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Upside-down roast chicken adds fun to meal

Family Sunday

Have some fun on family day and prepare upside-down roast chicken with vegetables (see recipe). Serve the combo meal with mixed greens and dinner rolls. For dessert, spoon strawberry topping over angel food cake.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and cake for Monday; save enough strawberry topping for Tuesday and Saturday.

Shopping list: Cooking spray, red potatoes, baby carrots, onion, roasting chicken, salad greens, dinner rolls, strawberry topping, angel food cake.


Express Monday

Use some of the leftover chicken for pasta with chicken and peas. Cook a 13.25-ounce package of whole-wheat rotini pasta according to directions. During the last 5 minutes of cooking, add 1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite green peas. Drain; save 1 cup pasta water. Return pasta and peas to pot and stir in 2 (4.4-ounce) packages reduced-fat herbed soft cheese (such as Boursin Light Garlic and Herb), 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan and 1 to 2 cups diced leftover chicken. Stir until blended. Add some pasta water to thin, if necessary.

Serve with a packaged green salad and Italian bread. For dessert, try sliced peaches with leftover cake.

Shopping list: Whole-wheat rotini pasta, frozen petite green peas, packaged reduced-fat herbed soft cheese (such as Boursin Light Garlic and Herb), Parmesan cheese, salad greens, Italian bread, peaches.


Budget Tuesday

Save some grocery money with hearty sausage and lentil soup. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add 2 cups chopped onion, 1 cup sliced celery; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add 4 ounces turkey kielbasa (chopped); cook and stir 3 more minutes or until kielbasa is lightly browned and vegetables are softened. Stir in 2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; cook and stir 2 minutes or until fragrant. Stir in 4 cups fat-free chicken broth, 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added drained diced tomatoes and 1 cup lentils (picked over and rinsed). Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in 1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach leaves. Simmer until wilted. Serve with a lettuce wedge and rye bread. For dessert, spoon leftover strawberry topping over fat-free chocolate ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Shopping list: Olive oil, onions, celery, turkey kielbasa, dried thyme, garlic powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, fat-free chicken broth, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, lentils, packaged baby spinach, lettuce, rye bread, fat-free chocolate ice cream.


Meatless Wednesday

Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes and herbs (see recipe) is an easy no-meat dinner. Serve it with romaine and garlic bread. Make instant butterscotch pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.

Shopping list: Whole-grain spaghetti, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and chives, Parmesan, romaine, garlic bread, instant butterscotch pudding, 1 percent milk.


Kids Thursday

Pulled pork (see recipe) is for kids and adults, too. Serve it in taco shells tonight and top with fat-free sour cream. Add a carrot salad. Enjoy light fresh tropical fruits for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork for Friday.

Shopping list: Onion, medium salsa, cider vinegar, light brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, salt, bone-in pork shoulder, tomato paste, taco shells, fat-free sour cream, carrot salad, fresh tropical fruits.


Heat and eat Friday

The pulled pork will be even better tonight since the flavors have blended, so spoon some onto toasted whole-grain hamburger buns for pork sandwiches. Top them with sliced jalapenos for some extra flavor. Serve deli coleslaw on the side. Munch on peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Shopping list: Whole-grain hamburger buns, sliced jalapenos, deli coleslaw, peanut butter cookies.


Easy entertaining Saturday

These seasoned lamb chops will please any guest. Heat a small, dry skillet on medium; add 2 tablespoons cumin seeds, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns. Toast, stirring constantly, 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Crush or grind to a coarse powder. Combine the mixture with the chopped leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary. Rub mixture over both sides of 8 loin lamb chops. Cook on medium in a large nonstick skillet 3 to 4 minutes or until browned. Turn; cook another 3 or 4 minutes. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.)

Serve with oven roasted potatoes, steamed spinach, mixed greens and sourdough bread. For dessert, buy a cheesecake and garnish it with leftover strawberry topping.

Shopping list: Cumin seeds, coarse salt, whole black peppercorns, fresh rosemary, loin lamb chops, potatoes to roast, spinach, salad greens, sourdough bread, cheesecake.

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(See note.)

Makes 10 servings (3 ounces cooked weight)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours; standing time: 5 minutes

6 small red potatoes

1 cup baby carrots

1/2 medium onion, cut into wedges

1 (4- to 5-pound) roasting chicken (giblets and neck discarded)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a bundt pan (like you use for pound cake) with cooking spray. Place potatoes, carrots and onion around center of pan. Remove excess skin from chicken and any fat around neck. Position chicken in pan with cavity of chicken over center hole. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil to catch any drippings. Bake chicken and vegetables 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours or until temperature of thigh is 180 degrees. Remove from oven. Remove chicken to cutting board; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Drain vegetables. Serve vegetables with chicken. (Adapted from Real Simple magazine.)

Note: Go to to see Susan's chicken.

Per serving: (without skin): 140 calories, 20g protein, 3g fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.6g saturated fat, 9g carbohydrate, 60mg cholesterol, 77mg sodium, 1g fiber.

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Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes, plus pasta

12 ounces whole-grain spaghetti

2 pounds cherry tomatoes

6 cloves mashed garlic

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup mixed fresh herbs such as basil, parsley and chives

Shaved Parmesan for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking pan, toss the tomatoes, garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper. (For easier cleanup, line pan with foil.) Roast, tossing once, 20 to 25 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst. Toss pasta with tomatoes, herbs and remaining oil. Serve with Parmesan.

Per serving: 297 calories, 9g protein, 9g fat (26 percent calories from fat), 1g saturated fat, 49g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 211mg sodium, 8g fiber.

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PULLED PORK (Thursday)

Makes 14 to 16 (3 ounces cooked weight) servings

Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 8 hours on low

1 large onion, halved and sliced

3/4 cup medium salsa

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 (4- to 4 1/2 -pound) bone-in pork shoulder, well trimmed

3 tablespoons tomato paste

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine the onion, salsa, 1/3 cup vinegar, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder and salt. Add pork and turn to coat. Cover and cook 7 to 8 hours on low. Transfer to cutting board. Use two forks to shred pork. Discard bone and fat. Pour 1 cup of juices and onions in a large bowl. Whisk in the tomato paste and remaining vinegar. Add pork and stir to combine. Add more juice as needed. (Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.)

Per serving: 197 calories, 23g protein, 7g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 2.4g saturated fat, 9g carbohydrate, 74mg cholesterol, 345mg sodium, 1g fiber.

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