Take the family on a culinary adventure and enjoy Turkish chicken thighs (see recipe). Serve the flavor-packed chicken with couscous and fresh broccoli spears. Drizzle fresh lemon juice over the broccoli for a blast of flavor. Add flatbread. For dessert, enjoy apple turnovers (frozen). Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and couscous for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Shred and heat the leftover chicken and couscous together and stuff into pitas for an easy meal. Serve with sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar. Bump up your calcium intake with peach yogurt (refrigerated, not frozen) for dessert.
Buy your favorite deli soup for a quick meal tonight. Pair it with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches and packaged salad greens. How about plums for dessert?
Once they try it, the kids’ new favorite dish will be ravioli bake. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, microwave 8 cups fresh spinach on high (100 percent power) for 2 minutes. Coarsely chop 6 ounces frozen turkey meatballs (defrosted) and add to spinach, along with 1 1/2 cups marinara sauce and 3/4 cup water; mix well. Spoon 1 cup mixture into an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Arrange half of a 9-ounce package of three-cheese ravioli (refrigerated) over mixture and sprinkle with 2 ounces (of 4 ounces total) shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layering. Cover tightly with nonstick foil; bake 35 minutes. Remove foil; bake 5 minutes more. Let stand 10 minutes and serve. Add a chopped lettuce salad and bread sticks. For dessert, fresh pineapple is good.
It’s low-cost comfort food, so tuna melts will warm your heart and your tummy. Toast 4 slices whole-grain bread. Combine 2 (6-ounce) cans drained albacore tuna, 1 minced shallot, 2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon minced flatleaf parsley and 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt. Add a dash of hot sauce and freshly ground black pepper to taste; mix well. Spread 1/4 tuna mixture on each slice of toast; top with tomato slices and 2 tablespoons shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Place slices on a baking sheet and broil 3 to 5 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown. Serve immediately with O’Brien potatoes (frozen) and mixed greens. Fresh orange sections sprinkled with shredded coconut are dessert.
For a delicious no-meat dinner, try brown rice-and-mushroom-stuffed peppers (see recipe). Serve the peppers with peas and carrots (frozen) and whole-grain rolls. Make or buy baked custard for dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Make dinner special with bacon barbecue top loin pork chops (see recipe). Serve with frozen corn souffle (such as stouffer’s or another brand), green beans and crusty bread. Buy lemon meringue pie for dessert.
Turkish Chicken Thighs
Yield: 8 servings
3 1/2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Place chicken thighs in a medium bowl; sprinkle with lemon juice and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk together yogurt, garlic, ginger, paprika, cayenne pepper, mint and salt. Pour mixture over chicken and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 24 hours. Position rack in upper third of oven; heat broiler. Remove chicken and discard marinade. Place chicken on broiler rack and broil 15 minutes or until brown on top. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake 15 more minutes or until chicken registers 165 degrees, and serve.
Per serving: 206 calories, 28 grams protein, 9 grams fat (43 percent calories from fat), 2.6 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 154 milligrams cholesterol, 250 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Brown Rice-And-Mushroom-Stuffed Peppers
Yield: 6 peppers
6 medium red bell peppers
1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped shallots
4 cups fresh chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
2 1/2 cups hot cooked brown rice
1 cup tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut tops off peppers; discard seeds and membranes. Turn peppers cut-side down and place in a shallow baking dish; cover and microwave on high (100 percent power) for 6 minutes; drain and set aside. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add shallots; cook 3 minutes or until softened. Add mushrooms; cook 4 minutes or until tender. Add parsley, almonds, sherry and chili powder; cook 3 minutes. Add rice, tomato juice, black pepper, garlic powder and salt; cook 3 more minutes. Spoon about 3/4 cup rice mixture into each pepper. Top each with 2 teaspoons parmesan. Place peppers in 9-by-13-inch baking dish; bake 15 minutes or until hot. Serve.
Per pepper: 219 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 304 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
Bacon Barbecue Top Loin Pork Chops
Yield: 4 servings
4 top loin boneless pork chops, about 1-inch thick (6 ounces each)
4 slices maple-flavored bacon (or other bacon)
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/2 cup lager (or non-alcoholic beer)
Wrap bacon around edges of pork; secure with a wooden toothpick. Mix together barbecue sauce and beer. Grill chops over direct medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (for medium-rare). Brush chops with sauce in the last 5 minutes of cooking time and serve.
Per serving: 247 calories, 29 grams protein, 9 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, 76 milligrams cholesterol, 285 milligrams sodium, no fiber.