SUNDAY: Family day
Pork tenderloin with ginger-peachy glaze (see recipe) is perfect for family day or even for entertaining. Serve the savory entree with couscous, green beans, a lettuce wedge salad and sourdough bread. A piece of lemon meringue pie is a delicious dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough pork for Monday; save enough pie for Tuesday.
SHOPPING LIST: less-sodium seasoned salt, dried thyme, pork tenderloins, cooking spray, all-fruit or sugar-free peach preserves, Worcestershire sauce, ground ginger, couscous, green beans, lettuce, sourdough bread, lemon meringue pie.
MONDAY: Heat and eat
Use the leftover pork for a quick stir fry. Heat a little canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok. Choose your favorite combination of frozen stir-fry vegetables and follow package directions for cooking. Mix in a stir-fry sauce and some leftover cooked pork, cut into strips. Cook until hot throughout.
Serve over brown rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Add mixed greens and bread sticks. How about pears for dessert?
SHOPPING LIST: canola oil, frozen stir-fry vegetables, stir-fry sauce, brown rice, toasted sesame seeds, mixed greens, bread sticks, pears.
TUESDAY: Budget dining
We're always ready to save money and to enjoy another version of chicken chili. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cubed), two (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium white beans, two (14.5-ounce) cans drained diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (or other spicy tomatoes) and 1 cup frozen (thawed) corn. Mix together one (1.25-ounce) package slow-cooker chili seasoning mix and 1 cup unsalted chicken broth until blended and add to cooker. Cover and cook 6 hours on low.
Serve over cornbread squares (from mix). Add a romaine salad. For dessert, slice the leftover pie.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough chili for Thursday.
SHOPPING LIST: boneless skinless chicken breasts, canned reduced-sodium white beans, canned diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (or other spicy tomatoes), frozen corn, slow-cooker chili seasoning mix, unsalted chicken broth, cornbread mix, romaine.
WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite
What child could resist bean-and-veggie wraps? Heat four (6- to 8-inch) flour tortillas as directed. In a large nonstick skillet on medium heat, cook 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms about 5 minutes or until they lose their moisture. Stir in one (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans; heat through. Stir in 4 cups fresh spinach leaves; remove from heat. Divide bean mixture among tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Fold one end of each tortilla about 1 inch over filling; fold right and left sides over folded end, overlapping. Fold remaining end down. Open mouth; eat.
Serve with corn on the cob and celery sticks. Fresh pineapple spears are dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: flour tortillas, sliced fresh mushrooms, canned reduced-sodium black beans, fresh spinach, shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, corn on the cob, celery, fresh pineapple spears.
THURSDAY: Express cooking
Heat the leftover chili and garnish it with shredded jalapeno cheese, chopped green onions and reduced-fat sour cream. Serve with a packaged green salad and baked tortilla chips. Kiwis are a simple dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: shredded jalapeno cheese, green onions, reduced-fat sour cream, packaged green salad, baked tortilla chips, kiwis.
FRIDAY: Meatless meal
This chickpea and tomato curry (see recipe) will make you forget about meat tonight. Serve it with basmati rice, a spinach salad and flatbread. For dessert, make instant vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk and top it with caramel sauce.
SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, onion, garlic, fresh ginger, curry powder, canned reduced-sodium chickpeas, canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, lemon, coarse salt, plain yogurt, basmati rice, fresh spinach, flatbread, instant vanilla pudding, 1 percent milk, caramel sauce.
SATURDAY: Easy entertaining
Your guests will enjoy sirloin kebabs on a bed of orzo (see recipe). Serve it with broccoli slaw and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy fruit tarts.
SHOPPING LIST: bamboo skewers, boneless beef top sirloin steak, green, red or yellow bell peppers, fresh or dried basil leaves, prepared Italian dressing, garlic, coarse salt, black pepper, orzo pasta, parsley, shredded Parmesan cheese, olive oil, broccoli slaw, whole-grain rolls, fruit tarts.
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.
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GINGER-PEACHY PORK TENDERLOIN (Sunday)
Makes: 8 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25-30 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes
1 1/2 teaspoons less-sodium seasoned salt
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each)
1/2 cup all-fruit or sugar-free peach preserves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a small bowl, mix seasoned salt and thyme. Rub evenly over pork. Place on a rack coated with cooking spray in a foil-lined roasting pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ginger. Spoon over pork during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven; carefully tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Per serving: 158 calories, 22 grams protein, 3 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 61 milligrams cholesterol, 266 milligrams sodium, no fiber. Carb count: 0.5.
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CHICKPEA AND TOMATO CURRY (Friday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Plain yogurt for garnish, if desired
Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder; cook 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro, juice and salt. Garnish each serving with yogurt, if desired, and serve.
Per serving: 330 calories, 15 grams protein, 5 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 816 milligrams sodium, 13 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.5.
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SIRLOIN KEBABS ON A BED OF ORZO (Saturday)
Makes: 4 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes, plus pasta
1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick (1 pound)
2 green, red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon prepared Italian dressing
2 teaspoons minced garlic
FOR THE ORZO
1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coarse salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Soak eight (8-inch) bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain. Cut beef steak into 1 1/4-inch pieces. Toss beef and bell peppers with basil, dressing and garlic in large bowl. Alternately thread beef and peppers onto skewers. Toss orzo ingredients in medium bowl; keep warm. Place kebabs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, about 11-15 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally (or 13-16 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over orzo mixture.
Per serving: 341 calories, 28 grams protein, 9 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 131 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber. Carb count: 2.5.