Saturday: Chicken-Spinach Pie With Mashed-Potato Crust
Prep: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
3 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp milk
3/4 tsp salt
2 large carrots, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1½ tsp fresh)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp salt
1. Place potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook, uncovered, until tender.
2. While potatoes are boiling, set oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a heavy-bottomed skillet with cooking spray; place over medium heat.
3. Add carrots, onion and thyme. Cook until slightly browned, stirring often.
4. Add chicken and cook until golden brown. Turn off heat; stir in spinach, ricotta and salt.
5. Drain potatoes well, then return to pot. Add olive oil, milk, and salt and mash till smooth (some lumps are okay).
6. Place chicken mixture in a 9-inch pan, and top with mashed potatoes. Bake for 15 minutes. To brown the potatoes, broil for 5 more minutes.
Quickie-side suggestion: Combine your family's favorite salad greens with sliced apples and toasted walnuts. Dress lightly with a red-wine vinaigrette.
Ideas for picky eaters: If your kid won't go for everything mixed together, set aside some mashed potatoes, chicken pieces (be sure to cook them through) and carrots (steam some chunks in the micro). A balanced meal -- and nothing touches!
Sunday: Mini-Fish Burgers
Prep: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
1 lb fillet of cod, sea bass, or any firm white fish
1/2 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1 cup canned white beans
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
Mini-whole-wheat buns or rolls
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spritz baking pan with cooking spray, and add fish. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper to taste. Bake until flaky, 7 to 10 minutes. Remove fish from oven; leave oven on.
2. In a food processor, puree white beans, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt and bread crumbs. Process for 1 minute. (If you don't have a processor, use a potato masher instead.) Place bean mixture into a large bowl with the egg; crumble in fish. Gently mix with your hands until it's incorporated. Then form into 8 small patties.
3. Coat an ovenproof skillet with cooking spray and put over medium heat. Add burgers. Cook until brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Flip cakes carefully, and place in oven for 5 minutes.
4. Serve on mini-buns with lettuce, tomatoes and tartar sauce.
Quickie-side suggestion: Try oven-roasted sweet potatoes. Slice peeled potatoes into 1/4-inch rounds. Season with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes at 375°F, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.
Ideas for picky eaters: These burgers are a great way to intro kids to fish; letting them make their own patties and assemble the finished burgers often increases the appeal.
Monday thru Friday: 5 meals ready in minutes
Scrambled eggs with cheese and veggies- Breakfast for dinner! Make one big scramble with your faves, or let them customize their own. Serve with toast.
Grilled open-face turkey-and-cheese sandwiches- Spread each slice of bread with dressing of your choice (mayo, mustard, pesto); top with turkey and cheese, and broil till cheese is bubbly. Serve with a prepared soup, like winter squash or tomato.
Beef salad with sweet peppers, shredded carrot and romaine- Season flank steak with olive oil, salt and pepper; slice against the grain into thin strips. Saute for 3 minutes; remove beef from pan and toss with salad ingredients and dressing.
Idea for picky eaters: Serve steak alone, with veggies on the side.
Rotisserie chicken with peas and couscous- Pick up a prepared bird. Make couscous as directed, but add peas. Serve chicken and couscous, along with sliced cucumbers tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Turkey and rice soup- Cook instant rice according to directions. Saute 1 chopped onion in a large pot; add 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth and turkey tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces. Add chopped celery and carrots. Bring to a boil, then simmer till turkey is tender, about 5 minutes. Add rice.
Need ideas for the rest of the month? Check out all the dishes at Parenting.com/recipes.