A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Forget the same old same old for family day and enjoy Pork Chops With Sauerkraut and Apples: Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium. Brown 4 well-trimmed pork loin chops (about 1 pound total) on both sides for 4 or 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups refrigerated sauerkraut (rinsed and drained), 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, 2 Granny Smith apples (chopped) and ¼ cup unsalted chicken broth. Add sauerkraut mixture to skillet; cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until apples and pork are tender. Add a Pecan Berry Green Salad: On a large platter, spread 7 to 8 ounces salad greens. Next, sprinkle on 6 ounces fresh blueberries (see note). Layer in 8 ounces sliced fresh strawberries. Using your fingers, crumble 6 ounces goat cheese in medium-large crumbles. Finally, spread 1 cup pecans. Toss with your favorite dressing. Serve chilled. Note: For an elegant presentation, you can arrange toppings in sections instead of layering. If so, toss before serving. Add mashed sweet potatoes and rye rolls. Coconut cake is your dessert.
Plan ahead: Prepare brown rice for Monday. Save enough cake for Wednesday.
MONDAY: Southwestern Rice and Beans on leaf lettuce (see recipe) is a great-tasting way to save food dollars. Serve it with sliced avocados and baked tortilla chips. Cool lime sherbet is your dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough rice and beans and sherbet for Tuesday.
TUESDAY: There won't be any heat, but there will be lots of flavor in Stuffed Tomatoes using the leftover rice and beans. Choose medium or large tomatoes and scoop out seeds and pulp. Stuff with the rice and beans and serve. Add a bowl of beef barley soup, a spinach salad and crusty rolls. Scoop the leftover sherbet for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Skip meat tonight and be bowled over with Quinoa Taco Salad Bowls (see recipe) for dinner. Serve with hard-cooked egg wedges. Slice leftover cake for dessert.
THURSDAY: Not Your Mother's Stroganoff (see recipe) makes good use of convenience products, has a great flavor and is so easy. Add a green salad and whole-grain rolls. Fresh tropical fruit make a refreshing dessert.
FRIDAY: Let the kids choose their favorite: lean beef, turkey or veggie for Burger Night. Serve on whole-grain buns and add lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard and whatever other toppings the kids will love. Add a carrot salad and veggie chips. Sliced kiwis are a perfect dessert.
SATURDAY: Invite guests for simple and tasty Honey Lime Tuna. In a glass dish, combine ¼ cup canola oil, 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon honey and 1 ½ teaspoons dried basil. Add 1 pound tuna steaks. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove tuna, reserving marinade. Grill each side for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, basting with marinade. Remove from heat; allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve the tuna with brown rice with toasted slivered almonds, grilled zucchini, a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette. Cheesecake with fresh strawberries is dessert.
Southwestern Rice and Beans
For the salad:
- 3 cups cooked brown rice, cooled
- 1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto or black beans, rinsed
- 1 ½ cups frozen green peas, thawed
- 1 cup sliced celery
- 1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
- ½ cup chopped sweet onion
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
For the vinaigrette:
- 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- Leaf lettuce
For the salad: In a large salad bowl, combine rice, beans, peas, celery, tomatoes, onion and parsley. Set aside.
For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, ¼ cup water, the garlic, salt and pepper.
Pour vinaigrette over the salad and toss to mix. Cover and chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium beans and no-salt added tomatoes) contains approximately 371 calories, 13 g protein, 11 g fat, 56 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 256 mg sodium and 11 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 4
Quinoa Taco Salad Bowls
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 cup chopped mango
- 4 plum tomatoes, diced
- 2 cups crushed blue corn chips
- 2 small Haas avocados, diced
- Fresh salsa
In each serving bowl, layer romaine. Arrange quinoa, beans, mango, tomatoes, corn chips and avocados in rows. Serve with salsa.
Makes 4 bowls.
Nutrition information: Each bowl contains approximately 430 calories, 12 g protein, 20 g fa, 57 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 82 mg sodium and 16 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 4
Not Your Mother's Stroganoff
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¼ cup chopped onion
- ½ red bell pepper, sliced into ¼-inch strips
- 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
- 6 ounces extra-wide egg noodles
- 1 (17-ounce) package fully cooked beef pot roast
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt OR sour cream
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
In a Dutch oven or large pot, combine butter, onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, 1 ½ cups water and noodles. Cover and bring to a boil on medium-high. Remove cover when mixture begins to boil. Boil 5 or 6 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, remove meat from packaging, reserving gravy, and cut into bite-size pieces. To noodle mixture, stir in pot roast and gravy. Cook, uncovered, 2 to 3 minutes or until hot, stirring often. Remove from heat; stir in yogurt or sour cream and season with black pepper. Serve.
Makes 5 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with no-yolk noodles and Greek yogurt) contains approximately 314 calories, 28 g protein, 8 g fat, 32 g carbohydrate, 63 mg cholesterol, 348 mg sodium and 2 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