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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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THE RECIPES

>CHILI-RUBBED PORK CHOPS WITH GRILLED PINEAPPLE (Sunday)

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.

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>OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN WITH CRUNCHY BROCCOLI SLAW (Friday)

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.

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CREAMY POTATO SALAD (Saturday)

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.

email: menuplanner@mindspring.com