Prepare your own large roast chicken for the family today. Serve it with almond, farro and black bean salad with cilantro (see recipe) for a colorful and delicious side dish. Add mixed greens and biscuits. Buy a chocolate meringue pie for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough chicken for Monday and enough pie for Tuesday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Use Sunday’s leftover chicken for Cobb salad wrap. For one wrap: Place 1 burrito-sized tortilla on flat surface. Arrange 2 large curly leaf lettuce leaves on tortilla. In rows, arrange 1/4 cup chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 medium chopped tomato, 1/2 medium chopped avocado, 1 chopped hard-cooked egg, 1 slice cooked and crumbled bacon and 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons light vinaigrette dressing. Fold bottom up, roll and serve. Enjoy corn-on-the-cob on the side. Mangos are a juicy dessert. Plan ahead: Cook enough bacon for Friday.
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Skip meat for bow-tie pasta with asparagus for an easy meal. Cook bow-tie pasta according to directions. Add a 10-ounce package of frozen cut asparagus and 1/2 cup frozen tiny green peas to cooking water 5 minutes before pasta is done; drain. Toss with heated marinara sauce. Serve with a deli carrot salad and garlic bread. Slice the leftover PIE for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough carrot salad for Wednesday.
Skillet tamale pie (see recipe) will be a kid favorite. Serve the easy dish with leftover carrot salad. Keep dessert light with pears.
For a quick meal, mixed greens with chicken is hard to beat. Toss packaged salad greens with shredded cooked chicken (leftover, rotisserie or canned), crumbled feta cheese and sliced red onion. Drizzle with Caesar dressing. Top with packaged croutons. Serve with deli bean soup and crusty rolls. Fresh strawberries are good for dessert.
Sandwiches are always a good way to save a little money, and these open-faced cheddar, bacon and tomato sandwiches are budget-friendly and delicious. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Cut each of 4 (6-inch) sub or hero rolls (or a 24-inch loaf of Italian bread cut into 6-inch pieces) lengthwise to within 1/2 inch of the opposite side. Open and place on baking sheet. Spread cut sides with either 1/2 cup mango chutney or 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard. Divide and top 4 sandwiches with 8 slices leftover cooked bacon, 8 slices tomato and 8 thin slices cheddar cheese. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with baked potato chips and dill pickles. For dessert, munch on apple slices.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Invite friends for mushroom and vegetable lasagna (see recipe). Serve with Romaine salad and Italian bread. For dessert, try honey-lime lychee and berries. Remove shells and seeds from 12 lychees. Place them in a bowl with 1 pint small fresh strawberries. Top with 4 peeled and sliced kiwifruits. Combine 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Pour over fruit and toss to coat. Refrigerate at least 2 1/2 hours before serving in pretty stemmed dishes.
Almond, Farro And Black Bean Salad With Cilantro
2 ounces slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup farro
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) shelled edamame
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
2 teaspoons Dijon coarse-grain mustard
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Heat a medium saucepan on medium-high; add almonds and cook 2 minutes or until they begin to lightly brown, stirring often. Remove almonds from pan; set aside. Add water to pan, bring to boil on high heat; stir in farro, reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until just tender. Drain in a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cold water to cool quickly. Shake off excess liquid. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine almonds, beans, edamame, onion, oil, juice, zest, mustard, garlic, salt and red pepper. Stir in drained farro and cilantro; toss to mix until blended.
Per serving: 204 calories, 8 grams protein, 11 grams fat (48 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 208 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 8 servings
Skillet Tamale Pie
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground turkey breast
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium pinto beans with liquid
1/2 cup water
1 (1.25-ounce) packet reduced-sodium or regular mild taco seasoning mix
1 (8-ounce) package cornbread mix
1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese
1/4 cup sliced green onions
Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Crumble and add the beef and turkey to the skillet. Cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Mix in the tomato sauce, beans with liquid, water and taco seasoning mix. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare cornbread mix according to package directions for muffins. Drop small spoonfuls of muffin batter over meat mixture in skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 12 to 15 minutes or until cornbread is done. (Test by sticking a toothpick in center of muffin. If it comes out clean, it's done.) Top with cheese and onions. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until cheese melts.
Per serving: 375 calories, 30 grams protein, 10 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 921 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 6 servings
Mushroom And Vegetable Lasagna
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted or other diced tomatoes with liquid
3 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) container refrigerated light Alfredo sauce, divided
4 cups broccoli florets
(fresh or frozen, thawed and drained)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 pounds assorted fresh sliced mushrooms
2 cups shredded carrots
9 no-boil lasagna noodles
3 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix together tomatoes, basil, oregano and garlic. Reserve 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce. Microwave broccoli 3 minutes on high (100 percent power); drain. In another medium bowl, mix together remaining Alfredo sauce and cooked broccoli. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Cook mushrooms and carrots 8 minutes, stirring often. To assemble: Spread reserved 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce in ungreased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with 3 noodles (do not overlap or place near edge of dish). Spread half of broccoli mixture over noodles. Top with 1 cup of tomato mixture, 1 cup of cheese and half the mushroom mixture. Repeat layers, topping with remaining noodles and remaining tomato mixture. (Reserve remaining cup of cheese.) Cover tightly with nonstick foil. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until hot and bubbly. Remove from oven; uncover dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese; tent with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 284 calories, 18 grams protein, 12 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 5.8 grams saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 32 milligrams cholesterol, 454 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber
Yield: makes 9 servings