7 Day Menu Planner

12/ 31

Entertaining Sunday

Tuck the children in early and invite some friends for Beef Tenderloin Steaks With Blue Cheese Topping (see recipe). Serve with garlic mashed potatoes, a caesar salad and dinner rolls. For dessert, chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream with sliced strawberries will ring in the new year in style.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream and strawberries for Monday and enough mashed potatoes and cake for Tuesday.

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Budget Monday

Start the new year in a traditional good-luck way by making Hoppin’ John (see recipe). Take no chances on your luck and add collard greens and cornbread (from mix). Top leftover ice cream with leftover strawberries for dessert.

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Budget Tuesday

It’s time to save money to pay those holiday bills, and Stuffed Meatloaf (see recipe) is a tasty way to economize. Serve the spinach-filled loaf with leftover mashed potatoes, green beans and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy leftover cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough meatloaf for Wednesday.

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Heat-and-Eat Wednesday

One of the best things about meatloaf is the Meatloaf Sandwiches that are sure to follow. Serve slices of the leftover loaf on focaccia bread topped with fresh watercress. Add baked veggie chips. For dessert, plums are easy.


Meatless Thursday

Skip meat for delicious Mushroom Farfalle With Goat Cheese. Cook 8 ounces farfalle according to directions. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium high. Add 12 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes or until liquid is reduced. Add 1 tablespoon garlic and 2 tablespoons dry white wine; stir. Add 1/4 cup half-and-half, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth (or more, if needed). While pasta is still warm, stir in 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Just before serving, stir in 4 cups chopped fresh spinach and 3 ounces crumbled goat cheese. Stir to combine. Serve with a romaine salad and garlic bread. Slice kiwifruit for dessert.

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Express Friday

Drop by the deli and check out their Soup of the Day. Pair the soup with deli egg salad mounded on packaged salad greens. Sprinkle the egg salad with chopped fresh dill if desired. Add unsalted Wheat Thins or another salt-free cracker. Fresh pineapple is an easy dessert.

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Family Saturday

Gather the family for Golden Chicken With Potatoes and Mushrooms. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 3 1/2 to 4 pounds bone-in chicken breasts and thighs in a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste. In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes (cut into 1-inch pieces) and 8 ounces whole white mushrooms (quartered), chopped leaves from 3 fresh rosemary sprigs, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the potatoes and mushrooms around chicken. (If vegetables don’t fit in a single layer, place some under the chicken.) Roast 45 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes and serve. Alongside, add steamed fresh broccoli, a lettuce wedge and sourdough bread. Boston cream pie is always a favorite dessert.

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Beef Tenderloin Steaks With Blue Cheese Topping (Sunday)

For the topping:

2 tablespoons cream cheese

4 teaspoons crumbled blue cheese

4 teaspoons plain yogurt

2 teaspoons minced onion

Dash ground white pepper

For the beef:

4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 1 pound total)

1 large clove garlic, halved

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine topping ingredients in small bowl. Rub steaks with garlic. Place steaks on rack in broiler pan so surface of beef is 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 16 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning once. One to 2 minutes before steaks are done, top evenly with topping.

To grill instead, place steaks on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 10 to 14 minutes for medium rare (145 degrees) to medium (160 degrees) doneness, turning occasionally. One minute before steaks are done, top evenly with topping.

After removing from heat, season with salt, sprinkle with parsley and serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 179 calories (percent calories from fat, 47), 22 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, no fiber, 9 grams fat (4.1 grams saturated fat), 69 milligrams cholesterol, 350 milligrams sodium.

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Hoppin’ John (Monday)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 rib celery, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

3 cups cooked or canned reduced-sodium black-eyed peas, rinsed

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes, drained

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chilies, drained

1 cup unsalted chicken broth

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

8 ounces vegetarian sausage or mild turkey sausage

3 cups cooked brown rice

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion and celery and cook 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in garlic and thyme. Transfer to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add peas, tomatoes, chilies, broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours. About 15 minutes before serving, heat a large nonstick skillet on medium. Crumble and cook sausage about 6 to 8 minutes or until no longer pink. Add to slow cooker along with cooked rice, stirring to combine; serve. Serves 6.

Per serving: 322 calories (percent calories from fat, 15), 18 grams protein, 51 grams carbohydrate, 11 grams fiber, 5 grams fat (0.8 gram saturated fat), no cholesterol, 399 milligrams sodium.

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Stuffed Meatloaf (Tuesday)

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (about 1 ounce)

1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey breast or ground chicken

1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup 1 percent milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Soften tomatoes according to package directions; set aside. In a medium nonstick skillet, cook spinach and onion on low 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat; cool slightly. Stir in cheese and set aside. In a large bowl, combine turkey or chicken, oats, garlic powder, oregano, pepper, milk and reserved sun-dried tomatoes; mix lightly but thoroughly. Coat a baking rack with cooking spray and place in a broiler pan lined with foil. Shape two-thirds of meat mixture into a 9-by-6-inch loaf on rack. Make a deep indentation down center of loaf, leaving a 1 1/2-inch edge around indentation; fill with spinach mixture. Top with remaining meat mixture to encase spinach filling. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until juices reach 165 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes and slice. Serves 8.

Per serving: 168 calories (percent calories from fat, 13), 25 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 3 grams fat (0.8 gram saturated fat), 60 milligrams cholesterol, 134 milligrams sodium.

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