Celebrate family day with this chicken and wild rice casserole (see recipe). Serve the comfort food combo with fresh broccoli spears, mixed salad greens and dinner rolls. Buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough casserole and pie for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Prepare chicken rice soup for tonight using Sunday's leftovers. Shred any leftover chicken and thin the casserole with unsalted chicken broth. Add any leftover cooked vegetables such as carrots, peas or squash. Serve with a spinach salad with red onion slices and whole-grain rolls. Slice the leftover pie for dessert.
Bring the kids off the range for cowboy macaroni. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare 1 (14-ounce) package macaroni-and-cheese according to directions. Brown 1 pound extra-lean ground beef and 1 small chopped onion in a nonstick skillet on medium for 6 minutes or until meat is no longer pink; drain. In a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, combine the macaroni-and-cheese and the ground beef mixture, along with 1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste, 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce and 1 cup frozen shoepeg corn (thawed); mix well. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through. Top with 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve with deli carrot salad and soft rolls. kiwifruit is an easy dessert.
For a tasty low-cost meal, Mediterranean tuna salad is hard to beat. In a medium bowl, combine 2 (6-ounce) cans light tuna (drained and flaked), 3/4 cup dried tart cherries, 1/2 cup shredded carrots and 1/2 cup chopped celery. Add 1/2 cup reduced-fat balsamic vinaigrette, 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard. Refrigerate 2 to 3 hours for flavors to blend. Just before serving on red-tip lettuce, sprinkle with toasted pine nuts. Serve with any tomato basil soup and bread sticks. For dessert, pears are good.
Let someone else do all the work and serve refrigerated fully cooked beef pot roast (any brand). on the side, add mashed potatoes (refrigerated), cauliflower au gratin (frozen) and whole-grain bread. Fresh citrus fruit is a light dessert.
Enjoy the hearty flavors of veggie-stuffed pasta shells (see recipe). serve them with a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. Peaches are your dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Colorful orange-tomato shrimp Veracruz (see recipe) is worthy of any guest. Serve it over packaged yellow rice, along with a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. Buy a frozen key lime pie for dessert.
Chicken And Wild Rice Casserole
Yield: 6 servings
1 (6-ounce) package long-grain and wild rice
1/3 cup wild rice
2 1/4 cups unsalted chicken broth
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package crimini mushrooms
2 medium onions, chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can less-sodium, less-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 (10 1/2-ounce) can 98 percent fat-free cream of celery soup
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the packaged long-grain rice (discard high-sodium seasoning packet) and wild rice with broth. Microwave on high (100 percent power) for 10 minutes; stir after 5 minutes; set aside. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chicken; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from heat; sprinkle with garlic powder and pepper; set aside. Spoon rice mixture into baking dish. Add mushrooms, onions, celery and both soups; mix well. Top with chicken. Cover tightly with foil and bake 50 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from oven. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Per serving: 322 calories, 23 grams protein, 6 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 52 milligrams cholesterol, 507 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Veggie-Stuffed Pasta Shells
Yield: 6 servings
12 dried jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cups shredded Italian blend cheeses, divided
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar no-salt-added or regular pasta sauce
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Rinse with cold water; drain again. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet cook carrots, zucchini and onion in hot oil on medium-high heat 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in spinach; cook and stir 1 minute. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Into vegetable mixture, stir ricotta, 1 cup shredded cheese and salt. Stuff pasta shells with 2 rounded tablespoons mixture. Pour pasta sauce into skillet; place filled shells on sauce. Heat shells and sauce, covered, on medium for 10 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and serve.
Per serving (2 shells): 288 calories, 15 grams protein, 11 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 407 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Orange-Tomato Shrimp Veracruz
Yield: 4 servings
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest (orange part only)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fire-roasted or regular diced tomatoes with green chilies, lightly drained
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt to taste
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Cook shrimp, shallots, orange zest and thyme for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes. Cook about 5 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with lime juice and salt; serve immediately.
Per serving: 148 calories, 24 grams protein, 3 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 183 milligrams cholesterol, 478 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.