Family Sunday

Enjoy a family gathering with a special meal of chicken thighs with yogurt sauce and couscous (see recipe). Add a romaine salad and flatbread. For dessert, orange sherbet and butter cookies are good.

Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Monday.

Shopping list: Couscous, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ground ginger, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, boneless skinless chicken thighs, canola oil, fresh cilantro, garlic, plain fat-free yogurt, romaine, flatbread, orange sherbet, butter cookies.

Express Monday

For a quick meal, make Tex-Mex mac and cheese. Add salsa and chopped cilantro to cooked macaroni and cheese. Serve the easy entree with a packaged Caesar salad and bread sticks. Scoop the leftover sherbet for dessert.

Shopping list: Salsa, fresh cilantro, macaroni and cheese, packaged Caesar salad, bread sticks.

Budget Tuesday

Save some money with economical turkey picadillo (see recipe). Add a fresh spinach salad and whole-grain bread. For dessert, peaches are easy.

Plan ahead: Save enough picadillo for Wednesday.

Shopping list: Extra-virgin olive oil, ground turkey breast, sliced green olives, canned no-added-salt tomato sauce, onion, raisins, garlic, cayenne pepper, fresh spinach, whole-grain bread, peaches.

Heat and eat Wednesday

Make picadillo wraps with the heated leftover picadillo, topped with any shredded cheese and wrapped in warmed fat-free whole-grain flour tortillas. Serve with a lettuce and tomato salad. Enjoy pears for dessert.

Shopping list: Any shredded cheese, fat-free whole-grain flour tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, pears.

Meatless Thursday

Skip meat tonight and enjoy red lentil and vegetable soup. In a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium. Add 4 medium chopped carrots and 1 small chopped onion. Cook 6 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in 1 teaspoon cumin; cook 1 minute. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can undrained, no-salt-added diced tomatoes, 1 cup red lentils (picked over and rinsed), 1 (14.5-ounce) can vegetable broth, 2 cups water, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and n teaspoon pepper; cover and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Just before serving, stir in 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach. (Adapted from “Good Housekeeping Simple Vegan!” Susan Westmoreland, food director; Hearst Books, 2011.) Add a lettuce wedge and whole-grain bread. Buy a coconut cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Saturday.

Shopping list: Olive oil, carrots, onion, cumin, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, red lentils, vegetable broth, coarse salt, pepper, packaged baby spinach, lettuce, whole-grain rolls, coconut cake.

Kids Friday

The kids will love barbecue Sloppy Joes. Heat some canola oil on medium in a large nonstick skillet. Add a medium chopped onion and cook until softened. Add 1 pound lean ground beef and cook 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in ¾ cup barbecue sauce (any kind) and heat through. Serve on toasted whole-grain buns. Alongside, add baked beans and zucchini sticks with the kids’ favorite dip. Sprinkle apple slices with cinnamon for dessert.

Shopping list: Canola oil, onion, lean ground beef, any barbecue sauce, whole-grain buns, baked beans, zucchini, kids’ favorite dip, apples, cinnamon.

Easy entertaining Saturday

Indian-spiced roast salmon (see recipe) is fit for a king or any honored guest. Serve the delicious salmon with basmati rice and steamed broccoli. Add a red-tipped lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

Shopping list: Cumin, coriander, turmeric, dried thyme, fennel seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, salmon fillets, coarse salt, olive oil, plain fat-free yogurt, lemons, basmati rice, broccoli, red-tipped lettuce, sourdough bread.

The recipes

Chicken thighs with yogurt sauce and couscous (Sunday)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 15 minutes

1 cup couscous

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well-trimmed

(about 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon canola oil

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (16-ounce) container plain fat-free yogurt

Cilantro sprigs for garnish

Cook couscous according to directions; set aside. In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and pepper; stir in salt. Sprinkle on both sides of chicken. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add chicken; cook 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Meanwhile, combine cilantro, garlic and yogurt in a bowl; mix well. Serve with chicken and couscous. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Makes 6 servings. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)

Per serving: 356 calories, 37g protein, 9g fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.9g saturated fat, 29g carbohydrate, 145mg cholesterol, 277mg sodium, 2g fiber.

Turkey picadillo (Tuesday)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1a pounds ground turkey breast

a cup sliced green olives, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

g cup chopped onion

s cup raisins

1 tablespoon minced garlic

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add turkey; cook 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in olives, tomato sauce, onion, raisins, garlic and cayenne pepper; cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Makes 4 servings

Per serving: 362 calories, 4g protein, 11g fat (27 percent calories from fat), 1.6g saturated fat, 22g carbohydrate, 106mg cholesterol, 616mg sodium, 3g fiber.

Indian-spiced roast salmon (Saturday)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: About 9 minutes

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

a teaspoon turmeric

a teaspoon dried thyme

a teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

a teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

h teaspoon ground cloves

4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)

a teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon olive oil

¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt

4 lemon wedges

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a shallow dish, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, thyme, crushed fennel, pepper, cinnamon and cloves; mix well. Sprinkle top of fillets with salt; coat fillets in spice mixture. Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add fillets, skin side up; cook 5 minutes or until golden. Turn salmon; wrap handle of skillet with foil if necessary. Bake 8 to 9 minutes, or until opaque throughout. Remove skin and discard. Serve with yogurt and lemon wedges. Makes 4 servings. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)

Per serving: 247 calories, 37g protein, 9g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 1.6g saturated fat, 2g carbohydrate, 80mg cholesterol, 384mg sodium, 1g fiber.

Susan Nicholson can be reached by email at and is on Twitter: @7DayMenu.