A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families.
SUNDAY: Take it easy and serve Top Sirloin and Potato Kebabs (see recipe) for family day. Add steamed snow peas and sourdough bread. Buy or make a chocolate meringue pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Cook 2 extra kebabs and save some pie for Monday.
MONDAY: Enjoy the flavors of a Beef and Red Pepper Stir-Fry, using leftover kebabs. Add a mixed green salad and bread sticks. How about leftover pie for dessert?
TUESDAY: Penne With Peppers, Tomatoes and Artichokes makes a delicious no-meat dinner. Place ½ cup roasted red peppers (from jar, drained and sliced) in a large bowl. Stir in ½ cup chopped Kalamata olives, heaping ¼ cup pesto, 1 (7-ounce) jar diced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (drained) and 1 (6-ounce) jar marinated artichokes (drained and chopped). Cook 8 ounces penne pasta according to package directions; drain. Add cooked pasta and ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese to pepper mixture. Toss gently to combine. Sprinkle each serving with more parmesan and garnish with roasted walnuts. Serve with a romaine salad and garlic bread. Try some juicy plums for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Make it quick tonight with frozen mini Pierogies With Kielbasa. Cook sliced onions in a little canola oil. Add frozen mini pierogies and sliced kielbasa; cook until browned. Serve with (rinsed) sauerkraut. Add a lettuce wedge and rye bread. Chunky applesauce is an easy dessert.
THURSDAY: Your buckaroos can help prepare Wild West Sizzlin' Chicken Tacos. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, toss 2 cups cooked chicken strips with ½ teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon paprika to coat. In an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, place 4 stand-up taco shells side by side. Fill each shell with the seasoned chicken. Cut 1 medium red bell pepper into strips and divide evenly over chicken. Top each taco with ¼ cup canned barbecue baked beans and ¼ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Sprinkle with 2 strips (total) crumbled cooked bacon. Bake 8 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with mild salsa if desired. Munch on celery sticks with peanut butter on the side. Let the cowboys enjoy Fudgsicles for dessert.
FRIDAY: Save some money with a Greek-Style Skillet Supper (see recipe) tonight. Serve with mixed greens and Italian bread. Slice some cantaloupe for dessert.
SATURDAY: Clean up is easy with one-pan Roasted Chicken With Potatoes and Green Beans (see recipe). Serve with a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette. Buy a coconut cake for dessert.
Top Sirloin and Potato Kebabs
- 1 pound red potatoes
- ¾ cup steak sauce
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 medium yellow or zucchini squash
- 1 pound boneless top sirloin steak
Cut potatoes into 1 ½-inch pieces. Cover them and microwave on 100% power for 5 to 6 minutes or until just tender; stir once. Cool slightly.
Combine steak sauce and garlic in a 1-cup glass measure. Microwave on 100% power 1 ½ minutes, stirring once.
Cut squash lengthwise in half. Cut beef and squash into 1 ¼-inch 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 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 242 calories, 25 g protein, 5 g fat, 26 g carbohydrate, 56 mg cholesterol, 527 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2
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Greek-Style Skillet Supper
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 pound ground chicken or turkey breast or lean ground beef
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups penne pasta, uncooked
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut green beans or well-drained chopped spinach (thawed)
- ¾ cup crumbled Greek feta cheese, divided use
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium.
Cook meat and onion 8 minutes or until no longer pink and onion is softened. Add oregano, cinnamon and garlic powder; mix well. Stir in broth, tomatoes along with their juices and the tomato paste. Bring to a boil. Stir in pasta. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook 10 minutes or until pasta is nearly tender. Stir in green beans and ½ cup feta. Cover; cook 5 more minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle with remaining feta; cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 235 calories, 25 g protein, 4 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 48 mg cholesterol, 492 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1 ½
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Roasted Chicken With Potatoes and Green Beans
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 2 ¼ to 2 ½ pounds), trimmed
- 1 ½ pounds red potatoes, cut into to bite-size pieces
- 12 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and halved
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil.
In a large bowl, mix together oil, mustard, thyme, salt and pepper. Add chicken, potatoes and beans; toss to coat. Arrange chicken mixture in prepared pan. Roast 30 to 35 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Transfer mixture to a warm platter; serve with pan juices.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 475 calories, 40 g protein, 20 g fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 197 mg cholesterol, 462 mg sodium and 6 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: email@example.com