TODAY   |  May 13, 2013

Cook up 4 family- and budget-friendly meals

Chef Donatella Arpaia shares four of her favorite simple weeknight meals, including pasta with ground turkey and broccolini, and polenta with grilled vegetables.

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>>> with your weekly "mapped out meals" our family friendly recipes to share with you. donnatella thank you for being here.

>> great cooking with you.

>> simple and kid friendly.

>> kid friendly, working mother now, too, and variety and healthy.

>> we have the little ear pasta.

>> with brock leeni, boil it together and keep it in a collander. you don't have to include the bacon, you let this brown and add fennel, garlic and hot pepper which is already done here and pour it in right here.

>> you like to save aside the pasta water.

>> secret ingredient.

>> instead of using cream. all of it?

>> that's good. honestly that's it, add a little extra olive oil , a little salt and pepper .

>> monday's meal.

>> you plate it here, monday's meal.

>> you're going with chicken on tuesday but ramping it up, almond krups crusted chicken.

>> eggs, tarragon, and you pan fry it in olive oil .

>> they're chicken fingers just a little bigger. it's very healthy.

>> exactly, let it cook for a couple minutes on each side and top it with a little tomato and arugula and scallions with a vinaigrette and they're getting a vegetable. i like to eat low calorie, too, as a mom especially when i'm dieting it's good to keep the options available for the mom and pretty for the summer.

>> it is you go with the tomatoes wednesday night it's a meatless option.

>> i meat polenta and it's gluten free, a lot of people with ciliac. grilled eed asparagus, it's very healthy.

>> we had turkey on the first night, you've got turkey --

>> turkey italian and then mexican. thursday a little chorizo, ground turkey and tacos, simple, easy, fun, the kids love it, the adults love it, not eating chicken fingers .

>> you put a little sausage in the turkey so it's half healthy, half sinful.

>> half healthy, half italian. it's easy, ease, variety, health and you're cooking in season.

>> donnatella thank you very much.

>> i didn't make you cook enough.

>> i'll get my hands dirty next time. we'll have our complete shopping list of the four recipes at we're back in a moment. this is "today" on nbc.