SUNDAY: Family day
Show Mother you learned your lessons well and prepare her favorite — French toast (see tip). Add this delicious strawberry baby greens salad with buttery spiced pecans and strawberry basil balsamic vinaigrette (see recipe) alongside. Serve with Canadian bacon. End the celebration with Mother's Day cupcakes.
SHOPPING LIST: ingredients for your French toast (or frozen), butter, cinnamon, cumin, coarse salt, chipotle chili pepper, pecans, olive oil, strawberry preserves, white balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, black pepper, baby greens, strawberries, red onion, Canadian bacon, Mother's Day cupcakes.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cupcakes for Tuesday.
TIP: If the children are doing some of the cooking, Mom won't mind frozen French toast.
MONDAY: Budget dining
Try budget-friendly tuna noodle casserole (see recipe) tonight. Serve the comfort food star with steamed fresh broccoli and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy crunchy sliced apples for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough of the casserole for Tuesday.
SHOPPING LIST: no-yolk egg noodles, olive oil, onion, flour, 1 percent milk, reduced-fat cream cheese, Dijon mustard, pepper, frozen peas, sliced almonds, canned albacore tuna in water, cooking spray, fresh broccoli, whole-grain rolls, apples.
TUESDAY: Heat and eat
Your leftover tuna noodle casserole is ready to heat and eat. Serve it with a spinach salad and bread sticks. Have leftover cupcakes for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: fresh spinach, bread sticks.
WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite
The children will want seconds of pasta pizza pie (see recipe). Serve with carrot sticks. For dessert, sliced peaches are easy.
SHOPPING LIST: rotini pasta, canola oil, onion, sliced mushrooms, cooking spray, egg, 1 percent milk, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce, carrots, peaches.
THURSDAY: Express cooking
For a super-quick meal, chicken salad-stuffed avocados are as easy as can be. Halve ripe avocados; sprinkle with lemon juice and fill with deli chicken salad. Place on a bed of red-tipped lettuce and serve with hard-cooked egg and tomato wedges.
Add crusty rolls. Munch on oatmeal cookies for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: avocados, lemon, deli chicken salad, red-tipped lettuce, eggs, tomatoes, crusty rolls, oatmeal cookies.
FRIDAY: Meatless meal
You'll enjoy curried lentils for a meat-free meal: Cook 2 cups lentils according to directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil on medium. Add two medium chopped onions, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon dried coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, three whole cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; cook 10 minutes or until onions are softened, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup diced fresh or drained canned tomatoes and the drained lentils; simmer on low 3 minutes. Discard cloves. Stir in 1/3 cup sliced green onions and tops and 1/4 cup chopped fresh coriander, if desired.
Serve immediately with a Caesar salad and flatbread. How about instant vanilla pudding for dessert?
SHOPPING LIST: lentils, canola oil, onions, ground ginger, dried coriander, cumin, turmeric, garlic, coarse salt, whole cloves, cinnamon, crushed red pepper, fresh or canned tomatoes, green onions, fresh coriander if desired, Caesar salad, flatbread, instant vanilla pudding.
SATURDAY: Easy entertaining
Your guests will enjoy the flavor of these grilled lamb chops: Rub both sides of 12 lamb loin chops with olive oil, two mashed cloves garlic, chopped leaves from two sprigs fresh rosemary, some lemon juice and coarsely ground black pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate 4 hours. Season with coarse salt and additional pepper; grill 4-5 minutes per side or until desired doneness.
Serve with potatoes au gratin, green beans, a spinach salad and sourdough bread. Lemon meringue pie is the perfect ending to a delicious meal.
SHOPPING LIST: lamb loin chops, olive oil, garlic, fresh rosemary, lemon, pepper, coarse salt, potatoes au gratin, green beans, fresh spinach, sourdough bread, lemon meringue pie.
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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STRAWBERRY BABY GREENS SALAD WITH BUTTERY SPICED PECANS AND STRAWBERRY BASIL BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE (Sunday)
Makes: 10 cups
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 3 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chili pepper
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons strawberry preserves
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 cups baby greens
8 strawberries, trimmed and quartered, about 1 cup
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
In medium nonstick skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add cinnamon, cumin, 1/4 teaspoon salt and chipotle pepper. Stir in pecans. Cook until pecans are fragrant and lightly toasted, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Transfer to waxed paper; cool. In serving bowl, combine olive oil, strawberry preserves, vinegar, basil, black pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Whisk until blended. Add greens, strawberries, onion and pecans. Toss until evenly coated.
Per cup: 158 calories, 2 grams protein, 14 grams fat (73 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 3 milligrams cholesterol, 136 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 0.5.
TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE (Monday)
Makes: 8 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: less than 20 minutes, plus pasta; standing time: 5 minutes
8 ounces no-yolk egg noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons flour
2 3/4 cups 1 percent milk
4 ounces softened reduced-fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 (5-ounce) cans albacore tuna in water, drained and flaked
Heat broiler. Cook noodles according to directions; drain. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium; add oil to coat pan. Add onion; cook 4 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in milk; cook 7 minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk, until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard and pepper. Cook 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in noodles, peas, almonds and tuna. Spoon mixture into a broiler-safe 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Per serving: 297 calories, 18 grams protein, 11 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 269 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.
PASTA PIZZA PIE (Wednesday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 45 minutes, plus pasta; standing time: 5 minutes
2 cups rotini pasta
1 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup 1 percent milk
4 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 1/2 cups no-salt-added or regular marinara sauce
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to package directions. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes or until the onion is softened and the mushrooms have lost most of their liquid. Remove from heat; set aside. Coat a 12-inch pizza pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, mix the egg, milk, cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Spread the pasta mixture evenly on the pizza pan. Bake 20 minutes. Spread the marinara sauce over pasta "crust." Top with onion mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake 18 minutes or until cheese is melted and sauce is hot and bubbling. Let stand 5 minutes.
Per serving: 327 calories, 16 grams protein, 11 grams fat (30 percent calories from fat), 3.7 grams saturated fat, 41 grams carbohydrate, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 280 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.