> Family Sunday

Make the day special for the family with grilled sirloin steaks for dinner. Pair the steaks with colorful edamame, red pepper and ginger salad (see recipe). Alongside, add mixed greens and dinner rolls. Enjoy lemon sherbet for dessert.

Plan ahead: Grill 1 pound extra steak and save any edamame salad for Monday.

Shopping list: Sirloin steaks, frozen edamame (soybeans), red bell pepper, shallot, crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese, fresh ginger, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, coarse salt, pepper, salad greens, dinner rolls, lemon sherbet.

> Heat and eat Monday

For a quick dinner before a night of scary happenings, try grilled beef salad. In a large bowl, combine 1 pound well-trimmed (leftover) steak (sliced in bite-size pieces), 1 package mixed greens, a diced avocado and some halved grape tomatoes. Toss with your favorite salad dressing. Serve it with any leftover edamame salad and bread sticks.

For dessert, Black Cat Cookies will keep the goblins away. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix 3 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup (2 sticks) butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; beat on low until well mixed. Add 4 ounces melted, unsweetened baking chocolate and mix well. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/8 -inch thickness. Cut out cookie "heads" with 2 1/2 -inch round cookie cutter. Place on ungreased baking sheets and bake 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are set. Allow cookies to cool completely.

For frosting, mix 1 (16-ounce) container chocolate frosting with 1/2 teaspoon black food coloring. Spread frosting onto cooled cookies. Use assorted decorations to make the cat's face (such as miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces for the eyes, jelly beans for the nose, gum drops for the mouth, licorice strings for the whiskers, and cutout chocolate wafers for the ears). Boo!

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Wednesday.

Shopping list: Packaged greens, avocado, grape tomatoes, any salad dressing, bread sticks, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, unsweetened baking chocolate, chocolate frosting, black food coloring, miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces, jelly beans, gum drops, licorice strings, chocolate wafers.

> Budget Tuesday

It's easy and inexpensive to prepare, so Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy (see recipe) is a perfect entree. Serve it with mashed potatoes, green peas and crusty bread. Add fresh orange sections for dessert.

Shopping list: Package 30 percent less-sodium or regular brown gravy mix, onion powder, garlic powder, ketchup, 95 percent lean ground beef, sliced crimini mushrooms, egg, dry bread crumbs, dried thyme, potatoes to mash, green peas, crusty bread, fresh orange sections.

> Express Wednesday

Try one of the many frozen choices of vegetable lasagna for tonight's meal. Add a packaged Italian salad and garlic bread. For dessert, enjoy leftover Black Cat Cookies with peaches.

Shopping list: Any frozen vegetable lasagna, packaged Italian salad, garlic bread, peaches.

> Kids Thursday

What kid doesn't like meatball subs? Heat 16 refrigerated or frozen (thawed) meatballs in marinara sauce. Spoon onto toasted submarine rolls. Top with shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Serve with green beans on the side. For a simple dessert, pears are good.

Shopping list: Refrigerated or frozen meatballs, marinara sauce, submarine rolls, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, green beans, pears.

> Meatless Friday

Skip meat for grilled portobello quesadillas. Brush one side of 8 fat-free whole-grain tortillas with olive oil. Place 4 grilled portobello mushrooms on 4 of the tortillas (oiled side out). Sprinkle with grated pepper jack cheese. Top with 4 remaining tortillas, oiled side out. Grill 1 to 3 minutes per side or until cheese is melted and tortillas are crisp. Cut into wedges.

Serve with corn-avocado salad. Cut the kernels off 3 ears cooked fresh corn. In a medium bowl, toss with 1 diced avocado, 2 thinly sliced green onions, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a little coarse salt and pepper. (Both recipes adapted from Real Simple magazine.) Scoop fat-free strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Shopping list: Fat-free whole-grain tortillas, olive oil, portobello mushrooms, pepper jack cheese, fresh corn, avocado, green onions, coarse salt, pepper, fat-free strawberry ice cream.

> Easy entertaining Saturday

Make your guests feel special with shrimp and angel hair pasta with Alfredo sauce and asparagus (see recipe) on the menu. Add a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. Top leftover ice cream with warm fudge sauce for dessert.

Shopping list: Box whole-grain angel hair pasta, uncooked shrimp, fresh asparagus, whole milk, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, butter, soft light creamy Swiss cheese, Boston lettuce, baguettes, fudge sauce.





Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: Less than 15 minutes

1 cup edamame (soybeans), frozen and thawed

1 cup chopped red bell pepper

1 minced shallot

2 tablespoons crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine edamame, pepper, shallot, feta cheese and ginger; toss to mix. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar and mustard; pour over vegetables. Toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. (Adapted from "The Essential Guide to Healthy Healing Foods," Victoria Retelny and Jovanka JoAnn Milivojevic; Alpha Publishing, $19.95.)

Per serving: 142 calories, 7g protein, 9g fat (59 percent calories from fat), 1.3g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 2mg cholesterol, 144mg sodium, 3g fiber.

* * *


Makes 5 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 (0.87-ounce) package 30 percent less-sodium or regular brown gravy mix

1 cup cold water

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

3 tablespoons ketchup, divided

1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef

3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms, divided

1 egg

1/4 cup dry bread crumbs

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Place gravy mix in a small bowl; whisk in water. Add onion powder, garlic powder and 1 tablespoon ketchup to mixture; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms, egg, bread crumbs and thyme. Shape into 5 ( 1/2 -inch-thick) patties. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Cook patties 5 minutes; turn once. Whisk gravy mixture again and add it to skillet, along with remaining mushrooms and remaining ketchup. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Cover; cook 5 to 10 minutes or until gravy has thickened and patties are 165 degrees internal temperature.

Per serving: 192 calories, 23g protein, 6g fat (30 percent calories from fat), 2.2g saturated fat, 11g carbohydrate, 87mg cholesterol, 416mg sodium, 1g fiber.

* * *


Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: Less than 10 minutes, plus pasta, shrimp and asparagus

1 (13.25-ounce) box whole-grain angel hair pasta

1 pound uncooked shelled and deveined shrimp, tails removed

3/4 to 1 pound trimmed fresh asparagus, sliced on diagonal in 1-inch pieces

1/2 cup whole milk

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or more to taste

1 teaspoon butter

3 wedges soft light creamy Swiss cheese (such as Laughing Cow)

Cook angel hair according to directions; add shrimp and asparagus the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine milk, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, red pepper, butter and soft cheese. Cover and cook on low 5 minutes or until cheese melts and sauce has thickened slightly; stir often. Combine sauce with pasta, shrimp and asparagus and serve immediately.

Per serving: 340 calories, 23g protein, 5g fat (12 percent calories from fat), 1.3g saturated fat, 53g carbohydrate, 104mg cholesterol, 622mg sodium, 8g fiber.