Make family day special with feta-stuffed chicken breasts (see recipe) on the menu. Serve with couscous and tiny green peas (frozen). Add any frozen whole-grain rolls. For dessert, make blueberry parfaits. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crushed lemon cookies in each of 8 parfait glasses. For each serving, spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons (from a 21-ounce can) blueberry pie filling over cookies. Top with 2 tablespoons light whipped topping; repeat layers. Top with crushed cookies. Plan ahead: Save enough parfaits and cook brown rice for Monday; cook 2 extra plain chicken breasts for Tuesday.
Caribbean black beans and rice (see recipe) sounds extra-good. Serve with a Romaine salad and bread sticks. Leftover parfaits are good for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough of the beans and rice combination for Tuesday.
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TUESDAY (Heat and Eat)
For a quick meal, make chicken black bean stew for dinner. Chop Sunday's leftover chicken and combine with Tuesday's black beans and rice; thin with unsalted chicken broth and heat for a quick meal. Add a spinach salad and cornbread (from a mix). Dessert is fresh tropical fruits.
Take it easy on the budget tonight with linguine with red sauce (using any marinara sauce), garnished with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. For dessert, peaches are easy.
Roasted tomato and turkey heroes are perfect for a last-minute meal. Heat oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, place 1 pound thinly sliced tomatoes in a single layer; roast on lowest rack 10 minutes or until tender and slightly browned. Meanwhile, spread about 1/4 cup brown mustard on bottom halves of 4 (about 6 inches long) hero or hoagie rolls; top each roll with 3 slices deli turkey and 1 slice reduced-fat Swiss cheese. Arrange tomato slices on top halves of rolls. Place sandwich halves in a single layer on baking sheet; bake 3 minutes or until cheese is melted. Carefully place top halves on bottom halves; cut in half and serve with baked chips and deli broccoli salad. For dessert, try pears.
Make the kids happy and prepare their favorite burgers (on whole-grain buns) with oven fries (frozen) and green beans on the side. Dress the burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, mustard and ketchup or whatever their little hearts desire. Serve fudgsicles for a drippy dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
No matter the season, guests will welcome creamy shrimp Alfredo (see recipe). Add a bibb lettuce salad and crusty rolls. Make it easy for yourself and buy fruit tarts for dessert
Feta-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Yield: 4 servings
4 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese with tomato and basil
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives
1 green onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon dried oregano, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp knife, cut breasts in half lengthwise (but not all the way through) and open like a book. Pound slightly to flatten; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together feta cheese, olives, green onion and parsley, 2 teaspoons of oregano and the pepper. Stir in egg until combined. Divide mixture and place in center of each breast. Roll and secure with wooden toothpicks. In another bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt and remaining oregano. Add chicken breasts and turn gently to coat. Let stand 10 minutes. Place chicken on rack over baking sheet covered with nonstick foil. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 160 degrees. Remove chicken from oven; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 295 calories, 36 grams protein, 15 grams fat (46 percent calories from fat), 3.7 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 145 milligrams cholesterol, 665 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.
Caribbean Black Beans And Rice
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups finely chopped carrot
1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 tablespoons dry sherry
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
3 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
3 bay leaves
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add onion, carrot and garlic; cook 10 minutes. Add rice, sherry, vinegar, thyme, pepper, salt, beans and bay leaves; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated and serve. Per serving: 336 calories, 15 grams protein, 2 grams fat (6 percent calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 68 grams carbohydrate, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 404 milligrams sodium, 17 gram fiber.
Creamy Shrimp Alfredo
Yield: 6 servings
12 ounces fettuccine or penne pasta
1 pound uncooked medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Coarse salt, pepper and paprika to taste
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 small finely chopped onion
1 minced clove garlic
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups 2 percent milk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
Chopped parsley and basil for garnish
Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, lightly season shrimp with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; add canola oil. Once oil is hot, add shrimp in a single layer and cook 1 to 2 minutes per side or just until pink and opaque. Remove shrimp to a separate bowl. In same skillet, over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter; add onion and cook 5 minutes or until golden. Stir in garlic and cook 30 seconds. Stir in 1/3 cup dry white wine and reduce by one-quarter, scraping the bottom to deglaze the pan. Stir in milk and cream; simmer for 2 minutes on low. Sprinkle the top with the parmesan (or add to taste) and stir until creamy and smooth. Add more paprika and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir shrimp into the mixture. Add pasta and toss gently. Garnish with parsley, basil, extra parmesan or freshly cracked pepper if desired and serve.
Per serving: 427 calories, 27 grams protein, 14 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 6.7 grams saturated fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, 155 milligrams cholesterol, 231 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.