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Monday, December 22, 2014, 10:21 a.m.
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7 day menu planner

By Susan Nicholson

This article was published August 6, 2014 at 2:28 a.m.

SUNDAY: Gather the family for Honey-Roasted Pork. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place 1 (2- to 3-pound) well-trimmed boneless pork loin roast on a rack coated with cooking spray in a shallow, foil-lined roasting pan. Combine 1/4 cup honey, 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons crushed black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme and 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Brush half the mixture over roast. Bake 20 minutes per pound. Brush roast with remaining honey mixture halfway through baking time. Bake until meat thermometer registers 145 degrees at thickest part. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Add Brown Rice With Pecans and Apples (see recipe), fresh green beans and sourdough bread. For dessert, fresh raspberries with whipped cream are perfect.

Plan ahead: If time permits, prepare brown rice the day before.

MONDAY: Make Deli Dogs for the kids. Combine 1/2 cup chopped tomato, 1/4 cup chopped banana peppers and 1 (21/4-ounce) can (drained) sliced black olives. Spoon mixture over heated hot dogs on whole-grain buns and spread with mustard. Serve with corn-on-the-cob and fresh baby carrots. The kids will like watermelon slices for dessert.

TUESDAY: Save a few bucks with Four-Bean Bake. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a 3-quart baking dish, mix together 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can black beans (rinsed), 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pinto beans (rinsed), 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can red kidney beans (rinsed), 1 (15 1/2-ounce) can small red beans (rinsed), 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce, 6 slices cooked crumbled bacon, 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, 1 cup finely chopped onion and 1 tablespoon ground cumin. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until bubbly. Uncover and top with 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup broken baked corn chips. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve over rice and add coleslaw and cornbread on the side. Fresh peaches are dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough Bean Bake and cook enough rice for Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY: Dinner will be quick tonight with Bean Tacos on the menu. Spoon the heated leftover Bean Bake into heated taco shells. Add leftover rice and top with salsa. Scoop vanilla ice cream onto cantaloupe slices for dessert.

THURSDAY: No one will complain about Salad Bar Pizza tonight. Top any hot pizza with chopped romaine, sliced olives, sliced fresh carrots, chopped green onions and tomatoes. Drizzle a light vinaigrette over top and add coarse salt and pepper to taste. Slice and serve. For dessert, introduce the family to dragon fruit (or another new-to-them fruit) and add almond cookies.

FRIDAY: We're always in the mood for Mushroom Burgers. For each serving, brush the cap of a stemmed portobello mushroom with olive oil and season with coarse salt and pepper. Grill or broil 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve on a toasted whole-grain bun with lettuce, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and mayonnaise. Add sweet potato fries (frozen) on the side. Enjoy nectarines for dessert.

SATURDAY: Invite guests for Grilled Orange-Garlic Shrimp Skewers (see recipe). On the side, make your own rosemary-roasted red potatoes. Serve with broccoli. Add a Boston lettuce salad and crusty rolls. Cool down with Mocha-Hazelnut Granita (see recipe) for dessert.

THE RECIPES

Brown Rice With Pecans and Apples

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

3 cups cooked brown rice

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 small red apple, cored and chopped

3 tablespoons chopped pecans

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add onion and mushrooms and cook 3 minutes or until onion is golden.

To a 3-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray, add onion mixture, cooked rice, broth, apple, pecans and poultry seasoning; mix well. Cover and bake 30 minutes or until hot. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes and fluff with fork.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 125 calories, 3 g protein, 3 g fat, 22 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 32 mg sodium, 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 11/2.

Grilled Orange-Garlic Shrimp Skewers

16 (U-10 size) shrimp (see note)

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 orange, zested, then sliced and quartered into wedges

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

Peel and devein shrimp.

Place oil, garlic, parsley, orange zest, salt and pepper into a resealable plastic bag; massage the bag with your hands to combine ingredients. Add shrimp; seal and toss to coat. Chill 3 hours. If using wood or bamboo skewers, soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.

When ready to grill, skewer one end of 1 shrimp, then 1 orange wedge, then the other end of the shrimp (so orange wedge is between tail and head of shrimp). Then skewer a piece of bell pepper, then another shrimp and orange wedge; repeat process with remaining shrimp, orange wedges and bell pepper pieces, so there are 4 shrimp on each skewer. Lay finished skewers on a plate and drizzle with marinade in bag. Heat grill to medium; grill 3 minutes per side or until shrimp are pink and opaque.

Makes 4 skewers.

Note: U-10 shrimp are often labeled "extra colossal." They come 10 per pound without heads, unpeeled.

Nutrition information: Each skewer contains approximately: 195 calories, 22 g protein, 8 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 192 mg cholesterol, 463 mg sodium and 2 grams fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1/2.

Recipe adapted from Gale Gand's Lunch! by Gale Gand; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.)

Mocha-Hazelnut Granita

3 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread such as Nutella

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup instant coffee granules

In a medium pan, bring water to boil. Add spread, sugar and coffee granules; remove from heat and stir with a whisk until spread melts and sugar and coffee dissolve. Pour into an 8- or 9-inch-square metal pan. Freeze at least 4 hours, stirring frozen edges into center of pan with rubber spatula every 30 minutes until entire mixture is frozen hard. To serve, scrape surface with a large metal spoon and mound into serving dishes.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately: 192 calories, 2 g protein, 7 g fat, 33 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 14 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:

susan@7daymenu.com

Food on 08/06/2014

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