Celebrate family time with grilled marinated sirloin steak (see recipe). Serve with packaged yellow rice. Add reduced-sodium black beans and sliced avocados, along with cuban bread. Mini fresh fruit cups with pastry toppers are good for dessert. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon sugar with 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. Unroll 1 refrigerated piecrust according to directions. Cut 8 (2- to 3-inch) decorative cutouts using any cookie cutters. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Top with decorative sprinkles, if desired. Cool. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine any mixture sliced fresh fruit. Sweeten to taste with honey. Spoon fruit into ramekins. When pastry toppers are cool, stand one in each ramekin and serve. Plan ahead: Save enough steak and fruit cups for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Make steak salad the easy way. Mix a packaged green salad with canned chickpeas (drained), sliced beets (drained from can or jar) and crumbled blue cheese; toss with a light vinaigrette and top with slices of leftover steak. Add any deli soup and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, enjoy the leftover fruit cups.
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Linguine with white clam sauce is a low-cost meal. Cook chopped garlic in a little olive oil; add canned clam sauce and some chopped fresh parsley. Toss with cooked linguine. Serve with a spinach salad and garlic bread. For dessert, try grapes.
Round up the kids for campout casserole (see recipe). Serve with crunchy carrot sticks and corn tortillas. For dessert, enjoy FUDGSICLES. SHOPPING LIST: lean ground beef, onion, green bell pepper, canned reduced-sodium great northern beans, mild salsa, cooking spray, bacon, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, carrot sticks, corn tortillas, Fudgsicles.
Who would miss meat with mushroom and bow-tie pasta (see recipe) for dinner? Add a hearts of romaine salad and italian bread. Serve pears for dessert.
No one will know you didn't spend hours preparing kielbasa with sauerkraut. Spread rinsed and drained refrigerated sauerkraut in a large nonstick skillet. Sprinkle with some caraway seeds. Cut low-fat turkey kielbasa into chunks; place on kraut. Add a little beer or apple juice; cover and cook until hot. Add spicy mustard for the sausages. Serve with mixed salad greens and rye bread. apple slices work for dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Your grilled grouper is a perfect meal for guests. Serve the fish with roasted red potatoes, with corn and tomato relish on the side. Combine 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed no-salt-added corn, 4 chopped plum tomatoes, 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish, 1/2 cup light Italian dressing and 2 to 4 drops hot sauce. Add a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. Sorbet with butter cookies is an easy dessert.
Grilled Marinated Sirloin Steak
Yield: 8 servings
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons steak seasoning
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 pounds trimmed sirloin steak, 3/4-inch thick
In a small bowl, combine juices, oil, steak seasoning, oregano and cumin; mix well. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag; pour marinade over and turn to coat. Refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove steak from marinade; reserve marinade. Grill over medium heat 7 to 13 minutes (uncovered) for medium-rare to medium doneness. Brush both sides with reserved marinade after about 5 minutes (discard any remaining marinade). Slice and serve.
Per serving: 135 calories, 25 grams protein, 3 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 450 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Yield: 8 servings
1 pound lean ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium great northern beans, rinsed
1 cup mild salsa
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled and divided
1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, divided
Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef, onion and bell pepper for 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are softened; drain well. Stir in beans and salsa. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Spoon half the mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with half the bacon and half the cheese. Pour remaining bean mixture over cheese. Top with remaining bacon and cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes or until bubbly.
Per serving: 260 calories, 23 grams protein, 10 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 44 milligrams cholesterol, 417 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
Mushroom And Bow-Tie Pasta
Yield: 4 servings
12 ounces bow-tie pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 (8-ounce) package sliced crimini mushrooms
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 (5- to 6-ounce) package baby spinach
Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add onion and bell pepper and cook 10 to 12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and golden, stirring often. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add mushrooms, vinegar, pepper and salt; cook on medium-high about 10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, stirring often. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Return pasta to pot; stir in mushroom mixture, spinach and reserved cooking water. Mix well and serve.
Per serving: 405 calories, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat (12 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 75 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 281 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.