Impress the family with chicken rice curry (see recipe), a slow-cooker recipe as delicious as it is easy. Serve with a crisp lettuce wedge and flatbread. Buy or make a carrot cake. Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Monday.
Skip meat tonight and enjoy soft bean tacos. Spread warm corn tortillas with canned, heated fat-free refried beans. Top with shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce, sliced green onions and salsa. Add Mexican rice (packaged) with a sliced avocado salad on the side. For a little sweetness, slice the leftover cake.
The kids will like the fun of wagon wheel pasta and the taste of pizza in pizza pasta bake. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook 8 ounces wagon wheel (or tubular) pasta according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a medium nonstick skillet, cook 1/2 pound lean ground beef for 4 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. In a 2 1/2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray, combine cooked pasta, beef, 1 (24- to 28-ounce) jar red pasta sauce, 1 (4-ounce) can drained mushrooms and stems, and 1/4 cup sliced black olives. Cover and bake 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add deli carrot salad. For a light dessert, try pears.
Try any brand of frozen crab cakes for a quick meal. Add reduced-fat tartar sauce on the side, frozen O’Brien potatoes, a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. Tropical fruit is a light dessert.
Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with traditional homestyle corned beef with dilled cabbage (see recipe). Add parsley buttered potatoes, a mixed greens salad and rye bread. For dessert, lime sherbet fits right into the green theme. Plan ahead: Save enough corned beef and rye bread for Friday.
FRIDAY (Heat and Eat)
Use those leftovers for corned beef sandwiches on rye bread. Slather grainy mustard on the bread, layer with the corned beef and top with prepared horseradish sauce. Serve with pickled beets and deli coleslaw. Dessert is chunky applesauce.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Invite friends for a casual meal of Greek pasta with chickpeas and feta (see recipe). Serve the simple pasta with mixed greens and crusty bread. To make it even simpler, buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert.
Chicken Rice Curry
2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 (0.87-ounce) package chicken gravy mix
1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth
2 medium red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium unpeeled Golden Delicious apple, cored and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dehydrated minced onion
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup quick-cooking rice
Cut each chicken breast into 3 or 4 pieces and place on a plate. Sprinkle with curry powder and gently pat into chicken; set aside. In a large bowl, gradually stir gravy mix into broth until well-blended. Add seasoned chicken, bell pepper, apple, raisins, onion, bay leaves and garlic powder; mix well. Spoon ingredients into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours. Add rice; stir gently yet thoroughly to blend. Cover and cook 20 minutes on low or until rice is tender. Remove bay leaves and serve.
Per serving: 273 calories, 27 grams protein, 4 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 68 milligrams cholesterol, 299 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber
Yield: 6 servings
Homestyle Corned Beef With Dilled Cabbage
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 pound boneless corned beef brisket
2 cups water
1 medium head cabbage (about 2 pounds), cut into 8 wedges
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place corned beef and water into Dutch oven. Bring to simmer on low; do not boil. Cover tightly; place in oven 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours or until fork-tender. About 20 minutes before beef is done; steam cabbage 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Remove brisket from water; trim fat. Place on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 3 to 4 inches from heat. Combine honey and 1 tablespoon mustard. Brush top of brisket with 1/2 of mixture; broil 3 minutes. Brush brisket with remaining glaze; broil 2 minutes or until glazed. Combine butter, remaining mustard and dill; spread on hot cabbage. Carve beef diagonally across grain. Serve with cabbage.
Per serving (corned beef): 397 calories, 26 grams protein, 27 grams fat (61 percent calories from fat), 8.9 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 137 milligrams cholesterol, 1,413 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 1. Per serving (cabbage): 69 calories, 2 grams protein, 5 grams fat (55 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 97 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Yield: 8 servings
Greek Pasta With Chickpeas And Feta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
10 ounces packaged baby spinach leaves
12 ounces fusilli (corkscrew or other short pasta)
1 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only)
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or basil
1 (15- to 19-ounce) can reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
1/4 cup sliced kalamata olives
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Cook onion and garlic 5 minutes or until softened. Add spinach and cook 3 minutes or until just wilted and bright green. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to directions; drain. Add the lemon zest, juice, oregano or basil, chickpeas and olives to the spinach mixture and heat through. Add the drained pasta and toss well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into pasta bowls, top with feta cheese and serve.
Per serving: 367 calories, 14 grams protein, 9 grams fat (22 percent calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 58 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 439 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Yield: 6 servings