Your roast chicken is always a favorite for family day, as are mashed potatoes and gravy. Add green beans with sliced almonds, mixed greens salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, enjoy angel food cake topped with strawberry ice cream (fat-free) and fresh sliced strawberries. Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and strawberries for Monday; save enough ice cream for Tuesday and enough cake for Wednesday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Turn Sunday's entree into chicken, kale and tomato galette (see recipe). Serve with a spinach salad. Enjoy leftover strawberries for dessert.
The kids will like the flavor of lentil alphabet soup (see recipe) and parents will like how easy it is to make. Serve with grilled cheese sandwiches made with whole-grain bread and 2-percent-milk cheese slices. Add sweet pickles. Leftover ice cream makes a popular dessert.
Stews are always good budget crunchers, just like this beef and French onion stew. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 2 (10 1/2-ounce) cans French onion soup and 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed less-sodium, less-fat cream of mushroom soup with 2 pounds cubed beef stew meat (well-trimmed). Cover and cook 6 to 8 hours on low or until meat is tender. Serve over no-yolk noodles. Add salad greens and sourdough bread. Spoon sliced peaches over leftover cake for dessert. Tip: To up the flavor of the stew, brown the beef cubes before adding to cooker.
Make dinner fast with frozen veggie burgers. Top them with roasted red peppers (from a jar) and crumbled blue cheese on toasted whole-grain buns. Serve with refrigerated red-skinned potatoes (such as Simply Potatoes or another brand) and add a packaged Caesar salad on the side. PEARS are dessert. SHOPPING
Skip meat for bow-tie pasta with zucchini marinara sauce. Cook bow-tie pasta according to directions. Cut 2 medium zucchini in 3/4-inch chunks. Add to bow-tie pasta cooking water 3 minutes before pasta is done. Drain; toss with heated marinara sauce (from a jar), freshly sliced basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Spoon into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Slice (any) melon for dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Invite guests for your grilled tuna. Serve with Florentine rice (see recipe). Add a lettuce wedge and baguettes. For an easy dessert, serve mini fudge cakes with chocolate-cherry ice cream. Follow the directions on box of Triple Chocolate Hot Fudge Cake Mix (such as Betty Crocker Complete Desserts).
CHICKEN, KALE AND TOMATO GALETTE
1 refrigerated piecrust (from 15-ounce box)
1/2 cup sun-dried tomato pesto (from 8.5-ounce jar), divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups loosely packed fresh kale or spinach or combination
2 cups shredded leftover cooked chicken
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (2 ounces)
1 medium plum tomato, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Unroll piecrust on sheet. Spread 1 tablespoon pesto over crust to within 1 1/4 inches of edge. In a large nonstick skillet on medium, heat oil. Cook onion and garlic 1 to 2 minutes or until tender, stirring often. Stir in kale or spinach, chicken, pepper and remaining pesto. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until greens are wilted and chicken is heated. Stir often. Spoon chicken mixture over center of crust to cover pesto. Sprinkle with cheese. Fold edge of crust over filling, pleating as necessary. Top with tomato, overlapping slices, if necessary. Brush crust with egg. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden. Sprinkle with basil; let stand 5 minutes before cutting. (Adapted from “Pillsbury: The Big Book of More Baking With Refrigerated Dough,” Grace Wells, senior editor; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.)
Per slice: 421 calories, 23 grams protein, 25 grams fat (53 percent calories from fat), 7.5 grams saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 83 milligrams cholesterol, 384 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 6 slices
LENTIL ALPHABET SOUP
1/2 cup uncooked lentils
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup sliced carrots
3/4 cup thinly sliced celery
32 ounces unsalted vegetable broth
1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/4 cup alphabet pasta
Cook lentils according to directions. Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, 10 to 12 minutes or until softened. Add broth and tomato sauce. Increase heat to high, cover and bring to boil. Remove cover; stir in pasta, reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often to prevent pasta from sticking to bottom of pot, 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Stir in lentils; heat through 1 to 2 minutes. (Recipe from Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss, mealmakeovermoms.com.)
Per serving cup: 177 calories, 8 grams protein, 3 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), no saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 182 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 5 cups
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1 clove garlic, minced
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves, torn into pieces
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium until the butter melts. Add red bell pepper and green onions; cook 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add spinach, rosemary and white pepper and cook until the spinach wilts. Add rice and parmesan cheese; cook and stir 5 minutes or until rice is heated through and cheese has melted. Serve hot.
Per serving: 128 calories, 4 grams protein, 3 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 68 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Yield: 6 servings