SUNDAY: Family night
Plan to relax on family day and buy an easy-to-prepare spiral-sliced ham. Add German potato salad and coleslaw from the deli, along with pickled beets and rye bread.
Make blueberry-vanilla napoleons for dessert: In a large bowl, beat one (3.4-ounce) package vanilla instant pudding mix into 11/2 cups cold 1 percent milk for 2 minutes or until well-blended; let stand 5 minutes. Add 1/3 cup pudding to a small bowl; cover and refrigerate. Into the remaining pudding, fold 1 cup (of 11/3 cups total) fresh blueberries. Reserve remaining blueberries. Thaw one (13/4-ounce) frozen pound cake and cut into 12 thin slices; toast until golden. Place one slice on each of six dessert plates. Spoon blueberry-pudding mixture onto slices, dividing evenly. Top each piece with another slice of cake. Garnish with reserved pudding and reserved blueberries. Serve immediately.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ham, coleslaw and blueberries for Monday. Save enough ham for Wednesday.
SHOPPING LIST: spiral-sliced ham, deli German potato salad, deli coleslaw, pickled beets, rye bread, vanilla instant pudding mix, 1 percent milk, fresh blueberries, frozen pound cake.
MONDAY: Heat and eat
Use some of the leftover ham for delicious ham, asparagus and Swiss quiche (see recipe). Serve with leftover coleslaw and crusty rolls. Keep dessert light with leftover blueberries.
SHOPPING LIST: refrigerated pie crust, butter, onion, fresh asparagus, tomatoes, eggs, 1 percent milk, nutmeg, hot sauce, reduced-fat Swiss cheese, crusty rolls.
TUESDAY: Express cooking
For an easy meal, buy a packaged Mexican dinner kit and follow the directions. Serve with reduced-sodium rinsed pinto beans and guacamole. Fresh pineapple spears are good for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: Mexican dinner kit (such as Old El Paso or another brand), reduced-sodium pinto beans, guacamole, fresh pineapple spears.
WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite
Treat the kids to macaroni and cheese with ham by stirring cubed leftover ham into hot macaroni and cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes to heat through. Add baby carrots on the side for some crunch, along with bread sticks. Strawberries are good for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough carrots for Friday.
SHOPPING LIST: macaroni and cheese, baby carrots, bread sticks, strawberries.
THURSDAY: Meatless meal
Spicy cheese and rice bake (see recipe) has plenty of flavor without any fuss. Serve it with a spinach salad with thinly sliced red onion and toasted walnuts. Add whole-grain bread. How about some juicy fresh apricots for dessert?
SHOPPING LIST: cooking spray, canned diced tomatoes with green chilies, reduced-fat sour cream, rice, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, pickled jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro, fresh spinach, red onion, walnuts, whole-grain bread, fresh apricots.
FRIDAY: Budget dining
We can't get enough tomatoes during the summer, so tomato basil fettuccine (see recipe) is welcome and easy on the budget. Add garlic bread and leftover baby carrots. Watermelon wedges are a messy, fun dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: fettuccine, butter, Vidalia onion, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, cherry tomatoes, dry white wine, fresh basil, garlic bread, watermelon.
SATURDAY: Entertain the family
Treat the family as you would guests when you serve them your grilled tuna tonight. Add packaged long-grain and wild rice. Summery sliced tomatoes garnished with fresh basil and drizzled with olive oil is our favorite salad. Add a baguette. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: tuna to grill, packaged long-grain and wild rice, tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, baguette, 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. 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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HAM, ASPARAGUS AND SWISS QUICHE (Monday)
Makes: 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50- 60 minutes
1 refrigerated piecrust (from a 15-ounce package)
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, sliced
8 ounces fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces ham, cubed
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup 1 percent milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash hot sauce
8 ounces shredded reduced-fat Swiss cheese
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Use a 10-inch quiche pan and prepare crust according to package directions for a one-crust pie. Trim excess dough and refrigerate pan. In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter on medium-low and cook onion and asparagus 5 minutes or until softened. Reduce heat to low. Add ham and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in tomatoes. In a separate bowl, combine eggs, milk, nutmeg and hot sauce. Spoon ham mixture into prepared piecrust. Add Swiss cheese and pour egg mixture over all. Bake 45-55 minutes or until center is set.
Per serving: 428 calories, 27 grams protein, 27 grams fat (54 percent calories from fat), 12 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 145 milligrams cholesterol, 751 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb choices: 1.5.
SPICY CHEESE AND RICE BAKE (Thursday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 35-40 minutes, plus rice
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies
6 ounces reduced-fat sour cream
4 cups cooked rice
4 ounces grated 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons sliced pickled jalapeno peppers
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes and sour cream. Layer half of rice, half of tomato mixture and half of cheese in the baking dish. Repeat layers. Bake 35-40 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and casserole is bubbly. Garnish with jalapeno peppers and cilantro.
Per serving: 359 calories, 15 grams protein, 10 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 6.4 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 759 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb choices: 3.5.
TOMATO BASIL FETTUCCINE (Friday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: less than 10 minutes, plus pasta
8 ounces fettuccine
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup chopped Vidalia onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Cook pasta according to directions; reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter on medium-high and add onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes or just until softened. Add tomatoes and cook 2 minutes or just until tomatoes begin to wilt. Add wine; cook 1 minute. Stir in reserved pasta water and remaining butter and cook until sauce forms. Stir in fresh basil and cooked pasta, tossing until evenly coated; cook 1 minute or until heated through. (Adapted from www.swirlsofflavor.com.)
Per serving: 366 calories, 9 grams protein, 13 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 7.5 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 359 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb choices: 3.5.