TODAY   |  February 04, 2013

Mapping out meals: 4 nights of delicious dinners

Donatella Arpaia shows how you can save time by planning meals in advance, demonstrating how to whip up four budget-friendly dinners, including stuffed shells, salmon in parchment, chicken with eggplant and mozzarella, and shrimp scampi.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> back now at 8:51 with "today's" kitchen. what's for dinner? this morning we're giving you a week's worth of budget-friendly recipes. printable shopping list is available right now at donnate donnatelerestaurant here in new york. you claim to me this is easy. even i could do this.

>> even you could do it. print out the recipes and cook this week.

>> absolutely. stuffed shells.

>> oldie but a goody. take them out half the cooking advertisement al dente . oil them and put them right here.

>> how long does cooking al dente , typically?

>> about 10 minutes . after five minutes, take them out.

>> got it.

>> then ground lean beef i browned in garlic. simple pan of marinara with garlic. simmer 20 minutes . we're going to switch. i'm going to put you to work.

>> yes, ma'am. for now i'm going to put some sauce in the meat and start mixing.

>> right into the meat?

>> right into the meat. i love stuffed shells. it's a complete dinner. everyone in the family loves it. your kids will love t you add the pasta.

>> can you mix up the meat a little bit?

>> yes, you can. if you want to use lean turkey, it's great. if you want to use part skim you can. i'm cooking lower fat these days now that i'm over 40 and had a baby.

>> even stuffed shells can be low fat , really?

>> come on. get in there. mix it.

>> you don't really want me to, it turns out. i was going slow for a reason. no control over there. okay.

>> now we have a casserole with oil. i'm going to put a little sauce on the bottom and i want you to take a spoon and stuff one.

>> oh, yeah. here we go.

>> it really is simple, but it seems like it's difficult.

>> how did i do?

>> pretty good.

>> is that enough in there?

>> perfect.

>> do another one.

>> you line the bottom with oil?

>> you have an oven on at 350, then top it with a little sauce. you put a little parmesan on top and, bam!

>> wow! how long does this go in the oven?

>> five, ten minutes to get a nice crust. it's already cooked everything. it's great for planning if you're a mother, too. you can have it in the oven right when the kids come home, turn it on, finish it off and you're done.

>> total time is 20 minutes ?

>> 20, 30 minutes . it's truly easy. you want balance for the week. salmon, but i cooked it in parchment, heart healthy. i think it's heart month.

>> it is.

>> my husband is a heart surgeon .

>> you should probably know that, donnatella.

>> very balanced and fun.

>> al and natalie.

>> what happened?

>> she sped me up and i started throwing it up.

>> do you love stuffed shells?

>> i love stuffed shells.

>> who doesn't love stuffed shells?

>> they remind me of my childhood.

>> she heard stuffed shells.

>> little salad?

>> light salad, greens. you can do rice with salmon. complete dish. each of these are complete on their own and you just need a healthy green.

>> and the advantage of parchment paper on the fish is --

>> it's an easy way to cook your fish in a very healthy way. you just wrap it in parchment. cook t you can't overcook it. you put vegetables that in season like carrots, turn ips, white wine and olive oil .

>> fancier version of boy scout packs.

>> exactly.

>> sorry about the mess i made.

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