Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekly Meal Planner: Week 7

PointsPlus™ Value: 7
Servings: 4
Preparation Time: 7 min
Cooking Time: 12 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

The herb crust gives the fish incredible flavor and locks in moisture. A fabulous way to reap the benefits of salmon’s heart healthy fats.


3 Tbsp rosemary, leaves, fresh, chopped
3 Tbsp thyme, fresh, leaves, fresh, stemmed
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 spray(s) cooking spray
1 1/4 pound(s) salmon fillet(s), with or without skin, Atlantic, skinless (four 5-ounce pieces)
4 Tbsp Dijon Mustard, regular or grainy-variety

1. Prepare the grill for direct, medium-heat cooking.
2. Mix the rosemary, thyme and pepper in a small bowl.
3. Spray the bottom of the fish fillets with nonstick spray (that is, spray the piece of the fillet where the skin would have been, usually with some gray or brown mottling on it).
4. Spread 1 tablespoon mustard on the top of each fillet. Sprinkle about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the herb mixture on top of each.
5. Place herb side up on the grate directly over the heat. Cover the grill and cook until the fish flakes when gently scraped with a fork, about 12 minutes. Transfer to plates with a wide spatula. Yields 1 fillet per serving.

Salmon fillets are often sold with the skin on, but you can ask the person behind the fish counter to take it off for you. Don’t overcook these fillets; watch them carefully so that they come off while the meat is still moist and flavorful.

Raspberry Mustard Glazed Ham

PointsPlus™ Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 5 min
Cooking Time: 60 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

There is almost no entree as easy as a baked ham. The sweet, tangy glaze makes it extra-special - and can be whipped up in seconds.

1/2 cup(s) jam, raspberry, seedless
1/4 cup(s) Dijon Mustard, grainy-variety (with whole mustard seeds)
3/4 tsp black pepper, coarsely ground
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
2 pound(s) cooked lean ham, smoked

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a small baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil or coat with cooking spray.
2. To make glaze, in a small bowl, stir together jam, mustard, pepper and vinegar until blended; reserve half (about 1/3 cup) to serve with ham.
3. Score ham with a knife by making several crisscross cuts in top of ham about 1/8-inch deep each; place ham in prepared pan and brush with some glaze. Bake for 1 hour, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Thinly slice ham and serve with reserved glaze. Yields about 3 1/2 ounces ham and 1 tablespoon glaze per serving.
4. Bake for 1 hour, brushing with glaze every 15 minutes. Thinly slice ham and serve with reserved glaze. Yields about 3 1/2 ounces ham and 1 tablespoon glaze per serving.

Savory Matzo Pudding

PointsPlus™ Value: 4
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 20 min
Cooking Time: 75 min
Level of Difficulty: Moderate

Almost like stuffing with a crispy top. The perfect mate for pot roast or roast chicken. Garnish with fresh parsley just before serving.

5 spray(s) cooking spray , divided
3 large egg(s)
3 large egg white(s)
2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth
10 board(s) matzo(s)
2 cup(s) onion(s), Spanish, chopped (about 3 medium onions)
1 cup(s) celery, chopped (about 2 ribs)
1/2 pound(s) mushroom(s), finely sliced or shredded
2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp parsley, fresh, minced

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 3 quart oven-proof baking dish (about 13- x 7-inches) with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whiles, salt and pepper until well-combined; stir in broth.
3. Run each sheet of matzo under cold water and shake off excess moisture; crumble matzo into egg mixture and stir well to coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, tossing once or twice.
4. Meanwhile, coat a large skillet with cooking spray; set over medium heat. Add onions and celery; sauté until onions turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables brown and start to caramelize, about 15 to 20 minutes.
5. When eggs are almost all absorbed by matzo, stir in vegetable mixture until well-combined; spoon mixture into prepared dish and smooth out top. Drizzle oil over top of matzo pudding; bake until top is crisp, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into 12 equal portions. Garnish with parsley and serve. Yields 1 piece per serving.

You can make this with whole wheat matzo though it will change the consistency since the whole wheat matzo does not absorb the egg mixture as well (could affect the PointsPlus value).

PointsPlus™ Value: 3
Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 480 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

Wheat berries stand in for pasta in this vegetarian version of classic comfort food. They add great texture to the soup, not to mention fiber, vitamins and minerals.

28 oz canned diced tomatoes, reduced-sodium, with their juice
3 cup(s) vegetable broth, reduced-sodium
3 cup(s) uncooked string beans, halved if large
15 1/2 oz canned kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 large green pepper(s), diced
1 small onion(s), chopped
3/4 cup(s) celery, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cup(s) uncooked wheat berries
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crumbed
1 1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp fennel seed
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

Mix all the ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Yields about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons per serving.

If you don’t want to use such a big concert of dried spices, omit them all except the salt and add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt-free Italian spice blend instead.

Chicken, Mushroom and Brown Rice Slow Cooker Casserole

PointsPlus™ Value: 5
Servings: 8
Preparation Time: 15 min
Cooking Time: 426 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy

A fabulous slow cooker meal that’s easy enough for a casual weeknight meal and tasty enough for a weekend gathering.

2 spray(s) cooking spray
8 thigh skinless chicken thigh(s), about 2 1/2 oz each
2 cup(s) canned chicken broth, reduced-sodium
1/2 pound(s) cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 cup(s) leek(s), white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced, washed carefully for grit
1 cup(s) carrot(s), thinly sliced
1 cup(s) celery, thinly sliced
3/4 cup(s) uncooked brown rice , medium-grain (such as brown Arborio)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray; warm over medium heat. Add the chicken thighs and brown, turning once, about 6 minutes; set aside.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker; nestle the chicken thighs in the mixture. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours. Yields 1 chicken thigh and about 2/3 cup rice-vegetable mixture per serving.

Although a slow cooker takes most of the work out of cooking, there’s still no getting around the fact that browned meat adds more flavor to a stew, braise or casserole. Although this recipe calls for the meat to be browned in a separate skillet, there are slow cookers on the market that have inserts that can go right from the stovetop to the cooker — and that means there’s one less pan to clean up.

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