For a special family day meal, serve vegetable-lamb chop skillet dinner (see recipe). The combination goes well with a red-tip lettuce salad. Finish with mocha ice cream for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.
Cooler days call for no-meat Italian vegetable stew. In a large pot on medium-high, cook 3 cups diced potatoes and 3 cups chopped onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are browned and onion is softened. Add 3 cups sliced fresh zucchini, 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans undrained diced tomatoes with oregano and garlic, 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth and 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with a spinach salad and hard-cooked egg wedges along with cheese toast. Plums are a simple dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough stew for Tuesday.
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TUESDAY (Heat and Eat)
Make vegetable soup for a quick meal. Thin the leftover stew with unsalted chicken broth to the desired thickness and heat. Serve with smoked-turkey-and-cheese-on-rye sandwiches. Enjoy leftover ice cream for dessert. Plan ahead: Buy enough smoked turkey breast for Wednesday.
Smoked turkey enchiladas (see recipe) have two great qualities: They’re easy to make and packed with flavor. Serve with canned reduced-sodium pinto beans and a guacamole salad. Fresh pineapple spears are good for dessert.
Tex-Mex mac and cheese is a double whammy that’s full of the kids’ favorite flavors and is easy. Stir 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies into any prepared macaroni and cheese. Heat through. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. On the side, serve halved cherry tomatoes with the kids’ favorite dip and breadsticks. Slurpy Creamsicles are a messy dessert the kids will like.
Take it easy and make seafood salad wraps for dinner. Line 4 fat-free burrito-size flour tortillas with lettuce leaves. Spread 1/4 pound deli seafood salad down the center of each tortilla. Top with sliced avocado and sliced red onion. Roll tortillas around filling and wrap in wax paper for easy eating. Serve with baked chips on the side. For dessert, top fresh tropical fruits with shredded coconut.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
For a perfect fall meal for guests, serve chicken with roasted apples (see recipe). Serve with browned brussels sprouts. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1 1/2 pounds trimmed and halved fresh brussels sprouts, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; cook 1 minute. Add mashed potatoes and rye bread. For dessert, enjoy coconut cake.
Vegetable-Lamb Chop Skillet Dinner
Yield: 4 servings
4 lamb shoulder chops, 3/4-inch thick
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup boiling water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 1/2 cups loosely packed cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 large carrots, thickly sliced
4 small onions
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3/4 cup broccoli florets
8 cherry tomatoes
Chopped parsley for garnish
Sprinkle both sides of chops with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil with garlic on medium. Add chops; brown on both sides. Add wine, boiling water and bouillon cube. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until chops are almost tender. Arrange cauliflower, carrots, onions and potatoes around chops. Simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes or until all are tender. During the last 8 minutes of cooking, add broccoli. Add tomatoes during last 5 minutes of cooking. Arrange on large platter; garnish with parsley and serve.
Per serving: 417 calories, 29 grams protein, 16 grams fat (35 percent calories from fat), 4.3 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 77 milligrams cholesterol, 801 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Smoked Turkey Enchiladas
Yield: 8 enchiladas
8 corn tortillas
1 1/4 cups green salsa (salsa verde) or red salsa
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups chopped smoked turkey breast (about 8 ounces)
6 ounces shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, divided
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
Diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce and sliced green onions for garnish
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place tortillas in oven on a flat baking sheet; bake 5 minutes and remove from oven. Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix salsa, sour cream and cilantro. Spread 1/2 cup over bottom of baking dish. In another bowl, combine turkey, 1 cup Swiss cheese and roasted peppers. Spoon scant 1/2 cup turkey mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up; place seam-side down in baking dish. Pour remaining salsa mixture over top. Cover with nonstick foil and bake 15 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining Swiss cheese and bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with tomatoes, lettuce and green onions, and serve.
Per enchilada: 163 calories, 14 grams protein, 6 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 606 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Chicken With Roasted Apples
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/2 pounds Braeburn apples, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat oven to 475 degrees. In a large bowl, combine apples, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Spread mixture on a large flat baking sheet covered with nonstick foil. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and the pepper and arrange on top of apple mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until chicken is done and apples are tender. Remove chicken and keep warm. Partially mash apple mixture with potato masher (or 2 forks) and serve with chicken. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired.
Per serving: 318 calories, 32 grams protein, 11 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 175 milligrams cholesterol, 354 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.