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SUNDAY: Family Day

For family day, grill pork chops your way.

This summer potato salad is a great accompaniment: Gently toss together cooked, quartered small red potatoes with any cooked tiny green peas, refrigerated pesto and lemon juice. Sprinkle with crumbled cooked bacon. Add tomato wedges, deviled eggs and whole-grain bread. Finish with blackberry cobbler.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cobbler for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: pork chops to grill, red potatoes, tiny green peas, refrigerated pesto, lemon, bacon, tomatoes, deviled eggs, whole-grain bread, blackberry cobbler.

MONDAY: Budget dining

Chicken stuffed potatoes (see recipe) are easy on the food budget and the cook. Serve the spuds with a spinach salad and bread sticks. Enjoy cherries for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Bake extra potatoes and save some of the chicken mixture for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: potatoes to bake, olive oil, green onions, fennel seeds, ground chicken breast, red bell pepper, Sriracha sauce, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh spinach, bread sticks, cherries.

TUESDAY: Heat and eat

Tonight's chicken wraps are easy. Heat the leftover chicken and spoon onto each of four warm flour tortillas. Fold end and sides of each tortilla; garnish with reduced-fat sour cream and chopped chives.

Cut the leftover baked potatoes into wedges. Coat with cooking spray and a little chili powder and bake in a 425-degree oven until hot. Add fresh steamed zucchini. For dessert, heat the leftover cobbler and top it with vanilla ice cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: flour tortillas, reduced-fat sour cream, chives, cooking spray, chili powder, fresh zucchini, vanilla ice cream.

WEDNESDAY: Express cooking

For all the sandwich lovers, here's the BLTP sandwich (see recipe) that is sure to please. Serve with baked chips. How about blueberries for dessert?

SHOPPING LIST: reduced fat cream cheese, 50 percent light sharp cheddar cheese, low-fat mayonnaise, jar diced pimento peppers, coarse salt, black pepper, brioche, heart of romaine, tomatoes, bacon, baked chips, blueberries.

THURSDAY: Kids favorite

Children will love stovetop penne pasta, and so will you. Cook 12 ounces penne pasta according to directions; add one (12-ounce) package fresh broccoli florets the last 4 minutes of cooking. Mix one (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce and 1/2 cup (of 1 cup total) part-skim ricotta cheese in a large pan; cook on medium-low until hot. Drain pasta and broccoli; return to pot. Add sauce mixture to pasta and mix well. Immediately add 4 ounces diced part-skim mozzarella, 3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan. Stir until mozzarella melts. Transfer to serving bowl; sprinkle with more chopped parsley and more parmesan. Top with dollops of remaining 1/2 cup plain ricotta.

Serve with carrot salad and soft rolls. Try Popsicles for a cool dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: penne pasta, packaged fresh broccoli florets, jar marinara sauce, part-skim ricotta cheese, part-skim mozzarella, fresh parsley, parmesan, carrot salad, soft rolls, Popsicles.

FRIDAY: Meatless meal

Make peppery egg heroes for a quick no-meat meal. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add one large chopped sweet onion and cook, covered, 8 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together eight eggs, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Add one chopped red bell pepper to onion in skillet. Pour eggs over vegetables; cover and cook 8 minutes or until almost set, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded provolone cheese; cover and cook 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Spoon mixture into four split hero or sandwich rolls.

Serve with corn on the cob and a lettuce wedge. Slice honeydew melon for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, sweet onion, eggs, coarse salt, black pepper, red bell pepper, provolone cheese, hero or sandwich rolls, corn on the cob, lettuce, honeydew melon.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Greek-style shrimp with cannellini beans (see recipe) is perfect for guests. Serve it with mixed greens and a baguette.

Baked bananas make an excellent finish to a wonderful meal: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut four medium bananas crosswise in half; cut each half lengthwise in half. Place cut sides up in a 9-by-9-inch baking dish. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon allspice; brush mixture over bananas. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup packed brown sugar. Bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until bananas are hot. Spoon into dessert dishes. Top with leftover vanilla ice cream.

SHOPPING LIST: medium uncooked shrimp, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes, fresh or frozen green beans, Kalamata olives, olive oil, lemons, garlic, pepper, dried oregano, crumbled Greek feta cheese, mixed greens, baguette, bananas, butter, lemon, allspice, packed brown sugar.

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: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

4 baking potatoes (6-8 ounces each)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 bunch green onions, sliced, 1/4 cup dark green tops reserved

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 pound ground chicken breast

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce (see note)

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Pierce and microwave potatoes on folded paper towels 5 minutes per pound total weight. Place potatoes in oven (to crisp skins) and bake 5-8 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Remove from oven. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil. Add onion and fennel seeds and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chicken, red pepper and sauce. Cook 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink throughout; stir occasionally. To assemble: Split each potato and fill with chicken mixture. Top with sour cream; garnish with sliced green onion tops.

Note: Sriracha is a generic name for a Thai hot sauce made from sun-ripened chilies and garlic. (Si Racha is a town in Thailand.)

Per serving: 374 calories, 30 grams protein, 10 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 3.5 grams saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 88 milligrams cholesterol, 220 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.


Makes: 4 sandwiches

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: for the bacon

4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups shredded 50 percent light sharp cheddar cheese

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons diced pimento peppers (from jar)

Coarse salt and black pepper

8 slices toasted brioche

1 heart of romaine, halved, leaves separated

4 thick slices tomato

8 slices cooked bacon

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese with cheddar and mayonnaise. Using a spatula, stir until smooth and combined. Stir in pimento peppers. Salt and pepper to taste. To assemble each sandwich, spread a portion of pimento cheese mixture on one slice of bread. Top with romaine and a slice of tomato. Sprinkle tomato with salt and pepper and arrange two slices of bacon on top. Add the top piece of bread, cut sandwich in half and repeat for other three sandwiches. (Adapted from "The Secret Ingredient Cookbook," Kelly Senyei, HMH.)

Per serving: 325 calories, 15 grams protein, 16 grams fat (45% calories from fat), 7.4 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 60 milligrams cholesterol, 695 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

1 pound medium peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp

1 (15- to 19-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium cannellini beans

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

6 ounces fresh or frozen green beans, thawed and halved

1/4 cup sliced Kalamata olives

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon each pepper and dried oregano

Crumbled Greek feta cheese and lemon wedges for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss to coat. Lay 4 (16-inch) pieces heavy-duty foil on counter. Divide shrimp mixture evenly and spoon onto foil. Bring opposite sides together, double-fold foil in middle. Repeat with other sides. Place packets, sealed side up, on a large rimmed baking pan. Bake 15 minutes; open one pack to check doneness of shrimp. If shrimp are not opaque throughout, reseal packet and bake 5 more minutes or until cooked through. Transfer contents to plates; sprinkle with feta and serve with lemon wedges.

Per serving: 289 calories, 22 grams protein, 11 grams fat (35% calories from fat), 1.5 grams saturated fat, 26 grams carbohydrate, 143 milligrams cholesterol, 633 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.

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