Serve the family your own Roast Chicken (5 to 7 pounds) today. Alongside, add White Beans With Lemon, Fennel and Avocado (see recipe), mixed greens and crusty rolls. Buy a carrot cake for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Monday.
Economical Southwestern Chicken and Barley Soup is easy to prepare. In a 6-quart Dutch oven or other pot, combine 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes (undrained), 1 (16-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 5 3/4 cups unsalted chicken broth, 1 cup medium pearled barley (not quick cooking), 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, dash cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil; add 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, 40 minutes or until barley is tender and chewy and chicken is no longer pink. Add 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 1 cup frozen corn. Simmer 5 more minutes. Garnish as desired and serve.
Serve the flavorful soup with an avocado salad and cheese toast. Leftover cake works for dessert.
Tip: When reheating, thin with water or more broth if desired.
Plan ahead: Save enough soup for Tuesday.
You can relax since dinner is ready as soon as you reheat the leftover Soup. Serve the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches and a lettuce wedge salad. Juicy peaches are dessert.
Make it quick and colorful tonight with Tuna-Stuffed Avocados. Buy deli tuna salad and heap on top of avocado halves. Garnish with a little paprika. Add tomato wedges, deviled eggs and a whole-grain roll to the plate. For dessert, fresh raspberries are in season. Top them with a little light whipped cream.
Tip: Use chicken salad instead of tuna if desired.
For a unique no-meat dinner, serve Roasted Zucchini With Almonds and Olives (see recipe) over brown rice. Add mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, top fresh pineapple with toasted coconut.
Wild Card Friday
The kids will love eating Black Bean Chilaquiles, a dish designed to use leftovers. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans, 1 (8-ounce) can rinsed corn and 1 cup mild salsa. In an 8-by-8-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, place 1 cup lightly crushed baked or regular tortilla chips and half the bean mixture. Repeat layers. Top with 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese melts and casserole is heated through. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad. For dessert, what kid could resist s’mores sundaes? For one sundae, sprinkle the bottom of a sundae dish with some crushed graham crackers. Top with 1 small scoop of chocolate ice cream. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup miniature marshmallows and more graham cracker crumbs. Top with another small scoop of ice cream and drizzle with warm chocolate syrup and more marshmallows.
Easy Entertaining Saturday
Your guests will feel extra-special when you serve them Sheet Pan Pecan-Crusted Salmon With Brussels Sprouts (see recipe). Serve with orzo tossed with chopped fresh parsley, a spinach salad and baguettes. For dessert, ice cream soup is fun. Stir 1 pint slightly softened strawberry ice cream in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Pour 1/2 cup into each of 4 small bowls, top each with 1/4 cup any fresh fruit and serve.
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White Beans With Lemon, Fennel and Avocado (Sunday)
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
1 medium bulb fennel, trimmed and shredded
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup chopped flatleaf parsley
1/4 cup sliced and pitted Kalamata olives
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 avocados, diced
In a large bowl, combine the beans, fennel, tomatoes, onion, parsley and olives. In another small bowl, mix the oil, lemon juice and basil to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the bean mixture and toss to coat. Fold in the avocados and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: 193 calories (percent calories from fat, 53), 5 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 12 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated fat), no cholesterol, 210 milligrams sodium.
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Roasted Zucchini With Almonds and Olives (Thursday)
5 medium zucchini
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pimento-stuffed green olives
1/4 cup coarsely chopped almonds
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strips and put into medium bowl. Add salt and toss. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add oil, garlic, olives and almonds; toss lightly. Arrange in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 161 calories (percent calories from fat, 66), 5 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 13 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated fat), no cholesterol, 371 milligrams sodium.
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Sheet Pan Pecan-Crusted Salmon With Brussels Sprouts (Saturday)
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
4 (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets, skins removed
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts, halved
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup pecan halves
1 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons honey
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a large rimmed baking pan with nonstick foil. Place chopped pecans in a pie plate. Season fillets with half the salt and pepper and brush top with about 2 teaspoons oil. Press fillets, top side down, into the chopped pecans to coat. Arrange in center of baking sheet. In a medium bowl, combine Brussels sprouts, remaining oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, pecan halves and remaining salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Transfer to baking sheet, not touching salmon. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are fork-tender and salmon is cooked through. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil. Continue to boil, stirring continuously, about 10 minutes or until liquid has been reduced by half. Remove from heat, stir in honey and allow to cool until ready to serve. Drizzle over salmon and sprouts just before serving. Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 542 calories (percent calories from fat, 50), 30 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 31 grams fat (3.7 grams saturated fat), 53 milligrams cholesterol, 372 milligrams sodium.
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