> Family Sunday
The family will be surprised to learn the secret ingredient in Tuscan beef stew (see recipe). Serve the savory combination with green beans, a spinach salad and toasted Italian bread. For dessert, lemon sherbet is simple.
Plan ahead: Save enough stew and sherbet for Monday.
Shopping list: Pickling spice, flour, beef stew cubes, carrots, onion, garlic powder, fresh rosemary, salt, canned diced tomatoes, dry red wine or low-sodium beef broth, green beans, fresh spinach, Italian bread, lemon sherbet.
Heat and eat Monday
Heat the leftover stew and spoon it over no-yolk noodles for a no-brainer dinner. Add a lettuce wedge and multigrain bread. Scoop some leftover sherbet for dessert.
Shopping list: No-yolk noodles, lettuce, multigrain bread.
> Meatless Tuesday
Make this easy Mediterranean wrap and forget about meat tonight. For each wrap: Place a fat-free burrito-sized flour tortilla on a flat surface. In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup salad greens, 1/4 cup halved cherry tomatoes, 1/4 medium peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives and 1 thin slice red onion; mix well and spread on tortilla. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese and 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette. Bring bottom of tortilla to top. Fold sides over.
Serve the vegetable combo with deli potato salad and hard-cooked egg wedges. Slice Asian pears for a crunchy dessert.
Shopping list: Fat-free burrito-sized flour tortillas, salad greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, red onion, reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, light vinaigrette, deli potato salad, eggs, Asian pears.
> Kids Wednesday
Kids can have a spelling bee with chicken alphabet soup with peas (see recipe). Serve the fun soup with celery sticks stuffed with reduced-fat peanut butter. Add cheese toast. Slices of watermelon make a slurpy dessert.
Shopping list: Alphabet or other small pasta, butter, carrots, celery, low-sodium chicken broth, cooked chicken, frozen peas, salt, pepper, reduced-fat peanut butter, cheese and dense white bread for cheese toast, watermelon.
> Express Thursday
Make a barbecue pizza for a quick meal. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spoon refrigerated honey hickory barbecue sauce with shredded pork from a 20-ounce container (such as Lloyd's or another brand) onto a large, ready-to-heat pizza crust. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat jalapeno cheese and 6 green bell pepper rings. Bake according to pizza crust directions. Serve with a packaged green salad and peaches.
Plan ahead: Save 1 cup shredded pork for Friday.
Shopping list: Refrigerated honey hickory barbecue sauce with shredded pork (such as Lloyd's or another brand), ready-to-heat pizza crust, 50 percent reduced-fat jalapeno cheese, green bell pepper, packaged green salad, peaches.
> Budget Friday
Combine and heat 1 cup leftover shredded pork with 1 (15-ounce) can chili beans for pork-bean burgers. Spoon onto toasted sesame seed buns. Top with dill pickle slices. Serve with potato wedges (frozen) and a lettuce and tomato salad. Plums are dessert.
Shopping list: Canned chili beans, sesame seed buns, dill pickle slices, frozen potato wedges, lettuce, tomatoes, plums.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite friends for sea scallops with pineapple salsa. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Coat 1 pound sea scallops with cooking spray and then with salt and pepper. Add half the scallops to skillet; sear 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat with remaining scallops.
For the salsa: Combine 1 cup diced (small) fresh pineapple, 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper, 2 tablespoons diced red onion, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, 1 tablespoon minced ginger root and 1 tablespoon olive oil; mix well and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill at least one hour and serve with scallops.
Add lemon orzo with peas and mushrooms (see recipe), a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes to your guest meal. Buy a coconut cake for dessert.
Shopping list: Sea scallops, cooking spray, salt, pepper, fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, red onion, fresh basil, ginger root, olive oil, orzo, coarse salt, frozen petite green peas, butter, lemon, fresh mint, Boston lettuce, baguettes, coconut cake.
> THE RECIPES
TUSCAN BEEF STEW (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 7 hours on low
2 tablespoons pickling spice (see note)
2 tablespoons flour, divided
2 pounds well-trimmed beef stew cubes (1 inch)
4 carrots, cut into 1/2 -inch slices
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon salt
2 (14 1/2 -ounce) cans undrained diced tomatoes
1 cup dry red wine or low-sodium beef broth
1 tablespoon water
Place pickling spice in the center of a piece of cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Tie tightly with a long piece of string; set aside. Add beef to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour and toss to coat. Add carrots, onion, garlic powder, rosemary, salt, tomatoes and wine or broth; mix together. Add pickling spice bundle (with string hanging out of cooker); cover. Cook on low 7 hours. Remove pickling spice bundle. Thicken stew by mixing remaining flour with 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in several tablespoons of hot liquid from stew, then stir flour mixture into stew. Cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until stew thickens slightly, and serve.
Note: Look for pickling spices with the other spices.
Per serving: 240 calories, 24g protein, 8g fat (31 percent calories from fat), 3g saturated fat, 13g carbohydrate, 71mg cholesterol, 646mg sodium, 2g fiber.
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CHICKEN ALPHABET SOUP WITH PEAS (Wednesday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 10 minutes
1 1/2 cups alphabet or other small pasta
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium finely chopped carrots
2 ribs finely chopped celery
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups cooked chopped chicken
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
Salt and pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to directions; drain and set aside. Melt butter or margarine in a medium pan. Add carrots and celery and cook on medium 7 to 10 minutes or until softened. Stir in broth, chicken, cooked pasta and peas. Bring to boil; season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
Per serving: 251 calories, 17g protein, 6g fat (20 percent calories from fat), 2.1g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrate, 31mg cholesterol, 478mg sodium, 4g fiber.
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LEMON ORZO WITH PEAS AND MINT (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: Less than 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 3 cups water to boil. Stir in orzo and salt; cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes. Add peas and cook 5 more minutes or until water is absorbed and pasta is tender. Add butter, lemon juice and lemon zest; stir to blend. Sprinkle with mint. Serve immediately. (Adapted from "Essentials of Healthful Cooking"; Chuck Williams; Oxmoor House; $34.95.)
Per serving: 210 calories, 7g protein, 5g fat (20 percent calories from fat), 2.5g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrate, 10mg cholesterol, 377mg sodium, 2g fiber.