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What's for Dinner? Warming meals for autumn chill

By Beverly Glaze

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The abundance of autumn squash in the grocery stores inspired two of three vegetarian dishes this week. Zucchini and yellow squash, as well as red peppers, lima beans and corn, star in colorful Autumn Vegetable Succotash. Black beans add protein power to Butternut Squash with Black Beans. Spinach salad rounds out a meal headlined by a filling Baked Lentil Casserole.

Roast several whole chicken or chicken pieces and pull the meat off the bones to provide the chicken for two cool-weather classics, Chicken and Broccoli Bake and Chicken and Dumplings. Recipes for both perennial favorites usually include canned condensed soup. Try these recipes made with easy, from-scratch sauces instead.

Autumn Vegetable Succotash

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

     1/4  cup olive oil

     1    cup onion, diced

     2     cloves garlic, minced

     2    cups bell pepper, red, diced

     2    cups zucchini, diced

     2    cups summer squash yellow, diced

     3    cups lima beans (frozen)

     3    cups corn kernels (frozen)

ADD oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.

ADD onion, cook until transparent. Add garlic, bell peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, lima beans and corn.

SEASON as desired; cook, stirring until vegetables are tender.

SERVE with hot whole-wheat French bread and frozen yogurt for dessert.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 340 calories, 16 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 20 milligrams sodium, 5 grams total carbohydrate, 8 grams dietary fiber, 14 grams sugars, 8 grams protein.

Butternut Squash with Black Beans

Makes 6 servings. Recipe from Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Program.

     1     butternut squash (small)

     1     teaspoon vegetable oil

     1     small onion, chopped

     1/4     teaspoon garlic powder

     1/4  cup red wine vinegar

     1/4  cup water

     2    16-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

     1/2     teaspoon oregano

HEAT the squash in a microwave on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. This will soften the skin. Carefully peel the squash with a vegetable peeler or small knife.

CUT the squash in 1/2-inch cubes. In a large pan, heat the oil. Add onion, garlic powder and squash.

COOK for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add vinegar and water. Cook on low heat until the squash is tender, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and oregano. Cook until the beans are heated through.

SERVE with a green salad and whole-wheat dinner rolls.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 120 calories, 1 gram total fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 28 grams total carbohydrates, 8 grams dietary fiber, 3 grams sugars, 6 grams protein.

Baked Lentils Casserole

Makes 5 servings. Recipe from University of Wyoming, Cooperative Extension Service.

     1    cup lentils, rinsed and dry

     3/4  cups water

     1/2     teaspoon salt

     1/4     teaspoon pepper (optional)

     1/2  cup onion, chopped

     1/4     teaspoon garlic powder (optional)

     1    16-ounce can tomatoes

     2     carrots, thinly sliced

     1/2  cup cheddar cheese, shredded

COMBINE lentils, water, seasonings, onion and tomatoes.

PLACE in a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

REMOVE from oven and add carrots, stir. Cover and bake 30 minutes longer. Remove foil and sprinkle cheese on top.

BAKE uncovered 5 minutes, until cheese melts.

SERVE with a spinach salad and raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 210 calories, 4 grams total fat, 3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 32 grams total carbohydrate, 14 grams dietary fiber, 5 grams sugars, 13 grams protein.

Chicken and Broccoli Bake

Makes 4 servings. Recipe from Produce for Better Health, Connecticut Department of Public Health and Social Services.

     1    cup rice, uncooked

     1     package broccoli, frozen (10 ounces)

     3    cups chicken, cooked and cubed

     2     tablespoons margarine or butter

     1/4  cup flour

     2    cups chicken broth

     1/4  cup Parmesan cheese (optional)

COOK rice in 2 cups water. Let broccoli thaw.

MELT butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour to melted butter and stir. The mixture will be lumpy. Slowly add the chicken broth to butter/flour mixture.

STIR to remove lumps and thicken. Add cheese and stir. Add rice, broccoli and chicken. Stir.

PUT in a casserole pan and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

SERVE with steamed peas and carrots.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 340 calories, 10 grams total fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 1 gram trans fat, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 920 milligrams sodium, 22 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugars, 38 grams protein.

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

Makes 8 dumplings. Recipe from University of Illinois Extension Service.

     4     tablespoons flour, all-purpose

     4     tablespoons water

     2    cups chicken broth

     2    cups chicken, cooked and diced

     1/2     teaspoon salt

     1    dash black pepper

Dumplings:

     2/3  cup all-purpose flour

     1     teaspoon baking powder

     1/2     teaspoon salt

     4     tablespoons nonfat milk

MIX 4 tablespoons flour and water in a pan until smooth. Slowly stir in broth.

COOK over medium heat until thickened. Add chicken, salt and pepper.

Make dumplings:

COMBINE 2/3 cup flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Stir in milk until dough forms.

DROP dumpling dough from a tablespoon onto a gently boiling chicken mixture, making 8 dumplings.

COVER pan tightly and cook slowly for 15 minutes without lifting the lid.

Nutrition information: Per serving: 580 calories, 16 grams total fat, 5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 130 milligrams cholesterol, 1,560 milligrams sodium, 48 grams total carbohydrate, 2 grams dietary fiber, 2 grams sugars, 56 grams protein.

Programs and activities offered by the West Virginia University Extension Service are available to all persons without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, veteran status, political beliefs, sexual orientation, national origin and marital or family status. This material was funded, in part, by the USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nutrition assistance to people with limited income. To find out more, contact your local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Shopping list

Onions

Garlic

Red bell pepper

Zucchini

Carrots

Yellow summer squash

Butternut squash

Lima beans (frozen)

Corn kernels (frozen)

Broccoli (10-ounce frozen package)

Red wine vinegar

Black beans, 2 cans

Nonfat milk

Lentils

Rice

Tomatoes (16-ounce can)

Chicken broth

Chicken

Parmesan cheese

Cheddar cheese

Pantry staples: olive oil, all-purpose flour, vegetable oil, garlic powder, oregano, butter, baking powder

Beverly Glaze has a master's degree in human nutrition and food science and is a WVU Extension specialist in the FNP adult program. Reach her at Beverly.Glaze@mail.wvu.edu or 304-634-8449.


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