Meals for the whole week

Asian flavor: Chinese meatball sliders can be served with a pineapple salad.
Asian flavor: Chinese meatball sliders can be served with a pineapple salad. Food Network

Monday: Meatless Meal

Mushroom and spinach omelets are this week’s meatless meal. There aren’t too many people among us who don’t like breakfast for dinner.

Saute mushrooms with a bit of minced garlic until they are just soft. Add spinach (either fresh or frozen that has been thawed and as dry as possible). Heat through and set aside. This is the filling for your omelets, to which I would add lots of feta cheese and even a sprinkle of paprika.

Serve with hash browns and fruit.

Tuesday: Sliders

Make these Chinese Meatball Sliders with Pineapple Salad (see recipe) from Food Network magazine.

I love the idea of spiking basic meatballs with Asian flavors. You could easily forgo the buns and lower the carbs (and gluten).

Wednesday: Quesadillas

Chicken verde quesadillas starts with shredded rotisserie meat that has been heated with green tomatillo salsa.

Use this as the filling for your quesadillas along with Monterey Jack cheese.

Serve with rice of your choice and slices of honeydew melon spiked with lime juice.

Thursday: Pasta

You should always have frozen peas in the freezer because they can be used in so many different ways — like in tonight’s peas and pancetta pasta.

Follow package instructions and cook 1 pound of rigatoni, which you will eventually toss with warmed marinara sauce.

While the pasta is cooking, saute about 6 ounces diced pancetta in olive oil, then add 4 cloves minced garlic. Add a jar of marinara sauce. Bring to a bubble and add 1 cup of frozen peas. Reduce heat and add 1/2 cup of cream. Toss with rigatoni and top with grated parmesan.

Friday: Shellfish

I don’t buy sea scallops a lot because they are pricey, but I do like them. To make them go a bit further, slice them in half crosswise. You can use this technique for scallops over brown rice.

Brown rice is a nutty accompaniment to the subtle, delicate shellfish. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add 2 cloves minced garlic plus a generous pinch of red pepper flakes. Add scallops, seasoned with salt and pepper, and saute until golden on each side.

Finish with a squeeze of lime juice and chopped fresh parsley. Serve over rice with a green vegetable on the side.

SATURDAY: Easy Entertaining

Our guests came back for seconds of Baked Chicken Florentine (see recipe). Serve it over spaghetti tossed in olive oil and a mixed greens salad.

Add Italian bread to the menu, and buy fruit tarts for dessert.

Sunday: Family Day

Buy smoked turkey breasts for family day. On the side, add corn on the cob along with Moroccan Orange Beet Salad (see recipe) and whole-grain rolls.

For dessert, slice pound cake and top it with strawberry sauce and light whipped cream.

Janet Keeler, Tampa Bay Times, and Susan Nicholson, Universal UClick

Main dish

Chinese Meatball Sliders with Pineapple Salad

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, divided

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar (not seasoned)

12 ounces ground pork

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs

1 scallion (white and light green parts only), sliced

1 teaspoon grated peeled ginger

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1/4 small head green cabbage, roughly chopped

2 small carrots, roughly chopped

1/2 cup chopped pineapple

1 tablespoon mayonnaise, plus more for the buns

12 mini potato slider buns, split

Shredded romaine lettuce, for serving

Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce and 1 teaspoon rice vinegar in a small bowl; set aside.

Combine the pork, panko, remaining 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, scallion, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a medium bowl. With dampened hands, roll the mixture into a dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs; transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Bake, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Remove from the oven and brush with the reserved hoisin sauce mixture.

Meanwhile, combine the cabbage, carrots and pineapple in a food processor. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, the mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pulse until roughly chopped. Spread mayonnaise on the bottom half of each bun, then fill with some shredded lettuce and a meatball. Serve with the pineapple salad. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 465 calories, 21 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 24 g protein, 58 mg cholesterol, 46 g carbohydrate, 6 g fiber, 1019 mg sodium.

Source: Food Network.

Main dish

Baked Chicken Florentine

1/2 cup Italian-seasoned or regular fine dry bread crumbs

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (5 to 6 ounces each)

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

1 tablespoon butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup 1 percent milk

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

4 ounces (about 2/3 cup) diced cooked ham

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bread crumbs and cheese; coat chicken lightly with mixture. Arrange chicken in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Set remaining crumb mixture aside. In a pan, cook onions on medium-high in butter for 3 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in flour; then stir in milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly; continue to cook and stir 1 more minute. Stir in spinach and ham. Divide and spoon mixture over each chicken breast, pressing lightly into chicken. Sprinkle with reserved crumb mixture. Bake, uncovered, 40 to 45 minutes or until chicken is 165 degrees. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 300 calories, 9 g fat (3.2 g saturated fat), 41 g protein, 13 g carbohydrate, 11 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 779 mg sodium. Carb choices: 1.

Main dish

Moroccan Orange Beet Salad

1 (16-ounce) jar whole pickled beets, drained and quartered

1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium chickpeas

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1/4 cup orange juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 cups mixed baby salad greens

1/3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1/4 cup pistachios, chopped

Place beets and chickpeas in medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest, juice, olive oil, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour over beet mixture and toss gently to coat. Arrange greens on 4 individual plates. Spoon beet mixture over greens; sprinkle with cheese and pistachios. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 298 calories, 13 g fat (2.3 g saturated fat), 12 g protein, 37 g carbohydrate, 5 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 751 mg sodium. Carb choices: 2 1/2.