Root for your favorite team with slow cooker chili standing by for halftime eating. In a large nonstick skillet, cook 2 pounds lean ground beef on medium for 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Place cooked beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add 1 package any slow cooker chili seasoning mix, 2 (14.5-ounce) cans undrained no-salt-added diced tomatoes, 2 (14.5-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium kidney or pinto beans (or combination) and 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or on high 4 hours. Stir before serving. Garnish it with shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream and chopped onions. Add deli coleslaw and cornbread (from a mix) to accompany the feast. BROWNIES are dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough chili for Monday and enough brownies for Tuesday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Heat the leftover chili for tonight and serve it over brown rice to stretch it. Add mixed salad greens and crusty bread. Serve fresh pineapple chunks for a light dessert.
Reuben wraps make a quick meal. Spread 4 (8-inch) whole-wheat tortillas with 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing. Top each tortilla with 1 1/2 cups (6 cups total) fresh baby spinach, 2 ounces (8 ounces total) deli sliced honey-roasted smoked or other turkey breast, 1 ounce sliced (4 ounces total) reduced-fat Swiss cheese and 1 cup (4 cups total) bagged coleslaw mix. Roll tightly. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate 15 minutes. Cut diagonally in halves. Serve with oven fries (frozen). Leftover brownies are dessert.
Ask the kids what their favorite food groups are, and they’ll include spaghetti and pizza, so tonight’s spaghetti pizza will be a winner. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Break 8 ounces spaghetti into 2-inch pieces; cook according to package directions; drain. In a large bowl, beat 2 eggs. Gradually add 1/2 cup 1 percent milk, 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Stir in spaghetti pieces. Coat a rimmed 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-by-1 1/2-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Spread spaghetti mixture into pan, building up sides slightly. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Spread 1 (26-ounce) jar red spaghetti sauce over crust. Spread 2 cups cooked broccoli florets and 1 thinly sliced zucchini over sauce. Sprinkle with 1 more cup mozzarella. Bake 35 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad. Add peaches for dessert.
Enjoy a no-meat dinner with polenta gratin with mushrooms and cheese (see recipe). Serve it with a spinach salad with sliced hard-cooked eggs and focaccia. Scoop strawberry ice cream for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
You won’t care that skillet beef and mashed potato pie (see recipe) is inexpensive because it’s comfort food at its best. Serve it with a lettuce wedge and bread sticks. Red and green grapes are always good for dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Our neighbors enjoyed roasted cod with warm tomato-olive-caper tapenade (see recipe) with us. Serve it with couscous, a bibb lettuce salad and baguettes. Top leftover strawberry ice cream with hot fudge sauce for dessert.
Polenta Gratin With Mushrooms And Cheese
Yield: 4 servings
1 (16-ounce) tube sun-dried tomato or regular polenta, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 (8-ounce) package sliced crimini mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/3 cup sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce (such as Classico or another brand)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a 7-by-11-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, arrange polenta slices, allowing slices to overlap. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add mushrooms; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in garlic and salt. Cover, reduce heat and cook 2 minutes. Stir in Alfredo sauce and basil. Spoon mushroom mixture evenly over polenta. Top with cheese. Bake 9 minutes or until thoroughly heated, and serve.
Per serving: 142 calories, 7 grams protein, 4 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 580 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Skillet Beef And Mashed Potato Pie
Yield: 5 servings
1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (ground beef, pork and veal)
3 teaspoons dried Greek seasoning, divided
2 (8-ounce) cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas and carrots (thawed)
1 (25-ounce) container refrigerated prepared garlic mashed potatoes or other mashed potatoes
Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet on medium-high. Add meat mix and cook 8 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Add 2 teaspoons of the Greek seasoning, tomato sauce, and peas and carrots. Bring to boil. Lower heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat potatoes in microwave according to directions. Stir the remaining Greek seasoning into potatoes. Heat broiler. Spread heated potatoes over meat mixture. Wrap handle in foil. Place skillet under broiler, 4 inches from heat, 2 to 3 minutes or until potatoes are brown. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 353 calories, 33 grams protein, 11 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 91 milligrams cholesterol, 571 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.
Roasted Cod With Warm Tomato-Olive-Caper Tapenade
Yield: 4 servings
1 pound cod fillets
3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1 tablespoon chopped capers, rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Rub cod fillets with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Sprinkle with pepper. Place on baking sheet. Roast 15 to 20 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout (depending on thickness of fish). Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in small skillet on medium. Add shallot and cook, stirring about 20 seconds or until it begins to soften. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring, 1 1/2 minutes or until softened. Add olives and capers; cook, stirring, 30 seconds more. Stir in oregano and vinegar; remove from heat. Spoon over cod and serve.
Per serving: 152 calories, 19 grams protein, 7 grams fat (39 percent calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 264 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.