SUNDAY: Family night
What better way to enjoy family time than with Kona pineapple chicken kebabs (see recipe) on the menu? Serve the summer combo with rice and a spinach salad. Add biscuits. For dessert, buy or make a carrot cake.
PLAN AHEAD: Double the kebab recipe and save half for Monday; also save some rice for Monday.
SHOPPING LIST: boneless skinless chicken breasts, canned pineapple juice, canola oil, lime, sugar, fresh ginger, crushed red pepper, fresh pineapple, red bell pepper, rice, fresh spinach, biscuits, carrot cake.
Monday: Heat and eat
Make a chicken, rice and pineapple salsa wrap using Sunday's leftovers. Chop and heat the chicken and add some rice. Spoon onto a whole-grain flour tortilla and top with the chopped pineapple mixed with red salsa; roll and eat. Serve with fresh corn-on-the-cob and deli coleslaw. A cantaloupe wedge makes a refreshing dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain flour tortillas, red salsa, fresh corn-on-the-cob, deli coleslaw, cantaloupe.
TUESDAY: Express cooking
Make dinner easy tonight and enjoy spaghetti with creamy tomato sauce. Heat 2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce with 3/4 cup half-and-half. Toss with cooked and drained spaghetti. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Serve with a packaged green salad and Italian bread. How about a brownie from the deli for dessert?
SHOPPING LIST: tomato-basil pasta sauce, half-and-half, spaghetti, parmesan cheese, packaged salad greens, Italian bread, deli brownie.
WEDNESDAY: Budget meal
Keep food costs down with grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches for dinner. Serve with lentil soup and a lettuce wedge. For dessert, peach ice cream is what summer is all about.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Friday.
SHOPPING LIST: any bread and any cheese for sandwiches, tomatoes, lentil soup, lettuce, peach ice cream.
THURSDAY: Kids favorite
Serve the children burritos for dinner, found in the frozen food case. Alongside, packaged Spanish rice goes well. Up the vitamin C and add some crunch with red bell pepper rings. For dessert, fresh pineapple with shredded coconut is good.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough coconut for Friday.
SHOPPING LIST: frozen burritos, packaged Spanish rice, red bell peppers, fresh pineapple, coconut.
FRIDAY: Meatless meal
Easy crustless spinach quiche (see recipe) gives you a healthy dose of calcium along with great flavor. Serve with couscous, a mixed green salad and whole-grain rolls. Top leftover ice cream with leftover toasted coconut.
SHOPPING LIST: cooking spray, canola oil, onion, frozen chopped spinach, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, eggs, reduced-fat cottage cheese, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, nutmeg, couscous, mixed greens, whole-grain rolls.
SATURDAY: Entertain the family
The family will welcome margarita beef (see recipe). Serve it with this orange salsa: In a medium bowl, combine two peeled and diced oranges, one small chopped red onion, one seeded and minced jalapeno pepper, 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano; mix well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
On the side, add brown rice, a baby romaine salad and sourdough bread. Buy a chocolate meringue pie for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: frozen orange juice concentrate, tequila, limes, fresh ginger, olive oil, garlic, coarse salt, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, beef top-round steak, oranges, red onion, fresh jalapeno pepper, fresh cilantro, brown rice, baby romaine, sourdough bread, chocolate meringue pie.
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. 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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KONA PINEAPPLE CHICKEN KEBABS (Sunday)
Makes: four kebabs
Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: less than 15 minutes
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (6-ounce) can pineapple juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon sugar
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 fresh pineapple, cut into 16 chunks
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 16 (1-inch) pieces
Cut chicken into 16 bite-size chunks. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pineapple juice, oil, lime zest and juice, sugar, ginger and red pepper until sugar dissolves. Add chicken; cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes. Thread alternating pieces of chicken, pineapple and bell pepper onto four metal skewers. Discard marinade. (Remember: Chicken will cook faster on metal skewers because metal will conduct heat). Heat your lightly greased grill or grill pan to medium-high. Grill kebabs 10-12 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes. Chicken is done when it feels firm to touch and internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Remove kebabs from grill; let stand 2-3 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 261 calories, 37 grams protein, 5 grams fat (16% calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 109 milligrams cholesterol, 200 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb choices: 1.
CRUSTLESS SPINACH QUICHE (Friday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 45 minutes; cooling time: 5 minutes
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
1 1/2 cups shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 egg whites
2 whole eggs
1/3 cup reduced-fat cottage cheese
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray. In a medium nonstick skillet, heat canola oil on medium-high. Add onion and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add spinach and stir 3 more minutes or until spinach is fully cooked; set aside. Sprinkle cheese in pie pan. Top with spinach mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk egg whites, whole eggs, cottage cheese, cayenne pepper, salt and nutmeg. Pour mixture over spinach. Bake 30-35 minutes or until set. Let stand 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.
Per serving: 225 calories, 24 grams protein, 12 grams fat (46% calories from fat), 5.6 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 116 milligrams cholesterol, 537 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb choices: 0.5.
MARGARITA BEEF (Saturday)
Makes: 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes; marinating time: 6 hours to overnight
Cooking time: 16-18 minutes
2/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup tequila or water
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-pound) beef top-round steak, cut 1 inch thick
In a small bowl, combine the orange juice concentrate, tequila or water, lime juice, ginger, oil, garlic, salt, oregano and cayenne pepper; mix well. Place beef in a resealable plastic bag; add marinade and turn to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 6 hours to overnight; turn occasionally. Remove steak; discard marinade. Grill steak, uncovered, 16 to 18 minutes for medium-rare doneness (145 degrees), turning occasionally. Carve into thin slices and serve.
Per serving: 185 calories, 25 grams protein, 8 grams fat (41% calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 370 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb choices: 0.