SUNDAY: Family day
Prepare grilled pork chops for a simple family meal. Marinate four (3/4-inch-thick) boneless pork chops in 3/4 cup Italian dressing and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 20 minutes to overnight. Grill chops (discard marinade), turning once, 8-11 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
Serve with herbed walnut potato salad (see recipe). Add deli coleslaw and whole-grain rolls.
For dessert, strawberry shortcake trifle is worth every bite. In a large bowl, mix together 1 quart sliced strawberries and 1/4 cup sugar. In a medium bowl, stir together 8 ounces frozen whipped topping (thawed) and 1/3 cup strawberry topping (such as Smuckers). Cut a marbled or other pound cake (13 ounces) into 1-inch cubes. Place half the cake cubes in a large glass bowl. Spoon half the berries and juice evenly over cake. Spread half the topping over berries. Repeat once. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours to overnight. Garnish with more berries, if desired.
PLAN AHEAD: Prepare enough potato salad and save some strawberries for Monday.
SHOPPING LIST: boneless pork chops, Italian dressing, Worcestershire sauce, Yukon Gold and red potatoes, red bell pepper, green onions, California walnuts, fresh basil, virgin olive oil, white balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, coarse salt, black pepper, deli coleslaw, whole-grain rolls, strawberries, sugar, frozen whipped topping, strawberry topping, marbled or other pound cake.
MONDAY: Heat and eat
Take it easy today and enjoy your grilled chicken. Serve it with leftover potato salad and sesame rolls. Add a platter with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, celery sticks, pickles and hearts of palm. For dessert, enjoy leftover strawberries and brownies.
SHOPPING LIST: chicken to grill, sesame rolls, tomatoes, lettuce, celery, pickles, hearts of palm, brownies.
TUESDAY: Meatless meal
It’s always time for chili, especially an easy no-meat version like this three-bean chili (see recipe). Serve over brown rice. Add mixed greens and cornbread (from a mix). Slice watermelon for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough chili for Thursday and enough watermelon for Friday.
SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, onion, garlic, chili powder, red, orange or yellow bell peppers, zucchini, canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes, canned no-salt-added tomato sauce, ketchup, dried oregano, canned reduced-sodium black beans, small white beans and red kidney beans, brown rice, salad greens, cornbread mix, watermelon.
WEDNESDAY: Budget dining
We liked the flavor of chipotle chicken pasta (see recipe), and you will, too. Serve it with a spinach salad and garlic bread. How about cantaloupe for dessert?
SHOPPING LIST: whole-wheat rotelle or rotini pasta, canola oil, boneless, skinless chicken breast, red onion, garlic, canned diced tomatoes, whole milk, canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, coarse salt, fresh spinach, garlic bread, cantaloupe.
THURSDAY: Express cooking
You’ll have minimal work tonight because you will just heat the leftover chili and serve it over toasted biscuits. Add a packaged green salad. For dessert, take advantage of the fresh peaches still available.
SHOPPING LIST: biscuits, packaged green salad, fresh peaches.
FRIDAY: Kids favorite
Treat the children to taco dogs tonight. Cook eight lowest-fat lowest-sodium hot dogs in boiling water; drain. In a microwave- safe bowl, combine 1 cup canned vegetarian refried beans, 1 cup 50 percent light shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup mild salsa; mix well. Cover and microwave on high (100 percent power) 2 minutes or until heated; stir once. Spread mixture on one side of eight (8-inch) flour tortillas; place hot dogs on tortillas. Top dogs with shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes, and roll. Serve with oven fries (frozen). Slice the leftover watermelon for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: lowest-fat lowest- sodium hot dogs, canned vegetarian refried beans, light shredded cheddar cheese, mild salsa, flour tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, frozen oven fries.
SATURDAY: Easy entertaining
Invite guests for baked Dijon tilapia. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and olive oil, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Spread mixture over top of four 6-ounce tilapia fillets. Sprinkle each fillet with some panko breadcrumbs and sliced almonds. Bake 12 minutes or until tilapia is opaque throughout. Serve with corn on the cob, a Boston lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Buy a key lime pie for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: Dijon mustard, olive oil, fresh dill, pepper, garlic powder, tilapia fillets, panko breadcrumbs, sliced almonds, corn on the cob, Boston lettuce, sourdough bread, key lime pie.
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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HERBED WALNUT POTATO SALAD (Sunday)
Makes: 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20-5 minutes
1 1/2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 cup green onions, sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup California walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil
Quarter potatoes and place in a large saucepan fitted with a steamer basket. Steam for 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife; set aside to cool. Add bell pepper and green onions. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and black pepper and drizzle over potatoes and vegetables; lightly toss to coat with dressing, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve (at least 1 hour). Just before serving, stir in walnuts and basil.
Note: Salad may be prepared a day in advance, but add the walnuts and basil just before serving for the best flavor and texture.
Per serving: 239 calories, 4 grams protein, 17 grams fat (60% calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 110 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.5.
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THREE-BEAN CHILI (Tuesday)
Makes: 6 servings
Preparation time: about 20 minutes
Cooking time: less than 15 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 medium chopped red, orange or yellow bell peppers
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch crosswise
1 (14.5-ounce) can undrained fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans
1 (15-ounce) can small white beans
1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans
Shredded 50% light cheddar cheese for garnish.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add onion, garlic and chili powder; cook 3 minutes. Add peppers and zucchini; cook 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. Stir in tomatoes, tomato sauce, ketchup and oregano. Cook 8 minutes. Gently stir in all beans. Cover; cook 3 minutes. Ladle into bowls; garnish with cheese.
Per serving: 275 calories, 15 grams protein, 3 grams fat (9% calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 55 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 560 milligrams sodium, 18 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.5.
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CHIPOTLE CHICKEN PASTA (Wednesday)
Makes: about 8 cups
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 12 minutes plus pasta
8 ounces whole-wheat rotelle or rotini pasta
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) can drained diced tomatoes
3/4 cup whole milk
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, seeded and chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Cook pasta according to directions; drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta water. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes, stirring once or twice. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, milk, chipotles and salt. Simmer, uncovered, 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro. Toss pasta with sauce; add reserved water as needed to thin sauce.
Per cup: 243 calories, 23 grams protein, 5 grams fat (19% calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 315 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Carb count: 2