Invite the relatives for a family meal of Grandmother's pork roast (see recipe). Alongside, serve baked sweet potatoes (slash the centers and sprinkle with cinnamon). Add fresh green beans and biscuits. Top cherry pie with fat-free vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork, green beans and pie, and bake enough sweet potatoes for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Tuesday and Friday.
Shopping list: Boneless pork roast, honey mustard, prepared horseradish, brown sugar, canned peach halves, cinnamon, butter, sweet potatoes to bake, fresh green beans, biscuits, cherry pie, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Heat and eat Monday
Make pork wraps for an easy meal. Warm leftover pork slices in barbecue sauce. Top heated fat-free flour tortillas with pork, shredded lettuce, chopped onion and chunky salsa. Wrap and eat. Serve with sweet potato wedges. Cut the leftover potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray, sprinkle with cumin and bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes, or until hot. Add leftover green beans. Leftover pie is your dessert.
Shopping list: Barbecue sauce, fat-free flour tortillas, lettuce, onion, chunky salsa, cooking spray, cumin.
Skip meat and enjoy tortilla soup (see recipe) tonight. Add a red-tipped lettuce salad on the side. Dessert is leftover ice cream and oatmeal cookies.
Shopping list: Canola oil, packaged stir-fry frozen peppers with onion, garlic, cumin, canned crushed tomatoes, canned chopped jalapeno peppers, vegetable broth, canned Mexicorn, baked or regular tortilla chips, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, avocado, red-tipped lettuce, oatmeal cookies.
Jerk barbecue chicken is low cost and has great flavor, so it's a winner all around. Rub 8 skinless chicken legs with 3 to 4 teaspoons jerk seasoning. Place in a 4-quart or larger slow-cooker. Pour ¾ cup barbecue sauce and 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional) over chicken. Turn chicken to coat. Cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours, or until chicken is tender. Place chicken and sauce on a platter. Sprinkle with ¼ cup sliced green onions. (Adapted from Family Circle magazine.)
Serve with reduced-sodium black beans, deli coleslaw and cornbread (from a mix). For dessert, try plums.
Shopping list: Skinless chicken legs, jerk seasoning, barbecue sauce, dark rum (optional), green onions, reduced-sodium black beans, deli coleslaw, cornbread mix, plums.
We call it finger food, but for kids, "chicken sticks" is a better name. Toss chicken tenders with lemon juice and coarse salt, and coat in flour before pan-frying (shake off extra flour).
Serve them with the kids' favorite dipping sauce, oven fries (frozen), buttered carrots and soft rolls. To keep up the sticky fun, how about Fudgsicles for dessert?
Shopping list: Chicken tenders, lemon, coarse salt, flour, kids' favorite dipping sauce, frozen oven fries, butter, carrots, soft rolls, Fudgsicles.
For the easiest meal ever, try the Old Bay Seafood Steamers Seasoning and Steaming Bag (or another brand). We used the bag and seasoning for shrimp. Serve it with corn-on-the-cob, a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. Top leftover ice cream with butterscotch sauce for dessert.
Shopping list: Old Bay Seafood Steamers Seasoning and Steaming Bag or another brand, uncooked shrimp, corn-on-the-cob, packaged green salad, whole-grain rolls, butterscotch sauce.
Easy entertaining Saturday
Serve your guests a company-worthy meal of Parmesan baked fish (see recipe).
Add orzo tossed with chopped fresh parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garlic spinach. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Reduce heat to low; add 2 thinly sliced garlic cloves and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes or until garlic is lightly golden. Add 1 (6- to 8-ounce) package baby spinach; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes or until spinach is limp. Stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Serve immediately. Add a mixed green salad and whole-grain rolls.
For dessert, make beautiful Mexican fruit salad with honey lime dressing. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup each cantaloupe chunks, blueberries, kiwifruit slices, pineapple chunks and red or green grapes. Stir in 1 tablespoon orange zest, ½ cup fresh orange juice and 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Whisk together ? cup honey and ¼ cup fresh lime juice; pour over salad and toss to blend. Serve in pretty, stemmed dessert glasses. (Adapted from "The Back in the Swing Cookbook," Barbara Unell and Judith Fertig; Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2012.)
Shopping list: Cod fillets, low-fat mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, fresh zucchini, red bell pepper, orzo, fresh parsley, olive oil, garlic, packaged baby spinach, lemon, coarse salt, pepper, sugar, salad greens, whole-grain rolls, cantaloupe, blueberries, kiwifruit, fresh pineapple chunks, grapes, orange, honey, lime.
Grandmother's pork roast (Sunday)
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour; standing time: 5 minutes
1 (2- or 3-pound) boneless, center-cut pork roast
For the glaze:
½ cup honey mustard
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons brown sugar
For the garnish:
8 canned peach halves, drained
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place roast in a shallow roasting pan and roast 45 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together honey mustard, horseradish and brown sugar; set aside.
For the garnish, place peach halves in shallow baking dish, cut-side up. Sprinkle peaches with combined brown sugar and cinnamon; dot with butter.
Spread glaze over surface of roast and continue to roast 20 to 30 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Place peaches in oven for last 15 minutes to heat through. Remove roast and let stand 5 minutes. Slice roast and serve surrounded by peaches. Makes 8 to 12 servings (3 ounces cooked weight).
Per serving (including peaches): 241 calories, 23g protein, 9g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3.8g saturated fat, 16g carbohydrate, 68mg cholesterol, 117mg sodium, 1g fiber.
Tortilla soup (Tuesday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (16-ounce) package stir-fry frozen
peppers with onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cumin
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 to 3 teaspoons canned chopped jalapeno peppers
3 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth
1 (11-ounce) can drained Mexicorn
6 ounces baked or regular tortilla chips, broken
½ cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat
1 avocado, diced
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add stir-fry mix, garlic and cumin; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in the tomatoes, peppers, broth and corn. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Ladle into bowls over chips and garnish with cheese and avocado. Makes about 11½ cups.
Per cup: 188 calories, 6g protein, 7g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 1.4g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrate, 3mg cholesterol, 776mg sodium, 4g fiber.
Parmesan baked fish (Saturday)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes
4 (4- to 6-ounce) cod fillets
1 tablespoon low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
? teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 medium zucchini, sliced
½ medium red bell pepper, cut into strips
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Center each cod fillet on a 12-by-18-inch piece of nonstick foil. Divide and top the fish with mayonnaise and parmesan; sprinkle with cayenne pepper, zucchini slices and red bell pepper strips. Double-fold ends and top of foil to seal, leaving enough space for heat circulation. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until fish is opaque. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 115 calories, 20g protein, 2g fat (13 percent calories from fat), 0.4g saturated fat, 5g carbohydrate, 44mg cholesterol, 124mg sodium, 1g fiber.