Mark family day with a feast of orange-glazed pork loin (see recipe). Buy mashed sweet potatoes (refrigerated) to go alongside. Delicious frosted cauliflower will convert any non-vegetable eater. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 1 medium head cauliflower (trimmed and cored) in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish; cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high (100 percent power) 6 minutes per pound. Let stand 2 minutes; drain well. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup shredded 50 percent light jalapeno cheddar cheese. Spread over cauliflower; bake 5 minutes until lightly browned. Garnish with chopped fresh dill if desired. Add a greens salad and sourdough bread. Buy a coconut cake for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough pork and cake for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Use the leftover pork in Caesar salad pitas. For one pita: Combine 1/2 cup chopped cooked pork, 1 cup torn romaine and 2 tablespoons Caesar salad dressing. Slice 1 inch off top of whole-grain pita bread. Fill with salad mixture. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Wrap filled pita in foil and serve with deli tomato rice soup. Leftover cake is your dessert.
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Budgets and burgers go together like grilled turkey burgers and tangy-sweet sauce. Combine 3 tablespoons apricot jam, 1/3 cup ketchup and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Spread on burgers, top with a Vidalia onion (or other sweet onion) slice, and serve on whole-grain hamburger buns. Add baked potato wedges and a lettuce and tomato salad. Peaches are good for dessert.
It’s delicious and pretty, so try angel hair pasta with pink tomato sauce tonight. Cook 8 ounces angel hair pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, place 3 medium cored and quartered plum tomatoes in a food processor or blender and blend 1 minute or until smooth and light pink; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium. Add 2 cloves thinly sliced garlic and 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper; cook 1 1/2 minutes. Add 1 cup frozen green peas (thawed), 2/3 cup roasted red peppers (drained and chopped) and 1 teaspoon dried basil. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and heat just to boiling. Remove from heat. Drain pasta and transfer to skillet. Stir over medium heat until pasta is well-mixed with sauce. Spoon onto 4 plates and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve immediately with a spinach salad and crusty rolls. Try pears for dessert. Plan ahead: Cook 1 cup green peas and 4 slices bacon for Thursday.
There’s no cooking tonight with ham and macaroni salad. In a large bowl, toss together 2 pounds deli macaroni salad, 8 ounces diced ham (packaged), 1 cup cooked green peas (frozen), 4 ounces packaged cheddar and mozzarella cheese cubes and 4 slices crumbled cooked bacon; toss to mix. Serve on lettuce leaves with cornbread (from a mix) on the side. Fresh tropical fruit is a good dessert.
Kids and adults will like chicken and peanut noodles (see recipe). Serve with baby carrots and sesame bread sticks. Apple slices are a crunchy dessert.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Our guests enjoyed flavorful Moroccan shrimp with couscous (see recipe). Serve with a Boston lettuce salad and flatbread. Lemon meringue pie is the grand finale.
ORANGE-GLAZED PORK LOIN (Sunday) Servings: makes 12 servings Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: about 1 hour; standing time: 10 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 (3-pound) boneless pork loin roast 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup orange marmalade 2 tablespoons Creole or other spicy mustard 2 teaspoons fresh chopped rosemary 2 tablespoons flour 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place roast on a rack coated with cooking spray in a foil-lined roaster. Rub roast with pepper and salt. Microwave marmalade for 10 seconds on high (100 percent power) to melt; add mustard and rosemary and stir until blended. Brush mixture over pork. Bake 1 hour or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes. Remove from pan and slice; cover to keep warm. Sprinkle roasting pan with flour; cook on medium 1 minute, whisking constantly. Add broth and cook 5 more minutes, whisking constantly or until mixture thickens. Serve gravy with pork. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprigs. Per serving: 240 calories, 23 grams protein, 8 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 64 milligrams cholesterol, 201 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 1 1/2. **
CHICKEN AND PEANUT NOODLES (Friday) Servings: makes 7 servings Preparation time: less than 15 minutes Cooking time: less than 15 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 tablespoon peanut oil 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces 3 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter 2 cups water 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 1 tablespoon light soy sauce 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper 2 (3-ounce) packages chicken-flavored ramen noodles, reserving 1 seasoning packet 1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed pepper strips 3 green onions, thinly sliced In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add chicken and garlic; stir-fry 3 minutes or just until cooked through. Remove from heat; remove chicken to plate and keep warm. Spoon peanut butter into skillet. Whisk in water, vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper and 1 seasoning packet from the noodles (discard other packet). Bring to boil; add noodles, breaking up slightly. Add chicken; cover and simmer 4 minutes to separate noodles. Place frozen pepper strips on top; cover and simmer 3 minutes. Stir to combine. Sprinkle with onions. Per serving: 339 calories, 22 grams protein, 15 grams fat (39 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 605 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.
MOROCCAN SHRIMP WITH COUSCOUS (Saturday) Servings: makes 6 servings Preparation time: less than 15 minutes Cooking time: about 10 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes INGREDIENTS 1 teaspoon paprika 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/2 teaspoon curry powder 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup golden raisins or other dried fruit bits 1/4 cup water 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth 1 cup couscous 1 tablespoon butter 1 1/2 pounds peeled and deveined large shrimp 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt Sprigs of fresh cilantro, if desired Mix together paprika, salt, cumin, curry powder, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. In a medium saucepan, combine 1 1/2 teaspoons spice mixture, raisins or dried fruit, water and broth; bring to a boil. Gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. While couscous stands, melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle shrimp with remaining spice mixture. Add shrimp to skillet; cook 5 minutes or until opaque throughout. Spoon couscous in center of each plate. Divide and spoon shrimp and yogurt over couscous. Garnish with cilantro, if desired. Per serving: 292 calories, 29 grams protein, 3 grams fat (10 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 190 milligrams cholesterol, 454 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.