> Family Sunday
Celebrate family time with grilled ancho-rubbed flank steak. In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt, brown sugar and ancho chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; rub mixture all over surface of 1 (1-to 1 1/2 -pound) flank steak. Grill 17 to 21 minutes for medium-rare to medium-doneness. Remove from grill; let stand 5 minutes before carving across the grain. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)
Serve with roasted red potatoes, green beans, mixed greens and baguettes. Fat-free strawberry ice cream is good for dessert.
Plan ahead: Prepare enough steak and save some ice cream for Monday.
Shopping list: Coarse salt, brown sugar, ancho chili powder, cumin, black pepper, flank steak, red potatoes, green beans, salad greens, baguettes, fat-free strawberry ice cream.
> Heat and eat Monday
Make steak salad with the leftover steak. Mix a packaged green salad with rinsed canned cannellini beans, sliced beets (can or jar) and crumbled blue cheese; toss with a light vinaigrette and top with slices of leftover steak. Add tomato basil soup and bread sticks. For dessert, scoop the leftover ice cream.
Shopping list: Packaged green salad, canned cannellini beans, sliced beets, crumbled blue cheese, light vinaigrette, tomato basil soup, bread sticks.
> Budget Tuesday
Enjoy chili-orange chicken (see recipe) for its flavor and lower cost. Serve it with brown rice, a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, try fresh tropical fruits.
Shopping list: Mild enchilada sauce, barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle), chili powder, cumin, bone-in skinless chicken breasts, bone-in skinless chicken thighs, orange marmalade, cilantro, orange, brown rice, lettuce, whole-grain rolls, fresh tropical fruits.
> Kids Wednesday
Round up the kids for cowboy casserole (see recipe). Serve with crunchy carrot sticks and soft rolls. For dessert, serve your little dudes Nutella fruit tarts. Spread Nutella (hazelnut spread with skim milk and cocoa) on graham crackers. Top with sliced strawberries and peaches.
Shopping list: Lean ground beef, onion, green bell pepper, canned navy beans, mild salsa, bacon, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, cooking spray, carrot sticks, soft rolls, Nutella, graham crackers, strawberries, peaches.
> Meatless Thursday
For a no-meat dinner, try caramelized onion-stuffed potatoes. Bake the potatoes. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 2 thinly sliced onions, 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, covered, about 20 minutes or until tender. Stir occasionally. Uncover, cook and stir over medium-high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until onions are golden. Slash potato tops; stuff with onions. (Adapted from Family Circle magazine.)
Serve with a spinach salad and whole-grain bread. Make instant chocolate pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert. Stir some sliced bananas into the pudding to boost the flavor.
Shopping list: Potatoes to bake, butter, onions, brown sugar, salt, fresh spinach, whole-grain bread, instant chocolate pudding, 1 percent milk, bananas.
> Express Friday
We're always in the mood for a quick turkey Reuben sandwich. Heat broiler. Place 8 slices rye bread on a baking sheet. Coat one side of each slice with cooking spray; turn slices. Top evenly with some reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing. On 4 slices, divide and layer 1/2 pound deli sliced turkey, 1/2 pound reduced-fat sliced Swiss cheese and 1 cup refrigerated, rinsed (squeezed dry) sauerkraut. Top with remaining bread, placing dressing side next to sauerkraut. Broil 2 minutes or until browned, turning once.
Serve with pickled beets. Munch on apple slices for dessert.
Shopping list: Rye bread, cooking spray, reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing, deli sliced turkey, reduced-fat sliced Swiss cheese, refrigerated sauerkraut, pickled beets, apple slices.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite your best friends for delicious dilly shrimp salad (see recipe). Serve the pretty combo salad with a red leaf lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Buy a cheesecake for dessert and top it with strawberry sauce.
Shopping list: New potatoes or red potatoes, reduced-fat sour cream, green onions, fresh dill, lemon, red bell pepper, salt, black pepper, cooked deveined shrimp, red leaf lettuce, sourdough bread, cheesecake, strawberry sauce.
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CHILI-ORANGE CHICKEN (Tuesday)
Makes 8 (3-ounce cooked weight) servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 7 hours
3/4 cup mild enchilada sauce
1/4 cup barbecue sauce (such as Sweet Baby Ray's Honey Chipotle)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 pound bone-in skinless chicken breasts
2 to 2 1/2 pounds bone-in well-trimmed skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons orange zest
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, mix together enchilada sauce and barbecue sauce. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder and cumin. Rub all over chicken. Add chicken to slow cooker and turn to coat. Cover and cook on low 5 to 7 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Turn off cooker; remove chicken (discard bones) to serving platter. Skim fat from sauce. Stir marmalade into sauce until blended. Stir in cilantro and zest. Pour over chicken on platter. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.)
Per serving: 222 calories, 26g protein, 8g fat (33 percent calories from fat), 2.1g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrate, 86mg cholesterol, 321mg sodium, 1g fiber.
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COWBOY CASSEROLE (Wednesday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 50 minutes
1 pound 93 to 95 percent lean ground beef
1 small chopped onion
1 small chopped green bell pepper
2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed navy beans
1 cup mild salsa
4 slices cooked crumbled bacon, divided
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef, onion and bell pepper for 10 minutes on medium heat or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are softened; drain well. Stir in beans and salsa. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon half the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half the bacon and half the cheese. Pour remaining bean mixture over cheese. Top with remaining bacon and cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Per serving: 269 calories, 26g protein, 7g fat (24 percent calories from fat), 3.3g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrate, 43mg cholesterol, 774mg sodium, 6g fiber.
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DILLY SHRIMP SALAD (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 15 minutes; refrigeration time: several hours to overnight
2 pounds new potatoes or red potatoes
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound cooked deveined shrimp with shells and tails removed
Place potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with cold water. Cover pan; bring to boil. Cook 15 minutes or until potatoes are pierced easily with the tip of a sharp knife. Drain; let cool slightly until you can handle. Cut into quarters.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, green onions, dill, lemon juice, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cut shrimp in half; add to dressing mixture and stir well. Add potatoes and stir well. Cover and refrigerate several hours to overnight. (Adapted from "Potato Salad," Debbie Moose; Wiley Publishing; $16.95.)
Per serving: 365 calories, 25g protein, 9 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 5g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrate, 197mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 6g fiber.