St. Patrick’s Irish cream swirl brownies are sure to please

Sunday (Family) — Enjoy applause from the family when you present southwestern chicken and corn dinner. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a roasting pan, sprinkle 4 bone-in skinless chicken breasts and 4 bone-in skinless chicken thighs with 2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning blend. Arrange chicken, 3 ears fresh or frozen corn-on-the-cob (cut in pieces), 1 medium red bell pepper and 1 medium green bell pepper (cut in 1-inch pieces), and 1 medium onion (cut in eighths) in an even layer. Sprinkle 2 more teaspoons seasoning blend over vegetables. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes.

width=”256″ />Arrange on a platter and serve with deli three-bean salad, mixed greens and dinner rolls. To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, enjoy Irish cream swirl brownies for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken for Monday and enough brownies for Tuesday.

Shopping list: bone-in skinless chicken breasts and thighs, Mexican seasoning blend, fresh or frozen corn-on-the-cob, red and green bell peppers, onion, deli three-bean salad, mixed greens, dinner rolls, family-size fudge brownie (or another flavor) mix, pure vanilla extract, cooking spray, reduced-fat cream cheese, sugar, flour, Irish cream liqueur (if desired), egg, green food color.

Monday (Kids) — This baked chicken spaghetti is just mild enough for children. Plus, you have one casserole for tonight and can freeze another for later. Serve with chopped lettuce and whole-grain rolls.

Sliced peaches are an easy dessert.
Shopping list: spaghetti, green bell pepper, celery, onion, butter, fat-free chicken broth, frozen tiny green peas, black pepper, canned sliced mushrooms, cooking spray, shredded 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, whole-grain rolls, peaches.

Tuesday (Budget) —Being a penny pincher, I’m always looking for the perfect vegetable beef soup recipe.

 

This one is worth trying.
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place 1 pound well-trimmed beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt on beef.
Add four shakes of Worcestershire sauce, 1 medium peeled and cubed baking potato, 1 cup thinly sliced fresh carrots, 1 cup packaged coleslaw mix, 1 medium chopped onion, 1 medium chopped zucchini, 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut green beans (thawed), 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn (thawed), 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1 (14-ounce) can lower-sodium beef broth, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and black pepper. Press ingredients with the back of a large spoon.
Add enough water to just cover vegetables. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Mix well; adjust seasonings and serve. (As with any vegetable soup, you can add or subtract ingredients to meet your family’s taste preferences.)
Add a Rromaine salad and crusty bread. Let’s have a leftover brownie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough soup for Wednesday.
Shopping list: beef stew meat, garlic powder, coarse salt, Worcestershire sauce, baking potato, carrot, packaged coleslaw mix, onion, zucchini, frozen cut green beans, frozen whole kernel corn, canned no-salt-added tomato sauce, canned lower-sodium beef broth, dried oregano, black pepper, romaine, crusty bread.
Wednesday (Heat and Eat) — Leftover soup is always better the next day. Serve it with avocado and grapefruit on salad greens (sprinkle avocado with lemon juice). Add olls. Munch on sugar cookies for dessert.
Shopping list: avocado, fresh grapefruit, salad greens, lemon, whole-grain rolls, sugar cookies.
Thursday (Express) — Tonight’s French dip sandwiches are quick. Heat slices of deli roast beef in au jus gravy.
Serve on toasted split French bread with bowls of au jus gravy for dipping. Add oven fries (frozen) and a packaged green salad. Fat-free chocolate ice cream is a welcome dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: deli roast beef, au jus gravy, French bread, frozen oven fries, packaged green salad, fat-free chocolate ice cream.
Friday (Meatless) — Keep it simple tonight with ravioli with peas and pesto. Cook 1 pound refrigerated cheese ravioli according to directions. Place 2 cups tiny frozen green peas in a large colander. Drain ravioli over peas.
Meanwhile, combine 1 (14.5-ounce) can drained diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning and 1 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves. Transfer ravioli mixture to a large serving bowl and toss with 1/4 cup refrigerated basil pesto; top with tomato mixture. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Pears are your dessert.
Shopping list: refrigerated cheese ravioli, tiny frozen green peas, canned diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning, fresh basil, refrigerated basil pesto, coarse salt, pepper, salad greens, garlic bread, pears.
Saturday (Easy Entertaining) — Invite friends for marinated pork roast. Serve with chickpea and parsley salad.
Whisk together 2 tablespoons bottled red-wine vinaigrette and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in a large bowl. Add 1 (19-ounce) can rinsed and drained reduced-sodium chickpeas, 1 pint halved grape tomatoes, 1 1/2 cups finely chopped parsley and 1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions. Toss to coat.
Add a red-tip lettuce salad and sourdough bread to your meal. Make chocolate sundaes for dessert. Top leftover chocolate ice cream with warm hot fudge sauce. Add a dollop of light whipped cream.
Shopping list: dry red wine, light brown sugar, ketchup, canola oil, garlic, reduced-sodium soy sauce, curry powder, pepper, well-trimmed boneless rolled pork loin roast, cornstarch, red-wine vinaigrette, Dijon mustard, reduced-sodium chickpeas, grape tomatoes, parsley, green onions, red-tip lettuce, sourdough bread, hot fudge sauce, light whipped cream.”
BAKED CHICKEN SPAGHETTI
Makes 8 total servings (2 8-by-8-inch casseroles)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: less than 40 minutes, plus spaghetti

8 ounces spaghetti
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup celery, thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
2 cups frozen tiny green peas, thawed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups cooked chicken, chopped
1 (7 1/2-ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cover and microwave bell pepper, celery and onion on high (100 percent power) 5 minutes or until softened; drain.
Add butter, broth, peas and black pepper; microwave 3 minutes on high.
Stir in chicken, mushrooms and cooked spaghetti. Mix well. Divide mixture and spoon into 2 (8-by-8-inch) baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 cup cheese. Cover and bake one casserole 20 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes. (Label, date and freeze the other casserole for a future meal.)
Per serving: 288 calories, 25 grams protein, 8 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 3.3 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 473 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
IRISH CREAM SWIRL BROWNIES
Makes 20 brownies
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: as directed on package

1 (19.9-ounce) package family-size fudge brownie (or another flavor) mix
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur (see NOTE)
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon green food color
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions, adding vanilla.
Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter in a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and flour in a medium bowl on medium speed until smooth.
Add liqueur, egg and food color. Beat until well blended. Pour over brownie layer in pan.
Drop reserved batter by spoonfuls over cream cheese layer. Cut through batter with knife several times for a marble effect.
Bake as directed on package for 9-inch square pan.
Cool in pan on wire rack.
Cut into pieces.
NOTE: If desired, 1 additional teaspoon pure vanilla extract may be used in place of Irish cream liqueur. Omit flour.
Per brownie: 223 calories, 3 grams protein, 10 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 146 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
MARINATED PORK ROAST
Makes 16 (3-ounce) servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes; marinating time: 8 hours
Cooking time: about 2 hours; standing time: 10 minutes

1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup water
2 tablespoons canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 (4-pound) well-trimmed boneless rolled pork loin roast
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Combine wine, brown sugar, ketchup, water, oil, garlic, soy sauce, curry powder and pepper in a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; mix well.
Add pork and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 8 hours, turning occasionally. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Remove pork from marinade; reserve 2 cups.
Pat pork dry and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake 2 hours or until thermometer reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part. Remove from oven, let stand 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring reserved marinade to boil; whisk in cornstarch and cook, stirring constantly, 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
Cool. Slice pork and serve with reserved sauce.
Per serving: 193 calories, 26 grams protein, 5 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 188 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

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Tom Cotton

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