Sunday (Family) — Fire up the grill for fltiron steaks (or top blade steak), and offer horseradish sauce on the side. Serve the steaks with potato gratin. Add a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, top angel food cake with fat-free strawberry ice cream.
Plan ahead: Cook enough steak and save some potatoes and enough cake for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.
POTATO GRATIN (Sunday)
Makes 10 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: about 1 hour; standing time: 10 minutes
4 (8-ounce) baking potatoes
1 clove garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups freshly grated Gruyere cheese, divided
Nutmeg, freshly grated
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
Pepper to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash and peel potatoes and pat dry. Slice 1/8 inch thick (use a mandolin if available); pat slices dry. Rub a 10-inch glass pie plate or gratin dish with garlic and butter. Layer potatoes in a circular pattern, covering bottom of dish. Sprinkle the layer with half the salt as well as the pepper and nutmeg to taste; cover with 1/2 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice with remaining ingredients, ending with cheese. Pour half-and-half over all. Bake uncovered about 1 hour or until bubbly and brown. Let stand 10 minutes loosely covered before serving. (Adapted from “Fast, Fresh and Simple,” Hope Cohen; Strawberryblonde Press, 2013.)
NOTE: The author suggests you cut the gratin in any shape you prefer. I liked it in wedges, even if the image is a square.
Per serving: 212 calories, 10 grams protein, 13 grams fat (53 percent calories from fat), 7.6 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 41 milligrams cholesterol, 202 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
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Tip: Use another grilling-type steak if the flatiron cut is not available.
Shopping list: flatiron (top blade) or other steaks for grilling, horseradish sauce, baking potatoes, garlic, butter, Gruyere cheese, nutmeg, coarse salt, pepper, half-and-half, romaine, whole-grain rolls, angel food cake, fat-free strawberry ice cream.
Monday (Heat and Eat) — Make steak salad for dinner. Buy any packaged green salad and any salad dressing and toss. Layer slices of leftover steak over top of salad. Sprinkle with crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Serve with leftover potato gratin and bread sticks. For dessert, spoon sliced peaches over leftover cake.
Tip: Add any available raw vegetables to the salad.
Shopping list: any packaged green salad, any salad dressing, gorgonzola cheese, bread sticks, peaches.
Tuesday (Meatless) — Overstuffed potaotes are on the menu tonight. Bake 4 (8-ounce) potatoes, slit the tops, squeeze the ends, and top with heated canned meatless chili. Garnish with shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, fat-free sour cream and snipped chives. Serve with a mixed green salad and cornbread (from a mix). Scoop leftover ice cream for dessert.
Shopping list: baking potatoes, canned meatless chili, shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, fat-free sour cream, fresh chives, salad greens, cornbread mix.
Wednesday (Express) — Make it fast tonight with fish wraps. Prepare any packaged frozen breaded fish according to directions. Meanwhile, warm fat-free whole-grain tortillas. Place fish in tortillas, top with deli coleslaw and wrap. Serve with hash-browned potatoes (frozen) and petite green peas (frozen). Bite into nectarines for dessert.
Shopping list: packaged frozen breaded fish, fat-free whole-grain tortillas, deli coleslaw, frozen hash-browned potatoes, frozen petite green peas, nectarines.
Thursday (Kids) — The kids can help prepare Southwestern layered salad. In a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound lean ground beef 6 minutes or until no longer pink. Add 1 (11-ounce) can Southwestern-style corn (or other) with the liquid. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons less-sodium taco seasoning mix (from packet). Cook on medium 2 or 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until blended and thoroughly heated.
Meanwhile, on a large platter, arrange 6 cups torn romaine. Arrange beef mixture over lettuce. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Mexican cheese blend. Drizzle with 1/2 cup ranch dressing; top with 1 cup corn chips. Garnish with salsa.
Serve with carrot and celery sticks. Add fresh cherries for dessert.
Shopping list: lean ground beef, Southwestern-style or other canned corn, less-sodium taco seasoning mix, romaine, Mexican cheese blend, ranch dressing, corn chips, salsa, carrot and celery sticks, fresh cherries.
Friday (Budget) — This economical spicey chicken stew goes into our “favorites” file. Add a green salad on the side and crusty rolls. Kiwifruit is an easy dessert.
Shopping list: brown rice, olive oil, onion, garlic, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, curry powder, Caribbean jerk seasoning, black pepper, dry red wine or fat-free chicken broth, capers, canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned Italian-style diced tomatoes, salad greens, crusty rolls, kiwifruit.
Saturday (Easy Entertaining) — Serve your guests Tandoori turkey with grilled onions. Serve with basmati rice and fresh green beans. Add flatbread. For dessert, buy fruit tarts.
Shopping list: plain fat-free yogurt, canola oil, garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, turkey cutlets, coarse salt, pepper, white onions, cooking spray, basmati rice, fresh green beans, flatbread, fruit tarts.
SPICY CHICKEN STEW (Friday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 20 minutes
1 cup brown rice
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/4 cup dry red wine or fat-free chicken broth
2 tablespoons drained capers
1 (16-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes with juice
Cook rice according to directions.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until tender. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, curry, jerk seasoning and black pepper. Add chicken mixture to skillet; cook 4 minutes. Stir in wine, capers, beans and tomatoes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Serve over rice.
Per serving: 305 calories, 24 grams protein, 5 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 48 milligrams cholesterol, 387 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.
TANDOORI TURKEY WITH GRILLED ONIONS (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 30 minutes to 24 hours
Cooking time: less than 15 minutes
1 (16-ounce) container plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/4 pounds turkey cutlets
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
2 small white onions
Whisk together yogurt, oil, garlic, curry powder and cinnamon. Pour marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Season turkey with salt and pepper and add to bag. Seal and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 24 hours (see NOTE). When ready to cook, heat grill or broiler.
Meanwhile, peel and cut onions into quarters. Remove turkey cutlets and place on grill or broiler. Brush with marinade if desired. Coat onions with cooking spray and place on grill or broiler. Grill turkey 4 to 5 minutes total, turning once and basting with marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Grill onions 5 minutes; turn and grill 5 to 7 minutes more or until soft.
NOTE: The longer the marinating time, the spicier the flavor.
Per serving: 227 calories, 37 grams protein, 4 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 97 milligrams cholesterol, 93 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.