With the title of beef pot roast (see recipe), you won’t need any other words to describe the family meal. Serve the beef and vegetable dish with mixed greens and crusty bread. Buy a peach cobbler for dessert and top it with light whipped cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough beef and cobbler for Monday.
Shopping list: red potatoes, baby carrots, garlic, dried rosemary, coarse salt, pepper, boneless beef bottom round rump or chuck shoulder pot roast, dry red wine, cornstarch, fresh parsley, salad greens, crusty bread, peach cobbler, light whipped cream.
Heat and eat Monday
Use the beef leftovers for stuffed baked potatoes. Combine some of the heated leftover chopped beef, vegetables and gravy, and spoon it over split baked potatoes. Serve your simple meal with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save some ice cream for Tuesday.
Shopping list: potatoes to bake, lettuce, whole-grain rolls, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Try tomato and bean soup provencal for a delicious no-meat meal. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium; add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added undrained diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, 1¼ cups water, 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in 1 (16-ounce) can reduced-sodium rinsed white beans and heat through. Stir in 1 (5- or 6-ounce) package coarsely chopped baby spinach leaves and heat until wilted. Ladle into shallow bowls; garnish with chopped fresh basil or flatleaf parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Alongside, add egg salad sandwiches (on whole-grain toast) layered with lettuce and tomatoes. Leftover ice cream with chocolate sauce is your dessert.
Shopping list: olive oil, garlic, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, fat-free chicken broth, crushed red pepper, any canned white beans, packaged baby spinach leaves, fresh basil or flatleaf parsley, Parmesan cheese, egg salad, whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomatoes, chocolate sauce.
Serve Spanish-style eggs for a quick meal. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Cook ½ cup chopped onion and ½ cup chopped red bell pepper 5 minutes, or until softened. Add 1 cup chopped tomato and 6 lightly beaten eggs. Stir over low heat until eggs are set. Alongside, add hash-browned potatoes (frozen), a packaged green salad and toasted whole-wheat English muffins to round out the meal. For dessert, make instant chocolate pudding with 1 percent milk.
Shopping list: onion, red bell pepper, tomato, eggs, frozen hash-browned potatoes, packaged green salad, whole-wheat English muffins, instant chocolate pudding, 1 percent milk.
Call the kids for pita burgers. Stuff whole-grain pitas with (frozen) hot veggie burgers (cut to fit), chopped lettuce and tomatoes. The kids will also want reduced-fat sour cream and guacamole with their burgers. Sliced apples make a crunchy dessert.
Shopping list: whole-grain pitas, frozen veggie burgers, lettuce, tomatoes, reduced-fat sour cream, guacamole, sliced apples.
Be frugal and serve pasta with mushrooms and peas (see recipe) tonight. Add a packaged Caesar salad and whole-grain bread. For dessert, pears are easy.
Shopping list: fettuccine, olive oil, onion, sliced mushrooms, fat-free half-and-half, frozen tiny green peas, lemon, coarse salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, bacon, packaged Caesar salad, whole-grain bread, pears.
Easy entertaining Saturday
Our guests requested the recipe for baked fish with black beans and tomatoes (see recipe), and your guests will, too. Serve the pretty, flavor-packed entree with red potato slices with lemon. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine 2 pounds thinly sliced medium or large red potatoes, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 thinly sliced lemon (discard ends and seeds), 2 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup chopped flatleaf parsley, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. Toss gently and spread mixture in an even layer in dish. Roast 1 hour, gently turning with a spatula every 20 minutes, or until potatoes are crisp and golden and lemon skins are shriveled. (Adapted from “Fine Cooking Thanksgiving Cookbook,” Fine Cooking editors; Taunton Press, 2012.)
Add a romaine salad and sourdough bread. Buy a lemon pie for dessert.
Shopping list: fish fillets (trout, snapper, tilapia or any mild fish), cooking spray, limes, garlic, onion, canned chopped green chiles, cumin, chili powder, canned reduced-sodium black beans, frozen corn, plum tomatoes, fresh cilantro, avocado, red potatoes, olive oil, lemon, flatleaf parsley, coarse salt, pepper, romaine, sourdough bread, lemon pie.
Beef pot roast (Sunday)
Makes 10 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 9 hours on low
8 red potatoes (2- to 2 ½-inch diameter)
8 ounces baby carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried crushed rosemary
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 (3- to 3 ¼-pound) boneless beef bottom round rump or chuck shoulder pot roast
¼ cup water
¼ cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place potatoes, carrots and garlic. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, salt and pepper. Press evenly into surface of roast. Place roast on top of vegetables. Add water and wine. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours or until roast and vegetables are tender. Remove roast and vegetables; keep warm.
To make gravy, strain cooking liquid; discard fat. In small pan, combine 2 cups cooking liquid and cornstarch mixture. Bring to boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Just before serving, carve roast across grain into thin slices. Serve with vegetables and gravy. Garnish with parsley.
Per serving: 237 calories, 30g protein, 7g fat (26 percent calories from fat), 2.3g saturated fat, 12g carbohydrate, 79mg cholesterol, 153mg sodium, 2g fiber.
Pasta with mushrooms and peas (Friday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes, plus pasta
12 ounces fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
∏ cup fat-free half-and-half
1 (10-ounce) package frozen tiny green peas, thawed
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish
Cook pasta according to directions; drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium; add onions and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes, or until onions are softened and moisture in mushrooms has evaporated. Add half-and-half and peas. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 3 or 4 minutes, or until peas are heated through and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon pasta into a large serving dish; pour sauce over pasta. Garnish with cheese and bacon. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 357 calories, 17g protein, 7g fat (19 percent calories from fat), 2.3g saturated fat, 55g carbohydrate, 12mg cholesterol, 258mg sodium, 4g fiber.
Baked fish with black beans and tomatoes (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 35 minutes
1½ pounds fish fillets (trout, snapper, tilapia or any mild fish)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
½ teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup chopped plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1 avocado, diced
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lay the fish in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with lime juice. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the garlic and onion on medium for 5 minutes or until softened. Add green chiles, cumin, chili powder, black beans, corn and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes until hot; stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Add cilantro and spoon sauce over fish. Bake, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque throughout. Remove from oven. Garnish with avocado and serve.
Per serving: 223 calories, 18g protein, 8g fat (31 percent calories from fat), 1.6g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrate, 66mg cholesterol, 282mg sodium, 8g fiber.