Weekly Menu Planner: Japanese Steak Salad, Ham Steaks and Banana Boats


Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

2 fruit roll-ups, any flavor

4 (4-inch) thin pretzel sticks

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup grape juice or juice from frozen berries

4 small bananas, cut in half lengthwise

1 cup fruit sorbet

1/2 cup fruit, cut into pieces (such as mandarin oranges or grapes)

To make “sails”: Unroll fruit roll-ups and cut into 4 triangles, about 3 inches on all sides. With a sharp knife, make 3 small cuts along one edge of each triangle; thread onto pretzel sticks. In 4 soup or cereal bowls, divide blueberries evenly; pour 2 tablespoons juice into each bowl. To form a “boat”: Place banana halves on opposite sides of bowl (trim banana to fit bowl if necessary); place 1/4 cup sorbet between the bananas. Scatter fruit over all and push a pretzel “sail” into sorbet. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 229 calories, 2 grams protein, 1 gram fat (3 percent calories from fat), no saturated fat, 57 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 39 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.


For something a little different on family day, try JAPANESE STEAK SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING (see recipe). Serve with CRUSTY ROLLS. The family will line up for RASPBERRY CRISP for dessert: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Toss 3 pints fresh raspberries with 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium baking dish. Separately, combine 1 cup coarse fresh bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 2 tablespoons sugar. Scatter topping evenly over berries and bake 40 minutes or until topping is golden and berries are bubbly. Cool slightly and serve.

PLAN AHEAD: Save some steak salad and dessert for Monday.

TIP: Substitute blackberries for raspberries if desired.

SHOPPING LIST: dry sherry, reduced-sodium soy sauce, unseasoned rice wine vinegar, hoisin sauce, fresh ginger, top sirloin steak, green onion, sugar, dark (toasted) sesame oil, napa cabbage, romaine, carrot, radishes, cucumber, rice, snow peas, crusty rolls, fresh raspberries, bread for crumbs, butter.


Make GINGER BEEF AND NOODLE BOWLS with Sunday’s leftovers. Combine 2 (14-ounce) cans lower-sodium beef broth, 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions and 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar in a saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 8 to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, divide 6 cups cooked refrigerated vermicelli (or other thinly cut noodles) and leftover steak among 4 large soup bowls. Return broth mixture to boil; ladle boiling mixture evenly over beef and noodles. Garnish the soup with matchstick carrots.

Serve with a ROMAINE SALAD and SESAME (or other) CRACKERS. Warm the leftover CRISP for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lower-sodium beef broth, green onions, unseasoned rice wine vinegar, refrigerated vermicelli or other thinly cut noodles, carrots, romaine, sesame or other crackers.


Make it fast tonight with SWEET AND SOUR HAM STEAKS. Heat 1/2 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 2 (7- to 8-ounce) ham steaks (halved) and cook 4 minutes, turning once or until lightly browned. Remove to serving platter. Cook 1 (16-ounce) bag frozen sliced peaches (thawed and cut bite-size) and 1 (9-ounce) jar hot or sweet mango chutney on medium; stir just until hot. Spoon over ham. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired. (Adapted from Woman’s Day magazine.)

Serve with refrigerated MASHED SWEET POTATOES, a packaged GREEN SALAD and CORNBREAD (from a mix). APPLE SLICES are dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, ham steaks, frozen sliced peaches, hot or sweet mango chutney, fresh cilantro if desired, refrigerated mashed sweet potatoes, packaged green salad, cornbread mix, apple slices.


Celebrate our independence and enjoy CHICKEN WITH MEXICO CITY STREET CORN AND CHILE-LIME CREAM (see recipe) at the same time. Serve over folded PITA BREAD along with GRILLED ZUCCHINI on the side. For dessert, what’s more Fourth of July than WATERMELON and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES?

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cookies for Friday.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, boneless skinless chicken breasts, corn-on-the-cob, no-salt-added or other Southwest seasoning, low-fat mayonnaise, limes, coarse salt, pepper, pita bread, zucchini, watermelon, chocolate chip cookies.


It’s great to be a kid and have PEANUT BUTTER ROLL-UPS for dinner. Spread peanut butter and honey or cheese slices on whole-grain tortillas, roll and heat slightly. Add deli CARROT SALAD on the side. The kids will love to make BANANA BOATS (see recipe) for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: peanut butter, honey or cheese slices, whole-grain tortillas, deli carrot salad, fruit roll-ups (any flavor), pretzel sticks, fresh or frozen blueberries, grape juice, bananas, fruit sorbet, fruit such as mandarin oranges or grapes.


For a no-meat dinner, SCRAMBLED EGGS WITH CHILES AND CHEESE is so easy. Beat 8 eggs in a bowl with a fork. Stir in 1 (4-ounce) can drained chopped green chiles and 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Scramble as usual. Add a SPINACH SALAD with fresh orange sections and red onion rings. Serve with leftover COOKIES and fat-free VANILLA ICE CREAM.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: eggs, canned chopped green chiles, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, fresh spinach, orange, red onion, fat-free vanilla ice cream.


Invite special friends for BAKED CHICKEN WITH WHITE BEANS, TOMATOES AND AVOCADO. In a large ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium. Add 2 medium chopped onions; cook 10 minutes or until browned and crisped. Stir in 1 (14-ounce) can undrained Italian-style diced tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning and boil, uncovered, 1 minute. Stir in 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium white beans. Bring to simmer. Place 4 (5- or 6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts among beans, spooning some of the bean mixture over chicken. Cover chicken and beans with 1 thickly sliced avocado. Bake on 350 degrees, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees and bean mixture is bubbly.

Serve with a MIXED GREEN SALAD and GARLIC BREAD. For dessert, make a CHOCOLATE BROWNIE SUNDAE with brownies and leftover vanilla ice cream. Top with fresh STRAWBERRIES and light whipped cream.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, onions, Italian-style diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, canned reduced-sodium white beans, boneless skinless chicken breasts, avocado, salad greens, garlic bread, brownies, fresh strawberries, light whipped cream.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email at menuplanner@mindspring.com. Look for Susan’s new book, “The 7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies,” in bookstores. The Menu Planner is also accessible at www.7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan’s blog at www.makingthemenu.com.