Lemon chicken with rice and artichokes (see recipe) is perfect for family day. Serve the one-dish meal with a Boston lettuce salad and dinner rolls. Apple turnovers (frozen) and vanilla ice cream are a family kind of dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Beef stir-fry with spinach (see recipe) is easy on the food budget. Serve it over brown rice, and add a Romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. For a light dessert, try pears. Plan ahead: Prepare enough stir-fry and cook enough rice for Tuesday.
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TUESDAY (Heat and Eat)
Take advantage of those leftovers for beef-stuffed peppers. Split orange or yellow bell peppers in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down in baking dish. Cover and microwave on high (100 percent power) 1 minute per pepper; drain. Meanwhile, combine stir-fry (chopped) with leftover rice, moisten with unsalted beef broth and heat. Stuff peppers with mixture; sprinkle with crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese and serve. Add tiny green peas (frozen) and whole-grain bread. Fresh or canned tropical fruit is a light dessert.
Select any frozen stuffed burritos for a super-easy meal. Garnish the stuffed burritos with reduced-fat sour cream. Serve them with steamed carrots. For dessert, plums are easy, too.
What could make kids happier than to have cheeseburger melt for dinner? Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix together 1 1/3 cups reduced-fat baking mix (such as Bisquick), 1/4 cup water, 2 eggs and 1 cup (1 1/2 cups total) of shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Spread in dish. Cook 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey breast, or mixture of both, in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high for 6 minutes or until no longer pink; drain well. Add 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed less-fat, less-sodium cream of mushroom soup and 1 cup frozen mixed vegetables; heat 5 minutes or until hot. Spread over batter. Bake 23 to 25 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 1 to 3 more minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into squares and serve. Garnish with salsa if desired. Serve with cherry tomato halves. Fresh Pineapple chunks make a good dessert.
You won't have any leftovers of delicious spaghettini with goat cheese and fresh basil. Place cooked whole-wheat spaghettini in a large bowl and add 2 ounces herb-flavored goat cheese cut into small pieces, 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; stir until well-blended. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 2 teaspoons minced garlic; cook 30 seconds. Add 2 cups halved grape tomatoes; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2/3 cup unsalted vegetable broth; cook 1 minute. Add tomato mixture to pasta mixture; toss gently to combine. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Make instant pistachio pudding (with 1 percent milk) for dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
We're putting herb-baked tilapia (see recipe) on our favorites list. Serve it with refrigerated hash-browned potatoes, green beans, a bibb lettuce salad and crusty bread. An easy dessert is leftover ice cream with strawberry sauce.
Lemon Chicken With Rice And Artichokes
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth, divided
1 (14-ounce) can water-packed quartered artichokes, drained
2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano or parmesan cheese
Heat a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray on medium-high. Add chicken, onion and bell pepper; cook 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir in cooked rice, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and half the broth; cook 2 minutes. Stir in artichokes and remaining broth; cook 1 minute or until heated. Sprinkle with cheese and serve. Per serving: 400 calories, 37 grams protein, 5 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 92 milligrams cholesterol, 618 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Beef Stir-Fry With Spinach
Yield: 4 servings
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 pound boneless sirloin steak, thinly sliced
1 pound packaged spinach
2 yellow bell peppers, thinly sliced
4 green onions, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and ginger until smooth; set aside. Heat wok or large skillet over medium-high until a drop of water sizzles in pan. Add 1 teaspoon canola oil; swirl to coat. Add steak and stir-fry 3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to plate. Microwave spinach on high (100 percent power) 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted. Heat remaining oil in same skillet over medium-high and swirl to coat. Add peppers, onions and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or until vegetables soften. Return steak to skillet. Stir soy sauce mixture and add to skillet. Stir-fry until sauce bubbles and thickens, about 1 more minute. Divide spinach among 4 plates; top with steak mixture and serve. (Adapted from “Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook”; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.)
Per serving: 238 calories, 29 grams protein, 8 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 394 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Yield: 4 servings
4 (4- to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place tilapia on nonstick foil. In a small bowl, combine parmesan, mayonnaise and onions; spread evenly over fish. In another bowl, combine bread crumbs, basil, oregano, salt and pepper; sprinkle over fish. Coat fish lightly with cooking spray. Bake 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily with fork.
Per serving: 154 calories, 20 grams protein, 4 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 48 milligrams cholesterol, 442 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.