Make it family time with Mojo Beef Kebabs (see recipe). Serve the kebabs with orzo, a mixed green salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy a coconut layer cake.
Plan ahead: Prepare 2 extra kebabs and extra orzo, and save enough cake for Monday.
Make Beef Pitas tonight. Line whole-wheat pitas with lettuce leaves. Dice and heat the leftover kebabs; mix with 3 cups hot leftover orzo and a little beef broth. Stuff pitas with mixture. Serve with grated carrots and chopped dried apricots moistened with vanilla yogurt. Leftover cake works for dessert.
Look for one of the many Frozen Noodle Bowls. It’s a quick fix for dinner, but it may be a little spicy for kids. Serve the bowls with a spinach salad and whole-grain rolls. Crunch on peanut butter cookies for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Thursday.
Make Baked Tacos (see recipe) for kids’ night and serve with Spanish rice. Let the kids help prepare and layer instant chocolate and vanilla pudding (made with 1 percent milk) in pretty, tall dessert dishes and call them black-and-white parfaits.
Tip: Use iced tea spoons to fill the parfait glasses. Expect a mess, but the kids will have fun, and so should you.
Soup always tastes good on cool nights, as will this Lentil and Corn Soup. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 2 (19-ounce) cans lentil soup, 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn (thawed) and 2 teaspoons curry powder; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro. Serve with grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches made with 50 percent light cheddar cheese on dense white bread. Add a romaine salad. For dessert, leftover cookies can go with any fresh fruit chunks.
Pinch a few pennies tonight and serve Spaghetti With Tuna and Spinach. Cook 12 ounces spaghetti according to directions; drain. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium. Cook 2 cups sliced onion, 4 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper for 6 minutes or until softened. Add 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added chopped tomatoes and cook 5 more minutes. Gradually add 5 cups chopped fresh spinach. Cook 5 minutes or until spinach is tender. Add 2 (6-ounce) cans drained and flaked light tuna. Season with coarse salt and black pepper to taste. Toss mixture with spaghetti and serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. Add garlic bread. Serve pineapple sherbet for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Saturday.
Easy Entertaining Saturday
It’s OK to show off tonight with this Turkey Scaloppine With Lemon Sauce (see recipe).
Alongside, offer savory rice. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove minced garlic and cook 2 or 3 minutes. Add 3 cups cooked rice, 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Mix well and heat through.
Serve with a Boston lettuce salad with blue heaven dressing: In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup buttermilk, 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream and crumbled blue cheese, 1 tablespoon minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced green onions and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; mix well. Chill 1 to 4 hours.
Add dinner rolls. For dessert, take it easy with leftover sherbet and butter cookies.
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Mojo Beef Kabobs (Sunday)
For the mojo sauce:
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
For the kebabs:
1 pound boneless beef top sirloin, 1 inch thick
1 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1 large lime, cut into 8 wedges
1 small red onion, cut into 8 thin wedges
10 ounces grape tomatoes
Whisk mojo ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside. Cut beef into 1 1/4-inch pieces; season with pepper. Alternately thread beef with lime and onion wedges evenly onto 4 metal skewers. Thread tomatoes evenly onto 4 more skewers. Place kebabs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill tomatoes, covered, 2 to 4 minutes or until slightly softened, turning occasionally. Grill beef, covered, 8 to 10 minutes over coals (or 9 to 11 minutes on preheated gas grill set to medium) for medium rare to medium (145 to 160 degrees). Turn once. Serve kebabs drizzled with sauce. Serves 4.
Per serving: 258 calories (percent calories from fat, 50), 22 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 15 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 56 milligrams cholesterol, 294 milligrams sodium.
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Baked Tacos (Wednesday)
1 teaspoon olive oil
12 ounces ground turkey breast
1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed
1 cup mild salsa
4 teaspoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning
8 (6- or 7-inch) flour tortillas
Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, reduced-fat sour cream and shredded Monterey jack cheese for garnish
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with nonstick foil. In a large nonstick skillet over medium, heat oil. Add turkey and cook 4 or 5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Add beans, salsa and taco seasoning. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, 5 or 6 minutes, mashing some of the beans as you stir, until thickened. Spoon turkey mixture into center of each tortilla. Fold in half. Press down gently and place on baking sheet. Coat tortillas with cooking spray. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese as desired. Makes 8 tacos.
Per taco: 185 calories (percent calories from fat, 4), 15 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 1 gram fat (0.2 gram saturated fat), 26 milligrams cholesterol, 562 milligrams sodium.
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Turkey Scaloppine With Lemon Sauce (Saturday)
1 1/4 pounds turkey breast cutlets
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 large clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
Fresh parsley sprigs
1 lemon, thinly sliced
Flatten turkey cutlets to 1/4 inch between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, using a meat mallet or rolling pin. In a pie plate, combine flour, salt and pepper. Coat both sides of cutlets with flour mixture; shake off extra flour. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil; add cutlets and cook in batches, 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove cutlets from skillet and keep warm. Add remaining butter, wine and lemon juice and stir to deglaze pan. Cook until thoroughly heated. Stir in chopped parsley, garlic and capers. Arrange cutlets on serving platter; spoon sauce over cutlets. Garnish with parsley sprigs and lemon slices. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
Per serving: 303 calories (percent calories from fat, 31), 36 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat , 4.4 grams saturated fat, 103 milligrams cholesterol, 481 milligrams sodium.