Buy a spiral-sliced ham for family day and accompany it with spinach souffle (frozen). Add baked sweet potatoes, deli coleslaw and biscuits. Make peach berry crisp with oatmeal-peanut topping (see recipe) for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough ham and berry crisp and bake enough sweet potatoes for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Use some of the leftover ham for grilled ham and cheese sandwiches. Serve with baked sweet potato wedges. Heat oven to 425 degrees, cut baked sweet potatoes into wedges, sprinkle with cinnamon and bake 10 minutes or until hot. Add a greens salad. Warm the leftover crisp for dessert.
Budget-friendly Texas tamales are big on flavor. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove tamale wrappers and excess fat from 24 canned tamales. Place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine 2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans chicken a la king (such as Swanson's or another brand), 1 (12-ounce) can fat-free evaporated milk and 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies; mix well. Pour over tamales. Top with 1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar or jalapeno cheddar cheese. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bubbly. Serve with Spanish rice (packaged) and a mixed greens salad. Finish with papaya slices for dessert.
Try a frozen family meal, such as Birds Eye or another brand. Up the quantity and lower the sodium by adding extra vegetables to the mixture. Serve with a packaged Caesar salad and crusty rolls. Pears are dessert.
Make tortilla soup for a quick no-meat dinner. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Dip 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas in water; place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick foil. Bake, turning once, 10 to 14 minutes or until crisp. Break tortillas into bite-sized pieces; set aside. Meanwhile, in a 3-quart pan, combine 8 cups salsa (mild to hot), 2 (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth, 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium rinsed black beans and 1 cup chopped fresh zucchini. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer 10 minutes or until zucchini is tender. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro. Ladle into serving bowls; garnish with reduced-fat sour cream and tortilla pieces. Serve with a lettuce wedge and layered mexican cornbread (see recipe). Grapes are dessert.
Make chicken Italiano for the kids tonight. Cook 8 ounces spaghetti according to directions; drain. In a large nonstick skillet, combine 12 ounces chicken breast strips with 1/4 cup (of 3/4 cup total) light Italian salad dressing. Cook and stir over medium heat until chicken is no longer pink. Add 1 pound frozen peas and carrots. Cover and simmer 7 to 9 minutes or until vegetables are softened; stir frequently. Stir in 1/2 cup more salad dressing; cook until thoroughly heated. Serve over spaghetti. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add halved cherry tomatoes and soft rolls on the side. Finish with kiwifruit.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Guests will approve of steamed flounder with fresh tomatoes and peppers (see recipe). Serve the colorful entree with corn-on-the-cob, a spinach salad and baguettes. For dessert, baked brown sugar bananas are delicious. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut 4 medium bananas crosswise in half; cut each half lengthwise in half. Place cut-side up in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Combine 2 tablespoons softened butter, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon allspice and brush over bananas. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup packed brown sugar. Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until bananas are hot. Spoon into dessert dishes. Top with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Peach Berry Crisp With Oatmeal-Peanut Topping
4 1/2 pounds firm ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
1 pint blueberries
1/2 cup white sugar
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus 1/4 cup, divided
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup light peanut flour (such as Jif or another brand) or all-purpose flour
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 ounces lightly salted cocktail peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 11-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the peaches, blueberries, sugar, 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, vanilla, cinnamon and ginger; mix well and transfer to baking dish. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, oats, peanut flour (or use all-purpose flour), brown sugar, peanuts and salt. Add butter; work in butter with your fingertips until mixture forms clumps when pressed. Sprinkle evenly over fruit. Bake 10 minutes. Loosely top with foil and continue baking 30 to 40 minutes or until juices are thick and bubbling. Cool 20 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 245 calories, 5 grams protein, 8 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 10 milligrams cholesterol, 32 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 12 servings
Layered Mexican Cornbread
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
2/3 cup 1 percent milk
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added creamed corn
1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar or jalapeno cheddar cheese
2 medium fresh jalapeno peppers, minced
Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, milk, eggs, salt and oil. Stir in onion and corn. Pour half of batter into pan. Top with cheese and peppers, spreading onto batter. Pour remaining batter on top of cheese and peppers. Bake 35 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let cool 5 minutes before cutting into squares.
Per serving: 184 calories, 6 grams protein, 9 grams fat (44 percent calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 451 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 12 servings
Steamed Flounder With Fresh Tomatoes And Peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups chopped orange or yellow or red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup slivered pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
4 flounder fillets (or other thin mild-flavored fish such as tilapia or sole), about 1 1/4 pounds
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on low. Add onion; cook and stir about 6 minutes or until softened. Add peppers and tomatoes and mix well; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until the tomatoes release juices. Add olives, capers and parsley; mix well. Arrange flounder on vegetables and spoon juices on top; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Per serving: 223 calories, 17 grams protein, 12 grams fat (48 percent calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 877 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Yield: makes 4 servings