Celebrate family day with your own recipe for leg of lamb. Serve it with a Southern favorite, cheese and garlic grits. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Bring 4 cups water to boil in a large saucepan. Stir in 1 cup quick grits and 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed less-fat cheddar cheese soup, 1 tablespoon butter and 1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce; mix well. Spread mixture in dish. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup 50 percent light cheddar cheese and garnish with paprika. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese melts. Serve with steamed green beans and baguettes. For dessert, enjoy peach pie. Plan ahead: Save enough lamb, grits and pie for Monday.
MONDAY (Heat and Eat)
Make lamb sandwiches for an easy meal. Brush slices of rosemary bread (or focaccia) with olive oil. Top with sliced leftover lamb, roasted red pepper strips (from a jar), sliced tomatoes, red-tip lettuce and goat cheese. Warm the leftover grits to accompany the knock-your-socks-off flavor of the sandwich. Finish with leftover pie.
It takes a little extra time, but risotto with black olives and roasted red peppers (see recipe) is worth it. Serve the creamy rice concoction with an Italian salad and garlic bread. For dessert, try fresh tropical fruits.
We never mind low-cost menus, especially when they have as much flavor as lentils with bacon and tomatoes (see recipe). Serve the high-fiber dish with a spinach salad and flatbread. Buy or make cupcakes for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough cupcakes for Thursday.
Tell the kids they are having pigs in a serape for dinner and watch them laugh. Spread vegetarian refried beans on fat-free flour tortillas. Place lowest-fat, lowest-sodium hot dogs on the beans. Top with any shredded cheese; roll and heat in the microwave until the cheese melts. Toss shredded lettuce with chopped tomatoes, sliced black olives and ranch-style dressing to enjoy alongside. For dessert, accompany the leftover cupcakes with fresh orange slices.
Try breakfast-for-dinner burritos. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook 1/2 cup chopped onion for 4 minutes on medium or until softened. Add 1 cup Southwestern-style egg substitute (with red and green bell peppers, onions, chilies and seasonings); sprinkle with pepper to taste. Cook and stir mixture until eggs are set. Divide mixture evenly among 4 (8-inch) warmed fat-free flour tortillas; top with 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Fold tortillas over egg mixture; top with drained salsa. Serve with hash-browned potatoes (frozen). For dessert, make instant banana pudding with 1 percent milk. Stir in sliced bananas and garnish with vanilla wafers.
SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)
Invite friends for delicious honey-ginger salmon (see recipe). Serve with jasmine rice (or another aromatic rice such as basmati), fresh steamed sugar snap peas and a bibb lettuce salad; add sourdough rolls. Buy a cheesecake for dessert and top with fresh raspberries.
Yield: 4 servings
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 green onion, chopped
1 pound salmon fillets
Mix orange juice, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic powder and green onion in small bowl. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the marinade. Place salmon in large resealable plastic bag or glass dish. Add remaining marinade; turn to coat well. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Remove salmon from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. Grill over medium-high heat 6 to 7 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting occasionally with reserved marinade. Per serving: 162 calories, 24 grams protein, 5 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligram cholesterol, 282 milligrams sodium, 0 grams fiber.
Lentils With Bacon And Tomatoes
Yield: 5 servings
3 slices bacon
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 cup dry lentils
1 cup quick-cooking barley
2 (14-ounce) cans lower-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3 1/2 cups water
1 (14-ounce) can stewed tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Microwave bacon on high (100 percent power) 2 to 3 minutes; set aside. Heat oil on medium until hot. Add onion and lentils; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is soft and lentils are lightly browned. Add barley, broth, cumin, allspice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until lentils are soft. Add tomatoes and their juice. Cook, uncovered, 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender and liquid is absorbed. Before serving, stir in parsley. Crumble bacon on top and serve.
Per serving: 325 calories, 19 grams protein, 5 grams fat (12 percent calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 55 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 345 milligrams sodium, 10 grams fiber.
Risotto With Black Olives And Roasted Red Peppers
Yield: 4 servings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/3 cups arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine (or unsalted vegetable broth)
6 cups unsalted vegetable broth
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added corn, drained
1 (7-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and thinly sliced
1 (3.8-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high. Stir in rice and cook 2 or 3 minutes or until golden; add wine. Add 1 cup broth, continuing to stir, and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until almost completely absorbed. When broth is absorbed, add another cup and repeat procedure until all the broth has been used. Stir in corn, peppers and olives; mix well. Season with tarragon. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 383 calories, 6 grams protein, 7 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 73 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 596 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.