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Grill an All-American burger for Fourth of July festivities

>Family Sunday

For a special family day, prepare Yucatan pork tenderloin with jicama, avocado and red onion salad (see recipe). Serve it with brown rice, fresh asparagus and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy chocolate layer cake and fresh strawberries for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Monday.

Shopping list: Garlic, ancho chili powder, dried oregano, cumin, coarse salt, black pepper, fresh grapefruit, pork tenderloins, jicama, Hass avocados, red onion, lime, brown rice, fresh asparagus, whole-grain rolls, chocolate layer cake, strawberries.

>Family Monday

Let's celebrate our independence with All-American burgers. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Shape into 6 patties; grill 5 or 6 minutes, turning once. Top with any cheese and serve on whole-grain buns. Add your favorite trimmings such as tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, ketchup, mustard and low-fat mayo.

Add potato salad and coleslaw on the side. Top leftover cake with fat-free vanilla ice cream for a bang-up dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.

Shopping list: Lean ground beef, reduced-sodium Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, pepper, any cheese, whole-grain buns, tomatoes, lettuce, red onion, ketchup, mustard and low-fat mayo, potato salad, coleslaw, fat-free vanilla ice cream.

>Budget Tuesday

Here's another delicious version of chicken chili (see recipe). Serve it with a lettuce wedge and cornbread (from a mix). Add a slice of cantaloupe for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chili for Wednesday.

Shopping list: canola oil, onion, cumin, dried oregano, garlic, cooked chicken, canned diced green chilies, fat-free chicken broth, canned white beans, frozen corn, lettuce, cornbread mix, cantaloupe.

>Heat and eat Wednesday

Use your microwave and top baked potatoes with leftover chili for a quick meal. Serve it with a spinach salad. Add plums for dessert.

Shopping list: Potatoes to bake, fresh spinach, plums.

>Meatless Thursday

White pizza with tomato and basil makes a tasty, no-meat summer meal. Heat broiler to high. Place baking sheet in oven; heat 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, place 1 (10-ounce) Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust (such as Boboli) on another baking sheet sprinkled with some cornmeal. Lightly coat crust with cooking spray. Spread 3 tablespoons refrigerated basil pesto over crust, leaving a 1-inch border; sprinkle 1/2 cup shredded fresh mozzarella cheese over pesto. Dollop 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta by teaspoonfuls, evenly, over mozzarella. Slide crust onto preheated baking sheet. Broil 5 inches from heat 5 minutes or until cheese begins to melt. Remove from oven; top evenly with 4 sliced small tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and 1/4 cup basil leaves. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired. Cut into 8 slices. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)

Serve with mixed greens. Scoop some leftover ice cream for dessert.

Shopping list: Italian cheese-flavored thin pizza crust (such as Boboli), cornmeal, cooking spray, refrigerated basil pesto, fresh mozzarella cheese, part-skim ricotta, small tomatoes, black pepper, fresh basil, crushed red pepper, salad greens.

>Kids Friday

Tell the kids they are having muffin heads for dinner and watch them smile. Top each toasted whole-grain English muffin half with a thin layer of spaghetti sauce and slices of 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese; broil until cheese is melted and top with a silly vegetable face using halved red pepper rings (mouth), baby corn (nose), sliced black olives (eyes) and julienne carrots (hair). Continue the fun with apple pie in a bowl for dessert. In a small bowl, spoon alternating layers of chunky applesauce, vanilla low-fat yogurt and crumbled gingersnaps; dust with cinnamon.

Shopping list: Whole-grain English muffins, spaghetti sauce, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, red bell peppers, baby corn, black olives, carrots, chunky applesauce, vanilla low-fat yogurt, gingersnaps, cinnamon.

Easy entertaining Saturday

Your guests will enjoy creamy peppered chicken and mushrooms over spinach (see recipe). Serve with poppy seed noodles (see tip), a Boston lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, pair chocolate wafer cookies with peach sorbet.

Tip: Toss cooked noodles with a little olive oil and poppy seeds.

Shopping list: Olive oil, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, onion, packaged crimini mushrooms, Worcestershire ground black pepper blend, garlic powder, salt, Italian seasoning, heavy cream, packaged baby spinach, bacon, noodles, poppy seeds, Boston lettuce, whole-grain rolls, chocolate wafer cookies, peach sorbet.

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Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes

2 tablespoons minced garlic

2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 cup fresh grapefruit juice, divided

2 (1- to 1 1/4 -pound) pork tenderloins

1 small jicama (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into match-stick pieces (4-inches-by- 1/4 -inch)

2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled and cut into thin slices

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, ancho powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. Add enough of the juice (about 1/4 cup) to make a paste. Rub the paste all over the pork; set on rack in small roasting pan. Roast 20 to 25 minutes until pork registers 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Transfer to a cutting board; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine jicama, avocados and onion in a medium bowl. Drizzle with lime juice and the remaining grapefruit juice. Slice pork after standing time; serve pork with salad. (Adapted from Fine Cooking magazine.)

Per serving: 276 calories, 27g protein, 13g fat (42 percent calories from fat), 2.9g saturated fat, 15g carbohydrate, 75mg cholesterol, 213mg sodium, 8g fiber.

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Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 30 minutes

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 large chopped onion

2 tablespoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

3 medium cloves minced garlic

2 to 3 cups cooked chopped chicken

1 (4-ounce) can drained, diced green chilies

4 cups fat-free chicken broth

2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed white beans

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

Heat oil on medium in a Dutch oven. Add onion; cook 5 minutes, stirring, until softened. Add cumin, oregano and garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in chicken and chilies; add broth and 1 can beans. Bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, 20 minutes to blend flavors. Meanwhile, mash remaining can of beans with fork or potato masher. Spoon into Dutch oven, along with the corn; cook 5 more minutes to heat through.

Per serving: 223 calories, 18g protein, 6g fat (25 percent calories from fat), 0.8g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrate, 30mg cholesterol, 480mg sodium, 6g fiber.

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Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 10 minutes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into thin strips

1 cup thinly sliced onion

1 (8-ounce) package sliced crimini mushrooms

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire ground black pepper blend, divided

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 (5- or 6-ounce) package baby spinach

Crumbled bacon for garnish

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chicken, onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of pepper, garlic powder, salt and Italian seasoning. Cook and stir 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in cream and remaining pepper; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 3 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is slightly thickened. Meanwhile, microwave spinach, covered, 30 seconds on high or until wilted. Place spinach on platter; spoon chicken over spinach and garnish with bacon.

Per serving: 328 calories, 28g protein, 21g fat (57 percent calories from fat), 8.6g saturated fat, 8g carbohydrate, 114mg cholesterol, 321mg sodium, 2g fiber.

Contact registered dietitian Susan Nicholson at

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