Serve baked stuffed shrimp casserole for your guests

Courtesy/Random House, Christine Han
Baked stuffed shrimp casserole
Courtesy/Random House, Christine Han Baked stuffed shrimp casserole

SUNDAY (Family) -- Gather the family for a spiral-sliced ham. To accompany the ham, buy red potato salad and broccoli salad from the deli and make it an extra-easy meal. Add mixed greens and biscuits. For dessert, impress the relatives with this apple tart (see recipe).

TIP: if you're having extra guests, make an extra tart.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ham and dessert for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: spiral-sliced ham, deli red potato salad, deli broccoli salad, mixed greens, biscuits, refrigerated pie crust, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, apples.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat) -- Make ham-and-swiss sandwiches on rye tonight. Spread the bread with coarse-grain mustard; add sliced Swiss cheese and leftover ham slices. Grill the sandwiches if you like. Follow the directions on the package and prepare sliced polenta for a side dish. Make or buy a carrot salad. Warm the leftover tart for dessert and top it with vanilla ice cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.

SHOPPING LIST: rye bread, coarse-grain mustard, sliced Swiss cheese, polenta, carrot salad, vanilla ice cream.

TUESDAY (Budget) -- Stretch those dollars with this Cajun chicken-and-rice casserole (see recipe). Add a spinach salad and whole-grain bread. Peaches are dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough casserole for Thursday.

SHOPPING LIST: paprika, dried thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, black pepper, boneless skinless chicken breasts, bacon, canola oil, onion, red or green bell pepper, celery, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, unsalted chicken broth, white rice, frozen peas, fresh parsley, fresh spinach, whole-grain bread, peaches.

WEDNESDAY (Meatless) -- Feast on vegetable curry tonight. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 4 medium peeled and diced potatoes, 1 large chopped onion, 1 chopped red bell pepper, 2 chopped carrots, 2 large chopped plum tomatoes, 1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste, ¾ cup water, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Place florets from 1 medium head cauliflower on top. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Gently stir in 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas; increase heat to high and cook 15 more minutes.

Serve the curry over basmati rice and pass chutney (from jar) at the table to top the curry. Slice cucumbers into plain yogurt as an accompaniment. Add whole-grain pita. Make instant lemon pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: potatoes, onion, red bell pepper, carrots, plum tomatoes, no-salt-added tomato paste, curry powder, cumin seeds, garlic powder, coarse salt, fresh cauliflower, frozen green peas, basmati rice, jar chutney, cucumbers, plain yogurt, whole-grain pita, instant lemon pudding mix, 1 percent milk.

THURSDAY (Express) -- Love your leftovers and enjoy Cajun casserole tonight. Add deli coleslaw. Scoop leftover ice cream for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: deli coleslaw.

FRIDAY (Kids) -- Kids are always in a hurry to eat, so pork wraps are right up their alley: Heat whole-grain flour tortillas according to package directions. Fill with the kids' favorite refrigerated pork barbecue; top with sliced avocado.

Serve with carrot sticks and baked chips. For dessert, slurp on frozen juice bars.

SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain flour tortillas, kids' favorite refrigerated pork barbecue, avocado, carrot sticks, baked chips, frozen juice bars.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining) -- Our guests enjoyed this baked stuffed shrimp casserole (see recipe). Serve it with a red-tipped lettuce salad. Add brown rice with toasted pecans and sourdough bread on the side. For dessert, make raspberry parfaits by layering vanilla pudding with raspberries (thawed from frozen) in stemmed glasses. Top with light whipped cream.

SHOPPING LIST: large shrimp (peeled and deveined with tails intact), extra-virgin olive oil, coarse salt, pepper, lump crab meat, plain cracker crumbs, garlic, fresh parsley, lemons, unsalted butter, red-tipped lettuce, brown rice, pecans, sourdough bread, vanilla pudding, frozen raspberries, light whipped cream.


The recipes Apple tart (Sunday)

Servings: makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes


1 refrigerated pie crust (from 14.1-ounce package)

1 egg white, lightly beaten

¾ cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons cinnamon

4 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (about 4 medium)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare crust as directed on package. Place on foil-lined 12-inch pizza pan. Press out any folds or creases. Brush crust with about ½ of egg white. In a medium bowl, mix ¾ cup sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Toss with apples. Spoon into center of crust, spreading to within 2 inches of edge. Fold edge of crust up over apples, pleating or crimping as needed. Brush crust with remaining egg white; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until apples are tender. Cool slightly before serving.

Per serving: 212 calories, 2 grams protein, 6 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 136 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 2.5.

------ Cajun chicken and rice casserole (Tuesday)

Servings: makes 12 cups

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: about 35 minutes, plus bacon


½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon coarse salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch pieces

3 slices bacon

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped

1 large rib celery, chopped

1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, well-drained

4 cups unsalted chicken broth

2 cups white rice

1 cup frozen peas

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

In a bowl, combine paprika, thyme, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. Toss chicken with half the spice mixture. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes or until crisp. Drain on paper towels, then crumble. To same pot, add oil, then chicken. Cook 3 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Transfer chicken to a medium bowl. To pot, add onion, bell pepper and celery. Cook 5 minutes, stirring. Add tomatoes, cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, rice and peas. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to a simmer. Stir in chicken and any juices. Cover; simmer 27 minutes or until rice is tender. Top with crumbled bacon and parsley.

Per cup: 218 calories, 13 grams protein, 3 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 193 milligrams sodium, 2 gram fiber.

Carb count: 2.

------ Baked stuffed shrimp casserole (Saturday)

Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15-18 minutes


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails intact

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon coarse salt, divided

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper

1 pound lump crab meat

1 cup plain cracker crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Zest and juice of one lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Butterfly the shrimp by cutting down the back of the shrimp most of the way through, but not all the way. Add shrimp to medium bowl with the olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper. Toss and set aside. In a large bowl, make the stuffing by combining the crab meat, cracker crumbs, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, juice, melted butter and ¼ teaspoon salt. In a 2-quart (or 11-by-17-inch) baking dish, arrange the seasoned shrimp evenly, cut side down, so the tails are facing up. Spoon the stuffing over and around the shrimp evenly. Bake 15-18 minutes until the shrimp is just baked through and the top of the stuffing is golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges. (Adapted from "Big Bites," Kat Ashmore, Rodale.)

Per serving: 499 calories, 44 grams protein, 25 grams fat (46 percent calories from fat), 12 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 275 milligrams cholesterol, 1,283 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected]. The Menu Planner is also accessible at

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