Menu Planner: Perfect poached salmon offers lively taste and fulfilling satisfaction

Try this recipe, which makes four servings of perfect poached salmon.

Daniel J. van Ackere/America’s Test Kitchen

Perfect poached salmon

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 11 to 16 minutes


1 lemon, sliced into thin rounds

4 sprigs fresh parsley

1 shallot, thinly sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup water

4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless salmon fillets, 1 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Arrange lemon slices in single layer across bottom of 12-inch skillet. Top with parsley sprigs and shallot; add wine and water. Pat salmon dry with paper towels; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place fish, skinned side down, on top of lemon slices in skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook, adjusting heat as needed to maintain gentle simmer, 11 to 16 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 125 degrees (for medium-rare). Remove skillet from heat and carefully use spatula to transfer salmon and lemon slices to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Discard poaching liquid. Carefully lift and tilt fillets to remove lemon slices and transfer to plates; serve. (Adapted from “Foolproof Fish,” America’s Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 258 calories, 42 grams protein, 9 grams fat (33% calories from fat), 1.6 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 93 milligrams cholesterol, 392 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 0.

Grilled Southwestern steak with vegetables

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 6 hours to overnight

Cooking time: 12 to 19 minutes; for vegetables: about 8 minutes

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1/4 cup mild salsa

1 tablespoon chopped garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 3/4 teaspoons cumin, divided

3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, divided

1 beef top round, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 medium red or green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips

8 ounces sliced white mushrooms

2 cups sliced zucchini

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup finely chopped tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped green onions

Combine lime juice, salsa, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in small bowl. Place steak and marinade in resealable plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours to overnight, turning occasionally. Remove steak; discard marinade. Place steak on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 12 to 14 minutes (or 16 to 19 minutes on medium preheated gas grill), turning once, for medium-rare doneness. Do not overcook.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper strips; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add mushrooms, zucchini, 3/4 teaspoon cumin, salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper; cook and stir 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add tomatoes and green onions; cook and stir 1 minute.

Carve steak into thin slices; season with salt to taste. Serve with vegetables.

Per serving: 229 calories, 28 grams protein, 10 grams fat (40% calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 6 grams carbohydrate, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 242 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 0.5.

Linguine with cranberries and gorgonzola

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 5 minutes plus pasta


8 ounces whole-grain or other linguine

1 tablespoon butter

4 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1/4 cup half-and-half

1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup shelled toasted pistachios or walnuts

Chopped parsley for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low; add Gorgonzola and stir. Once cheese is melted, add half-and-half and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cook on low 2 to 3 minutes. Drain pasta and place in a large serving dish. Add sauce; toss to mix. Top with nuts and garnish with parsley. (Adapted from a recipe by Romina-Baritta De Franchi,

Per serving: 457 calories, 15 grams protein, 18 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 9.3 grams saturated fat, 62 grams carbohydrate, 38 milligrams cholesterol, 537 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Carb count: 4.

Chicken and brown rice bake

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups leftover rice, 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas (thawed), 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast, 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/2 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt, 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds, 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon tarragon. Spoon into baking dish. Cover; bake 25 to 30 minutes or until hot throughout. Add a lettuce wedge and crusty rolls.

Chicken quesadillas

On one half of each of 4 (8-inch) whole-grain flour tortillas, spread 1/4 cup shredded 50% light cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro and 1 teaspoon canned chopped mild green chiles. Fold over other half of each tortilla; press down gently. One at a time, brown in a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high 2 minutes per side or until golden and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve with canned fat-free vegetarian refried beans and carrot sticks.

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