Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
Each of these dinners reheats beautifully on the stove or in the microwave, and keeps well in the refrigerator for several days.
TUSCAN CHICKEN STEW
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
3 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 cups (not packed) torn kale (about 7 ounces)
1. Combine the flour, basil, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl; toss with chicken and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side.
3. Add the tomatoes, broth and olives and bring to a gentle simmer. Stir in the carrots and kale (adding the kale in batches as needed) and simmer until carrots are tender, about 25 minutes. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 376 calories, 27 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 16 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 679 mg sodium
1 pound lean ground beef
5 cups bottled tomato and basil marinara sauce, divided
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) container
4 cups reduced-fat shredded mozzarella, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
12 precooked (no boil or oven ready) lasagna noodles
1 (10-ounce) box chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Brown the beef in a nonstick skillet (with no added fat). Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups tomato sauce.
3. Beat the eggs with a fork in a medium bowl; stir in the ricotta, 3cups of the mozzarella and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.
4. Spread 1 cup of sauce (without meat) in prepared baking dish. Top with 4 slightly overlapping noodles. Spread with half the cheese mixture, then the meat mixture. Top with a layer of 4 noodles; spread with remaining cheese, then 11/2 cups of sauce and spinach. Top with remaining noodles; spread with remaining sauce, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
5. Cover loosely with foil and bake until bubbly, 50 minutes. Uncover and bake until top cheese is melted and golden, 5 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Makes 12 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 354 calories, 29 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 15 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 802 mg sodium
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 (8-ounce) zucchini, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
2 (15-ounce) cans diced
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
Black and cayenne pepper
1. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 3 minutes.
2. Add red pepper and zucchini, and cook, stirring occasionally,
3 to 4 minutes; add tomatoes, beans, sugar, chili powder, cumin and oregano. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer 30 minutes, until thick. Season with salt, black and cayenne peppers. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 252 calories, 13 g protein, 42 g carbohydrates, 15 g fiber, 4 g fat, 0 saturated fat, 455 mg sodium