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

SUNDAY: Family day

Enjoy the flavor and aroma of ancho roast pork tenderloin. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together 3/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice. Rub all over one (1- to 11/4-pound) pork tenderloin and place in pan. Combine 2 tablespoons jalapeno pepper jelly and 1 teaspoon lime juice; set aside. Roast pork 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Spread jelly mixture on pork the last 10 minutes of roasting. Remove from oven; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve the pork with black beans, a spinach salad and corn tortillas. For dessert, have fun with these crunchy butterscotch haystacks (see recipe).

PLAN AHEAD: Prepare an extra pork tenderloin and save enough beans for Monday. Save some haystacks for Tuesday.

SHOPPING LIST: ancho chile powder, coarse salt, sugar, cumin, ground allspice, pork tenderloins, jalapeno pepper jelly, lime, black beans, fresh spinach, corn tortillas, butterscotch chips (or chocolate or white chocolate chips), vegetable oil, chow mein noodles, dry-roasted salted peanuts.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

Pork wraps make good use of leftover pork. Slice and heat the extra pork tenderloin, lay slices on warm whole-grain tortillas and top with heated leftover beans, diced avocado and some low-fat sour cream. Roll and eat. Serve with brown rice. Fresh pineapple spears are dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: whole-grain tortillas, avocados, low-fat sour cream, brown rice, fresh pineapple spears.

TUESDAY: Kids favorite

The children can help you prepare turkey sloppy joes. Follow sloppy Joe package mix directions using ground turkey breast. Serve on toasted whole-grain buns and add deli carrot salad. Leftover haystacks are a kid kind of dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: sloppy Joe mix, ground turkey breast, whole-grain buns, deli carrot salad.

WEDNESDAY: Budget dining

Oven-fried chile chicken (see recipe) keeps food costs down. Serve with pinto beans, coleslaw and cornbread (from mix). Add pears for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: bran flakes, chipotle chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, 1 percent milk, boneless skinless chicken breasts, pinto beans, coleslaw, cornbread mix, pears.

THURSDAY: Meatless meal

You won't miss meat when you serve orzo pilaf with feta. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium. Add one large chopped onion. Cook 8 minutes or until softened. Stir in two (15-ounce) cans rinsed small white beans, 11/2 cups orzo pasta and 3 cups water. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Cover, cook 10-12 minutes or until orzo is tender and all water is absorbed. Garnish each serving with crumbled Greek feta cheese.

Serve with a packaged Caesar salad and flatbread. How about tapioca pudding (from mix) for dessert?

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough flatbread for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, onion, canned small white beans, orzo pasta, coarse salt, pepper, crumbled Greek feta cheese, packaged Caesar salad, flatbread, tapioca pudding mix.

FRIDAY: Express cooking

Make dinner quick tonight with a deli ham-and-cheese sandwich on whole-grain bread. Add any vegetable soup and a mixed green salad. Who can resist a bowl of vanilla ice cream for dessert?

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: deli ham-and-cheese sandwiches on whole-grain bread, any vegetable soup, mixed greens, vanilla ice cream.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Invite friends for Moroccan-flavored cod (see recipe). Serve with couscous tossed with green peas, Bibb lettuce and leftover flatbread. For dessert, top chocolate layer cake with leftover ice cream.

SHOPPING LIST: cod or halibut fillets, olive oil, pepper, onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, canned diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, couscous, green peas, Bibb lettuce, chocolate layer 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 today!

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Makes: about 20 haystacks

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 2-4 minutes; chilling time: 15 minutes

1 cup (6 ounces) butterscotch chips, see NOTE

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

3 ounces (1 1/2 cups) chow mein noodles

1/2 cup dry-roasted salted peanuts

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Microwave butterscotch chips in bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, 2-4 minutes or until melted and smooth. Stir in oil until combined. Using rubber spatula, gently fold in noodles and peanuts until evenly coated (avoid breaking noodles). Drop heaping 1-tablespoon portions of mixture onto prepared baking sheet in high mounds. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes; serve. (Adapted from "One-Hour Comfort," America's Test Kitchen.)

NOTE: Substitute chocolate or white chocolate chips, if desired.

One (1) haystack: 94 calories, 2 grams protein, 6 grams fat (53 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 57 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 0.5.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 50-55 minutes

3/4 cup bran flake crumbs

1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup 1 percent milk

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 6 ounces each)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. In a pie plate, mix together the cereal crumbs, chile powder, cumin and garlic powder. Pour milk into a second pie plate. Dip chicken into milk; shake off excess. Completely coat in crumb mixture; shake off excess. Place on baking sheet. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until golden and crispy and internal temperature is 165 degrees. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 246 calories, 40 grams protein, 5 grams fat (18 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 125 milligrams cholesterol, 158 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes

4 (4- to 5-ounce) cod or halibut fillets, thawed if frozen, see NOTE

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 medium onion, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid

1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick foil. Place fish on sheet; drizzle with half the oil and sprinkle with pepper. Bake 5 to 8 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat remaining oil on medium. Add onion; cover and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, cumin and cinnamon; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and olives; bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes to reduce slightly. Serve sauce with fish.

NOTE: For testing purposes, I used frozen cod.

Per serving: 196 calories, 21 grams protein, 8 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 9 grams carbohydrate, 49 milligrams cholesterol, 440 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 0.5.

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