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

SUNDAY: Family day

Cooler days call for Mediterranean beef pot roast (see recipe) for your family. Serve the savory entree with mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, pair a yellow layer cake with coconut ice cream for an extra-special dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pot roast, vegetables and cake for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: boneless beef shoulder roast, all-purpose flour, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, onions, shallots, dates, coarse salt, pepper, potatoes to mash, carrots, mixed greens, whole-grain rolls, yellow layer cake, coconut ice cream.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

Use the leftover pot roast and vegetables for vegetable beef soup. Dice the meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces; combine in large pot with enough lower-sodium beef broth to cover, one (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Thin with water or broth as desired. Heat soup, ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add a lettuce wedge and crackers. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: lower-sodium beef broth, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, dried thyme, parmesan cheese, lettuce, crackers.

TUESDAY: Budget dining

Hold down food costs and enjoy a pepper cheese omelet. Cook two strips bacon; crumble and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add 2 cups refrigerated (or frozen and thawed) O'Brien potatoes (about half of a 20-ounce package); pat flat into skillet. Cook on low heat, uncovered, turning once, about 7 minutes or until crisp and brown. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together three whole eggs, three egg whites, 1/4 cup 1 percent milk, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and a dash of pepper. Pour over potatoes in skillet. Top with 1 cup shredded 50 percent light sharp cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Cook covered 5-7 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Loosen omelet from skillet; fold in half. Turn out of skillet onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges to serve. Serve with a spinach salad and bran muffins (from mix). Enjoy strawberries for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: bacon, canola oil, refrigerated or frozen O'Brien potatoes, eggs, 1 percent milk, coarse salt, pepper, 50 percent light sharp cheddar cheese, fresh spinach, bran muffin mix, strawberries.

WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite

Let the children help prepare monster burgers (see recipe). Serve the funny creations with oven fries (from frozen) and carrot salad. Tropical fruit is an easy dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: 93-95 percent lean ground beef, whole-grain burger buns, reduced-fat sliced American cheese, sliced deli ham, sliced dill pickles, ketchup, frozen oven fries, carrot salad, tropical fruit.

THURSDAY: Express cooking

Make it quick tonight with tuna melts. Spoon deli tuna salad onto whole-grain English muffins. Top tuna with sliced tomatoes and 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Broil until hot and cheese is melted. Serve with sweet red pepper soup. Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon are a crunchy finish.

SHOPPING LIST: deli tuna salad, whole-grain English muffins, tomatoes, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, sweet red pepper soup, apple slices, cinnamon.

FRIDAY: Meatless meal

Forget meat and enjoy seven-layer tortilla pie. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mash two (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans with a fork. Stir in 3/4 cup picante sauce and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder until blended. In another bowl, mix another 1/4 cup picante sauce, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, one (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans and 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes. Place one (of seven total) — 8-inch flour tortilla on a baking sheet. Spread 3/4 cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Top with 1/4 cup (of 2 cups total) shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Place another tortilla on top and spread with 3/4 cup black bean mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Repeat layers two more times. Top with last tortilla and the remaining pinto bean mixture. Cover with nonstick foil. Bake 40 minutes or until the filling is hot. Uncover; top with remaining cheese. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with additional picante sauce and cilantro on the side. Accompany the pie with brown rice and sliced avocados. Make flan (from mix) for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: canned reduced-sodium pinto beans, picante sauce, garlic powder, fresh cilantro, reduced-sodium black beans, tomatoes, flour tortillas, 50 percent light cheddar cheese, brown rice, avocados, flan mix.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

Serve your lucky guests roasted shrimp with spaghetti (see recipe). Add an arugula salad and garlic bread. Top leftover ice cream with warm fudge sauce and toasted slivered almonds.

SHOPPING LIST: whole-wheat spaghetti, olive oil, grape tomatoes, coarse salt, pepper, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, uncooked medium shrimp, packaged fresh baby spinach, crumbled Greek feta cheese, fresh dill, arugula, garlic bread, fudge sauce, slivered almonds.

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: 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 3 hours

1 boneless beef shoulder roast (2 1/2-3 pounds)

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 small onions, halved and sliced

4 medium shallots, sliced

1/4 cup chopped dates

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat roast with flour. Heat oil in Dutch oven on medium. Brown roast evenly; remove from Dutch oven. Add water and vinegar to Dutch oven; cook and stir until brown bits attached to pan are dissolved. Return roast. Add onions, shallots, dates, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook in oven 2 1/4 to 3 1/4 hours or until roast is fork-tender. Remove roast; keep warm. Cook liquid and vegetables over medium-high heat to desired consistency. Carve roast. Serve with sauce.

Per serving: 316 calories, 36 grams protein, 13 grams fat (37 percent calories from fat), 3.5 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 108 milligrams cholesterol, 232 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Carb count: 1.


Makes: 8 sandwiches

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 10-12 minutes

1 1/2 pounds 93-95 percent lean ground beef

8 whole-grain burger buns

8 slices (3/4 ounce each) reduced-fat American cheese

8 thin slices deli ham

16 slices dill pickle


Form beef into eight thin patties. Place on broiler pan. Broil patties along with bun tops 3-4 inches from heat 5-6 minutes per side or until burgers are no longer pink and buns are lightly browned. To assemble: Place bottom halves of buns on serving platter. Place one cooked patty on each bun bottom. Cut each cheese slice in half in a zigzag pattern to look like teeth. Place half of cheese slice on burger, with "teeth" hanging off one side of patty. Loosely fold ham into tongue shape; place on top of "teeth." Place remaining cheese "teeth" on top of "tongue." Top with top halves of buns. Place two pickle slices on top for eyes. Dot "eyes" with ketchup for pupils.

Per serving: 315 calories, 30 grams protein, 11 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 5.1 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 978 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber. Carb count: 1.5.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes, plus pasta

8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1 pint grape tomatoes

1/8 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

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

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 (5- to 6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach

2 ounces crumbled Greek feta cheese

1/4 cup packed chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Cook spaghetti according to directions; reserve 1/4 cup cooking water. Drain, return pasta to pot. Line a large rimmed baking pan with nonstick foil. In pan, combine 2 teaspoons oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse. In medium bowl, toss beans, shrimp and remaining oil. Add to tomato mixture; stir to combine. Spread in a single layer and roast 5 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque throughout. Add spinach to cooked spaghetti in pot (add reserved water if pasta sticks together); toss to wilt spinach. Stir in shrimp mixture, feta and dill. Transfer to serving bowl; garnish with dill sprigs.

Per serving: 462 calories, 32 grams protein, 11 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 63 grams carbohydrate, 156 milligrams cholesterol, 519 milligrams sodium, 11 grams fiber. Carb count: 4.

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