Seven-Day Menu Planner


4/ 16

Family Sunday

Celebrate Easter in a delicious way with Apricot-Glazed Ham (see recipe).

Add potato salad with kefir, a recipe shared by Nancy Waldeck, an Atlanta chef and “partyologist.” Cook 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered, 10 to 15 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt or kefir, 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. (Add more lemon if desired.) Add warm potatoes to bowl and gently stir in 1/2 cup minced red onion, 1 cup minced celery and 1/2 cup chopped stuffed green olives. Stir gently, coating potatoes. Let stand 1 hour before serving; garnish with more fresh dill.

Serve with green peas (frozen), a romaine salad and dinner rolls. Buy a coconut cake for dessert and decorate the top with jelly beans.

Plan ahead: Save enough ham, potato salad and cake for Monday.

Tip: Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir “grains” (a yeast/bacterial fermentation starter). Health benefits include vitamin B12, calcium, magnesium, vitamin K2, biotin, folate, enzymes and probiotics.

4/ 17

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Turn the leftover ham into Hot Ham and Pepper Cheese Hoagies. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread inside surfaces of 4 hoagie buns (sliced lengthwise) with spicy brown mustard and low-fat mayonnaise. Layer leftover sliced ham and sliced pepper jack cheese on bottom half of buns; top with shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. Top with remaining bun half; wrap hoagies in foil and heat 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve with leftover potato salad and sliced cucumbers. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

4/ 18

Budget Tuesday

Economical and easy to prepare, Sausage and Spanish Rice Skillet is full of flavor. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium-high. Add 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper, 1/3 cup chopped celery and 1/4 cup chopped onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1 (14-ounce) package fully cooked smoked sausage (sliced), 2 cups water, 1 (10-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes and green chilies (undrained), 1 (8-ounce) package Spanish rice and vermicelli mix, 1/4 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper; mix well. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.

Serve with mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, tropical fruit is light.

Plan ahead: Prepare Wednesday’s lasagna tonight.

4/ 19

Meatless Wednesday

Skip meat without missing it in this Tex-Mex Lasagna (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. Make instant vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert. Drizzle with butterscotch topping.

4/ 20

Kids Thursday

Treat the kids to Beef ‘n’ Biscuits tonight. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium; add 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef, 1/2 cup chopped celery and 1/2 cup chopped onion. Cook 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and vegetables are softened; drain. Stir in 2 tablespoons flour, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano until blended. Add 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce and 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas; simmer 5 minutes. Transfer into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (from 7 1/2-ounce tube). Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese. Bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until biscuits are golden.

Serve with baby carrots. For dessert, try fresh pineapple spears.

4/ 21

Express Friday

Stop at the deli for tuna salad. Arrange it on a platter over lettuce, sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds and add some tomato wedges and pickles on the side. Serve with bean soup and whole-grain bread. Munch on chocolate wafer cookies and red and green grapes for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Saturday.

4/ 22

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Everyone wanted seconds of Chicken Saute with Creamy Mustard Sauce (see recipe). Serve it with poppy seed noodles (no-yolk), steamed fresh zucchini and sourdough rolls. For dessert, peach sorbet with leftover chocolate wafer cookies is simple.

Tip: Toss cooked noodles with a little olive oil and poppy seeds.

** ** **

Apricot-Glazed Ham (Sunday)

2.5-pound fully cooked boneless ham

3 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/3 cup apricot nectar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Crab apples for garnish, if desired

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place ham on rack in shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, 15 to 18 minutes per pound or until ham registers internal temperature of 140 degrees.

For the glaze, in a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in nectar and juice. Cook on medium until thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Brush ham with glaze. Continue baking 15-20 minutes more, brushing occasionally with glaze, and serve. Serves 12.

Per serving: 167 calories (percent calories from fat, 29), 24 grams protein, 5 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 5 grams fat (1.8 grams saturated fat), 52 milligrams cholesterol, 1,255 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Tex-Mex Lasagna (Wednesday)

1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar any red spaghetti sauce

1 cup water

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

1 (10-ounce) package frozen shoepeg corn, thawed

1 (1.25-ounce) packet less-sodium Tex-Mex or regular chili seasoning mix

9 lasagna noodles

2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese, divided

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Chopped pickled jalapeno peppers for garnish

In a medium bowl, mix together the sauce, water, beans, corn and chili seasoning mix. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray, spread 1 cup of the sauce mixture in dish. Arrange 3 lasagna noodles over sauce. Cover with 1 cup sauce. Spread half the ricotta on top. Arrange another 3 lasagna noodles over ricotta and top with another cup of sauce. Spread remaining ricotta on top. Arrange last 3 lasagna noodles on top. Spread with remaining sauce. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours to overnight.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover dish tightly with nonstick foil; bake 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with Monterey Jack cheese and bake 15 more minutes, uncovered. Let stand 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with jalapeno peppers, if desired. Serves 8.

Per serving: 357 calories (percent calories from fat, 25), 21 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 10 grams fat (5.5 grams saturated fat), 37 milligrams cholesterol, 501 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Chicken Saute with Creamy Mustard Sauce (Saturday)

2 teaspoons canola oil

3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided

4 (4- to 5-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

Chopped fresh dill

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Mix flour, salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a pie plate. Lightly coat chicken in flour mixture. Add chicken to skillet and cook 6 to 7 minutes, turning once, or until golden on the outside and juices run clear. Remove to a plate; cover to keep warm. Reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, mix together sour cream, broth, mustard and mayonnaise. Add to skillet. Simmer 1 minute. Serve chicken with sauce. Sprinkle dill over all. Serves 4.

Per serving: 229 calories (percent calories from fat, 36), 26 grams protein, 10 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, 9 grams fat (2.4 grams saturated fat), 83 milligrams cholesterol, 453 milligrams sodium.



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