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

SUNDAY: Family day

Add a little spice to family day with barbecue pork tenderloin: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together 2 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce, 2 tablespoons orange marmalade and 2 teaspoons soy sauce. Spread over a 1- to 11/4-pound pork tenderloin. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with baked sweet potato wedges, broccoli, mixed greens and biscuits. For dessert, top angel food cake with chocolate ice cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Bake an extra plain pork tenderloin and save enough cake for Monday and Wednesday. Save enough ice cream for Tuesday and Saturday.

SHOPPING LIST: favorite barbecue sauce, orange marmalade, soy sauce, pork tenderloins, sweet potatoes to bake, broccoli, mixed greens, biscuits, angel food cake, chocolate ice cream.

MONDAY: Heat and eat

Use the leftover pork for pork tacos. Shred pork and moisten with taco sauce. Heat and spoon into warm taco shells. Garnish with chopped avocados, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream and more taco sauce. Serve with vegetarian baked beans. Dessert is leftover cake garnished with warm cherry pie filling and light whipped cream.

SHOPPING LIST: taco sauce, taco shells, avocados, tomatoes, onion, lettuce, reduced-fat sour cream, vegetarian baked beans, cherry pie filling, light whipped cream.

TUESDAY: Express cooking

Take it easy tonight and buy a rotisserie chicken. Serve with mashed potatoes (bought or your own). Add a packaged Caesar salad and whole-grain bread. Scoop leftover ice cream for dessert.

SHOPPING LIST: rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes (or potatoes to mash), packaged Caesar salad, whole-grain bread.

WEDNESDAY: Kids favorite

The children won't be able to resist burger fajitas. Season lean ground beef with a little chili powder and cumin (to taste). Shape into hot-dog-size logs and pan-fry. Roll logs in warmed whole-grain flour tortillas along with shredded lettuce, mild salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Serve with rice and guacamole.

For dessert, make a chocolate parfait: In parfait cups, layer cubed leftover angel food cake with instant chocolate pudding made with 1 percent milk. Top each serving with a maraschino cherry.

SHOPPING LIST: lean ground beef, chili powder, cumin, whole-grain flour tortillas, lettuce, mild salsa, reduced-fat sour cream, rice, guacamole, chocolate pudding mix, milk, maraschino cherries.

THURSDAY: Meatless meal

How about a simple no-meat dinner of leek and white bean soup (see recipe)? Serve the delicious soup with grilled brie sandwiches and a green salad. For dessert, keep it simple with pears.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, leeks, garlic, unsalted vegetable broth, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, bay leaves, cumin, couscous, packaged spinach leaves, Parmesan cheese, brie cheese, bread, salad greens, pears.

FRIDAY: Budget dining

The flavor is there, but high cost isn't when you make chicken with spanish rice and tomatoes (see recipe). Add a lettuce wedge and bread sticks. For dessert, tapioca pudding (from mix) is always a favorite.

SHOPPING LIST: olive oil, boneless skinless chicken breasts, black pepper, garlic, packaged yellow rice mix, tomatoes, green bell pepper, canned reduced-sodium black beans, pickled jalapeno peppers, lettuce, bread sticks, tapioca pudding mix.

SATURDAY: Easy entertaining

"Yum, yum" was the response of our guests when they tasted pan-seared tuna steaks (see recipe).

Serve the flavorful tuna entree with orzo salad: Toss cooked orzo with halved grape tomatoes, a little olive oil, lemon zest, crumbled Greek feta cheese and chopped fresh mint.

Add a spinach salad and whole-grain bread. For dessert, top leftover ice cream with warm fudge sauce.

SHOPPING LIST: tuna steaks, coarse salt, pepper, sugar, canola oil, orzo, grape tomatoes, olive oil, lemon, Greek feta cheese, fresh mint, fresh spinach, whole-grain bread, fudge sauce.

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: less than 15 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

4 leek bulbs, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups unsalted vegetable broth

2 (15- to 19-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons cumin

1/2 cup couscous

1 (5- or 6-ounce) package spinach leaves

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add leeks and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in the broth, beans, bay leaves and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; stir in couscous. Cover and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in spinach until it wilts. Remove and discard bay leaves; ladle soup into bowls and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Per serving: 245 calories, 9 grams protein, 3 grams fat (12% calories from fat), no saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 436 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.


Makes: 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 25 minutes

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 (8-ounce) package yellow rice mix (see note)

2 1/2 cups water

1 pound ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 to 3 teaspoons chopped pickled jalapeno peppers (or to taste)

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add chicken; sprinkle with black pepper and cook 5 minutes or until almost cooked through; add garlic during last 2 minutes. Remove chicken to plate; set aside. To skillet, add rice mix and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 12 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. (Add more water if rice is not done.) Stir in tomatoes, bell pepper, beans and jalapenos. Top with chicken. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until rice is tender; serve.

NOTE: To reduce sodium, you may remove as much of the seasoning from the rice as possible.

Per serving: 318 calories, 25 grams protein, 5 grams fat (13% calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 654 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber. Carb count: 3.


Makes: 4 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 2-4 minutes

4 (6- to 8-ounce) tuna steaks, 1 inch thick

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon canola oil

Pat tuna dry with paper towels and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle sugar evenly over 1 side of each steak. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Place steaks sugared side down in skillet and cook, flipping every 1 to 2 minutes, until center is translucent red when checked with tip of paring knife and internal temperature reaches 110 degrees, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer steak to cutting board and slice 1/2 inch thick; serve.

Per serving: 209 calories, 37 grams protein, 5 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 0.8 gram saturated fat, 1 gram carbohydrate, 80 milligrams cholesterol, 303 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Carb count: 0.


SESAME CRUSTED PAN-SEARED TUNA STEAKS: Omit sugar. Spread 3/4 cup sesame seeds in shallow dish. After patting dry with towels, rub steaks all over with 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season with salt and pepper; press both sides of each steak in sesame seeds to coat. Proceed to heating oil in skillet as above. (Adapted from "Foolproof Fish," America's Test Kitchen.)

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