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story.lead_photo.caption Curried leek and vegetable soup is kind on the wallet but full of savory and health goodness. Photo by Sharon Palmer for the Tomato Products Wellness Council (AMS)

SUNDAY: Family day

Use this simple marinade for grilled flank steak. In a resealable plastic bag, combine 1/2 cup dry red wine, 2 teaspoons lower-sodium soy sauce and 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme. Add one (11/4- to 11/2-pound) flank steak to bag, turn to coat and marinate overnight. Remove steak and discard marinade; pat steak dry. Grill 17-21 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness.

Serve with balsamic roasted onions: Heat oven to 300 degrees. In a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray, combine two large red onions cut into wedges, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce and 2 tablespoons sugar. Toss to coat. Bake, stirring often, 40 minutes or until onions are softened and lightly browned.

Add macaroni and cheese, a mixed green salad and apple turnovers to complete your meal.

PLAN AHEAD: Grill an extra (unmarinated) flank steak and save enough macaroni for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: dry red wine, lower-sodium soy sauce, dried thyme, flank steaks, cooking spray, red onions, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, coarse salt, sugar, macaroni and cheese, mixed greens, apple turnovers.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

There will be no fuss, no muss tonight with leftover flank steak, sliced thin and heated. Serve with leftover macaroni and cheese sprinkled with a little paprika. Add fresh broccoli and whole-grain bread. For dessert, fresh pineapple is refreshing.

SHOPPING LIST: paprika, fresh broccoli, whole-grain bread, fresh pineapple.

TUESDAY: Budget dining

Save some pennies tonight and serve curried leek vegetable soup (see recipe). Serve the savory combination with a lettuce wedge and warm whole-grain rolls on the side. Kiwis are good for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: reduced-sodium chicken broth, garlic, no-salt-added tomato sauce, leek, carrots, celery, zucchini, curry powder, crushed red pepper, cilantro, canned chicken breast, coarse salt, lettuce, whole-grain rolls, kiwis.

WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite

The children can't resist sloppy chicken pizza joes (see recipe). Serve the family favorite on toasted whole-grain sesame rolls and add a slice of provolone cheese to the bottom half of the bun. Add baked chips and cherry tomatoes alongside. For dessert, try plums.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, ground chicken or turkey breast, pizza sauce, frozen sweet pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables, canned diced tomatoes, whole-grain sesame rolls, provolone cheese, baked chips, cherry tomatoes, plums.

THURSDAY: Meatless meal

For a no-meat dinner, try penne with tomatoes, Kalamata olives and feta (see recipe). Serve with a spinach salad and garlic bread. Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh strawberries makes a good dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: penne or other pasta, olive oil, garlic, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, Greek feta cheese, fresh parsley, dried or fresh basil, parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, garlic bread, vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries.

FRIDAY: Express cooking

For a super-quick meal, buy a rotisserie chicken. Serve it with corn on the cob (sprinkle the corn with fresh lime juice to perk up the flavor) and add a packaged green salad. Grapes are a simple dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: any rotisserie chicken, corn on the cob, lime (if desired), packaged green salad, grapes.

SATURDAY: Entertain the family

Sesame grilled tuna is a family favorite. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 1/4 cup lower-sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons finely chopped green onions, 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, 2 teaspoons sesame oil (dark, if you have it) and 1 teaspoon chili oil. Add four (6-ounce) tuna steaks (about 3/4 inch thick). Toss to coat steaks; marinate at room temperature 10 minutes. Remove tuna; discard marinade. Grill on medium-high 2-4 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once.

Serve the tuna with brown rice, asparagus, mixed greens and crusty rolls. Top leftover ice cream with butterscotch sauce for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lower-sodium soy sauce, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, dark or regular sesame oil, chili oil, tuna steaks, brown rice, asparagus, mixed greens, crusty rolls, butterscotch sauce.

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 Read Susan's blog:

And check out Susan's book! "7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies" is on shelves now. Order yours on today!

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Makes: about 9 cups

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 40 minutes

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce

1 medium leek (green and white parts), chopped

1 medium carrot, sliced

2 ribs celery, sliced

2 medium zucchini, sliced

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Pinch coarse salt

1 (10- or 12-ounce) can chicken breast, drained

In a Dutch oven, combine broth, garlic, tomato sauce, leek, carrot, celery, zucchini, curry powder, crushed red pepper, cilantro and salt. Stir well; cover and bring to a simmer. Cook 40 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in chicken; heat through and serve.

Per serving: 70 calories, 7 grams protein, 1 gram fat (12 percent calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 199 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 0.5.


Makes: 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6-8 hours on low

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 to 2 1/2 pounds ground chicken or turkey breast

2 (14-ounce) jars pizza sauce

2 cups frozen sweet pepper and onion stir-fry vegetables (or other combination), thawed, drained and chopped

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet; add chicken or turkey and cook 5 minutes or until browned. Drain, if necessary. Spoon into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add pizza sauce, stir-fry vegetables and tomatoes. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Serve warm on buns.

Per serving: 211 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 0.9 gram saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 414 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.

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Makes: 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes, plus pasta

1 (13.25-ounce) box penne or other pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained

1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives

1/2 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

2 teaspoons dried basil (or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh)

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, heat oil on medium in a large nonstick skillet. Add garlic and tomatoes and cook 3 minutes or until heated through. Stir occasionally. Add mixture to pasta along with the olives, feta, parsley and basil. Gently toss to mix. Sprinkle each serving with parmesan.

Per serving: 254 calories, 9 grams protein, 7 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 241 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.

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