The family will enjoy the wonderful flavor of Mexican chicken salad (see recipe), a cool, refreshing main dish. Serve it with corn-on-the-cob and crusty bread. Buy a chocolate layer cake and top it with fat-free strawberry ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Monday. Cook enough chicken for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Avocado, fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream, limes, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, cooked chicken breast, jicama, green onions, fresh cilantro, serrano chilies, salad greens, corn-on-the-cob, crusty bread, chocolate layer cake, fat-free strawberry ice cream.
I love a Labor Day with very little labor. That’s why this barbecue pork recipe is perfect. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine a 2-pound well-trimmed boneless pork loin roast (cut into 2 or 3 pieces), 1 chopped onion, ß cup cola beverage (not “diet”) and ß cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. Cook, covered, 7 to 8 hours on low or 5 to 6 hours on high. Remove pork; shred. Serve on sliced whole-grain sandwich buns and drizzle with defatted sauce from slow cooker.
Add baked beans, coleslaw, pickles and deviled eggs. For dessert, slice watermelon and serve with leftover cake.
Plan ahead: Save enough barbecue pork for Wednesday.
Shopping list: Boneless pork loin roast, onion, cola, any barbecue sauce, whole-grain sandwich buns, baked beans, coleslaw, pickles, deviled eggs, watermelon.
Heat and eat Tuesday
Tonight’s chicken rigatoni and pesto will be quick. Toss shredded cooked (leftover) chicken with pesto sauce, halved cherry tomatoes and cooked rigatoni. Add a romaine salad and whole-grain bread. Fresh plums are your dessert.
Shopping list: Pesto sauce, cherry tomatoes, rigatoni, romaine, whole-grain bread, fresh plums.
The kids can help prepare pork wraps. Heat large, fat-free flour tortillas and the leftover barbecue pork. Spoon the pork down the center of the tortilla; top with mild salsa, shredded Mexican-blend cheese and shredded lettuce, and then roll. Serve with baked chips. For dessert, sliced mangoes are a treat.
Shopping list: Fat-free flour tortillas, mild salsa, shredded Mexican-blend cheese, lettuce, baked chips, mangoes.
For a quick and pretty meal, make shrimp, beet and feta salad. In a large bowl, combine 8 cups baby spinach leaves with 1 (16-ounce) jar drained sliced pickled beets. Add x cup light Italian dressing mixed with ½ teaspoon dried tarragon; toss to coat. Divide mixture among 4 serving plates. Divide and top each serving with 1 pound cooked, cleaned medium shrimp, ½ cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese and v cup toasted pine nuts.
Serve with bread sticks. Make butterscotch pudding (instant) with 1 percent milk for dessert.
Shopping list: Baby spinach leaves, jar sliced pickled beets, light Italian dressing, dried tarragon, cooked, cleaned medium shrimp, crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese, pine nuts, bread sticks, instant butterscotch pudding, 1 percent milk.
Moroccan garbanzo beans with raisins is a great no-meat dinner. In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium. Add 1 medium sliced onion, 1 medium chopped onion and 1 clove minced garlic; cook about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are softened. Stir in 1 cup acorn or butternut squash (peeled, seeded, diced), v cup raisins, 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon ground ginger. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender. Stir in 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium garbanzo beans. Serve over brown rice. (Adapted from “Betty Crocker Vegetarian Cooking,” Jeff Nowak, editorial director; Wiley, 2012.)
Serve with sliced tomatoes and garlic bread. For dessert, fresh raspberries topped with light whipped cream taste great.
Shopping list: Canola oil, onions, garlic, acorn or butternut squash, raisins, vegetable broth, turmeric, cinnamon, ground ginger, canned reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, brown rice, tomatoes, garlic bread, fresh raspberries, light whipped cream.
Easy entertaining Saturday
With guests coming for dinner, you will certainly impress them with grilled porterhouse steaks with garlic-herb peppercorn crust (see recipe). Serve with your grilled vegetables, rosemary roasted red potatoes, mixed greens and sourdough bread. Top off the special meal with banana-coconut cream dessert (see recipe).
Shopping list: Fresh parsley, fresh thyme, garlic, peppercorns, porterhouse or T-bone steaks, coarse salt, vegetables to grill, fresh rosemary, red potatoes, salad greens, sourdough bread, reduced-fat biscuit mix (such as Bisquick), sugar, butter, fat-free sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix, 1 percent milk, bananas, fat-free whipped topping, shredded coconut, slivered almonds.
Mexican Chicken Salad (Sunday)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
For the dressing:
½ avocado, halved
½ cup fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ teaspoon garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
h teaspoon pepper
For the salad:
2 cups cooked chicken breast, coarsely shredded
½ pound peeled jicama, cut into matchstick pieces
2 green onions, finely chopped
œ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
½ teaspoon seeded serrano chiles,
6 cups mixed greens
For the dressing: In a blender, combine dressing ingredients. Blend until smooth.
For the salad: In a large bowl, combine chicken, jicama, onions, cilantro and chiles; toss to mix. Add dressing and toss to coat. Divide greens among 4 plates; top with salad mixture and serve. Makes 4 servings
Per serving: 235 calories, 26g protein, 7g fat (27 percent calories from fat), 1.5g saturated fat, 17g carbohydrate, 65mg cholesterol, 227mg sodium, 7g fiber.
Grilled Porterhouse Steaks with Garlic-Herb Peppercorn Crust (Saturday)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 14 to 16 minutes
For the seasoning:
2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons coarsely ground mixed peppercorns
(black white, green and pink) (see Notes)
For the steaks:
2 porterhouse or T-bone steaks, cut 1 inch thick
(about 1 pound each)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground mixed peppercorns
Coarse salt to taste
In a small bowl, combine seasoning ingredients; press evenly onto steaks. Grill, uncovered, 14 to 16 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Remove bones and fat from steaks; carve into slices. Season with peppercorns and salt to taste, and serve. Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 186 calories, 22g protein, 10g fat (49 percent calories from fat), 4.2g saturated fat, 1g carbohydrate, 51mg cholesterol, 66mg sodium, no fiber.
Banana-Coconut Cream Dessert (Saturday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes; chilling time: 1 to 24 hours
2 cups reduced-fat biscuit mix (such as Bisquick)
2 tablespoons sugar
œ cup firm butter
1 (4-serving size) package fat-free,
sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
1¾ cups 1 percent milk
2 medium ripe bananas, sliced
2 cups frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
œ cup toasted shredded coconut
¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix biscuit mix and sugar in a medium bowl. Cut in butter, using a pastry blender or crisscrossing two knives, until crumbly. Press into bottom of ungreased 7-by-11-inch baking dish. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Make pudding as directed on package, using 1¾ cups milk; spread over crust. Top with bananas. Spread whipped cream over top. Sprinkle with coconut and almonds. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but not longer than 24 hours. Makes 16 servings.
Per serving: 150 calories, 3g protein, 6g fat (33 percent calories from fat), 2.7g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrate, 9mg cholesterol, 293mg sodium, 1g fiber.