Seven-Day Menu Planner

3/ 9

Family Sunday

For today’s family feast, prepare LEG OF LAMB WITH LEMON SAUCE (see recipe). On the side, serve ROASTED RED POTATOES and fresh BABY CARROTS. Add a BIBB LETTUCE SALAD and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS to round out the meal.

For your finale, CHERRY DREAM will get everyone’s attention. Cut 1 (10-ounce) angel food cake into cubes; sprinkle cubes on bottom of a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. In a medium bowl, fold 1 1/3 cups reduced-fat frozen whipped topping (thawed) into 1 (21-ounce) can of light cherry pie filling. Spoon mixture evenly over cubes. Let chill, covered, several hours or overnight. Garnish each serving with a sprig of mint.

PLAN AHEAD: Prepare the dessert the day before. Save enough lamb, any baby carrots and enough dessert for Monday.

3/ 10

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Warm the leftover LAMB and serve with any MASHED POTATOES. Buy or make BROWN GRAVY. Add any leftover carrots to frozen MIXED VEGETABLES to brighten the plate; season with a little butter. Serve with CRUSTY ROLLS. Offer leftover CHERRY DREAM for dessert.

3/ 11

Express Tuesday

With a few store-bought ingredients, you can have SWEET AND SOUR RED CABBAGE WITH APPLES AND HAM in no time. We loved it. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 medium cored Granny Smith apples cut into 1/2-inch wedges; cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Add 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon allspice; cook 4 minutes. Add 1 (16-ounce) jar drained sweet and sour red cabbage (such as Aunt Nellie’s) and 1 (8-ounce) package cooked diced ham. Cook and stir until hot.

Serve with PICKLED BEETS and RYE BREAD. GINGERSNAPS are a quick dessert.

3/ 12

Kids Wednesday

The kids will be happy to eat TORTILLA BAKE (see recipe). On the side, add STUFFED CELERY (with reduced-fat cream cheese) Spoon crushed PINEAPPLE over fat-free VANILLA ICE CREAM for a smooth dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

3/ 13

Budget Thursday

My friend Valerie Phillips, a Salt Lake City journalist, has included many of her favorite economical soup and stew recipes in her new book, “Soup’s On!” They include this CHICKPEA AND SPINACH SOUP (see recipe). Add a ROMAINE SALAD and CHEESE TOAST (any shredded cheese on whole-grain English muffins) to the meal. For dessert, make your own BAKED APPLES.

3/ 14

Meatless Friday

Jazz up VEGGIE BURGERS (frozen) with sliced red onion, Dijon mustard and goat cheese on a crusty French roll. Add OVEN FRIES (frozen) and FRENCH-CUT GREEN BEANS (frozen).

Make PEACH CRISP for dessert. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 2 (29-ounce) cans drained sliced peaches in a shallow 2-quart baking dish. In a large bowl, combine 1/3 cup flour, 1/3 cup packed brown sugar, 1/3 cup quick or old-fashioned oats, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; mix well. Add 2 tablespoons butter and mix until crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over peaches. Bake 30 minutes or until golden.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough crisp for Saturday.

3/ 15

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Our guests really enjoyed this PARMESAN BROILED GROUPER. Place 1 pound grouper fillet (cut into 4 portions) in a single layer in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix together 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons softened butter, 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise, 1 medium pressed garlic clove, 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt and a dash of hot sauce; spread over fillets. Broil fillets 6 inches from heat for 10 to 11 minutes (according to thickness) or until fish is lightly browned and flakes with fork.

Serve fish with COUSCOUS and your own BROILED TOMATOES. Add a MIXED GREEN SALAD and BAGUETTES. For dessert, warm the leftover PEACH CRISP and top with leftover ICE CREAM.

THE RECIPES

LEG OF LAMB WITH LEMON SAUCE (Sunday)

Makes 14 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes per pound, plus sauce; standing time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 (4- to 5-pound) boneless leg of lamb, rolled and tied

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

3/4 cup water

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon grated lemon peel

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Trim fat from lamb. Place it on a rack in shallow roasting pan. Rub lamb with rosemary and lemon pepper. Insert meat thermometer; roast 20 to 25 minutes per pound or until thermometer registers 145 to 150 degrees for medium-rare.

Meanwhile, in a small pan, combine cornstarch and sugar. Stir in water and garlic. Cook and stir over low heat for 3 minutes or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat; stir in lemon peel and lemon juice. Brush roast with lemon glaze several times during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Remove roast from oven; tent with foil and let stand 15 minutes. Slice and serve.

Per serving: 167 calories, 24 grams protein, 7 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 2 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 57 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 3 lean meat.

** ** **

TORTILLA BAKE (Wednesday)

Makes 12 tortillas

Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 20 minutes; cooling time: 1 minute

INGREDIENTS

1 pound ground chicken or turkey

1 (16-ounce) jar thick and chunky salsa

2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup sliced pimento-stuffed green olives

1 (10.5-ounce) package fat-free flour tortillas (soft taco-size, 12 count)

3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Cook ground chicken or turkey on medium-high 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink; stir frequently. Drain. Add salsa, 1 1/4 cups cheese, raisins and olives; mix well. Cook 1 to 2 minutes on medium or until heated, stirring constantly. Spoon 1/3 cup mixture down center of each tortilla. Fold tortilla over and secure with a toothpick. Place on large ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges of tortilla are golden. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet.

To serve: Remove toothpicks and garnish each tortilla with remaining cheese and sour cream.

Per tortilla: 236 calories, 15 grams protein, 8 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 46 milligrams cholesterol, 633 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fruit, 2 lean meat.

** ** **

CHICKPEA AND SPINACH SOUP (Thursday)

Makes about 9 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes; standing time: 3 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1/3 cup green bell pepper, chopped

3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes

2 (15.5-ounce) cans reduced-sodium rinsed chickpeas

1 bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

4 cups fresh spinach leaves

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high; add onion and green pepper. Cook and stir 10 minutes or until softened. Add broth, tomatoes, chickpeas, bay leaf, basil, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring soup to a gentle boil; cook 10 minutes or until onion and peppers are completely soft and flavors blended.

Meanwhile, pack 1 cup spinach leaves into a large bowl. With shears, snip leaves into strips. Repeat with other leaves or leave intact. Remove soup from heat; stir in leaves. Let stand 3 minutes before serving. (Adapted from “Soup’s On!” Valerie Phillips; Covenant Communications Inc., 2012.)

Per cup: 145 calories, 7 grams protein, 3 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 631 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 1 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 lean meat.

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