7-Day menu planner April 21-27

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner

Sunday (Family)

Impress the family with your Roasted Chicken (see tip). Serve the chicken with Scalloped Potatoes (from frozen), Roasted Red Onions with Basil (see recipe) and dinner rolls. For dessert, Chocolate Meringue Pie is a family favorite.

Plan ahead: save enough chicken and pie for Monday.

Tip: buy a 4- to 6-pound chicken for plenty of leftovers.

Monday (Heat and Eat)

Transform the leftover chicken into Chicken Jambalaya. Follow the directions for an 8-ounce jambalaya mix and add 4 ounces diced ham. Stir in 1 (10-ounce) package frozen (thawed) sliced okra and simmer 10 more minutes. Add 2 cups diced cooked chicken; mix well. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Serve with a mixed green salad and a baguette. Slice the leftover pie for dessert.

Tuesday (Kids)

Buy frozen Black Bean Burgers for kids’ night. Serve on toasted whole-grain buns and top with their favorites such as shredded lettuce, salsa and Mexican-blend shredded cheese. Serve with oven fries (from frozen). For dessert, red and green grapes are fun.

Wednesday (Express)

We loved this super-easy Shepherd’s Pie (see recipe). Serve it with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain bread. For dessert, try your favorite flavor of ice cream sandwiches.

Thursday (Budget)

Keep the slow cooker busy today with Sausage and Sauerkraut with Potatoes: in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place 1 (12- to 14-ounce) package reduced-fat kielbasa (cut into chunks), 2 pounds refrigerated sauerkraut (rinsed and drained), 1 teaspoon caraway seeds, 4 halved medium red potatoes, 1 sliced medium onion and 2/3 cup water. Stir, cover and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Serve warm.

Alongside, add pickled beets and pumpernickel bread. Chunky applesauce is dessert.

Friday (Meatless)

Forget meat tonight and enjoy Fettuccine with Blue Cheese: cook 12 ounces fettuccine according to directions. Add 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas the last 3 minutes of cooking; drain. To same pot, add 1/4 cup half-and-half, 1 cup 1% milk, 2 Tablespoons chopped green onions, and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 1 minute. Return fettuccine and peas to pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese; toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Add a Romaine Salad and garlic bread. Enjoy Peach Sorbet for dessert.

Plan ahead: save enough sorbet for Saturday.

Saturday (Easy Entertaining)

Entertain your guests with Italian Pork Roast with Roasted Potato Wedges on the menu: heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub 3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning over 1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast. Place roast in a shallow pan and roast 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cut 4 medium unpeeled potatoes into wedges; place potatoes and 1/4 cup Italian dressing in a resealable plastic bag and toss to coat. Discard marinade; arrange potatoes around pork roast and roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature of roast reaches 145 degrees and potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and let pork stand 3 to 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with Mediterranean Braised Green Beans (see recipe). Add crusty bread. For dessert, leftover Peach Sorbet with butter cookies is light.


Servings: makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour; standing time: about 1 hour

2 1/4 pounds small red onions, quartered, then peeled

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (according to taste)

4 cups packed fresh basil leaves

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place the onions in a roasting pan, pour oil over all and scatter with fennel seeds, tossing to coat thoroughly. Roast 1 hour or until soft and cooked through. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with vinegar; toss gently and let stand 1 hour or to room temperature. At serving time, add basil leaves; toss again. This is a lot of basil, but consider the basil as a salad leaf, not a decoration.

Per serving: 139 calories, 2 grams protein, 10 grams fat (59% calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 127 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

SHEPHERD’S PIE (Wednesday)

Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 35 minutes

1 pound 95% lean ground beef

1 (16-ounce) package frozen peas and carrots

1 cup frozen chopped onions

2 Tablespoons water

1 (10 1/2-ounce) can mushroom gravy

1 (8-ounce) package any frozen mashed potatoes, thawed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef 6 minutes or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, microwave peas and carrots, onions and water 10 minutes on high (100% power); drain. Add gravy and cooked beef; mix well and microwave 3 minutes on high. Spoon into a 2 1/2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread potatoes evenly over mixture. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are browned and mixture is bubbly.

Per serving: 322 calories, 29 grams protein, 9 grams fat (25% calories from fat), 3.3 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 68 milligrams cholesterol, 665 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.


Servings: makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch cayenne pepper

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2- to 3-inch pieces

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained and liquid reserved, chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Red wine vinegar

Heat 3 Tablespoons oil in Dutch oven on medium until shimmering. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic and cayenne pepper; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add water, baking powder and green beans; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, reserved liquid, tomato paste, salt and black pepper. Stir in parsley and season with vinegar to taste. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil and serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 162 calories, 3 grams protein, 12 grams fat (60% calories from fat), 1.6 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 489 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

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.

About the Author