> Family Sunday
Gather the family for rosemary citrus chicken (see recipe). Serve the juicy chicken with brown rice and tiny green peas (frozen). Add crusty rolls. For dessert, serve a store-bought blueberry cobbler.
Plan ahead: Save four chicken breasts and some cobbler for Monday.
Shopping list: Boneless skinless chicken breast halves, salt, pepper, canola oil, shallots, garlic, oranges, fat-free chicken broth, butter, fresh rosemary, white wine vinegar, brown rice, frozen tiny green peas, crusty rolls, store-bought blueberry cobbler.
> Heat and eat Monday
Use the leftover chicken and make nontraditional grilled chicken and provolone cheese sandwiches. Chop the 4 leftover chicken breasts and mix with 1/3 cup golden raisins, 1/4 cup thinly sliced celery and 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise. Coat one side of 12 whole-grain bread slices with cooking spray. Place 6 slices, coated side down, on a nonstick skillet or griddle on medium. Place 1/2 thin slice of provolone cheese on each of the 6 bread slices. Spread bread with chicken mixture. Top with another half slice of cheese and remaining 6 bread slices (coated side up). Press down. Cook 3 to 4 minutes per side or until lightly browned.
Serve with deli carrot salad. Warm the leftover cobbler and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Golden raisins, celery, low-fat mayonnaise, whole-grain bread, cooking spray, sliced provolone cheese, deli carrot salad, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
> Kids Tuesday
You'd think they'd get tired of spaghetti and meatballs, but kids are sometimes resistant to change. Make them happy and cook some spaghetti, top it with their favorite red pasta sauce, and buy or make your own meatballs to go with the sauce. Sprinkle with freshly ground Parmesan cheese for some adult appeal. Make a chopped lettuce salad and add crunchy bread sticks. Top leftover ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert.
Shopping list: Spaghetti, red pasta sauce, ingredients for homemade or store-bought meatballs, Parmesan cheese, lettuce, bread sticks, chocolate syrup.
> Meatless Wednesday
Crustless vegetable quiche has great flavor without any meat. Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, beat 6 eggs with 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Whisk in 1 cup half-and-half and 1 cup 1 percent milk. Stir in 3 cups any cooked vegetables; 2 tablespoons minced basil; 1 cup grated Gruyere, Emmentaler, Gouda or cheddar cheese (or a mixture); and 1/2 cup (1 cup total) Parmesan. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Sprinkle another 1/2 cup Parmesan on top. Cover and cook on high 1 1/2 hours or until quiche is just set in center. Run a knife around edge of the quiche, cut into wedges and serve hot. (Adapted from "The French Slow Cooker," Michele Scicolone, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22.)
Add a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. Make instant vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk, stir in sliced bananas, and you have banana pudding for dessert.
Shopping list: Cooking spray, eggs, flour, salt, nutmeg, pepper, half-and-half, 1 percent milk, any cooked vegetables, fresh basil, Gruyere, Emmentaler, Gouda or cheddar cheese or a mixture, Parmesan, romaine, whole-grain rolls, instant vanilla pudding, bananas.
> Express Thursday
Make tonight a soup and sandwich night. Buy deli roast beef sandwiches and jazz them up with horseradish sauce. Serve the sandwiches with canned tomato soup and a packaged green salad. For dessert, plums are simple.
Shopping list: Deli roast beef sandwiches, horseradish sauce, canned tomato soup, packaged green salad, plums.
> Budget Friday
For an economical meal, serve catfish po-boys (see recipe) tonight. Serve with frozen oven fries. Coat them with cooking spray and salt and pepper to taste, and bake in a 425-degree oven 15 minutes or until tender. Serve with bell pepper sticks and olives. Try peaches for dessert.
Shopping list: Egg, catfish fillets, Italian seasoned bread crumbs, canola oil, long rolls or Italian bread, prepared pesto sauce, jar of roasted red peppers, lettuce, provolone cheese, frozen oven fries, cooking spray, salt, pepper, bell peppers, olives, peaches.
> Easy Entertaining Saturday
These onion and cherry-glazed pork chops (see recipe) would please any guest. Serve with mashed sweet potatoes, green beans, spinach salad and sourdough rolls. Sorbet is just the right, light dessert.
Shopping list: Well-trimmed boneless pork chops, garlic-pepper seasoning, olive oil, onions, light brown sugar, cornstarch, sweetened dried cherries, balsamic vinegar, sweet potatoes to mash, green beans, fresh spinach, sourdough rolls, sorbet.
ROSEMARY CITRUS CHICKEN (Sunday)
Makes 4 servings, plus 4 leftover chicken breasts
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 25 minutes
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), divided
Salt and pepper to taste
4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
1 clove minced garlic
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in large skillet on medium-high. Add 4 chicken breasts and cook 3 minutes per side until well-browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and tent with foil. Add another 1 1/2 teaspoons oil and the second 4 chicken breasts; cook on both sides as above. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook 4 more minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet and store according to the note below.
Add 1 teaspoon oil to skillet; add shallots and garlic. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute. Add juice and broth; bring to simmer. Cook 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Return the 4 partially cooked chicken breasts to skillet; reduce heat to low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer chicken to warmed platter. Stir in butter, rosemary and vinegar to sauce in skillet. Season with salt and pepper and spoon over chicken.
Note: Refrigerate the second batch of 4 chicken breasts for Monday.
Per serving: 222 calories, 34g protein, 6g fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.3g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 85mg cholesterol, 149mg sodium, no fiber.
CATFISH PO-BOYS (Friday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes
1 beaten egg
4 catfish fillets (about 4 ounces each)
1/2 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (4-inch) rolls, split, or Italian bread cut into 4-inch pieces
1/4 cup prepared pesto sauce, divided
8 roasted red pepper halves (from a jar)
8 lettuce leaves
4 thin slices provolone cheese, halved
In a shallow dish, place egg. Coat each fillet in egg, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Cook fillets, two at a time, 3 or 4 minutes per side or until golden and opaque in center. Drain on paper towels. Spread cut sides of rolls with pesto. On bottoms, layer red peppers, lettuce and provolone; top each with a catfish fillet. Place tops of rolls on fish.
Per serving: 519 calories, 35g protein, 21g fat (37 percent calories from fat), 6g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrate, 134mg cholesterol, 1,118mg sodium, 3g fiber.
ONION AND CHERRY-GLAZED PORK CHOPS (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 30 minutes
4 well-trimmed boneless pork chops ( 3/4 inch thick)
1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 small onions, sliced into thin rings
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup sweetened dried cherries
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Season chops with garlic-pepper seasoning. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chops 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove chops from skillet; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook onions in the same skillet in remaining oil, covered, 12 to 14 minutes or until onions are tender; stir occasionally. Stir in brown sugar. Increase heat to medium and cook 3 or 4 minutes more or until onions are lightly browned.
Meanwhile, stir together cornstarch, water, cherries and vinegar. Add to skillet; cook and stir until bubbly and slightly thickened. Add chops (and accumulated liquid) back to skillet and heat through.
Per serving: 345 calories, 36g protein, 13g fat (35 percent calories from fat), 4.1g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 100mg cholesterol, 116mg sodium, 2g fiber.