A week’s worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families.
SUNDAY: With roast chicken on the menu for family day, I’m reminded of my childhood Sunday meals. Serve the homey entree with Smoked Gouda and Scallion Mashed Potatoes (see recipe). Add fresh broccoli, a spinach salad and dinner rolls. Buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and pie for Monday.
MONDAY: Use the Sunday leftover chicken for Chicken, Black Beans and Corn Salad Wrap. Mix shredded chicken with canned corn (rinsed), canned black beans (rinsed), shredded lettuce and salsa. Serve rolled in warm whole-grain tortillas. Add sliced avocado to the plate. Present the leftover pie for dessert.
TUESDAY: Let’s roll dinner again for the kids in Easy Turkey Roll-Ups. Spread 6 (6- or 7-inch) whole-grain tortillas with chive and onion cream cheese (or plain Neufchatel cheese), slices of deli turkey, shredded lettuce and thin slices of tomato. Roll and cut into 3 pieces. Add carrot salad on the side. For dessert, make instant chocolate pudding and stir in tiny marshmallows and sliced bananas for a kid kind of dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough carrot salad for Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: Save some money and enjoy Pulled Pork With Onions tonight. Place 1 (3-pound) trimmed pork shoulder (cut into 3 pieces) in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. In a large bowl, combine 3 onions (halved and sliced), 5 tablespoons sugar, 4 cloves garlic (minced), 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon coarse salt, 1/3 cup cider vinegar, 1 cup chili sauce and 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (minced); mix well and spoon over pork. Cover and cook 7 to 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. Transfer pork to cutting board; shred with two forks and stir back into sauce. Serve on toasted whole-grain buns. Top with sliced jalapeno peppers if desired. Add pinto beans and leftover carrot salad on the side. Enjoy pears for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pulled pork for Friday.
THURSDAY: You’ll never miss meat with Cottage Casserole (see recipe). Serve it with a romaine salad and whole-grain bread. Strawberry ice cream is dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
FRIDAY: To continue the “eating out of hand” theme for this week, how about Pork Tacos? Heat the leftover pork and spoon it into heated taco shells; top with deli coleslaw. Serve with baked chips. Fresh pineapple is a simple dessert.
SATURDAY: Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo (see recipe) makes a great meal for guests as well as the hostess because of the flavor and the simplicity. Add roasted asparagus, a boston lettuce salad and baguettes. Top the leftover ice cream with warm fudge sauce.
Smoked Gouda and Scallion Mashed Potatoes
- 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt, divided use
- ¾ cup whole milk, warmed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup grated smoked Gouda cheese
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced, divided use
Place potatoes and ½ teaspoon salt in a large pot. Cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 25 to 30 minutes or until fork-tender but not falling apart. Drain. Beat potatoes on medium speed until just smooth. Add remaining salt, milk, butter and Gouda and half the onions. Beat until just smooth, adding more milk if needed. Serve hot. Garnish with remaining onions and butter if desired. (Adapted from “Gather Around Dinners,” Tara Teaspoon, Shadow Mountain Publishing)
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 229 calories, 7 g protein, 6 g fat, 39 g carbohydrate, 15 mg cholesterol, 289 mg sodium and 5 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2 ½
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- 12 ounces bow tie or elbow pasta
- 1 (8- to 10-ounce) package fresh spinach leaves, chopped
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 1 (15-ounce) container cottage cheese or ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup chopped green onions
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
In a large bowl, microwave spinach 3 minutes on 100% power or until wilted; drain well and set aside.
In bowl with spinach, add cooked pasta, sauce, cottage or ricotta cheese, green onions, salt and pepper; mix well. Spoon into baking dish. Top with cheddar cheese. Cover with nonstick foil. Bake 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 more minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared using reduced-fat cheeses) contains approximately 389 calories, 25 g protein, 5 g fat, 62 g carbohydrate, 13 mg cholesterol, 827 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 4
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Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo
- 1 (9-ounce) packaged refrigerated fettuccine
- 1 pound uncooked, peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 1/3 cup half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons Neufchatel cream cheese
- Ground black pepper
- Coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and reserve ¼ cup cooking water.
In a medium bowl, combine shrimp, onions and garlic; toss to mix.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high. Add shrimp mixture; cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are opaque throughout. Remove from skillet; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium. Add reserved water, Parmigiano-Reggiano, half-and-half, cream cheese and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Combine pasta, cheese mixture and shrimp mixture. Season with salt and more black pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 375 calories, 26 g protein, 12 g fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 166 mg cholesterol, 610 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected]