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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

SUNDAY: Family day

Use your favorite recipe to make grilled pork chops for family day. Serve them with roasted red potatoes and this delicious simple tomato salad (see recipe). Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, top angel food cake with strawberry ice cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cake for Monday and enough ice cream for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: pork chops to grill, red potatoes, mixed ripe tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, shallot, lemon, salt, pepper, pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, whole-grain rolls, angel food cake, strawberry ice cream.

MONDAY: Meatless meal

Pasta pesto salad (see recipe) is just right for an easy, no-meat, summer dinner. Serve it with a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg slices and garlic bread. Leftover cake with hot fudge sauce is your dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: rotini pasta, walnuts, fresh basil, tomatoes, jar quartered artichokes, reduced-fat or regular pesto, parmesan, fresh spinach, eggs, garlic bread, hot fudge sauce.

TUESDAY: Express cooking

Here's a perfect time to use some more of those garden-fresh tomatoes for grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches. Use brie cheese and sourdough bread for a change. Buy or make white bean soup to go with the sandwiches. Leftover ice cream is a cool dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: tomatoes, brie cheese, sourdough bread, white bean soup.

WEDNESDAY: Budget dining

It's easy and tastes great, so why not enjoy Mexican chicken (see recipe) tonight? Serve with brown rice, guacamole and warm corn tortillas. How about a fresh peach for dessert?

PLAN AHEAD: Save some brown rice for Friday.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless skinless chicken breasts, garlic, salt, pepper, cumin, salsa, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, brown rice, guacamole, corn tortillas, fresh peaches.

THURSDAY: Kids favorite

Treat the children to turkey roll-ups. For each serving: Spread 1 tablespoon Thousand Island dressing on a multigrain wrap flatbread; layer with 2 ounces deli sliced turkey, 2/3 cup shredded lettuce and two thin slices of tomato. Roll; place seam side down on a cutting board and slice on the diagonal.

Serve with baked chips and petite green peas (from frozen). Kiwis are a fun dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save some peas for Friday.

SHOPPING LIST: Thousand Island dressing, multigrain wrap flatbread, deli sliced turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, baked chips, frozen petite green peas, kiwis.

FRIDAY: Heat and eat

For a quick dinner, try stuffed tomatoes: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Hollow out large tomatoes and fill with a mixture of leftover brown rice, finely chopped red onion, leftover green peas, crumbled Greek feta cheese and chopped parsley (all ingredients to taste). Drizzle with canola oil and bake 20-30 minutes or until heated through. If you don't want to heat your oven, cover the tomatoes with waxed paper and microwave 1-2 minutes per tomato on high. (Start with 1 minute per tomato.)

Serve with a packaged Caesar salad and whole-grain rolls. Make instant fat-free vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: tomatoes, red onion, Greek feta cheese, parsley, canola oil, packaged Caesar salad, whole-grain rolls, instant fat-free vanilla pudding mix, 1 percent milk.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Invite friends for parmesan herb-crusted flounder: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix 1/3 cup sliced almonds, 1/4 cup plain panko breadcrumbs, 3 tablespoons parmesan herb seasoning blend and 1/2 teaspoon paprika in a shallow dish. Brush four (4- to 6-ounce) flounder fillets with olive oil. Coat evenly with almond mixture. Place fish on nonstick foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout.

Serve with O'Brien potatoes (from frozen), asparagus, a Bibb salad and a baguette. Buy a carrot cake for dessert.

TIP: Substitute tilapia or red snapper for the flounder, if desired.

SHOPPING LIST: sliced almonds, panko breadcrumbs, parmesan herb seasoning blend, paprika, flounder fillets, olive oil, frozen O'Brien potatoes, asparagus, Bibb lettuce, baguette, carrot cake.

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 Amazon today!

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Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

1 1/2 pounds mixed ripe tomatoes, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced shallot

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons pine nuts

1 tablespoon fresh basil leaves

Arrange tomatoes on large, shallow platter. Whisk oil, shallot, lemon juice, salt and pepper together in bowl. Spoon dressing over tomatoes. Sprinkle with pine nuts and basil. Serve immediately. (Adapted from "The Complete Summer Cookbook," America's Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 142 calories, 3 grams protein, 12 grams fat (73 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 8 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 300 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 0.5.


Makes: about 6 1/2 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: for the pasta

6 ounces rotini pasta

1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes

1 6-ounce jar quartered artichokes, rinsed and drained

1/3 cup reduced-fat or regular pesto

2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; rinse and drain. In a large serving bowl, combine walnuts, basil, tomatoes and artichokes. Stir in pasta. Add pesto and cheese and toss to cover and mix. Refrigerate until serving time.

Per cup: 237 calories, 7 grams protein, 13 grams fat (46 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 5 milligrams cholesterol, 215 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.5.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: about 20 minutes

4 (4- to 6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

3/4 cup drained salsa

3/4 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Flatten chicken to an even thickness. Rub chicken with garlic, salt, pepper and cumin. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium high. Cook chicken 3 or 4 minutes per side or until browned. Transfer chicken to a shallow, rimmed nonstick foil-lined baking pan. Divide salsa and top each breast. Divide cheese and sprinkle over salsa. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and internal temperature of chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Per serving: 200 calories, 30 grams protein, 6 grams fat (29 percent calories from fat), 2.9 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 84 milligrams cholesterol, 578 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 0.

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