Enjoy family day with your own roast chicken (5 to 7 pounds), mashed potatoes, gravy, peas with pearl onions (frozen) and mixed greens. For dessert, drizzle creme fraiche (or half-and-half) over bread pudding.
Plan ahead:Save enough chicken for Monday; save enough pudding for Tuesday.
Shopping list: Roasting chicken, potatoes to mash, gravy, frozen peas with pearl onions, salad greens, creme fraiche or half-and-half, bread pudding.
Heat and eat Monday
Take it easy and enjoy Sunday's leftover chicken in chicken and bacon roll-ups (see recipe). Add oven fries (frozen) on the side. For dessert, how about pears?
Shopping list: low-fat mayonnaise, dried or fresh tarragon, lemon, whole-grain flatbreads, romaine, tomato, bacon, frozen oven fries, pears.
For a low-cost meal, try lentil minestrone. In a 4-quart saucepan, cook 3 slices diced bacon on medium until browned and crispy. Remove bacon and set aside. Drain all but 1 to 2 tablespoons bacon drippings, and return drippings to pan. Add 1 cup thinly sliced carrots, 1 cup thinly sliced celery, ½ cup chopped onion and 3 cloves minced garlic to pan. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Add 4 cups fat-free chicken broth, 2 cups water, 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, and contents of 1 package lentil pilaf mix (such as Near East), including seasoning packet. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons dry red wine, if desired, reserved bacon and v cup minced fresh parsley.
Serve with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, warm the leftover bread pudding.
Shopping list:bacon, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, fat-free chicken broth, canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, lentil pilaf mix, dry red wine (optional), fresh parsley, lettuce, whole-grain rolls.
The kids will come quickly for tamale pie. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium and cook 1 pound lean ground beef 5 minutes, or until no longer pink; drain. In a large bowl, combine beef, 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, 1 (8 ½-ounce) package cornbread mix, 2 eggs, 1 cup frozen corn (thawed), 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon chili powder; mix until well-blended. Spoon mixture into baking dish. Bake 20 minutes; sprinkle with ½ cup more cheese. Bake 5 more minutes, or until cheese is melted. Let stand 10 minutes.
Serve with carrot sticks. For dessert, tempt the kids with blue floats. Blend any fruit juice with frozen or fresh blueberries until smooth. Pour into tall glasses and add a little club soda; top with a scoop of frozen yogurt. Slurp away!
Shopping list: cooking spray, lean ground beef, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, cornbread mix, eggs, frozen corn, chili powder, carrot sticks, any fruit juice, frozen or fresh blueberries, club soda, frozen yogurt.
For a perfect no-meat dinner, prepare fresh vegetable frittata (see recipe). Serve with hash-browned potatoes (frozen), a spinach salad and whole-grain english muffins. Enjoy grapes for dessert.
Shopping list: Canola oil, broccoli florets, carrot, onion, eggs, 1 percent milk, fresh parsley, coarse salt, red pepper sauce, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, frozen hash-browned potatoes, fresh spinach, whole-grain English muffins, grapes.
Glazed ham steaks make a quick meal. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add a ham steak; cook 3 minutes or until lightly browned on both sides. Brush with 2 tablespoons honey mustard. Turn and cook 30 seconds, until glazed. Divide ham into individual portions and serve with brown rice, fresh broccoli and biscuits. Chunky applesauce is the right dessert.
Shopping list: Ham steak, honey mustard, brown rice, fresh broccoli, biscuits, chunky applesauce.
Easy entertaining Saturday
For a festive company meal, serve grilled pork tenderloin chimichurri (see recipe). On the side, add roasted sweet potato wedges, green beans and sourdough bread. Buy a carrot cake for dessert.
Shopping list: Flatleaf parsley, garlic, salt, black pepper, white vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, pork tenderloins, sweet potatoes, green beans, sourdough bread, carrot cake.
Chicken and Bacon Roll-ups (Monday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: none
acup low-fat mayonnaise
f teaspoon dried tarragon or 1 teaspoon minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
4 (2.8-ounce) whole-grain flatbreads
2 cups romaine, shredded
2 cups tomato, chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cups leftover chicken, shredded
In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, tarragon and juice. Spread 2 tablespoons of mixture over each flatbread. Divide romaine, tomato, bacon and chicken among flatbreads. Roll and serve. Make 4. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)
Per roll-up:435 calories, 33g protein, 15g fat (31 percent calories from fat), 2.7g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrate, 68mg cholesterol, 974mg sodium, 3g fiber.
Fresh Vegetable Frittata (Thursday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: less than 20 minutes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup broccoli florets
a cup carrots, shredded
a cup onion, chopped
f cup 1 percent milk
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
f teaspoon coarse salt
f teaspoon red pepper sauce
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil on medium until hot. Add broccoli, carrots and onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are tender. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, parsley, salt and red pepper sauce until blended. Pour egg mixture over vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with cheeses; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook about 10 minutes or until eggs are set and light brown on bottom. Cut into wedges. Serves 4. (Adapted from "Betty Crocker: The 300 Calorie Cookbook," Jeff Nowak, editorial director; Wiley Publishing, 2009.)
Per serving:206 calories, 16g protein, 13g fat (57 percent calories from fat), 5.2g saturated fat, 7g carbohydrate, 203mg cholesterol, 407mg sodium, 1g fiber.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Chimichurri (Saturday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes; ?marinating time: 30 to 60 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 25 minutes; standing time: 3 minutes
1 cup flatleaf parsley leaves, lightly packed
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
f teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
s cup white vinegar
d cup extra-virgin olive oil
s cup water
2 pork tenderloins (1a to 2 pounds)
For the chimichurri, place parsley, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor and process until finely chopped. Add vinegar and process to combine. Slowly add oil and water in a thin stream with machine running. Place pork in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour half of sauce over pork; close bag and turn to coat pork. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, turning bag occasionally. Transfer remaining sauce to serving bowl and refrigerate.
Remove pork and discard marinade. Place tenderloins diagonally on grill rack. Grill, uncovered, on direct heat 15 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees, turning every 3 or 4 minutes with tongs. Transfer pork to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand 3 minutes. To serve, cut pork into thin slices; arrange on dinner plates. Serve reserved sauce with pork. Makes 8 servings.
Per serving (1½ pounds pork): 112 calories, 18g protein, 4g fat (32 percent calories from fat), 1.3g saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 56mg cholesterol, 39mg sodium, no fiber.
Per serving (sauce): 85 calories, no protein, 9g fat (97 percent calories from fat), 1.3g saturated fat, 0.5g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 33mg sodium, no fiber.