SUNDAY: Family day
Make it an easy family day and buy a smoked turkey breast. Serve it with cool and creamy macaroni salad (see recipe). Add green beans, sliced tomatoes and whole-grain rolls. Treat the family to carrot cake for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough turkey for Monday. Save enough macaroni salad and cake for Tuesday.
SHOPPING LIST: smoked turkey breast, elbow macaroni, coarse salt, red onion, celery, parsley or chives, lemon, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, low-fat mayonnaise, black pepper, green beans, tomatoes, whole-grain rolls, carrot cake.
MONDAY: Budget dining
Use the leftover turkey in turkey enchiladas (see recipe) for a great-tasting way to save food dollars. Serve it with sliced avocados on lettuce. How about fresh blueberries for dessert?
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough enchiladas for Thursday.
SHOPPING LIST: packaged sliced mushrooms, shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, red onion, canned diced green chiles, whole-grain tortillas, salsa, avocados, lettuce, blueberries.
TUESDAY: Express cooking
Visit the deli and buy roast beef sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes. Serve the sandwiches with leftover macaroni salad. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: deli roast beef sandwiches with lettuce and tomatoes.
WEDNESDAY: Meatless meal
Skip meat tonight for garlicky tomatoes with olives and whole-grain spaghetti (see recipe) for dinner. Serve it with a spinach salad and Italian bread. Peaches make an easy dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain spaghetti, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, pitted Kalamata olives, flat-leaf parsley, coarse salt, pepper, Greek feta cheese, fresh spinach, Italian bread, peaches.
THURSDAY: Heat and eat
Here's an easy dinner prep story: Heat the leftover enchiladas, add a packaged green salad and finish with fresh tropical fruit for dessert. The end.
SHOPPING LIST: packaged green salad, fresh tropical fruit.
FRIDAY: Kids favorite
The children will love walnut-crusted chicken tenders (and so will you!). Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together crumbs of six whole-grain crackers, 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; place in pie plate and set aside. In another pie plate, whisk one egg white until foamy. Place 3 tablespoons flour in third pie plate. Place a wire rack coated with cooking spray on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Coat chicken in flour, then in egg white and finally in cracker mixture. Lightly coat chicken on each side with cooking spray. Arrange chicken on wire rack; bake 18-20 minutes, turning after 12 minutes.
Serve with a carrot salad. Pears are a perfect dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain crackers, finely chopped walnuts, paprika, coarse salt, pepper, egg, flour, cooking spray, carrot salad, pears.
SATURDAY: Easy entertaining
Invite guests for simple and tasty herbed baked tilapia. Place four tilapia fillets on four pieces (12-by-18-inch) heavy-duty foil. Season with coarse salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Parmesan-herb seasoning mix. Bring up foil sides; double fold top and ends to tightly seal, leaving space for air circulation. Grill over medium-high heat 10-12 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.
Serve with your rice pilaf, fresh zucchini, a Bibb lettuce salad and crusty bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: tilapia fillets, coarse salt, pepper, Parmesan-herb seasoning mix, ingredients for rice pilaf, fresh zucchini, bibb lettuce, crusty bread, fruit tarts.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected] Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com.
COOL AND CREAMY MACARONI SALAD (Sunday)
Makes: 10 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes; resting time: about 15 minutes
Cooking time: for the pasta
1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni
1 tablespoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1 celery rib, minced
1/4 cup minced parsley or chives
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups low-fat mayonnaise
Black pepper to taste
Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in large pot. Add macaroni and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring often, according to directions. Drain; rinse with cold water; drain again, leaving macaroni slightly wet. Toss onion, celery, parsley, lemon juice, mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and macaroni together in a large bowl; let stand 2 minutes to let flavors meld. Stir in mayonnaise and let stand no longer than 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.
Per serving: 212 calories, 6 grams protein, 3 grams fat (14 percent calories from fat), 0.1 gram saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 399 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.
TURKEY ENCHILADAS (Monday)
Makes: 7 enchiladas
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: about 1 hour
1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms
3 to 4 cups shredded cooked turkey (see NOTE)
3 cups shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups reduced-fat sour cream
1/2 cup minced red onion
1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, drained
7 (7- to 8-inch) whole-grain tortillas
2 cups salsa
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave mushrooms on high 3 minutes; drain. In a large bowl, combine mushrooms, turkey, 2 1/2 cups cheese, sour cream, onion and chiles. Spoon about 1 cup of turkey mixture into each tortilla; roll. Place each roll, seam side down, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spread salsa on top. Cover with nonstick foil; bake 45-50 minutes or until bubbly and heated through. Remove cover; sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 5 more minutes or until cheese melts.
NOTE: If you don't have enough leftover turkey, used canned chicken breast.
Per serving: 466 calories, 38 grams protein, 19 grams fat (35 percent calories from fat), 9.9 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 113 milligrams cholesterol, 1,053 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.
GARLICKY TOMATOES WITH OLIVES AND WHOLE-GRAIN SPAGHETTI (Wednesday)
Makes: 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 5 minutes, plus pasta
1 (13.25-ounce) package whole-grain spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium seeded tomatoes (about 1 pound), coarsely chopped
3/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup packed flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain. Return to pot. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes and olives; cook 3 minutes or until tomatoes are softened and heated through. Add tomato mixture to spaghetti. Stir in remaining oil, parsley, salt and pepper. Sprinkle each serving with feta cheese as you serve.
Per serving: 384 calories, 11 grams protein, 16 grams fat (37 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 504 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.5.