A big package of boneless skinless chicken breasts can easily provide a week's worth of 4- to 5-ounce servings. Here's how to flavor them up:
- Whisk 1/4 cup kosher salt with 2 cups water in a large bowl until the salt dissolves, add the breasts and enough extra water to cover them completely. Place in the fridge for 1 hour while you fire up the grill.
- Take the chicken breasts out of the water and sprinkle each with a different favorite spice rub. Look for salt-free versions of any of these at the supermarket: lemon-pepper seasoning, jerk rub, Cajun blackened seasoning, dried herb blends (from Italian to French to Greek), chile powder, curry powder.
- Set the breasts over high heat and grill until an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breasts registers 165°F, about 8 minutes, turning once.
Hot off the grill, they're great with a summery salad of chopped lettuce, tomato, radish and cucumber. Refrigerate the rest and eat them throughout the week like so...
- Chicken Caesar salad : sliced, cold, over a bed of 4 cups chopped Romaine lettuce and 3 tablespoons bottled low-fat Caesar dressing
- Chicken Pasta Salad sliced and tossed with 1 cup cooked and drained pasta, 1 cup thawed frozen mixed vegetables and 2 tablespoons low-fat bottled Italian dressing
- Chicken Pita Pocket: cubed in a whole-wheat pita pocket with 1 cup bagged bean sprouts and 2 tablespoons bottled, low-fat Thai peanut sauce
Buy peeled and deveined large frozen shrimp. Shrimp don't require a brine or a marinade. Just crank on some black pepper to taste and toss them directly over high heat on the grill. Cook until pink and firm, turning once, about 5 minutes.
Hot off the grill, they need little more than a dip in bottled, low-fat barbecue sauce.
Refrigerate the rest and try these meals all week:, or
- Shrimp Salad Sandwich Mix 2 cups chopped cooked shrimp with 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/4 cup mango chutney and 2 teaspoons bottled curry powder.
- Shrimp Cocktail!Put a 1/4 cup bottled cocktail sauce into a martini glass and hang six shrimp off the edge. Carrot sticks and celery ribs make a good garnish.
- Shrimp Wrap Throw a few shrimp in a fat-free whole-wheat tortilla, add 2 tablespoons green salsa, 2 tablespoons shredded low-fat cheese and 1/2 cup shredded lettuce.
Here's the produce you need for a week:
- Green, yellow and red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Zucchini or yellow crook-neck squash, cut into 1/2-inch rings
- Asparagus spears, any woody base ends removed
- Red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
Place all your veggies over high heat on the grill, then cook until tender and lightly browned, turning once. Asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash will take about 6 minutes; eggplant and onion, about 8 minutes; and fennel, about 10 minutes.
Hot off the grill or chilled from the fridge over the next few days, here are your meals
- Veggie & Hummus Sandwich Spread 2 tablespoons of hummus on toasted whole-wheat bread, add about 3/4 cup mixed grilled vegetables and a leaf of crunchy Romaine lettuce.
- Vegetable Tortilla Warm 2 fat-free corn tortillas in the microwave for 30 seconds, then fill each with 1/2 cup veggies and 2 tablespoons jarred salsa before folding closed.
- Vegetable Wrap.Mix 2 cups grilled vegetables and 1/3 cup low-fat ranch dressing and serve as a wrap, either on lettuce leaves or in a whole-wheat pita pocket.