A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families.
SUNDAY: For a special family day meal, serve Lamb Loin Chops With Feta Cream Sauce (see recipe). The combination goes well with roasted red potatoes and a red-tipped lettuce salad. Finish with mocha ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
MONDAY: Cooler days call for no-meat Italian Vegetable Stew. In a large pot on medium-high, cook 3 cups diced potatoes and 3 cups chopped onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil for 10 minutes or until potatoes are browned and onions are softened. Add 3 cups sliced fresh zucchini, 2 (14-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with oregano and garlic (with liquid), 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth and 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Serve with a spinach salad and hard-cooked egg wedges along with cheese toast. Plums are a simple dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough stew for Tuesday.
TUESDAY: Make Vegetable Soup for a quick meal. Thin the leftover stew with unsalted chicken broth to the desired thickness; heat. Serve with deli smoked turkey and cheese on rye sandwiches. Make or buy chocolate pudding for dessert.
Plan ahead: Buy enough turkey for Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: Use the leftover turkey for Smoked Turkey Enchiladas (see recipe). They're easy to make and packed with flavor. Serve with canned pinto beans and guacamole. Fresh pineapple spears are good for dessert.
THURSDAY: Tex-Mex Mac and Cheese is a double whammy of favorite flavors for kids and easy for you. Stir 1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with mild green chiles into prepared macaroni and cheese. Heat through. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. On the side, serve halved cherry tomatoes with the kids' favorite dip. Slurpy Creamsicles are a messy-kid kind of dessert.
FRIDAY: Take it easy and make Seafood Salad Wraps for dinner. Line 4 burrito-size flour tortillas with lettuce leaves. Spread ¼ pound deli seafood salad down the center of each tortilla. Top with sliced avocado and sliced red onion. Roll tortillas around filling, wrap in waxed paper for easy handling and serve with chips. For dessert, top fresh tropical fruits with shredded coconut.
SATURDAY: For a perfect fall meal for guests, try Chicken With Roasted Apples (see recipe). Serve with Browned Brussels Sprouts: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1 ½ pounds trimmed and halved fresh brussels sprouts, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, and 3 thinly sliced garlic cloves; cook 15 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; cook 1 minute. Add any mashed potatoes and whole-grain bread. For dessert, try Dove Toffee Chocolate Tango cookies (or your favorite cookie) and leftover mocha ice cream.
Lamb Loin Chops With Feta Cream Sauce
- 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 cup Greek feta cheese
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
- 8 lamb loin chops (about 4 ounces each)
- Coarse salt and ground black pepper to taste
- 8 teaspoons butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
In a blender, combine yogurt, feta cheese and 4 tablespoons of the oil. Blend until smooth; set aside.
Pat chops dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper on each side. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in cast iron skillet on medium to medium-high heat. Cook chops in hot oil for 4 minutes until bottom is golden and seared. Turn chops and place 1 teaspoon butter on each chop. Add garlic and thyme to hot oil. (Stir the garlic quickly so it does not burn.) Continue to cook chops for a total of 4 more minutes. Top chops with feta cream sauce and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 312 calories, 22 g protein, 24 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 85 mg cholesterol, 257 mg sodium and no fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 0
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Smoked Turkey Enchiladas
- 8 corn tortillas
- 1 ¼ cups green or red salsa
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 ½ cups chopped smoked turkey breast (about 8 ounces)
- 6 ounces shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese, divided use
- 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and sliced
- Diced tomatoes for garnish
- Shredded lettuce for garnish
- Sliced green onions for garnish
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Place tortillas in oven on a flat baking sheet; bake 5 minutes and remove from oven.
In a medium bowl, mix salsa, sour cream and cilantro. Spread ½ cup over bottom of baking dish.
In another bowl, combine turkey, 1 cup cheese and peppers. Spoon scant ½ cup turkey mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll up; place seam side down in baking dish. Pour remaining salsa mixture over top. Cover with nonstick foil and bake 15 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover; sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with tomatoes, lettuce and green onions.
Makes 8 enchiladas.
Nutrition information: Each enchilada (prepared with reduced-fat sour cream and reduced-fat cheese) contains approximately 163 calories, 14 g protein, 6 g fat, 13 g carbohydrate, 30 mg cholesterol, 606 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1
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Chicken With Roasted Apples
- 1 ½ pounds apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt, divided use
- 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (2 to 2 ½ pounds), trimmed
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine apples, sage, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic and ¼ teaspoon salt; toss to coat. Spread mixture on a large flat baking sheet covered with nonstick foil. Sprinkle chicken with remaining salt and the pepper and arrange on top of apple mixture. Bake 25 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees and apples are tender. Remove chicken and keep warm. Partially mash apple mixture with potato masher or 2 forks. Sprinkle chicken with parsley; serve with apple mixture.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 320 calories, 33 g protein, 11 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 173 mg cholesterol, 429 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1 ½
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org