A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families.
SUNDAY: Make family time special with Beef Top Sirloin and Potato Kebabs (see recipe). Serve snow peas on the side, along with sourdough bread. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Prepare 2 extra kebabs and save some snow peas and dessert for Monday.
MONDAY: You're in for a treat with this Beef and Red Pepper Stir-Fry using Sunday's leftovers. Slice the cooked beef into ½-inch pieces. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil (or another oil) on medium-high; stir-fry 1 large red bell pepper (cut into thin strips) and 2 cups fresh broccoli florets for 5 minutes. Add leftover snow peas, 1 (8-ounce) can drained pineapple tidbits, leftover beef and any stir-fry sauce. Cook and stir until heated through. Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions, if desired. Add a mixed green salad and a baguette. Slice the leftover Boston cream pie for dessert.
TUESDAY: Save some food dollars with Mexican Turkey Burgers on whole-grain hamburger buns. Top the burgers with canned green chiles (drained), salsa, shredded lettuce and sour cream. Add Corn and Bean Salad on the side: Combine canned diced tomatoes (drained), canned black beans (rinsed), canned corn (rinsed) and some chopped red onion. Toss with Italian dressing and serve. Scoop strawberry ice cream for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Skip meat tonight in favor of Stuffed Baked Potatoes. Slash the tops of baked potatoes and spoon hot canned vegetarian chili over them. Garnish with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese and chopped green onions. On the side, add a lettuce wedge with crumbled blue cheese and hard-cooked egg wedges, plus crusty bread. For dessert, peaches are light.
THURSDAY: Expect a big hug when you feed the kids these Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat chicken tenders with cooking spray and then dredge them in mashed potato flakes (not granules). Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Bake 15 minutes, turning once. The kids' favorite, tater tots (from frozen), can go alongside. Add a deli carrot salad and soft bread sticks. Let's have pears for dessert.
FRIDAY: It's potpie kind of weather, so look for a family-size chicken potpie in the frozen food case. Serve mixed vegetables on the side, along with a packaged green salad. Buy tapioca pudding for dessert.
SATURDAY: Treat the family to your own grilled grouper. Serve it with Roasted Root Vegetables (see recipe), a romaine salad and crusty rolls. Lemon Meringue Tarts (see recipe) are perfect for dessert.
Beef Top Sirloin and Potato Kebabs
- 1 pound red-skinned potatoes
- ¾ cup steak sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 medium yellow or zucchini squash
- 1 pound boneless beef top sirloin steak
Prepare grill for medium heat.
Cut potatoes into 1 ½-inch pieces and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on 100% power for 5 to 6 minutes or until just tender, stirring once. Cool slightly.
Combine steak sauce and garlic in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave on high 1 ½ minutes, stirring once.
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Cut beef and squash into 1 ¼ pieces. Combine beef, squash, potatoes and 1/3 cup sauce in large bowl; toss. Alternately thread beef and vegetables onto metal skewers.
Place kebabs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 15 minutes (or 13 to 16 minutes over medium heat on a gas grill) for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once and brushing with remaining sauce during last 5 minutes.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 251 calories, 25 g protein, 5 g fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 56 mg cholesterol, 754 mg sodium and 4 grams fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.
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Roasted Root Vegetables
- 12 ounces fresh whole white mushrooms (without stems)
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms (without stems)
- 2 pounds mixed root vegetables (such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and carrots), cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 medium onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
- 12 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In two shallow roasting pans, arrange vegetables in a single layer. Combine oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables; turn to coat. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir. Exchange pans between shelves (for even cooking) and roast 15 more minutes or until tender.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 213 calories, 5 g protein, 8 g fat, 35 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 398 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.5.
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Lemon Meringue Tarts
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen puff pastry shells
- 1 (3-ounce) package lemon pudding mix
- Milk for pudding mix (per package directions)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only)
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ cup sugar
Bake pastry shells according to package directions. Prepare pudding mix according to package directions for pie filling using milk. Stir in lemon zest. Cool to room temperature.
Spoon about 1/3 cup pudding into each pastry shell.
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat egg whites until frothy, using an electric mixer at high speed. Add sugar gradually, beating until soft peaks form. Spoon evenly over pudding in each shell and spread to edges. Place on baking sheet. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 315 calories, 8 g protein, 14 g fat, 42 g carbohydrate, 4 mg cholesterol, 357 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: email@example.com