7 Day Menu Planner


Family Sunday

Prepare Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin for the family (see recipe). Serve with your own roasted potato wedges, fresh green beans and a red-tipped lettuce salad. Add baguettes. For dessert, top angel food cake with blueberries.

Plan ahead: Prepare an extra (plain) pork tenderloin, and save some cake for Monday.


Heat-and-Eat Monday

Use the leftovers to make Pork-Potato Hash. Cook 1 medium chopped onion and 1 sliced red bell pepper in a little olive oil until softened. Add 3 cups mashed potatoes, 2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) pork and 1 cup tiny green peas (thawed from frozen). Cook, stirring often, until browned. Serve with reduced-fat sour cream. Add a green salad and whole-grain bread. Spoon a dab of vanilla ice cream over leftover cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.


Budget Tuesday

This Brunswick Stew With Smoked Paprika (see recipe) is one of the best I’ve had in a long time, and it’s economical, too. Serve the one-dish meal with mixed greens and crusty rolls. Pears are dessert.


Kids Wednesday

Here come the kids for Upside-Down Pizza (see recipe)! Serve with carrot sticks.

They’ll love rice pudding for dessert: Add milk, raisins, a little sugar and a dash of pure vanilla extract to hot, cooked rice. Simmer until thickened. Drizzle with a little honey.


Meatless Thursday

Skip meat tonight and enjoy Pasta With Burst Tomatoes and Arugula. Cook 8 ounces pasta shells according to directions. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 1/3 cup plain breads crumbs; cook 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring often. Remove to a small bowl; stir in 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese. In same skillet, heat 2 more tablespoons oil on medium. Add 2 cups grape tomatoes and 2 teaspoons minced garlic and cook until the tomatoes start to burst. Add 1 (5-ounce) package fresh arugula and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Cook 1 minute or until arugula begins to wilt. Toss with hot pasta; sprinkle each serving with bread crumbs.

Serve with a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg slices and whole-grain rolls. Dessert is chocolate pudding drizzled with strawberry sauce.

Plan ahead: Save enough strawberry sauce for Saturday.


Express Friday

Chicken With Orzo is a fast meal. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise and 1 (0.87-ounce) packet onion gravy mix. Lay 6 chicken breast cutlets (about 1 1/2 pounds) on wax paper; coat one side of each cutlet with mayonnaise mixture. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet on medium. Place chicken in skillet, coated side down. Spread remaining mixture on chicken. Cook cutlets 1 minute on each side or until chicken begins to brown. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, 1 (10-ounce) can mild diced tomatoes with green chilies and 8 ounces orzo; blend well. Cover and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally or until most of liquid is absorbed and orzo is tender. Serve immediately with a mixed green salad and Italian bread. Finish with chunky applesauce.


Easy Entertaining Saturday

Invite guests for your own Grilled Grouper tonight. Add parsley red potatoes alongside: Toss small halved, cooked red potatoes with chopped fresh parsley and a little butter.

Serve with a tomato corn salad: Combine 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved) with juice of 1/2 lemon. Add 1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn (thawed), 1/4 cup Italian dressing and 1 tablespoon green pepper sauce; toss to coat. Chill 10 minutes and serve.

Add crusty bread. For dessert, spoon leftover strawberry sauce over leftover ice cream and add a dollop of light whipped cream.

Pecan-Crusted Pork Tenderloin (Sunday)

1 (1 1/2-pound) pork tenderloin

Coarse salt to taste

Pepper to taste

1/2 cup light brown sugar, divided

2 tablespoons light soy sauce, divided

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup pineapple juice

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce and minced garlic. Spread mixture over top of pork. Press chopped pecans into brown sugar mixture on pork. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat, combine remaining sugar, soy sauce, pineapple juice and mustard. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Slice pork, spoon sauce over top and serve.

Per serving: 268 calories (percent calories from fat, 33), 23 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat (1.5 grams saturated fat), 60 milligrams cholesterol, 347 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Brunswick Stew With Smoked Paprika (Tuesday)

2 cups cubed Yukon gold potatoes (3/4 inch)

2 cups thinly sliced onion

2 cups frozen corn, thawed

1 cup frozen baby lima beans, thawed

1/2 cup tomato sauce

2 (14-ounce) cans unsalted chicken broth

2 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

3 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (see note)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a Dutch oven on medium-high, combine potatoes, onion, corn, lima beans, tomato sauce, broth and bacon; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken, paprika, salt and pepper; simmer 15 minutes and serve.

Note: Use a rotisserie chicken if desired.

Per serving: 320 calories (percent calories from fat, 21), 28 grams protein, 34 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 7 grams fat (2.2 grams saturated fat), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 519 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Upside-Down Pizza (Wednesday)

2 cups pizza toppings (such as sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, other sliced vegetables)

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast

1 cup chopped onion

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (1.25-ounce) package Italian-style spaghetti sauce mix

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

1 (10-ounce) package refrigerated pizza crust

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook pizza toppings 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high or until softened. Spoon into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and spread evenly; set aside. Add ground meats and onion to skillet. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until no longer pink; drain well. Stir in tomato sauce, garlic powder and spaghetti sauce mix. Bring to a boil; simmer 5 to 6 minutes. Spoon mixture over pizza toppings. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Unroll dough over top of cheese. Bake 25 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown, and serve.

Per serving: 330 calories (percent calories from fat, 28), 33 grams protein, 26 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 10 grams fat (3.7 grams saturated fat), 80 milligrams cholesterol, 972 milligrams sodium.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. Reach her at susan@7daymenu.com. Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com.

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