3 Simple budget dinners
TIP To buy meats and poultry smarter, don't buy specialized cuts; for example, a whole bird costs less per pound than all thighs or breasts.
RICE AND BEANS
1 cup quick-cooking brown rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chopped red onion
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
1 red pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 green pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 pint grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 (14.5-ounce) cans low-sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Cook rice according to package directions, omitting any fat or salt. Let rice sit, covered, until you are ready to serve it.
2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, onion, oregano, cumin and cayenne, and cook until somewhat softened, about 4 minutes.
3. Add green and red peppers and tomatoes, and cook until about half the tomatoes are split open, about 8 minutes.
4. Add the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of water, beans and salt to the pot; cook another 8 to 9 minutes, until there is a little thickened liquid in the pan, and the mixture is heated through. Serve over rice. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 375 calories, 14 g protein, 70 g carbohydrates, 14 g fiber, 5 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 436 mg sodium
HERB-AND-GARLIC ROAST CHICKEN
1 (6 1/2-pound) roasting chicken
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (any combination of fresh thyme, rosemary, parsley, etc.)
8 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a roasting pan and rack with cooking spray.
2. Finely chop the herbs and garlic together by hand or in a food processor. Combine in a small bowl with the salt.
3. Remove the package of giblets and neck from inside chicken, and trim excess fat. Starting at neck cavity, loosen the skin (without pulling it off) from the breast and drumsticks by gently pushing your fingers between the skin and meat.
4. Spread herb-garlic mixture evenly over surface of the meat and under the skin. Tuck the tips of the wings under the back, and tie the very ends of the drumsticks together with kitchen twine.
5. Sprinkle additional salt and black pepper over entire surface of bird. Place chicken, breast side up, in roasting pan.
6. Roast, basting once or twice with pan juices toward end of cooking, 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest part of thigh (and not touching the bone) registers 170 degrees. Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes before carving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.
Nutritional analysis per serving 345 calories, 37 g protein, 1 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 20 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 345 mg sodium
PENNE WITH BROCCOLI AND CHICKPEAS IN LEMON-GARLIC SAUCE
1 (14-ounce) package mixed-grain penne
1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 (15-ounce) cans low-sodium chickpeas
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting any fat and salt. In the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets.
2. Reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water, drain pasta and broccoli and toss with 1tablespoon of the olive oil.
3. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in small, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden. Stir in lemon juice until well combined; add chickpeas and reserved pasta water and cook, stirring, 2 minutes until chickpeas are heated through.
4. Remove from heat and toss with pasta. Stir in lemon zest, Parmesan, parsley, red pepper flakes and salt. Makes 6 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving 419 calories, 18 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 9 g fiber, 14 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 386 mg sodium