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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

SUNDAY: Family day

The family is in for a treat with your roasted chicken on the menu today. Pair it with macaroni salad: Cook 8 ounces macaroni according to package directions; rinse and drain. In a large bowl, mix together 1/2 cup low-fat mayonnaise, one grated carrot, one rib chopped celery, 11/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon pickle relish, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir mixture into macaroni; toss to mix and refrigerate. Sprinkle with paprika before serving.

Add steamed asparagus, a green salad and dinner rolls. No-bake cheesecake is a great hot-weather dessert: Beat two (8-ounce) packages of softened reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract with an electric mixer until smooth. Fold in 2 cups frozen whipped topping (thawed) until blended. Spoon into one (6-ounce) graham cracker pie crust. Cover lightly and refrigerate 3 hours or until set. Top with fresh blueberries.

PLAN AHEAD: Save 2 cups chicken and some cheesecake for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: chicken to roast, macaroni, low-fat mayonnaise, carrots, celery, cider vinegar, pickle relish, sugar, pepper, paprika, asparagus, salad greens, dinner rolls, reduced-fat cream cheese, sugar, pure vanilla extract, frozen whipped topping, graham cracker pie crust, fresh blueberries.

MONDAY: Meatless meal

Try not to lick your plate when you finish this cheesy pasta (see recipe). It's that good. Serve with a spinach salad and garlic bread. Enjoy nectarines for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cheesy pasta for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: whole-wheat or regular penne or bow tie pasta, broccoli florets, olive oil, onion, dry white wine, canned less-fat less- sodium cream of mushroom soup, Gruyere or Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard, chives or green onions, fresh spinach, garlic bread, nectarines.

TUESDAY: Heat and eat

Cheesy chicken pasta will be ready in no time. Mix the leftover pasta and the leftover chicken and heat on medium low. Add a little unsalted chicken broth or water to thin, if desired. Serve with mixed greens and Italian bread. How about a slice of leftover cheesecake for dessert?

SHOPPING LIST: unsalted chicken broth (if desired), mixed greens, Italian bread.

WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite

When the children hear sloppy joe meatball subs (see recipe) are for dinner, they will be at the table with big appetites. Serve the quick and easy meal with carrot salad. Kiwis are for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lean ground beef, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, black pepper, packaged sloppy Joe seasoning mix, canned no-salt-added tomato paste, submarine or other sandwich rolls, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, carrot salad, kiwis.

THURSDAY: Budget dining

For an economical dinner, Southwestern black bean salad (see recipe) works just fine. Serve it with gazpacho and warm corn tortillas. For dessert, a bowl of fresh peaches is good.

SHOPPING LIST: extra-virgin olive oil, fresh or frozen corn, green onions, limes, canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, honey, coarse salt, black pepper, canned reduced-sodium black beans, ripe avocados, tomatoes, cilantro or parsley, gazpacho, corn tortillas, fresh peaches.

FRIDAY: Express cooking

Make it quick tonight with baked tomatoes with tuna salad for dinner. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Core large tomatoes; stuff with deli tuna salad and top with buttered panko breadcrumbs and sliced almonds. Bake 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. Add a packaged green salad and bread sticks. Apricots are an easy dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: tomatoes, deli tuna salad, butter, panko breadcrumbs, sliced almonds, packaged green salad, bread sticks, apricots.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Invite friends for simple, delicious steak with golden onions and horseradish sauce: Heat a nonstick skillet on medium high. Sprinkle a 1-pound boneless trimmed sirloin steak with a little pepper; add to skillet. Scatter two medium sliced yellow onions around steak. Cook, turning steak once and stirring onions often, 12 minutes or until steak is medium-rare and onions are tender. Transfer steak to cutting board; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream, 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 2 tablespoons sliced green onions, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Slice steak thinly against the grain; serve with grilled onions and sauce.

Add roasted red potatoes, green beans and sourdough bread. Buy a blackberry cobbler for dessert and top with vanilla ice cream.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless sirloin steak, yellow onions, reduced-fat sour cream, prepared horseradish, green onions, pepper, sugar, red potatoes, green beans, sourdough bread, blackberry cobbler, vanilla ice cream.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] 7daymenu.com. 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!

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CHEESY PASTA (Monday)

Makes: 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 10 minutes

12 ounces whole-wheat or regular penne or bow tie pasta

6 cups broccoli florets

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup dry white wine

1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-fat less-sodium cream of mushroom soup

1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese (4 ounces)

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Freshly chopped chives or green onion tops for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions; add broccoli the last 3 minutes of boiling. Drain; rinse and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion and cook, stirring, 5 minutes or until softened. Add wine; cook 1 minute or until reduced slightly. Add soup. Bring to a boil on medium high, stirring frequently. Cook, stirring, 1 minute or until slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and stir in cheese until smooth. Stir in mustard; cook 1 minute or until heated through. Spoon sauce over pasta and broccoli. Toss to mix. Garnish each serving with chives or green onion tops.

Per serving: 289 calories, 13 grams protein, 8 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 17 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.

** ** **

SLOPPY JOE MEATBALL SUBS (Wednesday)

Makes: 4 subs

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

1 pound 93 percent to 95 percent lean ground beef

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 (1.31-ounce) package sloppy Joe seasoning mix

1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste

1 1/2 cups water

4 (6-inch) submarine or other sandwich rolls

1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

In a large bowl, mix beef, garlic powder, 3/4 of the Italian seasoning and pepper. Shape into 16 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat 10 minutes or until cooked through. Add seasoning mix, tomato paste, water and remaining Italian seasoning; stir until smooth. Simmer 5 minutes. Place meatballs on rolls. Spoon sauce over meatballs; top with cheese and serve.

Per sub: 516 calories, 38 grams protein, 13 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 4.8 grams saturated fat, 63 grams carbohydrate, 70 milligrams cholesterol, 1,317 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber. Carb count: 4.

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SOUTHWESTERN BLACK BEAN SALAD (Thursday)

Makes: 6-8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided

2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) corn kernels

4 green onions, sliced thinly

1/3 cup lime juice (about 3 limes' worth)

1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chilies in adobo sauce

1 teaspoon honey

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

2 ripe avocados, halved, pitted and chopped

2 tomatoes, cored and chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet on medium-high until shimmering. Add corn and cook 5 minutes until spotty brown; cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk together green onions, lime juice, chilies, honey, salt and black pepper. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 2 tablespoons oil until emulsified. Add beans, avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and corn; toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste; serve. (Adapted from "The Complete Salad Cookbook," America's Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 385 calories, 11 grams protein, 19 grams fat (43 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 207 milligrams sodium, 13 gram fiber. Carb count: 3.

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