Sunday (Family) — Fire up the grill today for your own grilled chicken breasts (boneless, skinless halves) and use your favorite spice rub to boost the flavor. Serve with herb-roasted potatoes.
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut 2 pounds medium new potatoes into 1/2-inch wedges; place in large bowl. Pour 2 tablespoons olive oil over potatoes and toss. In a small bowl, blend 2 cloves pressed garlic, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; sprinkle over potatoes and toss to coat. Spread potatoes evenly on a foil-lined, rimmed shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
Add steamed fresh asparagus and dinner rolls to your meal. Serve these easy fruit tarts for dessert. (See recipe on B2)
Plan ahead: Grill enough plain chicken (without rub) and save enough tarts for Monday.
Shopping list: boneless, skinless chicken breast halves to grill, spice rub, new potatoes, olive oil, garlic, coarse salt, cumin, paprika, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, cooking spray, fresh asparagus, dinner rolls, refrigerated pie crusts.
Monday (Heat and Eat) — Cobb salad makes good use of leftover chicken. In a large bowl, toss 12 cups torn romaine with 1/3 cup reduced-fat blue cheese dressing; divide among 4 dinner plates.
Divide and arrange 2 cups leftover diced cooked chicken, 2 slices cooked and crumbled bacon and 3 seeded and chopped medium tomatoes among the plates. Top each salad with 1 to 2 tablespoons more blue cheese dressing. Serve immediately with canned bean soup and crackers. Leftover tarts are your dessert.
Tip: To make your own reduced-fat blue cheese dressing: Whisk together 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese, 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream and 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise. Stir in 1/4 cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and 1 tablespoon sliced green onions. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.
Shopping list: romaine, reduced-fat blue cheese dressing, bacon, tomatoes, canned bean soup, crackers.
Tuesday (Meatless) — Fusilli vegetable toss makes an easy no-meat meal. Add a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg wedges on the side. Serve with garlic bread. For dessert, halve kiwifruit and dig in!
Shopping list: fusilli (twist pasta), fresh broccoli, shredded carrots, canned water-packed quartered artichokes, grape tomatoes, green onions, dried oregano, dried basil, Italian parmesan dressing or another Italian dressing, parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, eggs, garlic bread, kiwifruit.
Wednesday (Budget) — Put extra pennies in your pocket when you serve beany sloppy joes. In a large skillet, combine 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained black-eyed peas, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained kidney beans, 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce, 1/2 cup frozen cut green beans, 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar and 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder; mix well. Bring to boil on medium-high. Reduce heat to low, partially cover and simmer 12 minutes or until peppers are tender. Spoon onto toasted whole-grain hamburger buns.
Accompany the sandwiches with frozen has-browned potatoes and a mixed green salad. For dessert, peaches are the answer.
Shopping list: canned black-eyed peas, canned kidney beans, marinara sauce, frozen cut green beans, green bell pepper, Worcestershire sauce, red-wine vinegar, chili powder, whole-grain hamburger buns, frozen hash-browned potatoes, salad greens, peaches.
Thursday (Kids) — The kids will be home early for spaghetti and meatballs. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef, 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs, 1 egg, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 12 (2-inch) meatballs. Place on rack in broiler pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Meanwhile, combine the cooked meatballs and 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar any red pasta sauce in a large saucepan; heat through, stirring occasionally. Serve over spaghetti. Add a chopped lettuce salad and Italian bread. Let the kids make refrigerated ready-to-bake brownies for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Saturday.
Shopping list: 95 percent lean ground beef, bread for crumbs, egg, onion powder, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, jar any red pasta sauce, spaghetti, lettuce, Italian bread, refrigerated ready-to-bake brownies.
Friday (Express) — Make a quick pork stir-fry tonight. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 1 pound pork loin cut into 1/2-inch-by-1/2-inch strips and cook 2 minutes or until cooked through.
Add 1 (16-ounce) package any frozen vegetable stir-fry mixture and 1/2 cup stir-fry sauce. Continue to stir-fry 3 minutes or until mixture is hot. Serve over quick-cooking rice. Add a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy tro[pical fresh fruits for dessert.
Shopping list: canola oil, pork loin, frozen stir-fry vegetable mixture, stir-fry sauce, quick-cooking rice, packaged green salad, whole-grain rolls, tropical fresh fruits.
Saturday (Easy Entertaining) — What guest could resist baked snapper with tomato-orange sauce. Serve with couscous and a bibb lettuce salad. For dessert, marinated strawberries are close to perfect.
Combine 4 cups halved fresh medium strawberries, 1 tablespoon each light brown sugar and balsamic vinegar.
Toss and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Toss before serving. Serve with leftover brownies.
Shopping list: red tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, onion, dry white wine, orange, garlic, red snapper fillets (or grouper or other firm white fish), olive oil cooking spray, coarse salt, black pepper, couscous, bibb lettuce, fresh strawberries, light brown sugar, balsamic vinegar.
FRUIT TARTS (Sunday)
Makes 10 tarts
Preparation time: less than 15 minutes
Cooking time: 9 to 13 minutes; cooling time: 30 minutes; refrigeration time: 30 minutes
1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts (2 total)
5 cups fresh fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries or sliced medium strawberries
1 (16-ounce) jar strawberry glaze
Light whipped cream
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Unfold crusts; press out fold lines. With 4-inch round cutter, cut 5 rounds from each crust. Turn over ungreased, regular-size muffin tins and fit rounds over outside of each tin. Pinch 5 equally spaced pleats around sides of each tin. Prick each pastry cup generously with fork. Bake 9 to 13 minutes or until light golden brown. Set out 30 minutes or until completely cooled. Remove from muffin tins to cool further.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine fruit and glaze; stir gently to mix. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until thoroughly chilled. Just before serving, spoon 1/2 cup fruit mixture into each cooled tart crust.
Garnish with whipped cream and serve immediately.
Per tart: 245 calories, 2 grams protein, 10 grams fat (35 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 4 milligrams cholesterol, 252 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
FUSILLI VEGETABLE TOSS (Tuesday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: for the pasta; chilling time: 2 hours
3 cups fusilli (twist pasta)
1 cup fresh broccoli florets
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 (14-ounce) can water-packed quartered artichokes, drained
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cup Italian parmesan dressing (or another flavor Italian dressing)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for garnish
Cook fusilli according to directions. Just before pasta is done, add broccoli and carrots and cook 1 minute; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain. Return to pot and stir in artichokes, tomatoes, green onions, oregano and basil. Add dressing; toss to coat. Cover and chill 2 hours. Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
Per serving: 267 calories, 9 grams protein, 4 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 49 grams carbohydrate, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 265 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
BAKED SNAPPER WITH TOMATO-ORANGE SAUCE (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
3 cups red tomatoes, chopped (about 2 pounds)
2 cups yellow tomatoes, chopped (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 (6-ounce) red snapper fillets (or grouper or other firm white fish)
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine red and yellow tomatoes, onion, wine, orange rind, juice and garlic in an 11-by-7-inch baking dish. Bake 20 minutes. Arrange fish on top of tomato mixture; coat fish with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil; bake 20 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Spoon sauce over fish and serve immediately. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)
Per serving: 245 calories, 37 grams protein, 3 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 211 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.