SUNDAY: Family night
Traditional Greek seasonings, cinnamon and mint, transform lamb kebabs with fresh mint (see recipe) into premier family fare. Serve the lamb with couscous and snow peas. Add a red-tipped lettuce salad and sourdough bread. For dessert, buy a frozen triple berry pie. Garnish with light whipped cream. Cut into 12 servings because this pie is really rich!
PLAN AHEAD: Save two kebabs and enough pie, and prepare chickpeas for Monday, if desired.
SHOPPING LIST: fresh mint, extra-virgin olive oil, dry red wine, lemon, cinnamon sticks, boneless lamb leg, coarse salt, black pepper, couscous, snow peas, red-tipped lettuce, sourdough bread, frozen triple berry pie, light whipped cream.
MONDAY: Heat and eat
Use the two extra (leftover) kebabs for lamb pitas. Chop the lamb and heat. Spoon into four whole-wheat pitas lined with lettuce leaves. Meanwhile, combine 11/2 cups finely chopped, seeded cucumber, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, coarse salt and pepper to taste, and 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt; mix well. Divide and spoon mixture over lamb.
Serve with baked chickpeas: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix one (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium chickpeas, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; toss to coat. Spread on a nonstick, foil-lined baking pan. Bake 45-50 minutes on bottom rack of oven. Shake pan every 15 minutes. Cool and serve.
Dessert is leftover pie.
PLAN AHEAD: Cook rice for Tuesday.
SHOPPING LIST: whole-wheat pitas, lettuce, cucumbers, lemon, coarse salt, pepper, fat-free plain yogurt, canned reduced-sodium chickpeas, garlic powder, cayenne pepper.
TUESDAY: Meatless meal
Cheesy poblano rice soup is perfect for the colder weather. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium-high. Cook 1/4 cup minced shallots and three poblano peppers (seeded and chopped into 1-inch pieces) 3-5 minutes or until tender. Stir in three (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth and one (141/2-ounce) can drained no-salt-added diced tomatoes; bring to a boil. Add 3 cups cooked rice. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add 2 cups shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
Serve with grapefruit and orange sections on lettuce and corn muffins (from mix). Finish with instant butterscotch pudding made with 1 percent milk.
SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, shallots, poblano peppers, canned unsalted vegetable broth, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, rice, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, grapefruit, oranges, lettuce, corn muffin mix, instant butterscotch pudding mix, 1 percent milk.
WEDNESDAY: Budget dining
For an economical and tasty dinner, enjoy potato, turkey and vegetable casserole (see recipe). Serve the soon-to-be family favorite with a crisp lettuce wedge and crusty bread. Pineapple is a light dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, turkey breast, dried thyme leaves, garlic powder, ground black pepper, coarse salt, canned German potato salad, light sour cream, frozen mixed vegetables, cooking spray, panko, lettuce, crusty bread, pineapple.
THURSDAY: Kids favorite
Line up the children to help you prepare chili tacos. Heat your favorite canned chili; spoon into heated taco shells. Garnish with such favorites as shredded lettuce, mild salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Add steamed carrots on the side. Top chocolate ice cream with marshmallow topping for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
SHOPPING LIST: canned chili, taco shells, lettuce, mild salsa, reduced-fat sour cream, carrots, chocolate ice cream, marshmallow topping.
FRIDAY: Express cooking
Make dinner faster than a speeding bullet with frozen honey barbecue chicken breast chunks (or another flavor). Serve them with corn-on-the-cob and deli broccoli salad. Add chunky applesauce for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: frozen honey barbecue chicken breast chunks (or another flavor), corn-on-the-cob, deli broccoli salad, chunky applesauce.
SATURDAY: Entertain the Family
Wow the family and enjoy pork tenderloin cancun with chorizo potatoes (see recipe). Serve with steamed broccoli with red and yellow bell pepper strips and whole-grain rolls. Chocolate fudge layer cake (from frozen) with leftover chocolate ice cream makes a high-octane dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: pork tenderloin, light coconut milk, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, canned pineapple tidbits, cilantro, less-sodium soy sauce, cooking spray, russet potatoes, olive oil, chorizo, broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers, whole-grain rolls, frozen chocolate fudge layer cake.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan's blog: makingthemenu.com.
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LAMB KEBABS WITH FRESH MINT (Sunday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 2-4 hours
Cooking time: 8-12 minutes
FOR THE MARINADE
2 bunches fresh mint, divided
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cinnamon sticks
FOR THE KEBABS
1 1/2 pounds boneless lamb leg, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Coarsely chop 1 bunch mint leaves to make 1/2 cup and reserve the remaining mint. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped mint, olive oil, wine, lemon juice and cinnamon sticks. Sprinkle lamb with salt and pepper. Add lamb to marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, turning several times. Drain the lamb; discard marinade. Thread lamb onto 6 metal skewers, placing a whole mint leaf between pieces. Grill on high 8 to 12 minutes (for medium-rare to medium) or until browned, turning several times.
Per serving: 143 calories, 23 grams protein, 5 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 230 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 0.
POTATO, TURKEY AND VEGETABLE CASSEROLE (Wednesday)
Makes: 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: less than 40 minutes
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
3/4 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 (15-ounce) can German potato salad
1/2 cup light sour cream
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (thawed and drained)
1/2 cup panko
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large nonstick skillet on medium. Add turkey, thyme, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Cook 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink, stirring occasionally and breaking turkey into large crumbles. Stir in potato salad and sour cream. Add vegetables; stir to combine. Spoon into a 2-quart casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Toss together panko and remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Sprinkle over casserole. Bake 30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.
Per serving: 243 calories, 18 grams protein, 9 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 34 milligrams cholesterol, 535 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.5.
PORK TENDERLOIN CANCUN WITH CHORIZO POTATOES (Saturday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes; refrigeration time: 2-4 hours
Cooking time: 20-30 minutes; resting time: 3-5 minutes
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin
1/2 cup light coconut milk
2 tablespoons chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
Juice from 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple tidbits
4 tablespoons minced cilantro, with extra sprigs for garnish (if desired)
1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce
1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 ounces chorizo, loose or in casing
Place pork in resealable plastic bag; add coconut milk, peppers, pineapple juice, cilantro and soy sauce; seal bag and toss to blend well. Refrigerate 2 to 4 hours.
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large shallow roasting pan with cooking spray. Dry potato cubes well with paper towels and toss with olive oil; spread potatoes in pan and crumble chorizo evenly over potatoes. Remove pork from marinade, discarding marinade, and pat dry with paper towels. Keeping potatoes and chorizo in a single layer, place pork in center of roasting pan. Roast pork and potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees, stirring potatoes occasionally for even browning. Brush pork with saucepan juices during final 5 minutes of roasting and allow the tenderloin to rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Slice pork; serve potatoes alongside. Garnish with cilantro sprigs if desired.
Per serving: 281 calories, 27 grams protein, 10 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 326 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.5.