> Family Sunday
Gather the family for beef pot roast with potatoes, carrots and onions (see recipe) for a perfect fall feast. Serve with a romaine salad and dinner rolls. Top pound cake with blueberries for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough beef and vegetables for Monday and enough cake for Tuesday.
SHOPPING LIST: Garlic, dried thyme, boneless beef chuck shoulder (arm or blade) pot roast, canola oil, coarse salt, pepper, low-sodium beef broth, small red potatoes, baby carrots, onion, frozen green peas, flour, fresh parsley, romaine, dinner rolls, pound cake, blueberries.
> Heat and eat Monday
Use the beef and gravy leftovers for hot roast beef sandwiches on whole-grain bread. Heat the leftover vegetables to go alongside. Serve with a mixed green salad. Pears are dessert.
Shopping list: Whole-grain bread for sandwiches, salad greens, pears.
> Meatless Tuesday
For a meatless meal, try flavor- and fiber-packed spaghetti with garlicky kale and tomatoes (see recipe). Add a romaine salad with sliced eggs. Top the leftover cake with fat-free chocolate ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: Whole-grain spaghetti, olive oil, red onion, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, fresh kale, grape tomatoes, whole almonds, pecorino cheese, romaine, eggs, fat-free chocolate ice cream.
> Budget Wednesday
Give the food budget a rest and serve economical pulled pork. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup apricot preserves and 1 tablespoon cider vinegar. Stir in 1 thinly sliced red onion, and spoon mixture into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Season a well-trimmed 2 1/2 -pound boneless pork shoulder with 2 teaspoons cumin. Nestle pork among onions. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 5 to 6 hours. Remove pork; using two forks, shred pork and stir back into cooker. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.)
Arrange pork on whole-grain hamburger buns. Top with sliced jalapenos, if desired. Serve with baked chips. You'll want apple slices for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pulled pork for Friday.
Shopping list: Apricot preserves, cider vinegar, red onion, boneless pork shoulder, cumin, whole-grain hamburger buns, sliced jalapenos if desired, baked chips, apples.
> Kids Thursday
You won't have any trouble convincing the kids to enjoy cheesy chili hash-browned bake (see recipe). Serve with celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.
For dessert, watch them slurp spiced pumpkin smoothies. For two or three servings: Place 1 cup ice, 1/2 cup 1 percent milk, 1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin, 1 tablespoon honey and pinch of nutmeg in a blender. Blend until smooth and frothy. (Adapted from Real Simple magazine.)
Shopping list: Lean (93 to 95 percent) ground beef, carrot, canned sloppy Joe sauce, canned chili beans, cooking spray, package refrigerated hash-browned potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes or another brand), cheddar cheese, celery, peanut butter, raisins, 1 percent milk, canned pure pumpkin, honey, nutmeg.
> Express Friday
Make it quick tonight and heat the leftover pulled pork. Serve it over toasted cornbread squares (from a mix). Add packaged greens. A little brownie can be your dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Saturday.
Shopping list: Cornbread mix, packaged greens, brownies.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Invite friends and enjoy shrimp puttanesca. Cook 12 ounces fettuccine according to directions; drain. Use a vegetable peeler and remove 4 strips of zest from a lemon; thinly slice the zest. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Season 1 pound large peeled and deveined shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and cook, tossing occasionally, for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 cup kalamata olives (halved), 1 tablespoon capers and the zest; toss to combine. Add 2 cups no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce and simmer 4 minutes or until the sauce is heated through and the shrimp are opaque throughout. Toss with fettuccine. Serve with a Caesar salad and garlic bread. For dessert, top leftover brownies with leftover ice cream and light whipped cream.
Shopping list: Fettuccine, lemon, olive oil, large shrimp, coarse salt, kalamata olives, capers, no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce, Caesar salad, garlic bread, light whipped cream.
BEEF POT ROAST WITH POTATOES, CARROTS AND ONIONS (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 3 hours
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 (2 1/2 - to 3-pound) boneless beef chuck shoulder, arm or blade pot roast
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth
1 pound small red potatoes, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, halved
1 pound baby carrots
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons flour dissolved into 1/4 cup cold water
Chopped fresh parsley
Press garlic and thyme evenly onto all surfaces of roast. Heat oil on medium in a Dutch oven. Season roast with salt and pepper and place in Dutch oven; brown evenly. Pour off any drippings. Add broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover tightly and simmer 2 1/4 hours. Add potatoes, carrots and onion to pan; bring to boil. Reduce heat; continue simmering, covered, 25 to 30 minutes or until roast and vegetables are fork-tender. Stir in peas; simmer 5 minutes. Remove roast and vegetables; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking liquid. Measure 1 1/2 cups liquid; discard any excess. Return liquid to pan; stir in flour mixture. Bring to boil, stirring constantly cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened. Carve roast into thin slices; serve with vegetables and gravy. Garnish with parsley.
Per serving: 311 calories, 31g protein, 11g fat (33 percent calories from fat), 3.9g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrate, 75mg cholesterol, 306mg sodium, 4g fiber.
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SPAGHETTI WITH GARLICKY KALE AND TOMATOES (Tuesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 10 minutes, plus spaghetti
6 ounces whole-grain spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves torn into bite-size pieces (about 8 cups)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
Cook pasta according to directions; drain pasta and return to pot, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onions begin to brown. Add kale; cook 2 or 3 minutes, tossing frequently, or until tender. Add tomatoes and cook 1 to 2 more minutes, tossing frequently. Add kale mixture, almonds, pecorino and reserved cooking water to pasta and toss to combine. Serve with additional pecorino. (Adapted from Real Simple magazine.)
Per serving: 386 calories, 16g protein, 14g fat (31 percent calories from fat), 2.8g saturated fat, 56g carbohydrate, 4mg cholesterol, 304mg sodium, 10g fiber.
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CHEESY CHILI HASH-BROWNED BAKE (Thursday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: About 1 hour
1 to 1 1/4 pounds lean (93 to 95 percent) ground beef
1 cup shredded carrot
1 (15.5-ounce) can sloppy Joe sauce
1 (15-ounce) can undrained chili beans
1 (20.4-ounce) package refrigerated hash-browned potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes or another brand)
2 cups shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat, cook beef and carrot 6 to 7 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and carrot is tender. Stir in sloppy Joe sauce and beans. Spoon mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread potatoes evenly over beef mixture. Cover with foil; bake 30 minutes. Uncover; coat potatoes with cooking spray. Bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until browned and crisp. Sprinkle with cheese; bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts. (Adapted from Southern Living magazine.)
Per serving: 316 calories, 24g protein, 11g fat (30 percent calories from fat), 5.5g saturated fat, 31g carbohydrate, 52mg cholesterol, 781mg sodium, 5g fiber.