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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board

SUNDAY: Family day

Make family day special with your own roast lamb. Serve it with couscous and raisins (toss in some raisins when you're boiling the water for the couscous) and these baked artichokes: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a pie plate with cooking spray. Drain, quarter and pat dry quartered artichokes from two (14-ounce) cans. Place in plate; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice. In small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, one clove minced garlic and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Sprinkle mixture over artichokes. Bake 15 minutes or until golden.

Add mixed greens and sourdough bread to round out the meal. Top apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cobbler for Monday, enough lamb for Tuesday and enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: lamb to roast, couscous, raisins, cooking spray, canned quartered artichokes, lemon, walnuts, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, olive oil, salad greens, sourdough bread, apple cobbler, vanilla ice cream.

MONDAY: Meatless meal

With winter just around the corner, Cuban beans (see recipe) will hit the no-meat- tonight spot. Serve over brown rice. Add sliced avocados and Cuban bread. Warm the leftover cobbler and garnish it with light whipped cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Prepare enough rice for Tuesday and Friday.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, garlic, canned reduced-sodium black beans, cumin, dried oregano, smoked or regular paprika, pepper, frozen stir-fry peppers with onion, brown rice, avocados, Cuban bread, light whipped cream.

TUESDAY: Heat and eat

Enjoy the leftover lamb in barbecue lamb pita pizza. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 2 cups finely chopped cooked leftover lamb, 1 cup any barbecue sauce and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper. Divide and spread mixture on four whole-grain pita breads (5-7 inches); top each pita with 1/2 slice pineapple and shredded provolone cheese. Bake until hot and cheese is melted. Cut each pita into wedges. Serve with leftover rice and sliced cucumbers. Enjoy peaches for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: any barbecue sauce, cayenne pepper, whole-grain pita bread, sliced pineapple, provolone cheese, cucumbers, peaches.

WEDNESDAY: Budget dining

It's not expensive, but you'd never know that with the good flavor of chicken with potatoes, carrots and pearl onions (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain bread. For dessert, how about pears?

SHOPPING LIST: bone-in skinless chicken thighs, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, pepper, red potatoes, frozen pearl onions, baby carrots, sliced crimini mushrooms, unsalted chicken broth, lettuce, whole-grain bread, pears.

THURSDAY: Express cooking

Make it quick tonight with tuna salad (deli) on whole-grain bread sandwiches and serve with baked chips. Add a lettuce and tomato salad. For dessert, try red and green grapes.

SHOPPING LIST: deli tuna salad, whole-grain bread, baked chips, lettuce, tomatoes, red and green grapes.

FRIDAY: Kids favorite

Make the children happy and prepare one of their favorites, Mexican burritos. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a medium skillet on medium heat. Add 1/2 cup finely chopped onion; cook 3 minutes or until tender. Stir in 2 cups cubed cooked chicken or turkey breast, one packet any less-sodium taco seasoning mix and 1/2 cup salsa. Bring to boil. Cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese and 1 cup cooked leftover rice. Divide mixture among eight (8-inch) whole-grain heated tortillas. Roll to close. Top with shredded lettuce and more salsa. Serve with reduced-sodium pinto beans and carrot sticks. For dessert, plums are easy.

SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, onion, cooked chicken or turkey breast, any less-sodium taco seasoning mix, salsa, light cheddar cheese, whole-grain tortillas, lettuce, reduced-sodium pinto beans, carrot sticks, plums.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

No matter the season, your guests will enjoy garden herb strip steaks (see recipe). Serve with roasted red potatoes, a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. Scoop the leftover ice cream and top it with chocolate sauce and toasted coconut for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: fresh thyme, fresh oregano, lemon, garlic, pepper, boneless beef sirloin or strip steaks, coarse salt, red potatoes, Romaine, whole-grain rolls, chocolate sauce, coconut.

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.

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CUBAN BEANS (Monday)

Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

2 teaspoons canola oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

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

1 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 pound frozen stir-fry peppers with onion

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to boil; cover and reduce heat. Cook 10 minutes until vegetables are tender and flavors have blended.

Per serving: 232 calories, 12 grams protein, 3 grams fat (9% calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 217 milligrams sodium, 15 gram fiber. Carb count: 3.

CHICKEN WITH POTATOES, CARROTS AND PEARL ONIONS (Wednesday)

Makes: 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6-7 hours on low

8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds), well-trimmed

2 teaspoons herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 to 2 pounds halved, small red potatoes

1 cup frozen pearl onions

1 cup baby carrots

8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms

3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth

Rub chicken with herbs de Provence, garlic powder and pepper. Place chicken in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with potatoes, onions, carrots and mushrooms. Pour broth over all. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours or until chicken is 165 degrees and vegetables are tender.

Per serving: 331 calories, 31 grams protein, 11 grams fat (30% calories from fat), 3.0 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 96 milligrams cholesterol, 130 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.

GARDEN HERB STRIP STEAKS (Saturday)

Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 11-15 minutes

SEASONING

2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon peel

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 teaspoon pepper

STEAKS

2 boneless beef strip steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 10 ounces each)

Coarse salt to taste

Combine seasoning ingredients in small bowl; reserve 2 teaspoons for garnish. Press remaining seasoning evenly onto beef steaks. Place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 14 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 11 to 15 minutes) for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally. Carve steaks into slices. Sprinkle with reserved seasoning and salt, as desired.

Per serving: 202 calories, 29 grams protein, 8 grams fat (38% calories from fat), 3.4 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 61 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 0.

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