> Family Sunday
Prepare a delicious leg of lamb for family day dining. Serve it with Mediterranean bulgur and lentils (see recipe). Add a romaine salad and flatbread. For dessert, slice angel food cake and top it with fresh strawberries.
Plan ahead: Save enough lamb and strawberries for Monday; save enough cake for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Leg of lamb, bulgur (cracked wheat), green lentils, cumin, coarse salt, garlic, canned no-salt-added or regular whole kernel corn, vegetable broth, tomatoes, canned sliced black olives, crumbled fat-free feta cheese, romaine, flatbread, angel food cake, strawberries.
> Heat and eat Monday
Make lamb sandwiches on rosemary (or another) bread. Spread the bread with goat cheese and layer it with leftover lamb slices, roasted red peppers and spinach leaves. Serve with baked chips. Drizzle chocolate syrup over the leftover strawberries for dessert.
Shopping list: Rosemary (or another) bread for sandwiches, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, spinach, baked chips, chocolate syrup.
> Meatless Tuesday
Prepare penne with ricotta, arugula and basil for a flavorful no-meat meal. Cook 1 pound penne pasta according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water and drain pasta. In a large bowl, mix 8 ounces reduced-fat ricotta, 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
Heat another tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1 (5-ounce) package baby arugula (coarsely chopped) and 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil. Toss with tongs about 2 minutes or until wilted. Transfer mixture to the bowl with the ricotta and mix well. Add the hot pasta to the ricotta mixture and toss to coat. Add reserved cooking water as needed to moisten the pasta. Serve; pass more Parmesan at the table.
Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Top leftover cake with fat-free chocolate ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Friday.
Shopping list: Penne pasta, reduced-fat ricotta, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon, coarse salt, pepper, packaged baby arugula, fresh basil, mixed greens, garlic bread, fat-free chocolate ice cream.
> Budget Wednesday
Ground beef reuben melts (see recipe) are low cost. Serve the sandwiches with pickled beets. Enjoy tropical fruits for dessert.
Shopping list: 93 to 95 percent lean ground beef, onion, garlic, refrigerated sauerkraut, dark rye bread, reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, pickled beets, tropical fruits.
> Express Thursday
Pick up a rotisserie chicken and serve it with deli pasta salad and coleslaw. Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, try kiwifruit.
Plan ahead: Buy enough pasta salad for Friday. Prepare Friday's meatloaf tonight if time permits.
Shopping list: Rotisserie chicken, deli pasta salad and coleslaw, whole-grain rolls, kiwifruit.
> Kids Friday
Let the kids help prepare Italian tacos. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound lean ground beef, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 cup Italian bread crumbs, 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup minced onion and 1 cup red pasta sauce. Mix well, pressing into an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan. Bake 1 hour or until the temperature is 160 degrees in center of loaf. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Slice into 6 slices.
For the tacos: crumble each slice into a warmed taco shell. Top with additional warmed pasta sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese.
Serve with leftover pasta salad. Add carrot sticks. For dessert, you have leftover ice cream.
Shopping list: Lean ground beef, eggs, Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, onion, red pasta sauce, taco shells, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, carrot sticks.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Your guests will enjoy farfalle with salmon and mint (see recipe). Serve the combo with a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread. For dessert, buy fruit tarts to keep it simple.
Shopping list: Farfalle pasta (bow tie), butter, leek, fat-free chicken broth, coarse salt, pepper, skinless salmon fillet ( 3/4 to 1 inch thick), lemon, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh mint, Bibb lettuce, sourdough bread, store-bought fruit tarts.
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MEDITERRANEAN BULGUR AND LENTILS (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 3 to 4 hours on low; 15 minutes on high
1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed and sorted
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 cloves minced garlic
1 (15.25-ounce) can no-salt-added or regular whole kernel corn, rinsed
2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth
2 medium chopped tomatoes
1 (2 1/4 -ounce) can sliced black olives, rinsed
1 cup crumbled fat-free feta cheese
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine bulgur, lentils, cumin, salt, garlic, corn and broth. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hours. Stir in tomatoes and olives. Increase heat to high; cover and cook 15 more minutes. Sprinkle each serving with cheese. (Adapted from "Betty Crocker The Big Book of Slow Cooker, Casseroles & More," Grace Wells, Editor; Wiley Publishing, $19.95.)
Per serving: 181 calories, 11g protein, 2g fat (8 percent calories from fat), 0.2g saturated fat, 34g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 822mg sodium, 6g fiber.
GROUND BEEF REUBEN MELTS (Wednesday)
Makes 6 sandwiches
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 15 minutes
1 pound 93 to 95 percent lean ground beef
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 cup undrained refrigerated sauerkraut
6 slices dark rye bread, toasted
1/2 cup reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing
6 thin slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
Heat a medium nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add beef, onion and garlic and cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, or until beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. Meanwhile, heat broiler. In 1-quart saucepan, heat sauerkraut; drain. Arrange toasted sliced bread on broiler pan. Stir salad dressing into beef mixture. Spoon mixture evenly onto bread slices. Top each with sauerkraut and cheese. Broil 4 to 6 inches from heat 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
Per sandwich: 289 calories, 26g protein, 11g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3.9g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrate, 54mg cholesterol, 663mg sodium, 3g fiber.
FARFALLE WITH SALMON AND MINT (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes, plus pasta
12 ounces farfalle pasta (bow tie)
1 tablespoon butter
1 large leek, white and light green part only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise (about 2 cups)
1 1/4 cups fat-free chicken broth, divided
1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper
12 ounces skinless salmon fillet ( 3/4 to 1 inch thick)
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup sliced fresh mint
Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add leek, 1/2 cup broth and the salt and pepper; bring to simmer and cook 1 minute. Place salmon on leeks; cover. Cook on medium 5 minutes or until leeks are tender and salmon is cooked through. Remove salmon to plate. Add remaining 3/4 cup broth and zest to skillet; bring to simmer. Break up salmon. Place in pasta pot with drained pasta, leek mixture, sour cream and mint. Toss to mix.
Per serving: 349 calories, 21g protein, 8g fat (21 percent calories from fat), 3.4g saturated fat, 47g carbohydrate, 42mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 2g fiber.