> Family Sunday
Prepare a roast chicken and serve it with gravy for a special family meal. Add mashed sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts garnished with crumbled bacon along with dinner rolls. For dessert, coconut macaroons and orange sherbet are a perfect combination.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken for Monday and enough sherbet for Friday.
Shopping list: Chicken to roast, gravy, sweet potatoes to mash, brussels sprouts, bacon, dinner rolls, coconut macaroons, orange sherbet.
> Heat and eat Monday
Cheesy chicken enchiladas (see recipe) make good use of leftover chicken. Serve the creamy dish with a lettuce wedge. Enjoy blueberries for dessert.
Shopping list: Reduced-fat four-cheese Mexican blend cheese, plain low-fat yogurt, buttery spread (such as Smart Balance), onion, garlic, black pepper, canned condensed reduced-fat cream of chicken soup (such as Healthy Request), canned chopped green chilies, fat-free whole-grain flour tortillas, cooking spray, 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, green onions, lettuce, blueberries.
> Meatless Tuesday
Canellini beans with sauteed fennel and blistered tomatoes (see recipe) is a delicious no-meat dish. Serve with (vegetarian) vegetable soup. Add crusty bread on the side. Cut some mango chunks for dessert.
Shopping list: Extra-virgin olive oil, grape tomatoes, coarse salt, black pepper, fennel bulb, garlic, crushed red pepper, canned cannellini beans, fresh basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, (vegetarian) vegetable soup, crusty bread, mangoes.
> Budget Wednesday
Red beans and rice keep the food budget in line. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 1 pound dried red kidney beans (rinsed and picked over), 1/2 pound andouille smoked chicken sausage (thinly sliced), 3 chopped celery ribs, 1 chopped green bell pepper, 1 medium chopped onion, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning and 7 cups hot water. Cover and cook on low 7 hours or until beans are tender. Spoon over brown rice and garnish with sliced green onions. (Adapted from Southern Living magazine.)
Serve with coleslaw and baguettes. For dessert, have banana pudding made with 1 percent milk.
Shopping list: Dried red kidney beans, andouille smoked chicken sausage, celery, green bell pepper, onion, garlic, Creole seasoning, brown rice, green onions, coleslaw, baguettes, banana pudding mix, 1 percent milk.
> Express Thursday
This is a good time of year for a summer salad platter. Arrange pickled beets, marinated vegetables, deli potato salad and deli chicken salad on a platter lined with lettuce. Serve with whole-grain bread. Juicy peaches are a delicious summertime dessert.
Shopping list: Pickled beets, marinated vegetables, deli potato salad and deli chicken salad, lettuce, whole-grain bread, fresh peaches.
> Kids Friday
Treat the kids (and the adults!) with these turkey burgers. In a medium bowl, combine 1 1/3 pounds ground turkey, 2 chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons white wine and herb chicken marinade (such as Lea & Perrins Marinade for Chicken), 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 teaspoon pepper. Divide into 5 (4-inch) patties. Heat a cast-iron skillet on medium-high. Cook patties 5 to 7 minutes per side or until no longer pink in the center. Serve on whole-grain buns with sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, lettuce and low-fat mayonnaise.
Add oven fries (frozen) and steamed carrots. Scoop the leftover sherbet for dessert.
Shopping list: Ground turkey, green onions, white wine and herb chicken marinade, garlic powder, pepper, whole-grain buns, tomatoes, avocado, lettuce, low-fat mayonnaise, frozen oven fries, carrots.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite friends for shrimp piccata (see recipe). Serve it over rice. Add sugar snap peas, a red tipped lettuce salad and sourdough bread.
Easy and elegant, tropical crepes are an impressive dessert. Combine 3 cups cut-up or sliced assorted fresh fruit (such as mango, papaya, kiwifruit, peaches) with 2 tablespoons each apricot or peach preserves and orange brandy or almond liqueur. Let stand 30 minutes to several hours. To assemble, spread 1/4 cup of fruit mixture on 4 or 5 ready-to-eat crepes; roll. Spoon chocolate sauce over the crepes. Serve immediately.
Shopping list: Flour, no-salt-added lemon-pepper blend, medium or large shrimp (tails on), olive oil, garlic, dry white wine, fat-free chicken broth, lemon, capers, butter, parsley, rice, sugar snap peas, red tipped lettuce, sourdough bread, assorted fresh fruit (such as mango, papaya, kiwifruit, peaches), apricot or peach preserves, orange brandy or almond liqueur, ready-to-eat crepes (sometimes found in the produce department), chocolate sauce.
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CHEESY CHICKEN ENCHILADAS (Monday)
Makes 8 enchiladas
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
2 1/2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) chicken breast
8 ounces reduced-fat 4 cheese Mexican blend cheese
1 2/3 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup melted buttery spread (such as Smart Balance)
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can condensed reduced-fat cream of chicken soup
1 (4- or 4.5-ounce) can drained chopped green chilies
8 (8-ounce) fat-free whole-grain flour tortillas
1/2 cup finely shredded 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup chopped green onions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first 9 ingredients in a large bowl (chicken through chilies). Remove 1 cup chicken mixture; set aside. Place about 1/2 cup remaining mixture in each tortilla; roll. Place seam side down in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread reserved 1 cup chicken mixture over enchiladas. Cover; bake 20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheese and green onions. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. (Adapted from "Cooking Light Comfort Food," Georgia Dodge, editor; Oxmoor House, $24.95.)
Per enchilada: 346 calories, 30g protein, 16g fat (39 percent calories from fat), 6g saturated fat, 25g carbohydrate, 65mg cholesterol, 754mg sodium, 3g fiber.
CANNELLINI BEANS WITH SAUTEED FENNEL AND BLISTERED TOMATOES (Tuesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes
1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
1 (1 1/2 -pound) fennel bulb
1 grated clove garlic
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 (19-ounce) cans rinsed cannellini beans
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
Heat a medium skillet on medium-high until hot. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Add tomatoes and cook 5 minutes, shaking the pan or until tomatoes are blistered and beginning to brown. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and a generous grinding of pepper; set aside.
Meanwhile, cut a thin slice from base of fennel. Remove any blemishes. Remove dark green stalks, but reserve enough fernlike tops (fronds) to make 1/4 cup chopped fronds. Cut the bulb and white part of stalks into 1/4 -inch slices, then cut into 1/4 -inch pieces. This is about 3 cups. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet until hot. Add fennel, chopped fennel fronds, garlic, crushed red pepper and remaining salt. Cook on medium for 5 minutes, stirring. Cover and cook on low 15 minutes or until fennel is very soft. Add the beans, blistered tomatoes, 2 tablespoons basil and more black pepper. Cook 5 minutes on medium-low heat, gently folding to combine, until heated through. Add 1/4 cup of the grated cheese. Spoon into serving dish; top with remaining basil and cheese. (Adapted from "Fresh & Fast Vegetarian," Marie Simmons; HMH, $17.95)
Per serving: 418 calories, 17g protein, 15g fat (31 percent calories from fat), 3.2g saturated fat, 56g carbohydrate, 9mg cholesterol, 1,246mg sodium, 17g fiber.
SHRIMP PICCATA (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 5 minutes
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon no-salt-added lemon-pepper blend
1 pound cleaned and deveined medium or large shrimp (tails on)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
Combine flour and pepper blend in a shallow dish. Toss shrimp in mixture until coated. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add shrimp and cook 2 or 3 minutes; turn and cook 1 more minute. Remove shrimp to a plate. Add garlic to skillet and cook 30 seconds. Stir in wine, broth, lemon juice and capers. Bring to simmer. Add shrimp and cook 1 minute more or until heated through. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and stir in parsley. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 211 calories, 17g protein, 10g fat (45 percent calories from fat), 4.3g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 158mg cholesterol, 871mg sodium, 1g fiber.