Celebrate the new year with sliced baked ham and hoppin’ john (see recipe), a dish with black-eyed peas that’s guaranteed to bring you luck. Serve it with collard greens and cornbread muffins (from a mix). For dessert, your ambrosia is a good way to end the meal. Plan ahead: Save enough ham and ambrosia for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Leftover ham works wonders in fettuccine and ham salad. cook 1/2 cup sliced carrots until tender; drain and cool. Cook 8 ounces spinach fettuccine according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, toss 12 ounces cooked chopped (leftover) ham, carrots, fettuccine and 1 small thinly sliced red onion (separated into rings). In a separate small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup tarragon vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon dried basil. Pour over pasta mixture; toss to coat. Serve warm or cold. Add a mixed greens salad and whole-grain rolls. Leftover ambrosia is your dessert.
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Make an easy meal of frozen Maryland-style crab cakes (such as seapak or another brand) and tartar sauce. Serve with frozen sweet potato fries and deli colelaw. Add peaches with a sprinkle of nutmeg for dessert.
Keep the kids smiling with peanut butter and banana sandwiches on raisin bread. On the side, add celery and carrot sticks along with their favorite dip. Graham crackers and sliced apples are great for munching.
Baked potatoes are special when they are topped with avocado mousse. In a food processor, combine 2 ripe Hass avocados (pitted, peeled and sliced), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and fold in 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream. Serve immediately over potatoes. Serve with a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg wedges and whole-grain bread. Make lemon pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.
When we’re down to our last few food dollars, tuna noodle casserole always comes to the rescue for another good, low-cost meal. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix 2 (6-ounce) cans drained light tuna, 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-fat/less-sodium cream of celery soup and 12 ounces cooked elbow macaroni. Spoon into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with any crushed chips and bake 30 minutes or until heated through and bubbly. Serve with a Romaine salad and crusty rolls. For dessert, Red and green grapes are easy. Tip: Add any leftover cooked vegetables to the tuna mixture before baking.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Invite friends for broiled lamb chops with yogurt sauce (see recipe) served over couscous. Add green peas (frozen) on the side, along with a Boston lettuce salad and flatbread. Make pretty cranberry pear tartlets (see recipe) for dessert.
Yield: 8 servings
1 1/2 cups dry black-eyed peas
1- to 1 1/2-pound smoked turkey leg
1 onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Coarse salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups rice
Shredded smoked cheddar cheese for garnish
In a large pot, combine peas, turkey leg, onion, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours. Remove turkey leg, remove meat from bones, chop meat and return to pot; discard bones. Stir in the rice; cover and cook 20 minutes or until rice is tender. (Add more water if necessary.) Serve immediately, garnished with cheese.
Per serving: 304 calories, 22 grams protein, 4 grams fat (12 percent calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 383 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Broiled Lamb Chops With Yogurt Sauce Over Couscous
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup water
3/4 cup couscous
8 (4-ounce) lamb loin chops, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon honey
Heat broiler. Boil water; add couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Meanwhile, sprinkle lamb with salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place lamb on broiler pan coated with cooking spray; broil 5 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. While lamb cooks, combine remaining pepper, yogurt, parsley, mint, basil and honey; mix well. Serve lamb with sauce over couscous.
Per serving: 327 calories, 31 grams protein, 9 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 3.1 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 333 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Cranberry Pear Tartlets
Yield: 30 tartlets
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped
2 (2.1-ounce) boxes mini phyllo shells, thawed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Finely grated orange zest
In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, honey, allspice and cinnamon; bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in pears and simmer 10 minutes or until excess liquid has cooked off. Let cool, then spoon mixture into shells. Divide walnuts and sprinkle over tartlets; lightly grate orange zest over top. Serve.
Per tartlet: 40 calories, no protein, 2 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 0.1 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 13 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber