Make a quick-and-easy Greek Frittata for dinner tonight. Start by sauteing chopped fresh spinach in olive oil in an oven-safe skillet. Add roughly chopped kalamata olives and chopped fresh basil to 8 beaten eggs. (You could also use 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried Greek herbs.) Pour over spinach and, using a heatproof rubber spatula, gently pull cooked eggs back from edge of skillet and tilt pan, allowing any uncooked egg to run to cleared edge of skillet. Repeat this process, working your way around the skillet, until the egg on top is mostly set but still moist, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with feta cheese crumbles and place in a 350-degree oven to finish. Serve with green salad.
Tuesday: Soup’s on
Hot Italian Sausage-Gnocchi Soup (recipe below) is made spicy by the sausage, but you can tone it down with a mild version. I like this soup for the ease of preparation, and the kale (or another green if you'd like) adds fiber and nutrients. Look for bags of the gnocchi — small potato dumplings — near ravioli and tortellini in the frozen food aisle.
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Wednesday: Taco time
Shred the meat of one chicken for Green Chile Chicken Tacos. Mix the chicken with a small can of diced chiles, green salsa and corn and heat through. Scoop onto heated flour tortillas and top with chopped cilantro and crumbled cotija Mexican cheese, plus lime wedges. Serve with sliced melons sprinkled with cayenne.
Thursday: Dinner in a tin
Haul out your muffin tins tonight and put them to use for Mini-Shepherd Pies. Individual shepherd pies cook quickly and are fun to serve. The crust is refrigerated biscuits pushed into a greased tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes then set aside. Brown ground beef in a skillet and sprinkle with flour (about 2 tablespoons per pound). Pour in beef broth and cook to thicken. Add some frozen peas, carrots and corn and heat through. Scoop into baked biscuits and top with a scoop of mashed potatoes (and grated cheese if you’d like). Bake about 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Serve with steamed broccoli.
Friday: Grilled steak
Snowy or sweltering, Americans love their grills. Make life easy tonight by tossing a flank steak into marinade in the morning and grilling tonight. Serve with grilled veggies and baked potato. Easy does it.
Saturday: Easy Entertaining
Turn a tough cut of beef into company fare with this Fajita-Style Flank Steak (see recipe).
Accompany the tender steak with Dutch yellow potatoes O’Brien. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1 pound diced Dutch yellow potatoes, 1/3 cup diced green bell pepper, 1/3 cup diced red bell pepper and 1/3 cup diced yellow bell pepper, 1 medium diced sweet onion, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine; cook 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender. Serve with steamed fresh broccoli, coleslaw and crusty rolls. Fruit tarts for dessert.
Sunday: Family Day
This meal-in-a-dish Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables (see recipe) is perfect for family day. Serve the easy combo with a Romaine salad and whole-grain bread. Peach cobbler will be a welcome dessert.
Hot Italian Sausage-Gnocchi Soup
1 pound hot Italian sausage
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 cups kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 (16-ounce) package gnocchi
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
In a large stockpot over medium heat, brown the sausage. Once cooked, remove sausage and drain on paper towels. In the same pot, saute the onions and garlic, about 10 to 12 minutes.
Pour the water and broth into the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the sausage, red pepper flakes, kale, cream and gnocchi. Simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, allowing the flavors to marry. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with a little (or a lot of) freshly grated parmesan. Serves 6 to 8.
Source: Chile Pepper magazine.
Herb-Roasted Chicken and Vegetables
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-sodium, less-fat cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup 1 percent milk
2 teaspoons dried oregano, divided
2 cups fresh baby carrots
4 medium potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine soup, milk and 1 teaspoon oregano; mix well. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, add carrots and potatoes. Pour soup mixture over vegetables and stir well. Top with chicken. Sprinkle chicken with remaining oregano and the paprika. Bake, uncovered, for 50 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees and vegetables are fork-tender. Cut breasts into 8 portions.
Per serving: 214 calories, 27 g protein, 4 g fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.9 g saturated fat, 17 g carbohydrates, 75 mg cholesterol, 278 mg sodium, 2 g fiber. Carb choices: 1.
Fajita-Style Flank Steak
1 1/2-pound beef flank steak
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime zest (green part only)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce
Trim fat from steak. Place steak in a large resealable plastic bag in a large shallow dish. For the marinade, in a small bowl, stir together Italian dressing, salsa, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro or parsley and hot sauce; mix well. Pour over steak; seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator 8 to 24 hours, turning bag occasionally. When ready to cook, drain steak; reserve marinade. Place steak on unheated rack of broiler pan. Broil 3 to 4 inches from heat 13 to 18 minutes for medium-rare to medium, turning once and brushing with marinade up to the last 5 minutes of broiling. Pour any remaining marinade into small pan; boil 1 minute. Thinly slice beef across grain. Serve steak with marinade. Serves 6.
Per cup: 214 calories, 25 g protein, 11 g fat (48 percent calories from fat), 4.1 g saturated fat, 2 g carbohydrates, 53 mg cholesterol, 209 mg sodium, no fiber. Carb choices: None.
1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillets, cut into 4 portions
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons coarse-grain mustard
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Heat broiler. Line broiler pan with foil, then coat with cooking spray. Place salmon, skin-side down, on pan. Season with salt and pepper. Combine sour cream, mustard and lemon juice. Spread evenly over salmon. Broil 5 inches from heat for 10 to 12 minutes or until salmon is opaque in center. Serve with lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 216 calories, 30 g protein, 8 g fat (37 percent calories from fat), 2.3 g saturated fat, 1 g carbohydrates, 74 mg cholesterol, 298 mg sodium, no fiber. Carb choices: 0.