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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of American Pecans

SUNDAY: Family night

This simple lemon roast chicken is just right for family day. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over a 41/2- to 5-pound chicken; put rind in cavity. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush chicken with canola oil and sprinkle with coarse salt and dried thyme. Roast 11/2-2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve the juicy bird with your own mashed potatoes and gravy. Add fresh steamed Brussels sprouts topped with crumbled bacon and a Romaine salad on the side. Don't forget the dinner rolls. For dessert, chocolate ice cream is easy.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough chicken for Monday. Make two extra cups mashed potatoes and save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: lemon, chicken to roast, canola oil, coarse salt, dried thyme, potatoes to mash, gravy, fresh Brussels sprouts, bacon, romaine lettuce, dinner rolls, chocolate ice cream.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

Use that leftover chicken in chicken and chive fettuccine (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge with crumbled blue cheese along with bread sticks. For dessert, peaches are just fine.

SHOPPING LIST: spinach-flavored or other fettuccine, olive oil, grape tomatoes, chive-and-onion cream cheese, Italian seasoning, lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, bread sticks, peaches.

TUESDAY: Budget meal

Salmon is delicious any way it's prepared, so this salmon chowder fits the bill. Cook one (10-ounce) package frozen corn in butter sauce according to directions. In a large bowl, combine the cooked corn, one (14 3/4-ounce) can drained salmon, 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes, 1 cup 1 percent milk and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper. Microwave on high 3-4 minutes or until hot. Mix well; stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice. Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Serve with a deli carrot salad and crackers. For dessert, leftover ice cream is waiting.

SHOPPING LIST: frozen corn in butter sauce, canned salmon, 1 percent milk, red bell pepper, lemon, fresh parsley, deli carrot salad, crackers.

WEDNESDAY: Express cooking

Give yourself a break and pick up some packaged barbecued beef for dinner tonight. Heat it and serve on toasted whole-grain sandwich buns. Top with sliced dill pickles. Stop by the deli for coleslaw. For dessert, make instant vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk and swirl in a little honey.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough barbecue for Thursday.

SHOPPING LIST: packaged barbecued beef, whole-grain sandwich buns, sliced dill pickles, deli coleslaw, instant vanilla pudding, 1 percent milk, honey.

THURSDAY: Kids favorite

Transform yesterday's barbecue into barbecue tacos. Heat and spoon the leftover meat into warmed taco shells. Add mild salsa, chopped lettuce and shredded cheddar cheese. The tacos go well with heated canned refried beans. For dessert, halve some kiwis and eat them with a spoon.

SHOPPING LIST: taco shells, mild salsa, lettuce, shredded cheddar cheese, canned refried beans, kiwis.

FRIDAY: Meatless meal

Keep it simple tonight with open-face broiled pepper jack cheese and roasted red pepper sandwiches. Heat broiler. Drain red peppers (from a jar) on paper towels before placing on rye bread. Top with cheese slices. Broil until cheese melts. Serve with deli or canned vegetarian vegetable soup. Pears are dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: jar roasted red peppers, rye bread, pepper jack cheese, deli or canned vegetarian vegetable soup, pears.

SATURDAY: Entertain the family

This shrimp scampi (see recipe) couldn't be any easier to prepare for the family. Serve with angel hair pasta. On the side, farro with pesto, tomatoes and pecans is a special treat (see recipe). Add sourdough bread. For dessert, cheesecake with blueberries is always special.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, large shrimp with tails, garlic, crushed red pepper, coarse salt, fresh parsley, lemons, angel hair pasta, pecan halves, farro, prepared basil pesto, parmesan cheese, water-packed artichoke hearts, grape tomatoes, pepper, sourdough bread, cheesecake, blueberries.

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 Read Susan's blog:



Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: for the fettuccine

8 ounces spinach-flavored or other fettuccine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

1 cup halved grape tomatoes

3 ounces chive-and-onion cream cheese, softened

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Cook fettuccine according to directions; reserve 1/3 cup cooking liquid and drain fettuccine. In pasta pot, heat oil on low. Add cooked fettuccine and toss with oil. Add chicken, tomatoes, cream cheese, Italian seasoning and reserved cooking liquid. Stir until cream cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 373 calories, 20 grams protein, 13 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 6 grams saturated fat, 44 grams carbohydrate, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 144 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined with tails intact

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

Lemon wedges

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add shrimp, garlic, red pepper and salt. Cook 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn opaque throughout, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with chopped parsley; serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 130 calories, 23 grams protein, 4 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 183 milligrams cholesterol, 258 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 0.


Makes: 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

1/2 cup pecan halves

1 cup farro, rinsed

3 cups water

1/3 cup prepared basil pesto

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan

1 cup water-packed and drained artichoke hearts

1 cup grape tomatoes cut into quarters

Coarse salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400. Scatter pecans on baking sheet; bake 8 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool enough to handle, then chop coarsely. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine farro and water. Bring to a boil, stir, then reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or until grains are tender but chewy. Drain excess water and fluff with fork. Transfer to a large bowl; cool slightly. Stir in pesto and stir to coat. Stir in parmesan, artichokes, tomatoes and pecans. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Per serving: 293 calories, 11 grams protein, 15 grams fat (46 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 414 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.

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