7 Day Menu Planner

11/ 5

Family Sunday

The whole family will enjoy Braised Chicken Cacciatore (see recipe). Serve it over spaghetti (or other noodles). Add broccoli, a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. For dessert, vanilla ice cream topped with toasted coconut is a fine finish.

Plan ahead: Prepare enough chicken and spaghetti and save some coconut for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Thursday.

11/ 6

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Dinner will be ready as soon as you heat the leftover Cacciatore and Spaghetti. Serve it with green beans. Dessert is apricots topped with leftover toasted coconut.

Plan ahead: Save some green beans for Thursday.

11/ 7

Meatless Tuesday

Wrap up a no-meat dinner with Corn and Black Bean Wraps. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium black beans, 1 (11-ounce) can rinsed Mexicorn, 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro and 1/4 cup salsa. Spoon one-fourth of bean mixture down center of each (of 4) 8- to 10-inch flour tortillas and wrap like a burrito. Wrap each in foil; place on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese is melted. Serve with extra salsa and reduced-fat sour cream.

Add sliced avocado on a bed of lettuce. For dessert, make banana pudding with 1 percent milk, and add a sliced banana for a flavor boost.

11/ 8

Express Wednesday

Try Margherita Pizza (such as Kashi) for a healthy-as-possible, quick meal. Add packaged mixed greens. Dessert is fresh pineapple.

11/ 9

Kids Thursday

Let the kids help prepare Grilled Cheese Sandwiches tonight. Serve with leftover green beans, cherry tomato halves and the kids’ favorite dip. A tiny scoop of leftover vanilla ice cream with strawberries is a cool dessert.

11/ 10

Budget Friday

Creamy Pasta With Bacon and Peas (see recipe) is spot-on for a low-cost meal. Serve with a lettuce wedge and crusty rolls. For dessert, fresh peaches taste good.

11/ 11

Easy Entertaining Saturday

For a special meal for guests, Balsamic Honey-Glazed Lamb Chops (see recipe) fits the bill. Serve the chops with your rice pilaf and gochujang green beans. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk 2 tablespoons canola oil with 2 tablespoons gochujang sauce, 1 teaspoon ground coriander and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Toss mixture with 1 pound trimmed green beans. Roast on a rimmed, foil-covered baking dish 20 minutes or until tender, shaking twice. Add a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.

** ** **


Braised Chicken Cacciatore (Sunday)

1 1/2 to 2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken thighs

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup flour

3 tablespoons canola oil

8 whole crimini mushrooms, quartered

1 medium green bell pepper, cored and sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

1 (24-ounce) jar no-salt-added chunky red pasta sauce

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place flour in a pie plate; coat chicken with flour, shaking off any extra. In a large cast-iron or heavy skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add chicken to pan and cook 5 minutes on each side or until brown all over. Transfer to a plate; cover to keep warm. In same skillet, cook mushrooms 3 minutes or until all moisture is evaporated. Add pepper and onion; cook 3 minutes. Add sauce and mix well. Add the chicken with any juices to skillet. Simmer on medium-low 20 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. To serve: Transfer chicken to a platter and spoon sauce over the chicken. Serves 4.

Per serving: 434 calories (percent calories from fat, 42), 30 grams protein, 35 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 20 grams fat (3.1 grams saturated fat), 132 milligrams cholesterol, 834 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Creamy Pasta With Bacon and Peas (Friday)

1 pound mini-shell or other small pasta

8 slices lean bacon, cut crosswise into thin pieces

2 teaspoons each olive oil

2 teaspoons butter

Freshly ground black pepper

2 cups frozen peas

2 tablespoons half-and-half

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1 lemon

4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to directions; reserve 1 cup pasta water, then drain. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet on medium. Add bacon, oil, butter and some pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until bacon is crisp. Immediately add peas and cook 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add the half-and-half and mint. Add cooked pasta to skillet; stir to mix. Add lemon juice. Bring to simmer on low; remove from heat. (Mixture should be thickened; add pasta water for desired thickness.) Add Parmesan; stir to mix. Serve. (Adapted from “Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.”) Serves 8.

Per serving: 440 calories (percent calories from fat, 39), 18 grams protein, 49 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (7.4 grams saturated fat), 35 milligrams cholesterol, 453 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Balsamic Honey-Glazed Lamb Chops (Saturday)

8 shoulder or rib lamb chops (about 2 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried)

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup honey

4 small fresh pears, cored and cut into 10 slices each

Brush chops with oil and sprinkle with thyme, pepper and salt. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Cook chops 10 minutes, turning once. In another large skillet, combine vinegar and honey; bring to a boil. Add pears to simmering vinegar mixture, turning to coat. Cook 3 minutes or until pears are glazed and just tender; remove fruit from skillet. Place browned chops into mixture. Turn chops every minute to glaze with sauce. Cook to desired doneness. Serve chops with glazed fruit and drizzle with sauce. Serves 8.

Per serving: 272 calories (percent calories from fat, 26), 19 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (2.6 grams saturated fat), 62 milligrams cholesterol, 181 milligrams sodium.

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