Family Sunday

Enjoy chili-rubbed pork chops with grilled pineapple (see recipe) on family day. Serve the sweet and savory entree with brown rice, sugar snap peas and crusty bread. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pie for Tuesday.

Shopping list: Chili powder, light brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, coarse salt, pork rib chops, cooking spray, pineapple, jalapeno pepper, lime, brown rice, sugar snap peas, crusty bread, Boston cream pie.


Kids Monday

Treat the kids (and adults) to chicken with carrots and potatoes. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place 8 medium potatoes (cut into 1/4 -inch slices), 1 small sliced onion and 2 cups baby carrots. Combine 1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Pour over vegetables. Combine 1 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and rub over 8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs. Place chicken on top of vegetables. Cover and cook on low 5 hours or until chicken is done and vegetables are softened. Serve with green beans. Slice kiwifruit for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and vegetables for Tuesday.

Shopping list: Potatoes, onion, baby carrots, fat-free chicken broth, garlic, dried thyme, paprika, coarse salt, skinless bone-in chicken thighs, green beans, kiwifruit.


Heat and eat Tuesday

Heat the leftover chicken and vegetables and serve over biscuits. Add a spinach salad. The leftover pie will be good for dessert.

Shopping list: Biscuits, fresh spinach.


Express Wednesday

Make it quick tonight with lemony shrimp salad with couscous. Place 1 cup couscous in a large bowl. Pour 1 cup very hot tap water and 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper over couscous. Cover; let stand 5 minutes and fluff with fork.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine 1 1/2 pounds cooked and deveined shrimp, 8 ounces trimmed fresh snap peas (cut into bite-size pieces), 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved), 3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice; toss to combine. Serve over couscous.

Add sliced cucumbers and flatbread. For dessert, top blueberries with light whipped cream.

Shopping list: Couscous, coarse salt, pepper, cooked and deveined shrimp, fresh snap peas, grape tomatoes, fresh basil, green onions, olive oil, lemon, cucumbers, flatbread, blueberries, light whipped cream.


Meatless Thursday

Skip meat tonight for pasta pesto with goat cheese. Cook 12 ounces gemelli or other short pasta according to directions; drain and return to pot. To the pasta, add 1/2 cup any pesto, 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese, 1/2 cup torn basil leaves, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; toss to coat. Alongside, add a red-tipped lettuce salad with hard-cooked egg wedges and garlic bread to round out the meal. Fresh tropical fruit is an easy dessert.

Shopping list: Gemelli or other short pasta, any pesto, goat cheese, fresh basil, coarse salt, pepper, red-tipped lettuce, eggs, garlic bread, tropical fruit.


Budget Friday

Oven-fried chicken with crunchy broccoli slaw (see recipe) holds the line on food costs. Serve with steamed zucchini and whole-grain bread. Serve plums for dessert.

Shopping list: Cooking spray, paprika, buttermilk, coarse salt, pepper, boneless skinless chicken thighs, reduced-fat whole-grain crackers, reduced-fat mayonnaise, cider vinegar, packaged broccoli slaw, green onions, zucchini, whole-grain bread, plums.


Easy entertaining Saturday

Tonight would be a great night to invite friends for top loin steaks and mushrooms. For the rub: In a small bowl, combine 3 large cloves minced garlic, 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning and 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound medium whole fresh mushrooms, 1 medium onion (cut into 1-inch pieces), 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the rub; toss. Alternately, thread mushrooms and onion onto six (12-inch) metal skewers. Finish with a lemon wedge. Press remaining rub onto 2 (about 1 1/2 pounds total) boneless top loin steaks (1 inch thick). Place steaks and kebabs on grill over medium. Grill steaks, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes for medium-rare to medium, turning occasionally. Grill kebabs 6 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, turning occasionally. Remove vegetables from skewers; toss with 1/4 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese. Carve steaks. Season steaks and vegetables with salt and pepper.

Add creamy potato salad (see recipe), snow peas, romaine and whole-grain bread. For dessert, pair sorbet with butter cookies.

Shopping list: Garlic, lemon pepper seasoning, dried oregano, whole fresh mushrooms, onion, olive oil, lemon, boneless top loin steaks, reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, coarse salt, pepper, new potatoes, reduced-fat sour cream, reduced-fat mayonnaise, white wine vinegar, celery, radishes, red bell pepper, flatleaf parsley, fresh tarragon (optional), snow peas, romaine, whole-grain bread, sorbet, butter cookies.

** ** **



Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: About 10 minutes

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 1/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

4 bone-in trimmed pork rib chops, about 3/4 inch thick (about 5 to 6 ounces each)

3 slices pineapple, cut into rings

1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise, seeded, veins removed

1 tablespoon lime juice

In a shallow bowl, combine chili powder, sugar, garlic and onion powders and salt. Sprinkle both sides of chops with mixture. Coat grill with cooking spray. Grill chops on medium-high, 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Grill pineapple (if using fresh only) and jalapeno until lightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove chops from grill; let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice pineapple and mince jalapeno. In medium bowl, combine pineapple, jalapeno and lime juice. Serve with pork.

Per serving: 238 calories, 36g protein, 7g fat (27 percent calories from fat), 2.4g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrate, 79mg cholesterol, 412mg sodium, 1g fiber.

** ** **


Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 to 35 minutes

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 1/4 cups buttermilk, divided

1/2 teaspoon each coarse salt and pepper

8 well-trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs (2 to 2 1/4 pounds)

1 cup reduced-fat whole-grain crackers, crushed

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

1 (12-ounce) package broccoli slaw

2 chopped green onions

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire rack inside a rimmed baking pan and lightly coat with cooking spray. In a shallow baking dish, combine paprika, 1 cup buttermilk and salt and pepper. Add chicken; turn to coat. Let marinate while crushing crackers. Place crushed crackers in a pie plate. Remove chicken from buttermilk mixture; coat with cracker crumbs, pressing gently to help them adhere. Place chicken on rack; bake 30 to 35 minutes, turning halfway through, until crispy and thighs are 165 degrees in the center of thickest piece of chicken.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar and remaining 1/4 cup buttermilk. Add broccoli slaw mix and onions to dressing; toss to combine. Serve with chicken.

Per serving: 483 calories, 45g protein, 21g fat (40 percent calories from fat), 5.3g saturated fat, 26g carbohydrate, 149mg cholesterol, 623mg sodium, 4g fiber.

** ** **


Makes about 11 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes

3 pounds small new potatoes

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

4 ribs thinly sliced celery

6 medium thinly sliced radishes

1 medium diced red bell pepper

3/4 cup roughly chopped flatleaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon (optional)

In a large saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and run under cold water to cool. Cut into quarters.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together sour cream, mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. Add potatoes, celery, radishes and bell pepper; toss to coat. Fold in the parsley and tarragon if using. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.)

Per cup: 110 calories, 4g protein, 1g fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.4g saturated fat, 20g carbohydrate, 2mg cholesterol, 166mg sodium, 3g fiber.