (sat 1.9g); SODIUM 188mg
Time: 30 minutes
Time-Saver: Microwaving, instead of roasting, the sweet potatoes saves more than an hour.
Serve with Parmesan Cheese Toasts: Preheat broiler. Cut 6 ounces French bread baguette in half lengthwise; cut each half into thirds. Spread cut side of each piece with 1 teaspoon butter; sprinkle evenly with 1 ounce shaved fresh Parmesan cheese and ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Arrange pieces, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Broil 2 minutes or until cheese melts. SERVES 6 (serving size: 1 piece) CALORIES 137; FAT 5.7g (sat 3.4g); SODIUM 252mg
Make Ahead: Store the soup and pasta separately if preparing ahead of time.
Serve with Ciabatta Parmesan Toasts: Preheat broiler. Broil 6 (1-ounce) slices ciabatta bread 1 minute on each side or until toasted. Combine 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon canola mayonnaise. Spread about ½ teaspoon cheese mixture on each slice; sprinkle with a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Broil 30 seconds. CALORIES 89; FAT 2.1g (sat 0.3g); SODIUM 225mg
Flavor Hit: A slightly bitter, dark beer cuts through the richness of the stew. After simmering, the beer loses its edge and adds deep, roasted flavors that typically come from a slow braise.
Serve with Kale Mashed Potatoes: Cook 2 cups frozen mashed potatoes (such as Ore-Ida Steam n' Mash) according to package directions. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups sliced Lacinato kale and ¼ cup sliced green onions; sauté 1 minute. Stir in ½ cup 2% milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add kale to potatoes; stir to combine. CALORIES 114; FAT 3.7g (sat 2.2g); SODIUM 229mg
Simple Sub: Use red wine vinegar in place of lemon juice in the salad dressing.
Serve with Simple Salad with Lemon Dressing: Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add 6 cups mixed greens, 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes, and 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes; toss to coat. CALORIES 71; FAT 5.2g (sat 0.7g); SODIUM 98mg
Time: 35 minutes
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the sautéed lamb mixture up to 3 days ahead, and then bake at 450° for 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
Serve with Roasted Cauliflower with Pine Nuts: Combine 8 cups cauliflower florets (1 large head), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper on a jellyroll pan; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 25 minutes or until browned, stirring once after 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts. SERVES 6 (serving size: about ¾ cup) CALORIES 94; FAT 6.8g (sat 0.9g); SODIUM 122mg
Time: 40 minutes
Make Ahead: Prep a day ahead: Poach eggs for 2 minutes instead of 3, strain, and refrigerate in cold water. Simmer gently for 1 minute just before serving.
Serve with Garlic-Parmesan Toasts: Preheat broiler to high. Combine 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt in a bowl. Arrange 4 (1-ounce) whole-grain bread slices on a baking sheet. Brush bread slices evenly with oil mixture; top with 1 ounce grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese. Broil 30 seconds or until cheese melts. SERVES 4 (serving size: 1 bread slice) CALORIES 117; FAT 4.4g (sat 1.6g); SODIUM 288mg