Make it an easy family day meal and buy a smoked turkey breast. Serve it with Atlanta cookbook author Virginia Willis' macaroni salad (see recipe). Add green beans, sliced tomatoes and whole-grain rolls. Treat the family to carrot cake for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough turkey for Monday. Save enough macaroni salad and cake for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Smoked turkey breast, whole-grain elbow or rotini pasta, low-fat mayonnaise, reduced-fat sour cream, sugar, coarse salt, celery seed, black pepper, celery, carrots, Vidalia or other sweet onion, baby spinach, frozen edamame, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, green beans, tomatoes, whole-grain rolls, carrot cake.
Use the leftover turkey in turkey enchiladas (see recipe) for a great-tasting way to save your food dollars. Serve them with sliced avocados on lettuce. Have some fresh blueberries for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough enchiladas for Thursday.
Shopping list: Package of sliced mushrooms, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, red onion, canned diced green chilies, whole-grain tortillas, cooking spray, salsa, avocados, lettuce, blueberries.
Visit the deli and buy roast beef sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes. Serve the sandwiches with leftover macaroni salad. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.
Shopping list: Deli roast beef sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes.
Skip meat tonight for garlicky tomatoes and olives with whole-grain spaghetti (see recipe). Serve it with a spinach salad and Italian bread. Peaches make an easy dessert.
Shopping list: Whole-grain spaghetti, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, pitted kalamata olives, flatleaf parsley, coarse salt, pepper, reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, fresh spinach, Italian bread, peaches.
Heat and eat Thursday
Here's an easy dinner-prep story: Heat the leftover enchiladas, add a packaged green salad and finish with fresh tropical fruits for dessert. The end.
Shopping list: Packaged green salad, fresh tropical fruits.
The kids will love walnut-crusted chicken tenders (so did we!). Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together crumbs from 6 whole-grain crackers, 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper; place in pie plate or other flat pan; set aside. In another pie plate, whisk 1 egg white until foamy. Place 3 tablespoons flour in third flat pan. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Coat 1 pound chicken tenders in flour, then egg white and finally cracker mixture. Lightly coat chicken on each side with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on wire rack; bake 18 to 20 minutes, turning after 12 minutes. (Adapted from Southern Living magazine.) Add a carrot salad. Pears are a perfect dessert.
Shopping list: Whole-grain crackers, walnuts, paprika, coarse salt, pepper, egg, flour, cooking spray, chicken tenders, carrot salad, pears.
Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite guests for simple and tasty herbed baked tilapia. Place 4 tilapia fillets on 4 pieces of 12-by-18-inch heavy-duty foil. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan herb seasoning. Bring up foil sides; double-fold top and ends to tightly seal, leaving space for air circulation. Grill over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Serve with rice pilaf, fresh zucchini, a bibb lettuce salad and crusty bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.
Shopping list: Tilapia fillets, coarse salt, pepper, Parmesan herb seasoning, rice pilaf, fresh zucchini, bibb lettuce, crusty bread, fruit tarts.
** ** **
>MACARONI SALAD (Sunday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes; cooling time: 2 1/4 hours
Cooking time: For the pasta
1 1/2 cups whole-grain elbow or rotini pasta
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 ribs finely chopped celery
2 small shredded carrots
1/2 small finely chopped Vidalia or other sweet onion
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen edamame (thawed)
1/4 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Cook pasta according to directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl to cool for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, sugar, salt, celery seed and pepper; mix well. To the cooled noodles: add celery, carrots, onion, spinach, edamame and mayonnaise mixture; stir well to combine. Cover; refrigerate until cold (at least two hours). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese just before serving. (Adapted from Eating Well magazine.)
Per serving: 179 calories, 8g protein, 4g fat (21 percent calories from fat), 1.7g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrate, 10mg cholesterol, 384mg sodium, 4g fiber.
** ** **
>TURKEY ENCHILADAS (Monday)
Makes 7 enchiladas
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: About one hour
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
3 to 4 cups shredded leftover turkey (see note)
3 cups shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 (4-ounce) can drained diced green chilies
7 (7- to 8-inch) whole-grain tortillas
2 cups salsa
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave mushrooms on high three minutes; drain. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, turkey, 2 1/2 cups cheese, sour cream, onion and green chilies. Spoon about 1 cup of turkey mixture into each tortilla; roll. Place each roll, seam side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread salsa on top. Cover with nonstick foil; bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Remove cover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake five more minutes or until cheese melts.
Note: For the meat, you can also use canned or cooked chicken breast.
Per enchilada: 470 calories, 39g protein, 19g fat (36 percent calories from fat), 10.1g saturated fat, 37g carbohydrate, 98mg cholesterol, 1,029mg sodium, 4g fiber.
** ** **
>GARLICKY TOMATOES AND OLIVES WITH WHOLE-GRAIN SPAGHETTI (Wednesday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About five minutes, plus spaghetti
1 (13.25-ounce) package whole-grain spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves minced garlic
2 medium seeded tomatoes (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed flatleaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese
Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Return to pot. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add garlic; cook one minute. Add tomatoes and olives; cook three minutes or until tomatoes are softened and heated through. Add tomato mixture to spaghetti. Stir in remaining oil and parsley. Add salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with feta cheese. (Adapted from "Poor Girl Gourmet," Amy McCoy, Andrews McMeel Publishing)
Per serving: 376 calories, 11g protein, 15g fat (35 percent calories from fat), 2.5g saturated fat, 52g carbohydrate, 5mg cholesterol, 560mg sodium, 8g fiber.