For family day, grill pork chops your way. This summer potato salad is a great accompaniment. Gently toss together cooked quartered small red potatoes with any cooked tiny green peas, refrigerated pesto and lemon juice. Sprinkle with cooked, crumbled bacon. (Adapted from Southern Living magazine.) Add tomato wedges, deviled eggs and multigrain bread. Buy or make blackberry cobbler for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough cobbler for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Pork chops to grill, red potatoes, any tiny green peas, refrigerated pesto, lemon, bacon, tomatoes, deviled eggs, multigrain bread, blackberry cobbler.
Chicken-stuffed potatoes (see recipe) is easy on the food budget and the cook. Serve the stuffed spuds with a spinach salad and bread sticks. Enjoy cherries for dessert.
Plan ahead: Bake extra potatoes and save some of the chicken mixture for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Potatoes to bake, olive oil, green onions, fennel seeds, ground chicken breast, red bell pepper, Asian Sriracha sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh spinach, bread sticks, cherries.
Heat and eat Tuesday
Tonight's chicken wraps are easy. Heat the leftover chicken, spoon onto a warm fat-free flour tortilla and garnish with reduced-fat sour cream and chopped chives. Cut the leftover baked potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray and a little chili powder and bake in a 425-degree oven until hot. Add fresh steamed zucchini. For dessert, heat the leftover cobbler and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: Fat-free flour tortillas, reduced-fat sour cream, chives, cooking spray, chili powder, fresh zucchini, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
For all the Wisconsin cheese lovers: Here's the heartland sandwich (see recipe), which is sure to please. Serve with a mixed green salad. How about blueberries for dessert?
Shopping list: Extra-virgin olive oil, butter, sweet onion, coarse salt, ground pepper, tomatoes, whole-grain bread, aged cheddar cheese and baby Swiss cheese (such as Wisconsin), salad greens, blueberries.
Kids will love stove-top penne pasta, and so will you. Cook 12 ounces penne pasta according to directions; add 1 (12-ounce) package fresh broccoli florets the last 4 minutes of cooking. Mix 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce and 1/2 cup (1 cup total) part-skim ricotta cheese in a large pan; cook on medium-low until hot. Drain pasta and broccoli; return to pot. Add sauce mixture to pasta and mix well. Immediately add 4 ounces diced part-skim mozzarella, 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan. Stir until mozzarella melts. Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with more chopped parsley and more parmesan. Top with dollops of remaining 1/2 cup ricotta. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.)
Serve with carrot salad and soft rolls. Try popsicles for a cool dessert.
Shopping list: Penne pasta, package fresh broccoli florets, jar marinara sauce, part-skim ricotta cheese, part-skim mozzarella, fresh parsley, parmesan, carrot salad, soft rolls, Popsicles.
Make peppery egg heroes for a quick, no-meat meal. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium 1 minute. Add 1 large chopped sweet onion and cook, covered, 10 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 1 chopped red bell pepper to onion in skillet. Pour eggs over vegetables; cover and cook 8 minutes, or until almost set, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded provolone cheese; cover and cook 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Spoon mixture into 4 split hero or sandwich rolls. (Adapted from Good Housekeeping magazine.)
Serve with corn-on-the-cob and a lettuce wedge. Slice honeydew melon for dessert.
Shopping list: Cooking spray, sweet onion, eggs, salt, black pepper, red bell pepper, provolone cheese, hero or sandwich rolls, corn-on-the-cob, lettuce, honeydew melon.
Easy entertaining Saturday
Greek-style shrimp with cannellini beans (see recipe) is perfect for company. Serve it with mixed greens and baguettes. Baked bananas make an excellent finish to a wonderful meal. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 medium bananas crosswise in half; cut each half lengthwise in half. Place cut sides up in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Combine 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon allspice and brush over bananas. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup packed brown sugar. Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until bananas are hot. Spoon into dessert dishes. Top with fat-free leftover vanilla ice cream.
Shopping list: Medium uncooked shrimp, canned cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh or frozen green beans, kalamata olives, olive oil, lemons, garlic, pepper, dried oregano, reduced-fat or fat-free feta cheese, salad greens, baguettes, bananas, butter, allspice, brown sugar.
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CHICKEN-STUFFED POTATOES (Monday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes
4 baking potatoes (6 to 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 bunch green onions, sliced; 1/4 cup dark green tops reserved
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 pound ground chicken breast
1 medium chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoon Asian Sriracha sauce (see NOTE)
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce and microwave potatoes on folded paper towels 5 minutes per pound total weight. Place potatoes in oven (to crisp skins) and bake 5 to 8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add onions and fennel seeds and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken, bell pepper and sauce. Cook 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink throughout; stir occasionally. To assemble: Split each potato and fill with chicken mixture. Top with sour cream; garnish with green onion tops.
Note: Sriracha is a generic name for a Thai hot sauce made from sun-ripened chilies, which are ground into a smooth paste along with garlic. (Si Racha is a town in Thailand.)
Per serving: 370 calories, 32g protein, 9g fat (22 percent calories from fat), 3.2g saturated fat, 39g carbohydrate, 81mg cholesterol, 162mg sodium, 5g fiber.
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HEARTLAND SANDWICH (Wednesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 20 minutes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons softened butter, divided (see note)
1 thinly sliced sweet onion
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 tablespoon water
2 large tomatoes, cut 1/4 inch thick
8 slices whole-grain bread
4 slices aged cheddar cheese, such as Wisconsin (1 ounce each)
4 slices baby Swiss cheese, such as Wisconsin (1 ounce each)
Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; add oil and 1 teaspoon butter and then sliced onions. Stir to coat; cook without stirring for 2 minutes. Add pinch of salt and pepper, lower heat to medium, and continue cooking 5 to 8 minutes or until onions start to brown. Add water and stir to remove any brown bits from pan. Transfer onions to bowl. Wipe skillet and heat again on medium. Lightly butter one side of each slice of bread with remaining butter. Place one slice, butter side down, in pan and top with a slice of cheddar, then tomato and some of the reserved onions, then Swiss cheese. Top with another slice of bread, butter side up. Grill each sandwich about 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned and cheese begins to melt.
Note: To reduce the calories and fat, coat bread with cooking spray for grilling.
Per serving: 472 calories, 22g protein, 30g fat (57 percent calories from fat), 16.6g saturated fat, 30g carbohydrate, 70mg cholesterol, 553mg sodium, 6g fiber.
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GREEK-STYLE SHRIMP AND CANNELLINI BEANS (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
1 (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed cannellini beans
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
6 ounces fresh or frozen (thawed) green beans, halved
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon each pepper and dried oregano
Reduced-fat or fat-free feta cheese and lemon wedges for garnish
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except cheese and lemon; toss to coat. Lay 4 (16-inch) pieces heavy-duty foil on counter. Divide shrimp mixture evenly and spoon onto foil; bring opposite sides together; double-fold foil. Repeat with other two sides. Place packets, sealed side up, on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake 15 minutes; open one pack to check doneness of shrimp. If shrimp are not opaque throughout, reseal packet and bake 5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer contents to plates; sprinkle with feta and serve with lemon.
Per serving: 294 calories, 24g protein, 11g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 1.6g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrate, 168mg cholesterol, 572mg sodium, 7g fiber.