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3 Simple dishes you can make with what's in your pantry

Caramelized onions top a healthful mixture of low

Caramelized onions top a healthful mixture of low sodium canned chickpeas, canned tomatoes, and frozen mixed vegetables cooked in just a touch of curry and served over whole wheat couscous. Credit: Marge Perry

CURRIED CHICKPEAS AND COUSCOUS

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 medium onions, very thinly sliced (about 2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup orange juice

1 cup whole-wheat couscous

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon curry powder

1 (10-ounce) box frozen mixed vegetables

1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, drained

1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until golden and very soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out the skillet.

2. Meanwhile, bring the orange juice and 3/4 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan; stir in the couscous, remove from heat, cover and let stand.

3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet and place it over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and curry powder and cook, stirring, 15 seconds. Add the mixed vegetables and tomato and cook, breaking up frozen chunks, until the vegetables are heated and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and cook until they are heated through, about 2 more minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Use the tines of a fork to scrape the couscous onto a platter. Top with the chickpea mixture and spoon the onions over the top. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 410 calories, 17 g protein, 72 g carbohydrates, 17 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 392 mg sodium

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BLACK BEANS AND BROWN RICE

1 cup quick-cooking brown rice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (8-ounce) bag frozen chopped onion and green peppers, thawed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 (15-ounce) can lower-sodium black beans

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and juices reserved

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar

1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

1. Cook the rice according to package directions.

2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add cumin, salt, frozen onion-pepper mix and corn. Cook, stirring, 2 minutes, until vegetables are warm. Stir in black beans and tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Add vinegar, stir and cook 1 minute.

3. Serve beans over rice and top with cheese. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 390 calories, 15 g protein, 66 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber, 8 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 729 mg sodium

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LENTIL SOUP

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

2 ribs celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped in 1/4-inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup lentils

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup orzo pasta

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat oil in soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrots, coriander and cumin and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are somewhat softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add lentils and 4 cups water and bring to boil.

2. Immediately reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, until lentils are nearly, but not fully, cooked. Add tomatoes and bring to boil. Add orzo and simmer until it is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional analysis for each serving: 389 calories, 18 g protein, 62 g carbohydrates, 19 g fiber, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 784 mg sodium

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