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.
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.