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Let the kids help prepare Friday's tortilla soup

> Family Sunday

For family Easter dinner, enjoy sliced ham (5- or 6-pound spiral-sliced half ham) with a pepper jelly glaze. Heat oven to 350 degrees; place ham in shallow pan. Bake uncovered 1 1/4 hours (15 to 18 minutes per pound). The last 15 minutes, spread 1 (8-ounce) jar pepper jelly over ham, coating it evenly. Heat 10 to 15 minutes more, basting occasionally.

To accompany the ham, buy red potato salad (stir in fresh chopped dill) and broccoli salad from the deli to keep it simple. Add carrot and celery sticks, olives and pickles, along with whole-grain bread. For dessert, buy a festive Easter cake and serve it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ham and cake for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

Shopping list: Spiral-sliced ham, pepper jelly, deli red potato salad, fresh dill, deli broccoli salad, carrot and celery sticks, olives, pickles, whole-grain bread, Easter cake, fat-free vanilla ice cream.

> Heat and eat Monday

Make grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on rye tonight. Spread the bread with coarse-grain mustard and layer with reduced-fat Swiss cheese and the leftover ham. Prepare sliced polenta for a side dish, following the directions on the package. Add a spinach salad. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

Shopping list: Rye bread, coarse-grain mustard, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, polenta (in the produce section), fresh spinach.

> Meatless Tuesday

Prepare lentil-chickpea chili (see recipe) for a flavorful no-meat soup. Serve with a romaine salad. For dessert, spoon peaches over leftover ice cream.

Shopping list: Vegetable broth, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, red lentils, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, sweet onion, carrot, celery, garlic, bay leaves, canned chickpeas, fresh cilantro, romaine, peaches.

> Budget Wednesday

You'll save some money without forfeiting taste with Moroccan beef stew (see recipe) for dinner. Serve it with couscous. Pears are good for dessert.

Shopping list: Canola oil, beef stew meat, flour, coarse salt, pepper, onion, cumin, cinnamon, ground cloves, lower-sodium beef broth, pitted prunes, golden raisins, baby spinach, couscous, pears.

> Express Thursday

Make dinner easy tonight and pick up a couple of rotisserie chickens. Serve them with stuffed potatoes (frozen) and broccoli with cheese sauce (frozen). Add a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. For something sweet, stop by the bakery for brownies.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and brownies for Friday.

Shopping list: Rotisserie chickens, frozen stuffed potatoes, frozen broccoli with cheese sauce, packaged green salad, whole-grain rolls, brownies.

> Kids Friday

Let the kids help prepare tortilla soup (see recipe). The whole family will enjoy it with a chopped lettuce and tomato salad. Then everyone will line up for warmed leftover brownies topped with strawberries.

Shopping list: Corn tortillas, cooking spray, canola oil, onion, garlic, fresh jalapeno pepper, fat-free chicken broth, no-salt-added or regular fire-roasted diced tomatoes, coarse salt, canned reduced-sodium pinto beans, avocado, Monterey Jack cheese, fresh cilantro, lime, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries.

> Easy entertaining Saturday

Serve your guests walnut-crusted cod with tomato-orange relish. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In shallow dish, combine 1/2 cup each quick oats and chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon each dried thyme and minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and cayenne pepper; mix well. In second shallow dish, beat 3 tablespoons water and 1 egg white with a fork until frothy. Coat 6 (4- or 5-ounce) cod fillets in egg mixture, then in oat mixture. Place on a baking pan lined with nonstick foil. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

For the relish: Combine 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh orange segments, 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (drained, patted dry and chopped), 1/4 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives, 3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 teaspoons dried basil, 1 tablespoon oil from tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Serve relish with cod.

Add brown rice, green beans and baguettes. For dessert, buy a cheesecake to keep it simple.

Shopping list: Quick oats, walnuts, dried thyme, garlic, coarse salt, cayenne pepper, egg, cod fillets (fresh or frozen), orange, sun-dried tomatoes in oil, kalamata olives, red onion, fresh or dried basil, pepper, brown rice, green beans, baguettes, cheesecake.





Makes about 11 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 8 hours on low

6 cups vegetable broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 pound red lentils

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes

1 chopped sweet onion

1 chopped carrot

2 thinly sliced ribs celery

3 minced cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed chickpeas

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, whisk together broth, tomato paste, mustard, cumin, turmeric, cayenne and salt. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves. Cover and cook on low 8 hours. Stir in chickpeas and cilantro and serve.

Per cup: 223 calories, 15g protein, 1g fat (4 percent calories from fat), no saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 839mg sodium, 8g fiber.

* * *


Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: About 1 1/2 hours

2 tablespoons canola oil

1 3/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 to 3 tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 medium chopped onion

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1 (14-ounce) can lower-sodium beef broth (see Note)

1 cup pitted prunes, chopped

1/2 cup golden raisins

4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high. In a bowl, toss beef cubes in flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Add half of beef to pot. Brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, remove beef to a plate. Repeat with remaining beef. Reduce heat to medium and add onion to pot. Cook 3 to 5 minutes to soften. Sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon and cloves. Cook 1 minute. Add a splash of the beef broth; cook 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from pot. Add remaining broth and bring to a boil. Return beef to pot along with any liquid. Cover and simmer 1 hour on low heat. Stir in prunes and raisins. Cover and cook 15 minutes. Uncover and stir in spinach. Cook, uncovered, 5 minutes. Season with remaining salt.

Note: Add more broth if mixture becomes too dry.

Per serving: 371 calories, 29g protein, 15g fat (35 percent calories from fat), 3.9g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrate, 82mg cholesterol, 334mg sodium, 4g fiber.

* * *


Makes about 10 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 30 minutes

4 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1 medium seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper

4 cups fat-free chicken broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can undrained, no-salt-added or regular fire-roasted diced tomatoes (such as Muir Glen)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked chicken

2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans

1 medium avocado

1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

1 lime, cut into wedges

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut tortillas into 1/4 -inch strips. Coat with cooking spray. Bake about 4 minutes or until light brown and crisp. Remove from oven; set aside. In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high. Cook onion 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and jalapeno; cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are softened. Stir in broth, tomatoes and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add chicken and beans; heat until hot.

To serve, peel and pit avocado. Cut into 1/2 -inch slices. Divide half of tortilla strips among individual serving bowls; ladle in soup. Top with avocado and cheese; garnish with remaining tortilla strips and cilantro, if desired. Serve with lime wedges.

Per cup: 178 calories, 14g protein, 6g fat (30 percent calories from fat), 1.8g saturated fat, 20g carbohydrate, 23mg cholesterol, 465mg sodium, 7g fiber.