Take the family outside for grilled chicken. Serve it with avocado potato salad (see recipe). While the grill is hot, add some zucchini (sliced lengthwise) and bell pepper halves to round out the plate. Add crusty rolls. For dessert, buy or make blueberry cobbler and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough potato salad for Monday (Labor Day). Save enough ice cream for Monday and Saturday.
Shopping list: Chicken to grill, lemon, garlic, low-fat mayonnaise, olive oil, red potatoes, celery, Vidalia or other sweet onion, ripe avocado, cilantro, zucchini, bell peppers, crusty rolls, blueberry cobbler, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Celebrate Labor Day with ancho chile rubbed and pulled pork (see recipe). Serve it on whole-grain buns. Add leftover potato salad and this watermelon and cucumber salad. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups diced watermelon, 2 cups chopped tomatoes, 2 cups chopped (seeded and peeled) cucumber, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese, 1/4 cup chopped and toasted walnuts; toss gently. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. (Adapted from "The Kentucky Fresh Cookbook," Maggie Green; University Press of Kentucky.) For dessert, top the leftover ice cream with caramel sauce.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork and buns for Tuesday. Save enough caramel sauce for Wednesday and enough watermelon for Thursday.
Shopping list: Bone-in pork shoulder roast (pork butt), ancho chile powder, paprika, black pepper, ground mustard, ground coriander, dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, coarse salt, Worcestershire Ground Black Pepper Blend, fat-free chicken broth, garlic, whole-grain buns, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, crumbled feta cheese, walnuts, olive oil, caramel sauce.
>Heat and eat Tuesday
No one will mind eating leftover pulled pork for dinner. Serve it on leftover buns with dill pickle slices. Add baked chips and coleslaw. Juicy nectarines are good for dessert.
Shopping list: Dill pickle slices, baked chips, coleslaw, nectarines.
The kids can help prepare beef pita folds. In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream and 1 tablespoon salsa. Divide and spread 1/2 cup guacamole over inside of 4 trimmed 6-inch diameter pita breads (heat pita in microwave for 10 seconds to make them more flexible). Divide and stuff with 2 cups shredded lettuce, 3/4 cup chopped tomato and 6 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef. Top with salsa mixture; sprinkle with 3/4 cup 50 percent reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with pinto beans. For dessert, make instant chocolate pudding with 1 percent milk and drizzle pudding with leftover caramel sauce.
Shopping list: Reduced-fat sour cream, salsa, guacamole, pita breads, lettuce, tomato, deli roast beef, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, pinto beans, instant chocolate pudding, 1 percent milk.
Make it quick tonight with Montreal turkey burgers. Add 1 tablespoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning with 25 percent less sodium to 1 pound of ground turkey until well-blended. Shape into 4 patties. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through (165 degrees in center). Toast whole-grain rolls on grill (30 seconds). Spread buns with low-fat mayonnaise and add sliced red onion. Serve with deli pasta salad and sliced tomatoes and lettuce. How about leftover watermelon for dessert?
Shopping list: Montreal Chicken Seasoning with 25 percent less sodium, ground turkey, whole-grain rolls, low-fat mayonnaise, red onion, deli pasta salad, tomatoes, lettuce.
With its good flavor and simplicity, you can't go wrong with macaroni soup with beans and cabbage. Cook 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1 medium thinly sliced onion, 1 pound thinly sliced savoy cabbage, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until cabbage begins to wilt, stirring often. Add 4 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth, 2 (19-ounce) cans rinsed cannellini beans and 1 1/2 cups water; heat to boiling. Add macaroni; heat through and serve. Make a spinach salad and top with sliced hard-cooked eggs and tomato wedges. Serve with crusty bread. For dessert, try fresh plums.
Shopping list: Elbow macaroni, canola oil, onion, savoy cabbage, garlic, pepper, vegetable broth, canned cannellini beans, fresh spinach, eggs, tomatoes, crusty bread, fresh plums.
>Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite special guests for pan-seared Arctic char with olives and potatoes (see recipe). Serve it with sugar snap peas. Add a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread.
For dessert, make summer fruit parfaits. In tall, stemmed glasses, layer sliced peaches, blueberries and sliced strawberries with leftover fat-free vanilla ice cream. Garnish with a fresh mint leaf.
Shopping list: Red potatoes, Arctic char fillets, olive oil, fresh rosemary, kalamata olives, flatleaf parsley, balsamic vinegar, lemon, sugar snap peas, bibb lettuce, sourdough bread, peaches, blueberries, strawberries, fresh mint.
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AVOCADO POTATO SALAD (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds cooked, diced red potatoes
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/3 cup chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 large diced ripe avocado
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Cilantro sprigs for garnish
For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and garlic; stir in mayonnaise and oil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, celery and onion. Just before serving, fold in avocado and cilantro. Stir in dressing to coat. Garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Per serving: 166 calories, 3g protein, 8g fat (40 percent calories from fat), 1g saturated fat, 23g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 96mg sodium, 4g fiber.
** ** **
ANCHO CHILE RUBBED AND PULLED PORK (Monday)
Makes 12 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 hours
4 pounds well-trimmed bone-in pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon each black pepper, ground mustard, ground coriander, dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, chili powder, coarse salt and Worcestershire Ground Black Pepper Blend
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
6 cloves garlic
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Cut roast into 2 pieces. In a small bowl, combine ancho chile powder, paprika, black pepper, ground mustard, ground coriander, dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and Worcestershire Blend; mix well. Cover both roasts with half of the rub. (Store remaining rub in an airtight container for another time.) Line a roasting pan with foil, leaving enough foil on the ends to fold up and seal; place pork in center of foil. Pour broth over pork and sprinkle with garlic. Bring edges of foil together; fold to seal. Cover pan with another piece of foil. Bake 5 hours. Cool slightly; shred and serve.
Per serving: 226 calories, 21g protein, 15g fat (59 percent calories from fat), 5.1g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrate, 71mg cholesterol, 224mg sodium, 1g fiber.
** ** **
PAN-SEARED ARCTIC CHAR WITH OLIVES AND POTATOES (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 6 minutes for char; potatoes: about 10 minutes
3/4 pound small red potatoes, sliced 1/4 -inch thick
4 Arctic char fillets (about 5 ounces), skin on (see Notes)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 3 inches long
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
3 tablespoons roughly chopped flatleaf parsley leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 lemon wedges
Cook potatoes 5 to 6 minutes in boiling water or until tender; drain and set aside. Pat fish dry. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high until hot. Arrange fish skin-side down so fillets fit without touching. Cook undisturbed 3 minutes. Turn; cook 2 or 3 more minutes or until cooked through. With a slotted spatula, transfer to serving platter. Add remaining oil to pan; heat until hot. Add potatoes and rosemary and cook, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add olives, parsley and balsamic vinegar and stir gently to heat. Remove rosemary sprigs. Arrange potato mixture around the fish. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve. (Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.)
Notes: Use salmon if desired. Look for photo of the recipe on www.makingthemenu.com.
Per serving: 388 calories, 33g protein, 21g fat (48 percent calories from fat), 2g saturated fat, 16g carbohydrate, 66mg cholesterol, 378mg sodium, 2g fiber.