Seven-Day Menu Planner

5/ 7

Family Sunday

Prepare your own Baked Ham for the family dinner. Add a special dish such as Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples With Pecan Streusel Topping (see recipe), along with green peas (frozen) and dinner rolls. You'll love how easy raspberry shortcake can be using sliced poundcake with fresh raspberries and light whipped cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ham and raspberries for Monday; save enough cake for Tuesday.

5/ 8

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Use the leftover ham for Grilled Ham and Swiss Cheese Sandwiches on rye. Serve with tomato basil soup and a lettuce wedge. Munch on leftover raspberries for dessert.

5/ 9

Kids Tuesday

The kids will be all over Tortilla Casserole tonight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a 7-by-11-inch baking dish, mix 1 (10- to 13-ounce) package refrigerated cooked carved chicken breasts, 1 (14.75-ounce) can cream-style corn, 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans, and 2 medium seeded and chopped tomatoes until well blended.

Smooth top. Cover and bake 35 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle top with 1/2 cup coarsely crushed baked tortilla chips and 1/2 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Bake 2 more minutes or until tortilla chips are toasted and cheese is melted.

Serve with a chopped lettuce salad. Slice the leftover cake for dessert and top it with sliced peaches.

5/ 10

Meatless Wednesday

Skip meat for Fettuccine With No-Cook Tomato Sauce for an easy meal. In a medium bowl, combine 12 chopped, seeded plum tomatoes, 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil and 1 teaspoon minced garlic; mix well. Toss with hot fettuccine and serve.

Add a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg wedges and garlic bread. Try fresh tropical fruits for dessert.

5/ 11

Express Thursday

Layered Beef Salad is on the menu tonight. In a glass serving bowl (straight-sided, if available), layer shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, canned artichokes (drained), and strips of deli roast beef and (any) cheese (repeat layers once). Top with reduced-fat ranch dressing. To serve, spoon through all layers.

Serve with deli minestrone soup and flatbread. Buy tapioca pudding for dessert.

5/ 12

Budget Friday

It's low cost and has lots of flavor, two good reasons to put Santa Fe Rice and Beans (see recipe) on the menu tonight. Serve with a sliced avocado salad and corn tortillas. Plums are good for dessert.

5/ 13

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Invite extra-special friends for the spring flavors in Grilled Lime-Butter Salmon (see recipe). Add roasted potatoes, green beans, a bibb lettuce salad and baguettes. For dessert, buy a coconut cream pie.

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Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Apples With Pecan Streusel Topping (Sunday)

2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 large peeled Granny Smith apples, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons softened butter

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, divided

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

For the topping:

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large saucepan, combine potatoes and apples and cover with 1 inch cold water. Bring to boil on medium-high; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well; return to pan. Add butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon of the cardamom and salt; mash until potatoes are well-blended and smooth. Spoon into 1 1/2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray.

For the topping, in a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cardamom until coarse crumbs form. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle mixture over sweet potatoes. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned and heated through. Serves 8.

Per serving: 216 calories (percent calories from fat, 34), 2 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (3.9 grams saturated fat), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 174 milligrams sodium.

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Santa Fe Rice and Beans (Friday)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium green bell pepper, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth

1 teaspoon cumin

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 (16-ounce) can reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed

1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added or regular diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

1 (10-ounce) package frozen shoepeg corn

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

3 cups cooked brown rice (see NOTE)

Reduced-fat sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium; add bell pepper, onion and garlic. Cook 6 minutes. Stir in broth and cumin. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add both beans, tomatoes, corn and vinegar. Simmer 10 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice. Garnish as desired. Serves 5.

Note: I used boil-in-a-bag brown rice; it cooks in 10 minutes in microwave.

Per serving: 334 calories (percent calories from fat, 10), 14 grams protein, 62 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fiber, 4 grams fat (0.2 gram saturated fat), no cholesterol, 242 milligrams sodium.

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Grilled Lime Butter Salmon (Saturday)

4 (4- to 6-ounce) salmon fillets

Coarse salt and pepper

2 small zucchini, sliced

2 small yellow squash, sliced

1 pound of trimmed asparagus

1 small red onion, cut into chunks

1 red bell pepper, sliced

2 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 tablespoon of lime juice

Zest of one lime

1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

Fresh parsley for garnish

Heat grill to medium heat. (See Note.) Sprinkle salmon fillets with salt and pepper to taste. Cut 4 heavy-duty foil sheets (each foil square should be double the length of the salmon), large enough to wrap the salmon and veggies. Place salmon in center of aluminum foil and divide the vegetables into each packet. In a small bowl, add melted butter, lime juice and zest of lime and mix. Pour evenly into each packet. Add lime wedge in each packet and bring up 2 sides of foil over salmon so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight 1/2-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal. Place salmon packets onto grill and grill for 13 to 15 minutes, flipping at about 7 minutes or so.

To serve, carefully open packets away from your face and garnish with parsley. Serves 4.

Note: If using oven, heat to 400 degrees and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.

Per serving: 262 calories (percent calories from fat, 38), 28 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (4.7 grams saturated fat), 68 milligrams cholesterol, 148 milligrams sodium.