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What's for dinner

SUNDAY (Family) — Your family can experience the flavors of Argentina with this SPICE-RUBBED FLANK STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI POTATO SALAD (see recipe). Serve with fresh STEAMED CARROTS and CRUSTY BREAD. Buy a BOSTON CREAM PIE for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough beef and pie for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: Fresh flat-leaf parsley, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, potatoes, celery, red bell pepper, flank steak, ancho chili pepper, black pepper, fresh carrots, crusty bread, store-bought Boston cream pie.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat) — A delicious way to use the leftover beef is in BEEF, ROTINI AND ARTICHOKE SALAD (see recipe). All you need is SOURDOUGH BREAD to go alongside. Slice the leftover PIE for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: Tri-colored rotini (corkscrew) pasta, canned quartered water-packed artichokes, red bell pepper, small pitted black olives, fresh basil, store-bought balsamic vinaigrette, sourdough bread.

TUESDAY (Meatless) — Dinner couldn't be easier than using your slow cooker for BLACK BEANS (see recipe). Serve the beans over RICE and add CARROT AND CELERY STICKS on the side, along with WHOLE-WHEAT ROLLS. For dessert, enjoy RED AND GREEN GRAPES.

SHOPPING LIST: Dried black beans, onion, green bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, canned diced tomatoes, vegetable broth if desired, olive oil, cumin, fresh jalapeno pepper, salt, red onion, eggs, cilantro, reduced-fat sour cream, rice, carrot and celery sticks, whole-wheat rolls, red and green grapes.

WEDNESDAY(Express) — Try a quick fix, BARBECUE PIZZA, for dinner tonight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place a large ready-to-heat pizza crust on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with 1 cup (2 cups total) shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Top with 1 (18-ounce) container refrigerated fully cooked shredded beef with barbecue sauce (such as Lloyd's) and 4 red onion rings. Sprinkle with another cup of the cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until hot.

Add a packaged GREEN SALAD and KIWIFRUIT, and dinner is prepared.

SHOPPING LIST: Large ready-to-heat pizza crust, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, refrigerated fully cooked shredded beef with barbecue sauce (such as Lloyd's), red onion, packaged green salad, kiwifruit.

THURSDAY(Budget) — Pasta, beans and tuna are all money-savers, and this FETTUCCINE WITH TUNA AND WHITE BEANS adds good flavor to the equation. Cook 12 ounces fettuccine; drain. In a large bowl, combine 1 (6-ounce) can drained, flaked water-packed albacore tuna, 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed cannellini beans and 2 cups store-bought marinara sauce. Toss with the fettuccine.

Serve with a SPINACH SALAD and ITALIAN BREAD. PLUMS make a simple dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: Fettuccine, canned water-packed albacore tuna, canned cannellini beans, store-bought marinara sauce, fresh spinach, Italian bread, plums.

FRIDAY(Kids) — Say tacos to kids, and they say "Yes!" so they'll be ready for SOFT BEAN TACOS. Spread warmed corn tortillas with heated, canned fat-free refried beans. Top with SALSA, SHREDDED LETTUCE and SHREDDED 50 percent light CHEDDAR CHEESE. Serve with canned MEXICORN on the side, along with some AVOCADO. For dessert, APPLE SLICES go well with PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES.

SHOPPING LIST: Corn tortillas, canned fat-free refried beans, salsa, lettuce, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, canned Mexicorn, avocado, apples, peanut butter cookies.

SATURDAY(Easy Entertaining) — Why not invite friends for PORK MEDALLIONS WITH DIJON-DILL SAUCE? Cut 1 pound pork tenderloin into 8 pieces. Place each piece on flat surface; cover pork pieces with waxed paper and flatten gently with heel of hand to 1/4 inch thickness. Cook in a nonstick skillet on medium heat in two batches, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Remove to warm platter; season with garlic salt and black pepper on both sides; cover to keep warm. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard and 1/2 teaspoon each dried dill and sugar; mix well. Serve sauce with pork.

On the side, add COUSCOUS, fresh GREEN BEANS, a BOSTON LETTUCE SALAD and BAGUETTES. Buy FRUIT TARTS for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: pork tenderloin, garlic salt, black pepper, plain yogurt, Dijon mustard, dried dill, sugar, couscous, fresh green beans, Boston lettuce, baguettes, store-bought fruit tarts.


THE RECIPES

SPICE-RUBBED FLANK STEAK WITH CHIMICHURRI POTATO SALAD (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 35 minutes

Cooking time: steak, less than 15 minutes; potato salad, about 15 minutes

For the chimichurri sauce:

1 cup packed fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 cloves garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

For the potatoes:

2 pounds peeled potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper

For the steak:

2 pounds flank steak

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ancho chili pepper (see note)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

Puree all chimichurri ingredients. Transfer to a small bowl. Cover and let stand at room temperature. Reserve 1/2 cup for potatoes.

Boil potatoes 8 to 10 minutes or until they can be pierced with a fork. Drain and refrigerate 1 hour. Just before serving, add celery and red bell pepper; add the 1/2 cup reserved sauce and toss to coat.

Rub steak with oil. Combine spices and salt and rub over both sides of steak. Refrigerate 1 hour. Grill 6 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Serve with remaining sauce.

Note: Look for ancho chili pepper with the spices.

Per serving: 346 calories, 27 grams protein, 17 grams fat (43 percent calories from fat), 3.8 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 371 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.


BEEF, ROTINI AND ARTICHOKE SALAD WITH BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (Monday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: for the pasta

4 cups (about 12 ounces) tri-colored rotini (corkscrew) pasta

1 pound cooked (leftover) flank steak, cut into thin 2-inch strips

1 (14-ounce) can quartered, drained water-packed artichokes

1 large red bell pepper cut into thin strips

1 cup small pitted black olives

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

1/2 cup store-bought balsamic vinaigrette

Cook pasta according to directions; rinse and drain. In a large bowl, combine beef, cooked pasta, artichoke hearts, bell pepper, olives and basil. Add vinaigrette; toss. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

Per serving: 334 calories, 22 grams protein, 10 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 2.6 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 395 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.


BLACK BEANS (Tuesday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 hours on high

1 pound sorted and rinsed dried black beans

1 large chopped onion

1 large chopped green bell pepper

5 minced cloves garlic

2 bay leaves

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice

5 cups vegetable broth or water

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 teaspoons cumin

1 tablespoon seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Chopped red onion, chopped hard-cooked eggs, chopped fresh cilantro and reduced-fat sour cream for garnish

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine beans, onion, bell pepper, garlic, bay leaves, tomatoes with juice, broth or water, oil, cumin, jalapeno pepper and salt. Cover and cook on high 6 to 8 hours or until beans are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves. Garnish as desired.

Per serving: 262 calories, 14 grams protein, 4 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1,060 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.


Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by e-mail: menuplanner(at)mindspring.com. The Menu Planner is also accessible at www.7daymenuplanner.com.