Sunday (Family) — Gather the family for an Easter celebration and serve spiral-sliced ham. To accompany the ham, buy red potato salad and broccoli salad from the deli and make it an extra-easy meal. Add mixed greens and biscuits. For dessert, impress the relatives with an apple tart.
Plan ahead: Save enough ham and tart for Monday.
Shopping list: spiral-sliced ham, deli red potato salad, deli broccoli salad, salad greens, biscuits, refrigerated pie crust, egg, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, apples.
Monday (Heat and Eat) — Make ham and swiss sandwiches on rye tonight. Spread the bread with coarse-grain mustard and add sliced Swiss cheese and leftover ham slices. (Grill the sandwiches if you’d like.) Prepare sliced polenta for a side dish by following the directions on the package. Make or buy a carrot salad. Warm the leftover tart for dessert and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.
Shopping list: rye bread, coarse-grain mustard, sliced Swiss cheese, polenta, carrot salad, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Tuesday (Budget) — Our mothers taught us how to stretch a dollar with recipes like this cajun chicken and rice casserole. Add a spinach salad and whole-grain bread. Peaches are dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough casserole for Thursday.
Shopping list: paprika, dried thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, black pepper, boneless skinless chicken breasts, bacon, canola oil, onion, red or green bell pepper, celery, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, fat-free chicken broth, white rice, frozen peas, parsley, fresh spinach, whole-grain bread, peaches.
Wednesday (Meatless) — Feast on vegetable curry tonight. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 4 medium peeled and diced potatoes, 1 large chopped onion, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 2 chopped carrots, 2 large chopped plum tomatoes, 1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste, 3/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Place florets from 1 medium head cauliflower on top. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours.
Gently stir in 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas; increase heat to high and cook 15 more minutes.
Serve the curry over basmati rice and top the curry with chutney (from a jar). Slice cucumbers in plain yogurt as an accompaniment. Add whole-grain pita bread. Make instant lemon pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.
Shopping list: potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, carrots, plum tomatoes, no-salt-added tomato paste, curry powder, cumin seeds, garlic powder, coarse salt, fresh cauliflower, frozen green peas, basmati rice, jar chutney, cucumbers, plain yogurt, whole-grain pita bread, instant lemon pudding, 1 percent milk.
Thursday (Express) — Enjoy leftover cajun casserole tonight. Add deli coleslaw. Scoop leftover ice cream for dessert.
Shopping list: deli coleslaw.
Friday (Kids) — Kids are always in a hurry to eat, so pork wraps are right up their alley. Heat fat-free whole-grain tortillas and fill with the kids’ favorite refrigerated barbecue pork; top with sliced avocado. Serve with carrot sticks and baked chips. For dessert, slurp on frozen juice bars.
Shopping list: fat-free whole-grain tortillas, kids’ favorite refrigerated barbecue pork, avocado, carrot sticks, baked chips, frozen juice bars.
Saturday (Easy Entertaining) — Our guests enjoyed this chicken mushroom stroganoff. Serve it over medium no-yolk egg noodles with a red-tip lettuce salad on the side. Add sourdough bread. For dessert, make raspberry parfaits by layering vanilla pudding with frozen raspberries (thawed) in stemmed glasses. Top with light whipped cream.
Shopping list: boneless chicken breast halves, fat-free chicken broth, onion, Dijon mustard, dried thyme, white pepper, garlic, fresh sliced mushrooms, low-fat sour cream, medium no-yolk egg noodles, red-tip lettuce, sourdough bread, vanilla pudding, frozen raspberries, light whipped cream.
APPLE TART (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
1 refrigerated pie crust (from 14.1-ounce package)
1 egg white, lightly beaten, divided
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 medium)
1 teaspoon sugar
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare crust as directed on package. Place on foil-lined 12-inch pizza pan. Press out any folds or creases. Brush crust with about 1/2 of egg white. In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss with apples. Spoon into center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edges. Fold 2-inch edge of crust up over apples, pleating or folding crust as needed. Brush crust with remaining egg white; sprinkle crust with 1 teaspoon sugar.
Bake 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool slightly before serving.
Per serving: 214 calories, 2 grams protein, 7 grams fat (26 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 136 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
CAJUN CHICKEN AND RICE CASSEROLE (Tuesday)
Makes 12 cups
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: less than 40 minutes, plus bacon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
3 slices bacon
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 large rib celery, chopped
1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, well-drained
4 cups fat-free chicken broth
2 cups white rice
1 cup frozen peas
Chopped parsley for garnish
In a bowl, combine paprika, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Toss chicken with half the spice mixture. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon on medium-high 5 minutes or until crisp, stirring occasionally. Drain on paper towels, then crumble and set aside. To same pot, add oil, then chicken. Cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl. To pot, add onion, bell pepper, celery and remaining spice mixture. Cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes. Sit in broth, rice and peas. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to simmer. Stir in chicken and any juices. Cover; simmer 27 minutes or until rice is tender and chicken is 165 degrees. Top with crumbled bacon and parsley. (Adapted from Family Circle.)
Per cup: 212 calories, 13 grams protein, 3 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 26 milligrams cholesterol, 478 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
CHICKEN MUSHROOM STROGANOFF (Saturday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
4 (4- or 5-ounce) boneless chicken breast halves
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (8-ounce) package fresh sliced mushrooms
2/3 cup low-fat sour cream
Flatten chicken to an even thickness between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Combine broth, onion, mustard, thyme, pepper, garlic and mushrooms in a large skillet and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes (mixture will appear curdled). Lay chicken in mixture; cover and simmer (poach) 15 minutes; do not boil. Remove chicken and cover to keep warm. Bring poaching liquid to a boil and cook, uncovered, 8 minutes or until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Remove from heat; let cool slightly. Stir in sour cream. Return chicken and any collected juices to skillet, turning chicken to coat. Serve chicken with sauce.
Per serving: 214 calories, 28 grams protein, 7 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 699 milligrams sodium, 1