Seven-Day Menu Planner

10/ 5

Family Sunday

Impress the family with your own recipe for LEG OF LAMB. Accompany your prize with BALSAMIC CHERRY RICE SALAD WITH TOASTED WALNUTS. In a large bowl, combine 3 cups medium-grain cooked rice, 1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts, 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries, 1/4 cup fresh parsley and 1/4 cup minced green onions. Add 1/3 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Add BAGUETTES. End the meal with DOUBLE BLUEBERRY PIE (see recipe) for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough lamb and pie for Monday.

10/ 6

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Use the leftover lamb for LAMB AND MINT-STUFFED PITAS. Heat the chopped lamb; mix with canned drained reduced-sodium chickpeas, some chopped fresh mint and a little plain yogurt to moisten. Spoon into halved whole-wheat pitas. On the side, seed and slice CUCUMBERS and mix with some plain yogurt. Leftover PIE is dessert.

10/ 7

Express Tuesday

Make it quick tonight with SAUERKRAUT AND KIELBASA SKILLET. Spread some refrigerated, rinsed and drained sauerkraut in a large nonstick skillet. Sprinkle with caraway seeds. Cut low-fat kielbasa in chunks; place on kraut. Add 1 cup beer or apple juice. Cover and cook 20 minutes on medium or until hot.

Serve with RED POTATOES (refrigerated), a packaged GREEN SALAD and RYE BREAD. Sprinkle CHUNKY APPLESAUCE with cinnamon for dessert.

10/ 8

Budget Wednesday

Save some money with SPICY MUSHROOM AND CHICKEN CHILI, one of the best chilis we’ve had in a long time. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Cook 1 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless well-trimmed chicken thighs (cut into chunks) 5 minutes or until cooked through. Add 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chiles (such as Muir Glen or another brand), 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans, 1 pound fresh sliced mushrooms (white or crimini), 1 or 2 cups frozen corn, 1 cup water and 1 to 3 teaspoons chili powder. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 20 minutes or until mixture is hot and chicken is cooked.

Serve with deli COLESLAW and CORNBREAD (from a mix). For dessert, SLICED PEACHES are easy.

10/ 9

Kids Thursday

Kids will come running for COUNTRY-STYLE CUTLETS. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place 1 (10- to 12-ounce) package refrigerated (cooked and breaded) chicken cutlets on a nonstick, rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix together 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can reduced-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup drained sliced canned mushrooms and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to boil; reduce heat and cook 7 minutes or until mixture is smooth and creamy. Place cutlets on plate; spoon sauce over top. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Serve with RICE and frozen petite GREEN PEAS. Add CARROT STICKS and SOFT ROLLS. Dessert is PEARS.

PLAN AHEAD: Prepare enough rice for Saturday.

10/ 10

Meatless Friday

Take a break from meat and enjoy PORTOBELLO FAJITAS (see recipe). Serve the flavor-packed wraps with canned vegetarian REFRIED BEANS. Enjoy instant BUTTERSCOTCH PUDDING with 1 percent milk for an easy dessert. Add a dollop of light whipped cream.

10/ 11

Easy Entertaining Saturday

We gave TILAPIA VERACRUZ (see recipe) a thumbs-up for its delicious flavor and its colorful presentation. Serve it alongside leftover RICE and BUTTERED CARROTS. Add a GREEN SALAD and SOURDOUGH ROLLS. Enjoy CHEESECAKE with fresh STRAWBERRIES for dessert.

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THE RECIPES

DOUBLE BLUEBERRY PIE (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes; chilling time: 1 to 2 hours

INGREDIENTS

1 (10-ounce) jar blueberry all-fruit spread (such as Polaner)

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

4 cups fresh blueberries

1 (6-ounce) reduced-fat ready-to-eat graham cracker crust (such as Keebler) (see NOTE)

Light whipped cream

In a large bowl, microwave fruit spread and cinnamon on high (100 percent power) 1 to 2 minutes or until melted. Add berries and mix well. Spoon into pie shell. Cover loosely with waxed paper and chill until set, 1 to 2 hours. Slice and serve, garnished with light whipped cream.

NOTE: A frozen or homemade baked pie shell may be used, but the calories and fat will be higher.

Per serving: 227 calories, 2 grams protein, 4 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 102 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 3

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PORTOBELLO FAJITAS (Friday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 teaspoons canola oil, divided

4 large portobello mushroom caps, sliced

2 medium red bell peppers, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 (1- to 1.12-ounce) packet fajita seasoning (see NOTE)

1/3 cup water

8 lettuce leaves

8 (7- or 8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas

Reduced-fat sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in each of 2 skillets over medium-high heat. To one skillet, add mushrooms; add peppers and onion to other. Cook 6 minutes, turning mushrooms and stirring pepper mixture occasionally, until firm-tender. Remove mushrooms to keep warm. Stir seasoning mix and water into pepper mixture. Cook 1 minute or until saucy. Spoon mushrooms and peppers with onion onto lettuce-lined tortillas. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro. Roll and serve immediately.

NOTE: Reduce the sodium by making your own fajita seasoning mix.

Per serving: 315 calories, 11 grams protein, 5 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 59 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1,363 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 4

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TILAPIA VERACRUZ (Saturday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups onion, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

2 tablespoons chopped pitted green olives

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon capers

2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste

1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes and green chiles, with liquid

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fold fish to an even thickness; secure with wooden toothpicks if necessary. Place fish in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add onion; cook 3 minutes. Add cumin and garlic; cook 1 1/2 minutes. Add water, cilantro, orange juice, olives, lime juice, capers, tomato paste and tomatoes and green chiles with liquid. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour tomato mixture over fish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes and is opaque throughout. Remove picks if necessary and serve immediately.

Per serving: 259 calories, 36 grams protein, 7 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 1.6 gram saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 85 milligrams cholesterol, 571 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb choices: 1.

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