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    Faster-Than-Takeout Option 2: Pick-a-Pasta Night continued...

    End Time: 6:50 p.m.
    Total Time: 20 minutes
    Total Cost for a family of 4: around $15 (depending on choice of sauce, pasta, meat, fruit, and vegetable).

    Faster-Than-Takeout Option 3: Nacho Night
    Here's the timeline; more specifics are in the recipe below.

    Start Time: 6:15 p.m. Open a can of fat-free refried (or vegetarian) beans and heat it in a pan with a couple tablespoons of taco seasoning (available in packets at your grocery store).

    6:18 p.m.: Start getting the rest of your toppings ready. You might try:
    Shredded, reduced-fat cheese (Jack, cheddar, or a mixture of both)
    Chopped green onions
    Chopped tomatoes
    Ortega canned chili peppers, chopped
    Fat-free sour cream
    Bottled or fresh salsa

    6:22 p.m.: Arrange a serving of reduced-fat tortilla chips on a microwave-save plate. Top the chips with spoonfuls of the beans, a blanket of cheese, then whatever veggie-type toppings you're using. Microwave on HIGH for a minute. Garnish with sour cream, salsa, or similar, then repeat with remaining servings.

    End Time: 6:28 p.m.
    Total Time: 13 minutes
    Cost for a family of 4: Around $13.

    2 More Options

    Here are a couple of more faster-than-takeout ideas to take you through the rest of the week:

    • Soup & Sandwich Night. Choose a high-quality canned soup (like Amy's brand or certain Wolfgang Puck varieties that aren't too high in fat) or any other brand that tastes homemade. Heat this in a saucepan while you put together a sandwich (hot or cold).
    • Stir-Fry Night. Use a great stir-fry recipe as your base, and add or delete ingredients based on what you have leftover or in the fridge. Try this Easy Mu-Shu recipe on for size, then check out two other Faster-Than-Takeout recipes below.

    Easy Mu Shu

    Journal as: 1 cup vegetables without added fat + 1 slice bread + 1 serving lean meat without added fat
    OR 1 cup hearty stew OR 1 cup entrée salad with meat, poultry or seafood with light seasoning OR 1 frozen dinner light, pasta or rice dish with fish.

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