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story.lead_photo.caption Gwynn Galvin,

SUNDAY: Family night

Spicier meals may keep the family warm during colder weather, just like this Cajun pork roast. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Rub all sides of one (3-pound) well-trimmed boneless pork loin with Cajun seasoning. Place in a shallow roasting pan and roast 1-11/2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve the juicy pork with roasted red potatoes and carrots.

Alongside, add this colorful spiced pomegranate and orange salad: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, a pinch of coarse ground pepper and a pinch of coarse salt. Toss 8 cups salad greens with the vinaigrette in a large bowl. Divide mixture among six plates. Top each salad with about five orange sections and 1 tablespoon pomegranate arils (seeds).

Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, pound cake with blueberries will be welcome.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pork for Monday.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless pork loin, Cajun seasoning, red potatoes, carrots, pomegranate juice, olive oil, white wine vinegar, allspice, ground mustard, coarse ground pepper, coarse salt, salad greens, oranges, pomegranate arils (seeds), whole-grain rolls, pound cake, blueberries.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

Shred and heat 2 cups of the leftover pork, mix with 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, spoon down center of whole-grain flour tortillas and call it barbecue pork tortillas. Serve with guacamole on shredded lettuce and canned reduced-sodium pinto beans. For dessert, pineapple chunks are easy.

PLAN AHEAD: If time permits, make Tuesday's soup tonight.

SHOPPING LIST: your favorite barbecue sauce, whole-grain flour tortillas, guacamole, lettuce, canned reduced-sodium pinto beans, pineapple chunks.

TUESDAY: Meatless meal

Stay warm with black bean soup (see recipe). Serve it over packaged yellow rice. Chop some red bell pepper and add to deli coleslaw for a little color and extra vitamin C. Serve with crackers. Plums are a simple dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Buy enough coleslaw for Friday.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, onion, garlic, cumin, dried oregano, chili powder, unsalted vegetable broth, sliced fresh mushrooms, fresh carrots, no-salt-added tomato sauce, canned reduced-sodium black beans, bay leaves, limes, packaged yellow rice, red bell peppers, deli coleslaw, crackers, plums.

WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite

Children will go for sloppy joe pockets (see recipe). Add oven fries (from frozen) and green beans. Sliced kiwi is good for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lean ground beef, onion, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, canned no-salt-added tomato sauce, brown sugar, less-sodium Worcestershire sauce, refrigerated Grands biscuits (or another brand), butter, frozen oven fries, green beans, kiwis.

THURSDAY: Budget dining

Your food budget is safe and your taste buds will be happy eating unstuffed cabbage. In a Dutch oven, cook 12 ounces lean ground beef, one small chopped onion and one clove minced garlic 6 minutes on medium or until beef is no longer pink and onion is softened. Add 1 cup water, 8 cups chopped cabbage, one (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, 11/2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar, 11/2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes or until cabbage is tender. Serve with boiled potatoes sprinkled with chopped parsley, mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. Tropical fruit is good for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lean ground beef, onion, garlic, cabbage, canned crushed tomatoes, dark brown sugar, cider vinegar, coarse salt, pepper, potatoes to boil, parsley, mixed greens, whole-grain rolls, tropical fruit.

FRIDAY: Express cooking

Pan-fry a ham steak for dinner and bake sweet potato wedges to go alongside. Serve with leftover deli coleslaw and cornbread (from mix). Chunky applesauce is a perfect dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: ham steak, sweet potatoes to bake, cornbread mix, chunky applesauce.

SATURDAY: Entertain the family

Your family will enjoy the flavors of Indian cuisine with authentic tandoori chicken (see recipe).

Serve with cucumber-mint sauce for a refreshing accent to the fragrant chicken: Mix together 1 cup plain yogurt, 3/4 cup seedless diced cucumber, five chopped fresh mint leaves, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and a pinch of coarse ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until serving time.

Serve the combo with basmati rice, sugar snap peas, a baby arugula salad and naan. Rice pudding with pistachios is the perfect dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: plain yogurt, turmeric, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, garlic, ground ginger, lemons, canola oil, coarse salt, black pepper, boneless skinless chicken thighs, cooking spray, cilantro, mango chutney, seedless cucumber, fresh mint, basmati rice, sugar snap peas, baby arugula salad greens, naan, rice pudding with pistachios.

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: 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon chili powder

2 (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup thinly sliced fresh carrots

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

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

2 bay leaves

2-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Cook onion and garlic 4 minutes or until onions are softened. Add cumin, oregano, chili powder, broth, mushrooms, carrots, tomato sauce, beans and bay leaves. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 45 minutes. Stir in lime juice and simmer 10 more minutes. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Per serving: 133 calories, 7 grams protein, 1 gram fat (9% calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 213 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.


Makes: 8 pockets

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15-18 minutes

1 pound lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

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

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons less-sodium Worcestershire sauce

1 (16.3-ounce) tube refrigerated Grands biscuits (or another brand)

1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high and cook ground beef, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until beef is browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato sauce, brown sugar and Worcestershire and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let mixture cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. (I recommend transferring mixture to a bowl to cool faster.) Heat oven to 350 degrees. On lightly floured surface, roll each biscuit into a 5 1/2-inch diameter circle. Arrange filling (about a heaping 1/4 cup per pocket) in lower center of each dough circle to within 1 inch of edge. Fold dough over filling to make a pocket and seal edges with fork. Arrange pockets on baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter. Bake 15-18 minutes or until golden and baked through.

Per pocket: 287 calories, 16 grams protein, 11 grams fat (34% calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 35 milligrams cholesterol, 753 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes; marinating time: 1 to 6 hours

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

1 cup plain yogurt

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons paprika

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 teaspoon ground ginger

Juice from 1 lemon

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs

Lemon slices, chopped cilantro and mango chutney for garnish, as desired

In a glass dish or resealable plastic bag, combine the yogurt, turmeric, cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Make shallow cuts in the thighs with a sharp knife. Add the thighs to the marinade and rub it into the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 1-6 hours. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil and coat with cooking spray. Arrange the thighs on the pan. Roast 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees. Serve with desired garnishes.

Per serving: 251 calories, 26 grams protein, 13 grams fat (45% calories from fat), 1.8 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 109 milligrams cholesterol, 392 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 0.5.

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