Save time and money with these dinner recipes

Thai Beef Burger.
Thai Beef Burger.

SUNDAY (Family)

Prepare a 2- to 3-pound fully cooked baked ham for family day. Place ham in a shallow dish and heat at 350 degrees, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature is 140 degrees. Serve it with mashed sweet potatoes (refrigerated), peas and carrots (frozen), a romaine salad and cornbread muffins (from a mix). Make a pineapple upside-down cake (from a mix) for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ham for Monday and enough cake for Tuesday.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat)

Use the leftover ham for south-of-the-border tamale pie. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce and 1/2 cup chunky salsa. Stir in 2 cups cubed leftover ham; heat through. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Cut 1 (16-ounce) tube of refrigerated polenta into 8 slices and arrange in baking dish. Spoon salsa mixture over polenta. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50 percent light pepper jack cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Serve with a sliced grapefruit salad. Enjoy pears for dessert.


Let the kids help prepare mini chicken pot pies. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 8 regular muffin cups with cooking spray. Separate 1 (16.3-ounce) can refrigerated biscuits (such as Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers or another brand) into 8 biscuits; separate each biscuit into 2 layers. Place 8 biscuit halves in coated muffin cups, pressing to cover bottom and sides. Drain 1 (19-ounce) can chicken noodle soup (reserve broth for a later use if desired). Spoon drained soup evenly into biscuit-lined cups. Place remaining biscuit halves over soup; gently seal each biscuit. Coat biscuit tops with cooking spray. Sprinkle the 8 pot pies with 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Top each with 1/2 tablespoon shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are golden. Serve with mixed vegetables (frozen) and a chopped lettuce salad. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.


Keep it simple and low-cost with Thai burgers (see recipe). Add baked chips and deli coleslaw. For dessert, blueberries are good, especially with a dollop of light whipped cream.

THURSDAY (Meatless)

Blue cheese vegetable soup (see recipe) has a unique flavor and lots of fiber. Serve it with a carrot salad and whole-wheat crackers. Strawberries are good for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough strawberries for Saturday.

FRIDAY (Express)

Try portioned and individually wrapped boneless, skinless chicken breasts (such as Perdue, Springer Mountain or another brand). Season them your family’s favorite way. Serve them with refrigerated red potatoes, packaged salad greens and whole-grain rolls. Chunky applesauce is a light dessert.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

Your guests will enjoy glazed lamb chops with horseradish sauce (see recipe). On the side, add couscous tossed with toasted pine nuts, green beans, a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Buy a cheesecake for dessert and top it with leftover strawberries.

Thai Burgers

Yield: 4 servings

1 cup shredded napa cabbage

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon hot chili sauce

Coarse salt and pepper

1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

1 tablespoon hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

4 whole-grain buns, split

Combine cabbage and 1 tablespoon lime juice in medium bowl; set aside. Combine ground beef, green onions, ground ginger and chili sauce in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Heat nonstick skillet over medium until hot. Place patties in skillet; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until patties register 160 degrees, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, hoisin sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and sesame oil in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Place 1 burger on bottom half of each bun; top evenly with peanut butter mixture and cabbage mixture. Close sandwiches and serve.

Per serving: 315 calories, 29 g protein, 11 g fat (30 percent calories from fat), 3.2 g saturated fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 62 mg cholesterol, 381 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

Blue-Cheese Vegetable Soup

Yield: 6 cups

1 pound fresh or frozen brussels sprouts

3 cups 1 percent milk, divided

3 tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash and trim ends of fresh brussels sprouts; cut in half. Cover and microwave on high 5 minutes; let stand 5 minutes and drain. (Cook frozen ones according to package directions; drain.) Place sprouts and 1 cup of the milk in blender and process until smooth or chunky according to your preference. In a 2-quart pan, mix the flour and remaining 2 cups milk. Bring milk to simmer on medium; reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes; stir constantly until thickened. Add the butter and stir to melt. Add blended sprouts, the blue cheese and pepper; mix well. Heat and stir until the cheese is melted. If too thick, thin with water to equal 6 cups.

Per cup: 155 calories, 10 g protein, 7 g fat (37 percent calories from fat), 4.1 g saturated fat, 16 g carbohydrate, 20 mg cholesterol, 247 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Glazed Lamb Chops With Horseradish Sauce

Yield: 4 servings

For the lamb

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

8 lamb loin chops (1/2 inch thick)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped mint leaves

In a resealable plastic bag, combine syrup, mustard, vinegar, oil, shallot and red pepper; mix well. Add lamb to marinate. Refrigerate up to 8 hours, turning occasionally. Remove lamb and discard marinade. Sprinkle chops with salt and pepper; place on rack of broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chops 3 inches from heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side or to desired degree of doneness. Remove from broiler, cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine sour cream, horseradish and mint leaves. Cover and chill until ready to serve with lamb.

Per serving: 263 calories, 29 g protein, 14 g fat (49 percent calories from fat), 5.4 g saturated fat, 4 g carbohydrate, 101 mg cholesterol, 456 mg sodium, no fiber.