Saturday, February 14, 2009

Plan #2 - Double Duty

This plan doesn't even require massive bulk purchases to make your groceries stretch. Sometimes even ingredients that you buy in smaller quantities can go to waste. With this plan, I've tried to make the most of some fresh ingredients that usually don't keep too long by applying them to more than one recipe. Instead of buying two smaller cans of chicken stock for the Sausage and Spinach Soup and the Turkey Jambalaya, buy one large quart at a fraction of the cost. The Lemon Basil Chicken Breast recipe calls for fresh basil which appears also in the soup and green onions which do double duty with the jambalaya. For the ultimate convenience, when you prepare the Lemon Basil Chicken breasts, make a couple extra and use the leftovers as a substitute for the shredded turkey in the Jambalaya. Finally, pair the Lemon Basil Chicken Breasts with a Baby Spinach Salad with Mandarin Orange and Red Onion to make use of the leafy green leftovers from the soup. And the best part of this entire meal plan is that each of these recipes can be made in under thirty minutes for the busy weeknight cook.

Sausage and Spinach Soup

Fresh herbs are added after the soup cooks so they'll retain their bright color and flavor. You can substitute 1 teaspoon dried herbs for each tablespoon fresh, but add them with the tomatoes. Serve with a toasted baguette.

10 ounce sweet turkey Italian sausage
Cooking spray
1 cup prechopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup water
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can organic stewed tomatoes, undrained (such as Muir Glen)
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 cups baby spinach
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons grated fresh Romano cheese

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and 2 teaspoons garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick. Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle 1 1/2 cups soup into each of 4 bowls, and sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese.

Wine note: This delicious soup needs a wine that's crisp and medium-bodied, such as a California pinot gris (aka pinot grigio). The wine's crispness balances the richness of the sausage and the density of the beans. At the same time, the wine's body is substantial enough to stand up to the weight of those ingredients. Try Morgan Pinot Gris "R & D Franscioni Vineyard" 2006 (Santa Lucia Highlands, California), $18. -Karen MacNeil

Yield: 4 servings

CALORIES 261 (30% from fat); FAT 8.6g (sat 2.8g,mono 2.7g,poly 2.5g); IRON 3.4mg; CHOLESTEROL 62mg; CALCIUM 105mg; CARBOHYDRATE 23.1g; SODIUM 842mg; PROTEIN 20.9g; FIBER 5.4g

Cooking Light, MARCH 2007

Lemon-Basil Chicken with Basil Aioli

A side of egg noodles complement the fresh lemon and basil flavors of this guest-friendly entrée.

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Cooking spray

Basil Aioli:
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3/4 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon olive oil

To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to basil mixture, turning to coat.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes on each side or until done.

While chicken cooks, prepare aioli. Combine 1/4 cup basil and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Serve with chicken.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon aioli)

CALORIES 284 (32% from fat); FAT 10.3g (sat 1.7g,mono 1.4g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 106mg; CALCIUM 51mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.1g; SODIUM 410mg; PROTEIN 40.1g; FIBER 1g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2005
Turkey Jambalaya

Andouille sausage adds a kick to the Cajun classic from Louisiana. Rice and shredded turkey absorb a flavorful mixture of tomatoes and spices until they're bursting with flavor.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups shredded cooked turkey
6 ounces andouille sausage, chopped
2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in bell peppers and next 5 ingredients (bell peppers through black pepper); sauté 1 minute. Add rice; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Add turkey and sausage; cover and cook 5 minutes. Sprinkle with green onions.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

CALORIES 249 (27% from fat); FAT 7.6g (sat 2.4g,mono 3.4g,poly 1.3g); IRON 2.7mg; CHOLESTEROL 42mg; CALCIUM 37mg; CARBOHYDRATE 27.4g; SODIUM 523mg; PROTEIN 17.3g; FIBER 2.7g

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2001

Baby Spinach Salad with Mandarin Orange and Red Onions

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray


  • 8 ounces baby spinach, about 5 to 6 cups
  • 1 cup mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onions
  • 1 tablespoon orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, eyeball the amount
  • Salt and pepper


Arrange spinach leaves on a large platter or individual salad plates. Top with mandarin sections and chopped red onion. Whisk together marmalade and vinegar. Stream oil into dressing while continuing to whisk.

When you are ready to serve, pour the dressing over salad and season with salt and pepper.

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