> Family Sunday
Keep family day simple and prepare a roast turkey breast. Add canned whole-berry cranberry sauce on the side. Serve with your potatoes au gratin and fresh green beans tossed with chopped fresh dill and butter. Add a lettuce wedge and dinner rolls. For dessert, buy a chocolate layer cake.
Plan ahead: Save enough turkey, cranberry sauce and cake for Monday.
Shopping list: Turkey breast, canned whole-berry cranberry sauce, potatoes au gratin, fresh green beans, fresh dill, butter, lettuce, dinner rolls, chocolate layer cake.
> Heat and eat Monday
Make simple turkey-cranberry wraps for dinner tonight. Heat 6 large, fat-free, whole-grain tortillas according to directions. Mix together leftover cranberry sauce, 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Spread evenly on one side of each tortilla. Top with leftover thinly sliced (or chopped) turkey breast, sliced green onions, toasted chopped pecans and shredded lettuce. Roll and serve with oven fries (frozen). Add pickles, olives and tomato wedges on the side. Dessert is leftover cake.
Shopping list: Large, fat-free, whole-grain tortillas; spicy brown mustard, ground ginger, green onions, pecans, lettuce, frozen oven fries, pickles, olives, tomatoes.
> Meatless Tuesday
Skip meat tonight and prepare ziti baked with spinach, tomatoes and smoked Gouda (see recipe). Serve with a romaine salad and garlic bread. Pears are for dessert.
Shopping list: Ziti pasta, olive oil, onion, yellow bell pepper, garlic, canned diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, fresh baby spinach, smoked Gouda cheese, cooking spray, romaine, garlic bread, pears.
> Budget Wednesday
Gather 'round the campfire for a low-cost dinner of cowboy trail burgers. Broil some burgers. Heat a 20-ounce can of vegetarian baked beans with 1/3 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce. Spoon over burgers; garnish with chopped sweet onion. Serve with canned soup of your choice and coleslaw. Enjoy fresh strawberries for dessert.
Shopping list: Burgers, canned vegetarian baked beans, barbecue sauce, sweet onion, canned soup, coleslaw, fresh strawberries.
> Express Thursday
Make it quick tonight and prepare pulled barbecued chicken paninis with Swiss and red onion. Heat a panini press or heavy skillet to medium-high. In a large bowl, combine 4 cups shredded or cubed cooked chicken (such as a rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken) and 1 cup barbecue sauce and toss chicken to coat. Arrange 6 slices sourdough bread (1 inch thick) on a flat surface. Top each bread slice with 1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese, 1 slice red onion and the chicken mixture. Top each with another slice of bread. Place in pan and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bread is golden and cheese melts. (Turn sandwich if cooking in a skillet.) (Adapted from "Robin Takes 5," Robin Miller; Andrews McMeel Publishing; 2011.)
Serve with a packaged green salad. Tropical fruit is good for dessert.
Shopping list: Cooked chicken, barbecue sauce, sourdough bread, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, red onion, packaged green salad, tropical fruit.
> Kids Friday
The kids will love Mexican chicken and beans (see recipe). Accompany the kids' soon-to-be favorite with baby carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and dip, along with cornbread (from a mix). For dessert, slurp on frozen fruit juice bars.
Shopping list: Cooking spray, chicken breast strips, less-sodium taco seasoning mix, canned reduced-sodium pinto beans, canned corn with red and green peppers, baby carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, dip, cornbread mix, frozen fruit juice bars.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
Your guests will feel special when you serve them shrimp with coconut-almond rice (see recipe). Add sugar snap peas, a Boston lettuce salad and sesame bread sticks. For dessert, make peach shortcake by spooning Nutella on shortcake shells and covering with sliced peaches. Garnish with light whipped cream.
Shopping list: Jasmine rice, light coconut milk, canola oil, medium shrimp, Thai-style chili sauce, slivered almonds, green onions, sugar snap peas, Boston lettuce, sesame bread sticks, Nutella (find it near the peanut butter), shortcake shells, peaches, light whipped cream.
ZITI BAKED WITH SPINACH, TOMATOES AND SMOKED GOUDA (Tuesday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes, plus pasta
10 ounces ziti pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
1 medium chopped yellow bell pepper
4 cloves minced garlic
2 (14.5-ounce) cans undrained diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano
6 cups baby spinach leaves
1 1/4 cups (about 5 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese, divided
Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high until hot. Add onion and pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add spinach; cook 30 seconds or until spinach wilts, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Add pasta and 3/4 cup cheese to tomato mixture, tossing well to combine. Spoon pasta mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown. (Adapted from "Cooking Light Italian," Heather Averett, editor; Oxmoor House, 2006.)
Per serving: 267 calories, 12g protein, 7g fat (24 percent calories from fat), 3.5g saturated fat, 39g carbohydrate, 20g cholesterol, 591mg sodium, 3g fiber.
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MEXICAN CHICKEN AND BEANS (Friday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 20 minutes
1 pound chicken breast strips or cutlets cut into strips
1 (1.25-ounce) package less-sodium taco seasoning mix
1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans
1 (11-ounce) can undrained corn with red and green peppers
1/4 cup water
Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add chicken; cook and stir on medium-high 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in taco seasoning mix, beans, corn and water. Cook 8 to 10 minutes; stir frequently or until sauce is slightly thickened.
Per serving: 294 calories, 31g protein, 3g fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.6g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrate, 73g cholesterol, 950mg sodium, 7g fiber.
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SHRIMP WITH COCONUT-ALMOND RICE (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Less than 5 minutes, plus rice and almonds
1 cup jasmine rice
Light coconut milk (see Note)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
1/3 cup Thai-style chili sauce
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
Chopped green onions for garnish
Prepare rice according to package directions; replace half the water called for on rice package with light coconut milk. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Add shrimp and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until pink. Add chili sauce and stir until heated through. Stir almonds into cooked rice and top with shrimp mixture. Garnish with onions.
Per serving: 406 calories, 21g protein, 14g fat (32 percent calories from fat), 2.9g saturated fat, 46g carbohydrate, 143g cholesterol, 684mg sodium, 3g fiber.