Creamy Sausage and Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Serves 4.

Note: This family-friendly pasta, loaded with Italian sausage and broccoli, is quick, easy and has only one pot to clean, which makes it the perfect choice for a busy night. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 lb. sweet or spicy Italian bulk sausage

• 3 c. chopped broccoli

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

• 4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

• 12 oz. dried conchiglie, penne, farfalle or other short pasta

• 1/2 c. heavy cream

• 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

• 1 tbsp. lemon juice


Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it apart, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Add broccoli, garlic and red pepper flakes and continue to cook, stirring, until the garlic becomes fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a plate.

Add the pasta and the broth to the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until just not quite tender, 7 to 9 minutes. Return sausage/broccoli mixture and cream and continue to cook, stirring occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking, until pasta and broccoli are tender and sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve with extra Parmesan on the side.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 890

Carbohydrates 86 g

Protein 42 g

Fat 43 g

Saturated fat 17 g

Cholesterol 90 mg

Sodium 920 mg

Total sugars 5 mg

Dietary fiber 6 g

Exchanges per serving: 5½ starch, 4 high-fat protein, 1 fat.


Cold Tahini Vegetable Noodle Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts

Serves 6.

Note: Using crunchy vegetables that won’t wilt and reserving some of the dressing to add to the leftover noodle salad before enjoying it the next day ensures it will be just as delicious on Day 2 as it was on Day 1. Tahini paste is made from ground sesame seeds. It’s often used in Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes and can often be found in the condiment aisle of the grocery store. To toast pine nuts, warm in a dry saucepan until fragrant and slightly brown, stirring often. From Meredith Deeds.

• 1 lb. dried spaghetti

• 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1/2 c. tahini paste (see Note)

• 1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice

• 1 1/2 tsp. honey

• 3 garlic cloves, minced

• 3/4 tsp. salt

• 2 c. roughly chopped snow peas

• 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

• 1 c. shredded carrots

• 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese

• 1/2 c. toasted pine nuts (see Note)


Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain pasta again and transfer to a large bowl. Add the oil and toss to coat.

To make dressing, in a small bowl combine the tahini, lemon juice, 1/3 cup cold water, honey, garlic and salt. Add a tablespoon or two more of water if dressing seems too thick.

Add the vegetables and 1 cup of the tahini dressing to the noodles, and toss to coat. Garnish with the feta, pine nuts and serve.

To enjoy leftovers the next day: store leftover noodle salad and reserved dressing separately, along with the cheese and pine nuts, covered in the refrigerator. To serve, add as much dressing to salad as is necessary to moisten it and garnish with the feta and pine nuts.

Nutrition information per serving, using 1 cup of the dressing for all 6:

Calories 610

Carbohydrates 79 g

Protein 20 g

Fat 25 g

Saturated fat 5 g

Cholesterol 11 mg

Sodium 645 mg

Total sugars 7 mg

Dietary fiber 8 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 4 starch, ½ carb, ½ high-fat protein, 3½ fat.

Chicken Tinga

Makes about 9 cups.

Note: This saucy Mexican chicken filling makes enough for a few meals and freezes beautifully. Use in tacos, burritos, salads, quesadillas or in classic chicken tortas (see recipe). From Meredith Deeds.

• 4 large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (about 4 lb.)

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

• 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

• 1 medium white onion, chopped

• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 2 tsp. dried oregano (preferably Mexican)

• 1/2 tsp. ground cumin

• 1 1/2 c. low-sodium chicken stock

• 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

• 2 to 3 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, finely chopped, plus 1 tbsp. sauce from can

• 2 tbsp. cider vinegar


Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large plate.

Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and cumin, and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

Add stock, tomatoes and chipotle chiles and bring to a boil. Add browned chicken and reduce heat to low. Simmer, turning the chicken occasionally, until chicken registers 150 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 25 to 35 minutes. Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and bones and thoroughly shred chicken meat (there should be no big chunks).

While chicken is cooling, continue cooking the sauce over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thickened and reduced by about half, about 15 to 20 minutes. Add the shredded chicken and vinegar, and bring to a bare simmer, over very low heat, for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring, or sauce coats the shredded chicken. Use for tacos, burritos, tortas, etc.

To freeze the chicken: Cool it to room temperature. Transfer to 2-cup or 1-quart sized freezer containers; freeze up to 2 months. Place frozen chicken tinga container/s in large bowl filled with hot water about 5 minutes or until filling can be slid out of container into a saucepan. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Nutrition information per ½ cup:

Calories 110 Fat 3 g

Sodium 245 mg Saturated fat 1 g

Carbohydrates 7 g Total sugars 2 mg

Protein 16 g Cholesterol 42 mg

Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 2 lean protein.


Chicken Tinga Tortas

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Note: Tortas are Mexican sandwiches made in crusty rolls, and in this case, filled with spicy Chicken Tinga. Avocado slices, crunchy cabbage and a cilantro-lime mayo round out this satisfying sandwich. From Meredith Deeds.

• 2 c. shredded cabbage (red, green or a combination)

• 4 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro, divided

• 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, divided

• Pinch of salt

• 1/4 c. mayonnaise

• 2 tbsp. sour cream

• Avocado slices

• Crumbled Cotija cheese

• Red onion slices

• 4 crusty sandwich rolls (ciabatta, French, etc.), sliced and toasted

• 2 1/2 c. Chicken Tinga (see recipe), warmed


Place cabbage in a medium bowl. Add 3 tablespoons cilantro, 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro and remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice.

To assemble the sandwiches: Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of each roll. Divide the Chicken Tinga among the rolls. Top with avocado, Cotija, red onion, slaw and top half of roll. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 545 Fat 29 g

Sodium 1,020 mg Saturated fat 7 g

Carbohydrates 42 g Total sugars 7 mg

Protein 31 g Cholesterol 80 mg

Dietary fiber 7 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 vegetable, 2 starch, 3 lean protein, 4 fat.