A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families.
SUNDAY: Celebrate family day with Indian Flank Steak and Rice (see recipe) on the menu. Add sauteed sliced carrots, mixed greens and naan alongside. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough steak, rice and Boston cream pie for Monday.
MONDAY: Make Steak Stir-Fry with the leftover flank steak (cut into bite-size pieces). Stir-fry the steak with frozen stir-fry vegetables and bottled stir-fry sauce. Spoon your creation over leftover brown rice and add bread sticks on the side. A piece of leftover Boston cream pie is dessert.
TUESDAY: Pappardelle With Turkey Ragu (see recipe) is an economical and tasty meal. Add a spinach salad and garlic bread. For dessert, try pears.
WEDNESDAY: Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup makes a perfect no-meat meal: Combine 3 ½ cups sofrito with 3 cups canned reduced-sodium black beans (rinsed and well drained) in a blender; blend until smooth. Pour into Dutch oven. Add 7 cups water and 3 more cups rinsed black beans, 2 ½ cups diced potatoes (3 medium), 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 bay leaf and ½ teaspoon coarse salt. Bring to a simmer; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Remove bay leaf. Garnish each serving with diced red onion and diced green bell pepper. Serve with plantain chips and Cuban bread. Make flan (from mix) for dessert.
Tip: Look for sofrito in the international food section of your market.
THURSDAY: Make it quick tonight with a pan-fried ham steak, potatoes with onions (from refrigerated) and spinach souffle (from frozen). Add whole-grain bread. Chunky applesauce is your dessert.
FRIDAY: The kids will run to dinner for Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas: Evenly top 4 (8-inch) whole-grain tortillas with ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese, ½ cup shredded cooked chicken, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and 1 tablespoon canned chopped mild green chiles. Cover each with another tortilla; press down gently. One at a time, brown in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high 2 minutes per side or until golden and cheese is melted. Cut into wedges and serve. Add vegetarian refried beans and baby carrots with dip. Slice kiwis for dessert.
SATURDAY: Take your guests to the south of France with Fish Provencal (see recipe). Add mashed potatoes to catch the juices, steamed fresh brussels sprouts, a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette to round out the meal. For dessert, hop over to Italy for Italian Pound Cake: Mix 1 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserves with ¼ cup amaretto (or apricot nectar) and heat until warm. Drizzle over sliced pound cake. Add a dollop of light whipped cream and toasted sliced almonds for garnish.
Indian Flank Steak and Rice
- 1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 pounds beef flank steak
- 2 red onions, cut into thick slices
- 3 cups hot cooked brown rice
- 2 cups frozen peas, cooked according to package directions
Combine yogurt, garam masala, garlic powder, paprika and salt in medium bowl. Spread 1/3 cup yogurt mixture over steak. Reserve remaining yogurt mixture for sauce. Place steak in food-safe plastic bag; turn steak to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or as long as overnight. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Place steak on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (or 16 to 21 minutes over medium heat on heated gas grill), turning occasionally, for medium-rare to medium doneness. Meanwhile, grill onion slices, covered, 11 to 15 minutes. Remove steak and onions from grill; let stand 3 to 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining sauce and 3 tablespoons water in small saucepan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes. Cut steak lengthwise in half, then across the grain into thin slices. Cut onions into bite-size pieces. Combine rice and peas in large bowl. Divide rice mixture evenly among plates. Serve with beef, onions and sauce.
Makes 8 servings.
Each serving (prepared with nonfat yogurt) contains approximately 302 calories, 29 g protein, 8 g fat, 29 g carbohydrate, 65 mg cholesterol, 289 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2
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Pappardelle With Turkey Ragu
- 12 ounces pappardelle or linguine pasta
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- ½ cup unsalted chicken broth, divided use
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed (or 2 teaspoons fresh) rosemary
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
Cover and microwave carrots and 1 tablespoon broth 2 minutes on high.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add carrots, onion and garlic to skillet. Cook 6 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Add turkey, rosemary, salt and pepper; cook 6 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink. Add remaining broth; simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Stir in marinara sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 4 minutes to blend flavors. Spoon sauce over pasta; serve with parmesan.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 402 calories, 33 g protein, 5 g fat, 54 g carbohydrate, 59 mg cholesterol, 329 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3 ½
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- 1 ½ pounds firm whitefish such as halibut or striped bass
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- ½ cup Kalamata olives, sliced lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place fish in a single layer in large baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat oil in medium saucepan on medium. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes, olives, wine, basil, garlic powder and thyme; simmer 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over fish. Bake 5 more minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 172 calories, 22 g protein, 6 g fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 56 mg cholesterol, 334 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: ½
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: email@example.com