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story.lead_photo.caption Gwynn Galvin, SwirlsOfFlavor.com

SUNDAY: Family night

This spice-rubbed pork loin roast sets the stage for a family gathering. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pat one (2-pound) well-trimmed boneless pork loin roast with paper towels. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1 tablespoon cumin, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 2 teaspoons black pepper and 2 teaspoons ground coriander. Mix well. Use 2-3 tablespoons of rub to season all surfaces of roast. Place roast in shallow pan and bake 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with baked sweet potatoes and steamed fresh cauliflower sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley. Add dinner rolls. Buy a chocolate meringue pie for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Prepare Monday's entree today if time permits. Save enough pie for Tuesday and enough pork for Wednesday.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless pork loin roast, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, brown sugar, crushed red pepper, coarse salt, black pepper, ground coriander, sweet potatoes to bake, fresh cauliflower, fresh parsley, dinner rolls, chocolate meringue pie.

MONDAY: Meatless meal

We added barley and black bean pilaf (see recipe) to our meatless favorites file. Add a spinach salad and a baguette. Fresh grapes are a simple dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pilaf for Wednesday.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, onion, garlic, unsalted vegetable broth, pearled barley, turmeric, cumin, chipotle chili powder, coarse salt, yellow squash, red bell pepper, canned reduced-sodium black beans, frozen green peas, fresh spinach, baguette, grapes.

TUESDAY: Express cooking

Make a turkey cranberry sandwich on honey-wheat bread. Spread the bread with deli cranberry mustard. Top with deli sliced turkey, sliced Muenster cheese and baby greens. Alongside, add deli vegetable soup. How about a slice of leftover pie for dessert?

SHOPPING LIST: honey-wheat bread, deli cranberry mustard, deli sliced turkey, sliced Muenster cheese, baby greens, deli vegetable soup.

WEDNESDAY: Heat and eat

Make pork and bean stew tonight. Chop Sunday's leftover cooked pork and add it to the leftover pilaf from Monday, along with some cooked rice; mix well. Heat and eat. On the side, add a mixed green salad and whole-grain rolls. Fresh pineapple spears make a good dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: rice, mixed greens, whole-grain rolls, fresh pineapple.

THURSDAY : Kids favorite

Children will welcome cube steaks for dinner. Lightly coat the tender steaks with flour and pan-fry in a nonstick skillet on medium in a little canola oil until cooked through. Serve gravy on the side, along with mashed potatoes, peas and carrots (from frozen) and soft breadsticks.

Let the children help you prepare peanut butter and banana wraps for dessert: Spread 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter on each of four whole-wheat flour tortillas. Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons honey over each tortilla. Top with banana slices and miniature chocolate chips. Roll and secure with toothpicks.

SHOPPING LIST: cube steaks, flour, canola oil, gravy, potatoes to mash, frozen peas and carrots, soft bread sticks, creamy peanut butter, whole-wheat flour tortillas, honey, bananas, miniature chocolate chips.

FRIDAY: Budget dining

Use hominy instead of the traditional beans in this chunky chicken chili (see recipe) and you'll like the result. Serve with a lettuce wedge with crumbled blue cheese. Add cornbread (from mix). For dessert, plums are light.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless skinless chicken thighs, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes with green chilies, canned no-salt-added tomato sauce, less-sodium chili seasoning mix, canned hominy, reduced-fat sour cream, cilantro, lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, cornbread mix, plums.

SATURDAY: Entertain the family

Scare the family with icky eyeball pizza (see recipe)! Munch on carrot sticks on the side. Halloween cupcakes are dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: cooking spray, pizza sauce, prepared pizza crust, shredded mozzarella, bocconcini, pimento-stuffed green olives, carrots, Halloween cupcakes.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan's blog: makingthemenu.com.

And check out Susan's book! "7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies" is on shelves now. Order yours on Amazon.com today!

** ** **

BARLEY AND BLACK BEAN PILAF (Monday)

Makes: 9 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 65 minutes; standing time 5 minutes

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup uncooked pearled barley

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

2 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise in 1/2-inch slices

1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium rinsed black beans

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add onion and garlic; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, barley, turmeric, cumin, chili powder and salt. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in squash, bell pepper and beans. Cover; cook 10-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash and barley are just tender. Stir in peas. Cover; cook 3-5 minutes or until peas are cooked. Let stand 5 minutes, covered, to blend flavors.

Per cup: 172 calories, 6 grams protein, 2 grams fat (10 percent calories from fat), no saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 265 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber. Carb choices: 2.5.

** ** **

CHUNKY CHICKEN CHILI (Friday)

Makes: 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 8 hours on low, plus hominy

2 pounds well-trimmed boneless skinless chicken thighs

1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild to original), with liquid

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 (1 1/4-ounce) packet less-sodium chili seasoning mix

2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans hominy, rinsed

Reduced-fat sour cream, if desired

Chopped cilantro, if desired

Place chicken in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes with green chilies and liquid, tomato sauce and chili seasoning mix. Mix well and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir to break up chicken. Mix in hominy; cover and cook on low 15 minutes or until heated through. Serve with sour cream and cilantro, if desired.

Per serving: 229 calories, 25 grams protein, 5 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 108 milligrams cholesterol, 655 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb choices: 1.5.

** ** **

EYEBALL PIZZA (Saturday)

Makes: 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15-17 minutes

3/4 cup pizza sauce, divided

1 (14-ounce) prepared pizza crust

1 cup shredded mozzarella (4 ounces)

8 bocconcini, halved (small nuggets of mozzarella, usually about 1 inch)

4 pimento-stuffed green olives, drained and cut crosswise into 16 slices total

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat pizza pan with cooking spray. Reserve 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce. Place crust on prepared pan. Top with remaining sauce, mozzarella and bocconcini halves, flat sides down. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Place 1 olive slice in middle of each bocconcini to form "eyeballs." Bake 5-7 more minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is heated through. Place reserved pizza sauce in small plastic bag. Snip off one corner. Pipe sauce onto bocconcini eyeballs for "bloodshot" effect. (Recipe adapted from www.SwirlsOfFlavor.com.)

Per serving: 273 calories, 16 grams protein, 9 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 4.6 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 21 milligrams cholesterol, 735 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb choices: 2.

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