Family day is a perfect time to serve your own roast chicken. Serve it with brown rice, gravy, broccoli and whole-grain bread. For dessert, serve fat-free strawberry ice cream in pretty dessert dishes.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and ice cream for Monday and cook enough rice for Monday and Wednesday.
Shopping list: Chicken to roast, brown rice, gravy, broccoli, whole-grain bread, fat-free strawberry ice cream.
> Heat and eat Monday
Take advantage of the leftover chicken and prepare spicy Thai chicken salad. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked leftover chopped chicken, 3 cups cooked brown rice, 6 cups coleslaw mix and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. In medium bowl, whisk together 1 1/4 cups Thai peanut sauce (bottled), 1/4 cup each canola oil and water. Add to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Garnish with 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts. Serve with onion soup and bread sticks. Scoop the leftover ice cream for dessert.
Shopping list: Coleslaw mix, fresh cilantro, bottled Thai peanut sauce, canola oil, dry roasted peanuts, onion soup, bread sticks.
> Budget Tuesday
Pork goulash (see recipe) is easy on the budget and easy on the cook. Serve with whole-grain noodles (such as Ronzoni Healthy Harvest), mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy fresh pineapple chunks for a light dessert.
Shopping list: Boneless pork shoulder (or loin), canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes, beef-onion soup mix (from a 2.2-ounce box), paprika, garlic, caraway seeds, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh dill, whole-grain noodles, salad greens, whole-grain rolls, fresh pineapple.
Plan ahead: save enough goulash for Thursday.
> Kids Wednesday
Follow Nickelodeon's Dora and Diego as they prepare Diego's meatball mountain range (see recipe), and the fun duo will teach us some Spanish along the way. Add chopped lettuce and soft rolls. The kids can help prepare instant fat-free chocolate pudding made with 1 percent milk to continue their cooking lesson.
Shopping list: Cooking spray, egg, onion, dry bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, 95 percent lean ground beef, meatless pasta sauce, whole-grain spaghetti, fresh broccoli, lettuce, soft rolls, instant fat-free chocolate pudding, 1 percent milk.
> Express Thursday
Heat the leftover goulash and spoon it over couscous. Add a packaged green salad and whole-grain bread. For a light dessert, try kiwifruit.
Shopping list: Couscous, packaged green salad, whole-grain bread, kiwifruit.
> Meatless Friday
Pasta with bean sauce is a no-fuss, no-meat entree. Cook a 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach. Stir in a 16-ounce can of rinsed cannellini beans and 2 cups no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce. Heat through. Stir into any cooked pasta. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.) Serve with a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. Munch on oatmeal cookies for dessert.
Shopping list: Frozen chopped spinach, canned cannellini beans, no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce, any pasta, lettuce, garlic bread, oatmeal cookies.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite guests for Mediterranean shrimp with penne (see recipe). Serve with an arugula salad and Italian bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.
Shopping list: Whole-grain penne pasta, medium or large uncooked shrimp, fresh broccoli, fat-free half-and-half, less-fat cream cheese, Mediterranean herb seasoning (such as McCormick's Perfect Pinch), coarse salt, parmesan cheese, arugula, Italian bread, fruit tarts.
Pork Goulash (Tuesday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Cooking time: 7 to 9 hours on low
2 pounds well-trimmed boneless pork shoulder (or loin)
1 (14.5-ounce) can undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 envelope beef-onion soup mix (from a 2.2-ounce box)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place pork. Stir in tomatoes, soup mix, paprika, garlic and caraway seeds. Cover and cook on low 7 to 9 hours or until pork is tender. Stir in sour cream and dill and serve.
Per serving: 234 calories, 27g protein, 10g fat (38 percent calories from fat), 3.6g saturated fat, 10g carbohydrate, 88mg cholesterol, 508mg sodium, 2g fiber.
Diego's Meatball Mountain Range (Wednesday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 25 minutes, plus pasta
1 lightly beaten egg
3 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup leftover cooked brown rice
3/4 pound 95 percent lean ground beef
2 1/2 cups meatless pasta sauce
8 ounces whole grain spaghetti
1 to 2 cups large cooked fresh broccoli florets
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2 1/2 -quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine egg, onion, bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon parmesan, Italian seasoning and salt. Add rice and beef; mix well. On a piece of waxed paper, flatten meat mixture into a 1-inch-thick square. Cut the square into a grid to make 20 equal pieces. Kids can help here: Roll each piece into a meatball. Arranged in prepared dish and bake about 15 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat pasta sauce on low. Transfer cooked meatballs to sauce and wipe out baking dish. Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Transfer spaghetti to baking dish. Add about 1/2 cup sauce without meatballs; toss to coat. Arrange remaining sauce and the meatballs on spaghetti in center of dish. Kids can help here: Arrange broccoli around edges to look like trees. Loosely cover with nonstick foil and bake 5 minutes. Top with remaining cheese and serve. Note: Cut broccoli in small pieces before serving. (Adapted from "Dora and Diego Let's Cook"; Raina Moore, senior editor; Wiley, $16.95.) Per serving: 323 calories, 22 grams protein, 7 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 546 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
Mediterranean Shrimp With Penne (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 5 minutes, plus pasta
8 ounces whole-grain penne pasta
1 pound uncooked medium or large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups fresh small broccoli florets
1 cup fat-free half-and-half
4 ounces less-fat cream cheese, cubed
2 teaspoons Mediterranean herb seasoning (such as McCormick's Perfect Pinch)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta according to directions, adding shrimp and broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain. Meanwhile, bring half-and-half to simmer in a small saucepan on medium. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add cream cheese, Mediterranean herb seasoning and salt; whisk until cheese is melted and sauce is well blended (about 5 minutes total). Spoon pasta, shrimp and broccoli into serving bowl. Add sauce; toss to coat. Sprinkle with parmesan. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 418 calories, 34g protein, 9g fat (18 percent calories from fat), 4.3g saturated fat, 54g carbohydrate, 188mg cholesterol, 706mg sodium, 7g fiber.