7-Day menu planner

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner

Sunday (Family)

Keep it simple today and prepare your own Roast Turkey Breast. Add canned whole-berry cranberry sauce on the side. Serve with New Potatoes and Green Beans with Dill Sauce (see recipe). Add a Romaine Salad and dinner rolls. For dessert, make peach shortcakes by spooning hazelnut spread, such as Nutella, on shortcake shells and covering with sliced peaches. Garnish with light whipped cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough turkey, half the cranberry sauce, and enough peaches, hazelnut spread and shortcake shells for Monday.

Monday (Heat and Eat)

Make simple Turkey-Cranberry Wraps for dinner tonight. Heat 6 large fat-free whole-grain tortillas according to directions. Mix together leftover cranberry sauce, 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. Spread evenly on one side of each tortilla. Top each one with leftover thinly sliced or chopped turkey breast, sliced green onions to taste, 2 Tablespoons toasted pecans and 1 cup shredded lettuce.

Roll and serve with Plantain Chips. Add pickles, olives and celery sticks to munch on. Dessert is leftover shortcakes.

Tuesday (Budget)

Save some money tonight and prepare Beef, Bean and Corn Quesadillas (see recipe). Serve with guacamole and coleslaw. Pears are your dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough coleslaw for Wednesday.

Wednesday (Meatless)

You’ll be glad you made Spaghetti with Arugula Pesto for dinner tonight. Cook 12 ounces whole-grain spaghetti according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup cooking water. Meanwhile, with the motor running, drop 2 medium peeled cloves garlic in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; process until minced. Stop the machine and add 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts and 4 cups arugula; process until finely minced. With motor running, add 5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a thin stream. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice and freshly ground pepper. Toss with spaghetti; add enough reserved pasta liquid to make the pasta a little saucy. Divide among pasta bowls; garnish with 2 cored, seeded and diced plum tomatoes.

Add a Spinach Salad with hard-boiled egg wedges and Italian bread. Enjoy fresh strawberries for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Buy enough strawberries for Thursday.

Thursday (Express)

Make it quick tonight with Pierogies Picante. In a large pan, heat 1 (17-ounce) package frozen potato-and-onion pierogies in boiling water for 5 minutes or until they float; drain. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet combine 1 (15-ounce) can chili with beans and 1 cup salsa or picante sauce. Cook and stir on medium-high for 4 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in 1 cup frozen corn; reduce heat to medium. Cook and stir 7 minutes or until hot. Spoon chili sauce over hot pierogies; sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50% reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese.

Serve with a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. Make instant Lemon Pudding with 1% milk for dessert. Top with leftover strawberries.

Friday (Kids)

Let the kids pick their favorite bought pizza for tonight. Dip raw baby carrots and celery sticks into light ranch dressing as an accompaniment. Plums are your dessert.

Saturday (Easy Entertaining)

Invite guests for Baked Tilapia Florentine. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place 4 (4- to 6-ounce) tilapia fillets in a shallow baking dish. Spread 1 (10-ounce) package frozen creamed spinach (thawed) on the fillets; sprinkle with 2 Tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs and 2 Tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.

Serve with Greek Rice-Stuffed Tomatoes (see recipe). Add a Boston Lettuce Salad and sourdough bread. For dessert, spoon fat-free Hot Fudge Sauce over Orange Sherbet.

TIP: If you are using the same oven for tilapia and tomatoes, bake at 375 degrees and cook tomatoes 10 minutes longer.


Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 30 minutes

2 cups water, divided

1 extra-large vegetable bouillon cube

2 Tablespoons flour

2 pounds small new potatoes, quartered

1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 3/4 cups water and bouillon cube to a boil in a large skillet, stirring until cube dissolves; cool slightly. Whisk flour gradually into remaining 1/4 cup water; add to broth and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, 2 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to medium; add potatoes and cook, covered, 15 minutes. Add beans and cook, covered, 8 minutes or until tender. Stir in pepper, dill and lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 214 calories, 6 grams protein, 1 gram fat (2% calories from fat), no saturated fat, 48 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 271 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.


Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 pound lean ground beef

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1 cup salsa

1/2 cup canned reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

8 (6- to 7-inch) flour tortillas

3/4 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, divided

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add beef; cook 6 to 7 minutes, breaking into crumbles and stirring occasionally. Pour off drippings; season with coarse salt and pepper as desired. Stir in salsa, beans and corn; cook and stir 4 to 5 minutes or until thickened and heated through. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange 4 tortillas on baking sheet, overlapping slightly, if necessary. Sprinkle half of cheese evenly over tortillas. Spoon beef mixture evenly over cheese; top with remaining cheese and tortillas. Spray top of tortillas with cooking spray. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned and edges are crisp. Cut into wedges to serve.

Per serving: 466 calories, 38 grams protein, 14 grams fat (27% calories from fat), 6 grams saturated fat, 47 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 776 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3.


Servings: makes 8 tomatoes

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes

8 large tomatoes

3 cups cooked rice

1/2 cup minced red onion

3/4 cup Greek feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon coarse salt

3 Tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Slice off tops of tomatoes and remove a very thin slice from bottom (for stability). Scoop out insides of tomatoes and discard. Turn tomatoes over on paper towels to drain. In a large bowl, combine rice, onion, feta, parsley and salt; mix well. Divide rice mixture evenly and fill tomatoes. Drizzle with oil and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through.

Per tomato: 193 calories, 5 grams protein, 9 grams fat (39% calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 380 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: susan@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.

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