> Family Sunday
Buy a ham to bake and accompany it with rice, zucchini and corn casserole (see recipe). Add a romaine salad and multigrain bread. Make or buy an apple pie for dessert and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ham for Monday; save enough pie for Tuesday and some ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: Ham to bake, canola oil, zucchini, onion, eggs, brown rice, canned corn, canned chopped green chilies, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, crumbled queso fresco or reduced-fat feta cheese, cooking spray, romaine, multigrain bread, apple pie, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
> Budget Monday
Be money-wise and prepare chicken cordon bleu bake (see recipe) for a low-cost entree. Serve it with mixed greens and sourdough bread. For dessert, fresh pineapple is light.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken bake for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Red potatoes, canned condensed less-sodium less-fat cream of chicken soup, skim milk, chicken breast tenders or strips, fresh broccoli florets, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, fresh parsley, garlic, cooking spray, salad greens, sourdough bread, fresh pineapple.
> Heat and eat Tuesday
Heat the leftover chicken bake and dinner is ready in no time. Add green beans and whole-grain rolls to round out the meal. A slice of leftover pie would be good for dessert.
Shopping list: Green beans, whole-grain rolls.
> Meatless Wednesday
I'm always looking for an easy recipe for risotto, and this microwave recipe for tomato-basil risotto (see recipe) caught my attention. Serve it with a spinach salad with cooked egg wedges and red bell pepper rings. Add cheese toast. For an easy dessert, try orange sections.
Shopping list: Vegetable broth, dry white wine, fresh basil, olive oil, shallot, arborio rice, tomatoes, coarse salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, eggs, red bell pepper, cheese and bread for cheese toast, orange sections.
> Express Thursday
You can have a quick dinner with Asian sauce over penne pasta. Cook a 16-ounce package of frozen Asian vegetables. Stir in 1 cup bottled peanut stir-fry sauce and spoon over cooked penne pasta. Serve with a packaged green salad and bread sticks. Kiwifruit is good for dessert.
Shopping list: Packaged frozen Asian vegetables, bottled peanut stir-fry sauce, penne pasta, packaged green salad, bread sticks, kiwi.
> Kids Friday
Have fun with the kids for a sloppy hot dog night. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium. Cook 1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper for 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce and 1 pound fat-free hot dogs (cut into 1/4 -inch pieces). Simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into 8 split whole-grain hot dog buns. Serve with carrot and celery sticks.
Add a mixed berry smoothie. Combine 1 pint raspberry sorbet, 3/4 cup each raspberries and blackberries, 1/2 cup blueberries and 2 cups 1 percent milk in a blender. Puree until smooth; strain seeds and serve.
Tip: Use fresh or frozen berries (no need to thaw frozen ones).
Shopping list: Canola oil, yellow bell pepper, barbecue sauce, no-salt-added tomato sauce, fat-free hot dogs, whole-grain hot dog buns, carrot and celery sticks, raspberry sorbet, fresh or frozen raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, 1 percent milk.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Make it a casual entertaining evening with grilled burgers on whole-grain buns on the menu. On the side, add dilly potato salad. Cook 1 1/2 pounds quartered red potatoes in boiling water 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/4 pound fresh green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces, to potatoes; cook 2 minutes and drain. In a large bowl, toss potatoes and beans, 1 (2-ounce) can sliced, drained black olives and 1/4 cup each thinly sliced celery and chopped onion. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, 1 teaspoon less-sodium seasoned salt, 1/4 cup fresh chopped dill and 1 teaspoon ground mustard. Add to vegetables; toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours; toss before serving.
Add deviled eggs, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, mayonnaise (low-fat) and Dijon mustard. Make butterscotch sundaes for dessert with leftover ice cream and butterscotch topping.
Shopping list: Burgers, whole-grain buns, red potatoes, fresh green beans, canned sliced black olives, celery, onion, white wine vinegar, less-sodium seasoned salt, fresh dill, ground mustard, deviled eggs, tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, low-fat mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, butterscotch topping.
RICE, ZUCCHINI AND CORN CASSEROLE (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 egg whites
3 cups cooked brown rice
1 (7-ounce) can rinsed corn
2 (4-ounce) cans drained chopped green chilies
2 cups shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 ounces crumbled queso fresco or reduced-fat feta cheese
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Add zucchini and onion; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes or until zucchini is softened. Remove from heat; set aside. In a large bowl, beat eggs and egg whites with a fork; stir in cooked rice, corn, chilies, cheeses and zucchini mixture. Mix well. Pour into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Per serving: 241 calories, 15g protein, 9g fat (32 percent calories from fat), 4.4g saturated fat, 27g carbohydrate, 73mg cholesterol, 392mg sodium, 4g fiber.
CHICKEN CORDON BLEU BAKE (Monday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 tablespoon water
1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can condensed less-sodium less-fat cream of chicken soup
1/2 cup skim milk
1 pound chicken breast tenders or strips
12 ounces fresh broccoli florets
4 ounces leftover ham, cut into 1/2 -inch chunks
1 cup reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove minced garlic
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine potatoes and water in a large bowl; microwave on high for 3 or 4 minutes or until potatoes are tender; drain. In a small bowl, mix soup and milk until smooth. Add soup mixture, chicken and remaining ingredients to potatoes; mix well. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, 50 to 55 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink.
Per serving: 208 calories, 25g protein, 5g fat (20 percent calories from fat), 2g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 50mg cholesterol, 386mg sodium, 3g fiber.
TOMATO-BASIL RISOTTO (Wednesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 20 minutes
2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium minced shallot
2 cups arborio rice
3 medium tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat broth and wine over medium-high until bubbles form around edge of pan. Meanwhile, coarsely chop basil. In a large microwave-safe dish, combine 1/4 cup basil, oil and shallot. Cook, uncovered, on high 1 minute or until shallot softens. Add rice and stir to coat. Cook on high 1 minute. Stir broth into rice. Cover and cook on medium (50 percent power) 15 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring once.
Meanwhile, chop tomatoes. Stir tomatoes, salt and pepper into rice mixture. Cover and cook on high 3 to 4 minutes or until rice is tender but still firm; stir once. Stir in Parmesan and remaining basil. Serve immediately.
Note: To lower sodium, use water instead of broth.
Per serving: 293 calories, 8g protein, 7g fat (20 percent calories from fat), 2.2g saturated fat, 45g carbohydrate, 9mg cholesterol, 1,394mg sodium, 2g fiber.