Impress the family with cumin-rubbed pork tenderloin with apricots (see recipe). Serve it with mashed sweet potatoes, steamed zucchini, a spinach salad and dinner rolls. Buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork and pie for Monday.
Shopping list: Cumin, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, coarse salt, pork tenderloins, olive oil, sweet sherry or apple juice, pure vanilla extract, fat-free chicken broth, dried apricots, sugar, butter, sweet potatoes to mash, zucchini, fresh spinach, dinner rolls, store-bought lemon meringue pie.
>Heat and eat Monday
Transform Sunday's leftovers into pork sandwiches on multigrain bread. Spread the bread with honey-mustard sauce and salad greens; top with slices of pork. Serve with couscous tossed with toasted walnuts. Slice the leftover pie for dessert.
Shopping list: Multigrain bread, honey-mustard sauce, salad greens, couscous, walnuts.
Make it soup and salad night with deli egg salad scooped over packaged greens. Add your favorite soup with crackers. Dessert is fresh pineapple with toasted coconut.
Shopping list: Deli egg salad, packaged greens, favorite soup, crackers, fresh pineapple, coconut.
Turn canned albacore tuna into spectacular avocado-tuna tarragon melts (see recipe). Serve the tasty sandwiches with frozen oven fries. Pop a few grapes in your mouth for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough grapes for Friday.
Shopping list: Hass avocados, canned albacore tuna in water, reduced-fat sour cream, celery, white wine, tarragon or cider vinegar, fresh or dried tarragon, whole-grain bread, part-skim mozzarella cheese, cooking spray, frozen oven fries, grapes.
Forget meat tonight and enjoy linguine with blue cheese. Cook 12 ounces linguine in boiling water for 2 minutes. Add 8 ounces fresh cut green beans and cook 7 to 8 minutes longer; drain and set aside. To empty pot, add 1/4 cup fat-free half-and-half, 1 cup 1 percent milk, 2 tablespoons chopped green onions and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Bring to boil on medium for 1 minute. Return linguine and beans to pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese; toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Add a mixed green salad and garlic bread. For dessert, fat-free strawberry ice cream is refreshing.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: Linguine, fresh green beans, fat-free half-and-half, 1 percent milk, green onions, coarse salt, pepper, crumbled blue cheese, salad greens, garlic bread, fat-free strawberry ice cream.
Make dinner a kids' favorite with burger night (refrigerated or frozen burgers). Serve on toasted whole-grain buns and top with favorites such as shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Serve the burgers with baked chips. For dessert, munch on oatmeal cookies along with leftover grapes.
Shopping list: refrigerated or frozen burgers, whole-grain buns, lettuce, tomatoes, baked chips, oatmeal cookies.
>Easy entertaining Saturday
Entertain your guests with Mediterranean chicken with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes (see recipe). Serve the chicken with a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy a chocolate layer cake and serve it with leftover ice cream.
Shopping list: Jar oil-packed julienne sun-dried tomatoes, canned quartered artichoke hearts, crumbled fat-free feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, low-fat mayonnaise, garlic, green onions, coarse salt, black pepper, boneless chicken breasts, brown rice, slivered almonds, fresh basil, romaine, whole-grain rolls, chocolate layer cake.
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*CUMIN-RUBBED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH APRICOTS (Sunday)
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 28 to 32 minutes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 pork tenderloins (1 3/4 to 2 1/4 pounds total)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup sweet sherry (or 5 tablespoons apple juice mixed with 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
1 cup fat-free chicken broth
1 (7-ounce) package dried apricots, halved
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix cumin, garlic powder, paprika, pepper and salt. Dry pork tenderloins and rub spice mixture evenly over them. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high. Add tenderloins; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer skillet to oven. Roast 18 to 23 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven; place pork on cutting board and keep warm.
Stir sherry or apple juice mixture into same hot skillet on medium heat, scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet. Stir in broth, apricots and sugar. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer about 5 minutes or until sauce is reduced by half. Stir in butter until melted and sauce is slightly thickened. Slice pork, transfer to serving platter and serve with apricot mixture.
Per serving: 265 calories, 23g protein, 11g fat (37 percent calories from fat), 3.9g saturated fat, 18g carbohydrate, 73mg cholesterol, 244mg sodium, 2g fiber.
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*AVOCADO-TUNA TARRAGON MELTS (Wednesday)
Makes 4 sandwiches
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes
2 Hass avocados, cut into small chunks
2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, tarragon vinegar or cider vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried tarragon, crushed
8 slices whole-grain bread
4 (1-ounce) slices part-skim mozzarella cheese
In medium bowl, combine avocado chunks, tuna, sour cream, celery, vinegar and tarragon; mix well. Divide and spread mixture on 4 slices bread. Top each with a slice of cheese, then the remaining bread slices. Coat outside of bread with cooking spray. Brown in a medium skillet 3 to 4 minutes per side or until cheese melts.
Per serving: 523 calories, 34gs protein, 29g fat (48 percent calories from fat), 9.1g saturated fat, 35g carbohydrate, 61mg cholesterol, 714mg sodium, 11g fiber.
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MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN WITH ARTICHOKES AND SUN-DRIED TOMATOES (Saturday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 24 to 36 minutes
1 (8.5-ounce) jar oil-packed julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes, divided
1 (14-ounce) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
4 ounces crumbled fat-free feta cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise
1 clove minced garlic
4 thinly sliced green onions
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
6 (5- or 6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts, flattened to an even thickness
6 cups hot cooked brown rice
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Drain tomatoes; reserve 2 tablespoons oil. In a large bowl, blend 1/2 cup drained tomatoes with artichokes, feta, Parmesan, mayonnaise, garlic, green onions, salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat reserved oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Add chicken and sear on both sides 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove chicken to baking dish and arrange in a single layer. Top chicken with tomato-artichoke mixture.
Bake, uncovered, 20 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is 165 degrees. Mix remaining tomatoes with cooked rice and stir in the almonds. Press 1 cup of the rice into a cup measure or ramekin, then invert onto each plate. (Rice will come out in a molded shape.) Place chicken on top of each serving of rice along with the artichoke mixture and sprinkle with basil leaves.
Per serving: 579 calories, 44g protein, 18g fat (28 percent calories from fat), 2.9g saturated fat, 60g carbohydrate, 94mg cholesterol, 891mg sodium, 6g fiber.