Take it easy and serve the family your roast chicken (5 to 7 pounds) today. Add broccoli cauliflower casserole (see recipe). Alongside, add an arugula salad with red pepper rings and orange slices and whole-grain rolls. Make apple-cinnamon bundles for dessert. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Unroll 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated piecrusts (use wax paper for easy cleanup) according to package directions. Cut each crust into fourths. Divide 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen (thawed) apples (such as Stouffer’s) into eight portions and place in center of each crust; sprinkle with cinnamon. Pull corners over apples, pinching to seal. Brush bundles evenly with lightly beaten egg white; place on a baking sheet and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Plan ahead: Save enough chicken for Monday and Tuesday. Save enough apple bundles for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Use some of the leftover chicken in baked spinach and rice with chicken. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups cooked brown rice, 1 cup shredded Emmentaler cheese, 1 to 2 cups chopped cooked chicken and 2 (12-ounce) packages frozen spinach souffle (thawed). Spoon mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with 2 thinly sliced plum tomatoes. Cover with nonstick foil and bake 15 minutes; remove foil, bake 15 more minutes, and serve. Add a mixed greens salad and bread sticks. Warm the leftover apple bundles for dessert.
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Stretch that food dollar using the leftover chicken in Reuben calzones (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge with red onion rings. Keep dessert light with peaches.
Check out in the fast lane for a quick meal of deli turkey and Swiss sandwiches and grill them at home. Add deli bean soup and a packaged Caesar salad. Pop a few red and green grapes for dessert.
Make it a kid-pleaser tonight with franks and potato dinner. In a large nonstick skillet, mix together 1 (4.9-ounce) package au gratin potatoes along with the enclosed sauce mix, 2 1/3 cups hot water and 2/3 cup 1 percent milk. Stir in 1 cup frozen peas and carrots until separated. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 6 lowest-fat and lowest-sodium hot dogs (cut into 1-inch pieces); cover and heat 3 to 4 minutes or until hot. Sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese over all. Cover; let stand 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. On the side, add a chopped lettuce salad and soft bread sticks. Fresh pineapple spears make a good dessert.
Forget about meat and enjoy ravioli marinara (see recipe). Add a Romaine salad and garlic bread. Scoop fat-free strawberry ice cream for a cool dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Take a trip to south Louisiana for cajun pecan catfish. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow baking pan with cooking spray and place 4 (4- to 6-ounce) catfish fillets in pan. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Spoon or brush half the mixture over fish. To remaining oil mixture, add 1/3 cup finely chopped pecans, 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon dry bread crumbs and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley; mix well. Spread evenly onto fish. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Garnish with lemon slices. Serve with packaged rice pilaf and green peas (frozen). Add a red-tipped lettuce salad and cornbread (from a mix). Top leftover ice cream with light whipped cream for dessert.
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole
1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 (16-ounce) package frozen cauliflower florets, thawed
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups 1 percent milk
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cubed
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix crumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan, 2 teaspoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning. Set aside. Cut florets into bite-size pieces. Melt the 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, remaining 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add cream cheese and remaining parmesan cheese; cook and stir until cream cheese melts. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle top evenly with crumb mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.
Per serving: 175 calories, 9 grams protein, 9 grams fat (45 percent calories from fat), 5.5 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 250 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 8 servings
1 (10-ounce) package refrigerated pizza crust
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons reduced-fat Russian dressing
1 cup shredded reduced-fat or regular Swiss cheese
1 (8-ounce) can sauerkraut, rinsed, drained and squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups small, thin pieces leftover chicken
2 teaspoons caraway seeds
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Unroll pizza crust on cutting board with longer side facing you. Stretch dough to a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut in half crosswise, then in half lengthwise. For each calzone: Leaving a 1/2-inch border on top and sides, spread 2 teaspoons Russian dressing on right half of dough. Top with 1/4 cup cheese and 1/4 cup sauerkraut and 1/4 of the chicken. Fold left side of dough over filling; press edges together to seal. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds. Using a spatula coated with cooking spray, carefully transfer calzones to baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until crisp and golden.
Per half: 194 calories, 16 grams protein, 5 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 20 grams carbohydrate, 29 milligrams cholesterol, 511 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Yield: makes 8 halves
1 (24- to 27-ounce) package frozen cheese ravioli
1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar chunky red pasta sauce
1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli, green beans, onions and red peppers (or another frozen vegetable blend)
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Cook ravioli according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart saucepan, mix pasta sauce, vegetables and beans. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 6 to 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Spoon vegetable mixture over ravioli; sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
Per serving: 391 calories, 16 grams protein, 14 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 7.6 grams saturated fat, 49 grams carbohydrate, 56 milligrams cholesterol, 798 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 8 servings