> Family Sunday
The family is in for a treat with roasted chicken on the menu. Pair it with macaroni salad. Cook 8 ounces macaroni according to directions; rinse and drain. In large bowl, whisk 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; stir in 1 tablespoon pickle relish, 1 grated carrot and 1 rib chopped celery. Stir into macaroni; toss to mix and refrigerate until serving time. Sprinkle with paprika before serving. Add asparagus, a green salad and dinner rolls.
No-bake cheesecake is a warm weather dessert. Beat 2 (8-ounce) packages of softened fat-free cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in 2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping (thawed) until blended. Spoon into 1 (6-ounce) graham cracker crust. Cover lightly and refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Top with fresh blueberries.
Plan ahead: Save 2 cups chicken and some cheesecake for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Chicken to roast, macaroni, low-fat mayonnaise, carrot, celery, cider vinegar, pickle relish, sugar, pepper, paprika, asparagus, salad greens, dinner rolls, fat-free cream cheese, pure vanilla extract, fat-free frozen whipped topping, graham cracker crust, fresh blueberries.
> Meatless Monday
Try not to lick your plate when you finish cheesy pasta (see recipe). It's that good. Serve with a spinach salad and garlic bread. Enjoy nectarines for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough cheesy pasta for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Whole-wheat or regular penne or bow tie pasta, broccoli florets, olive oil, onion, dry white wine, canned reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup (such as Healthy Request), Gruyere or Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, chives or green onions, fresh spinach, garlic bread, nectarines.
> Heat and eat Tuesday
Cheesy chicken pasta will be ready in no time. Mix the leftover pasta and the leftover chicken in a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low. Add a little low-sodium chicken broth or water to thin if necessary. Serve with mixed greens and Italian bread. Have a slice of leftover cheesecake for dessert?
Shopping list: Low-sodium chicken broth, salad greens, Italian bread.
> Kids Wednesday
When the kids hear that sloppy Joe meatball subs (see recipe) are for dinner, they will be at the table with big appetites. Serve the quick and easy meal with carrot salad. Kiwifruit is for dessert.
Shopping list: Lean ground beef, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, package sloppy Joe seasoning mix, canned no-salt-added tomato paste, submarine or other sandwich rolls, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, carrot salad, kiwifruit.
> Budget Thursday
For a low-cost dinner, salad pizza (see recipe) works just fine. Serve it with gazpacho. For dessert, serve a bowl of fresh blueberries.
Shopping list: Cooking spray, refrigerated or frozen pizza dough, part-skim ricotta cheese, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, Pecorino Romano cheese, pepper, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, gazpacho, fresh blueberries.
> Express Friday
Make it quick tonight with baked tomatoes with tuna salad for dinner. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Core large tomatoes; stuff with deli tuna salad, top with buttered panko bread crumbs and sliced almonds. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned. Add a packaged green salad and bread sticks. Apricots are an easy dessert.
Shopping list: Tomatoes, deli tuna salad, butter, panko bread crumbs, sliced almonds, packaged green salad, bread sticks, apricots.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite friends for simple but delicious steak with golden onions and horseradish sauce. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium-high until hot. Sprinkle 1 pound boneless trimmed sirloin steak with a little pepper. Add to skillet. Scatter 2 medium sliced onions around steak. Cook, turning steak once and stirring onions often, 12 minutes or until steak is medium-rare and onions are tender. Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons each prepared horseradish and sliced green onions and 1/4 teaspoon each pepper and sugar. Slice steak thinly against the grain. Serve with sauce.
Add roasted red potatoes, green beans and sourdough bread. Buy a blackberry cobbler for dessert and top with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Shopping list: Boneless sirloin steak, pepper, onions, reduced-fat sour cream, prepared horseradish, green onions, sugar, red potatoes, green beans, sourdough bread, blackberry cobbler, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
CHEESY PASTA (Monday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes, plus pasta
12 ounces whole-wheat or regular penne or bow tie pasta
6 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium finely chopped onion
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can reduced-fat, reduced-sodium cream of mushroom soup, such as Healthy Request
1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (4 ounces)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Freshly chopped chives or green onion tops
Cook pasta according to directions; add broccoli the last 3 minutes of boiling. Drain; rinse and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until reduced slightly. Add soup. Bring to boil on medium-high, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring, 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until smooth. Stir in mustard; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Spoon sauce over pasta and broccoli. Toss to mix. Garnish each serving with chives.
Per serving: 289 calories, 13g protein, 8g fat (23 percent calories from fat), 3.2g saturated fat, 42g carbohydrate, 17mg cholesterol, 258mg sodium, 8g fiber.
SLOPPY JOE MEATBALL SUBS (Wednesday)
Makes 4 subs
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
1 pound (93 to 95 percent) lean ground beef
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (1.31-ounce) package sloppy Joe seasoning mix
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
4 (6-inch) submarine or other sandwich rolls
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
In a large bowl, mix beef, garlic powder, 3/4 of the Italian seasoning and pepper. Shape into 16 (1 1/2 -inch) meatballs. Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet on medium 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add seasoning mix, tomato paste, water and remaining Italian seasoning; stir until smooth. Simmer 5 minutes. Place meatballs on rolls. Spoon sauce over meatballs; top with cheese.
Per sub: 516 calories, 38g protein, 13g fat (23 percent calories from fat), 4.8g saturated fat, 63g carbohydrate, 70mg cholesterol, 1,294mg sodium, 9g fiber.
SALAD PIZZA (Thursday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 pound refrigerated or frozen (thawed) pizza dough
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (1-pint) halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, sliced
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a 15 1/2 -by-10 1/2 -inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. With fingers, pat dough onto bottom and up sides of baking sheet. Spread ricotta on dough; sprinkle with mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and pepper. Place pan on rack in lower third of oven. Bake pizza 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and crust is browned. Top with tomatoes and basil to serve. (Adapted from Good Housekeeping magazine.)
Per serving: 405 calories, 20g protein, 13g fat (33 percent calories from fat), 5.8g saturated fat, 58g carbohydrate, 29mg cholesterol, 606mg sodium, 3g fiber.