A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Treat the family like royalty and serve them Mustard-Crusted Pork Roast. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Season 1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast with coarse salt and pepper; place in a shallow pan on a rack and roast 20 minutes. Meanwhile, place 1 cup garlic croutons in a plastic bag and crush. Remove roast from oven; spread surface of pork with 2 tablespoons spicy mustard and sprinkle with crouton crumbs. Return to oven and continue to roast 10 to 15 minutes longer or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven, tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve the juicy pork with baked sweet potatoes, fresh green beans, mixed greens and a baguette. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork and Boston cream pie for Monday.
MONDAY: Make Pork and Swiss Sandwiches with the leftover pork. Spread whole-grain bread with honey mustard and layer with sliced pork and Swiss cheese. Add baked chips and an arugula salad. Enjoy the leftover pie for dessert.
TUESDAY: It's quick and tasty — that's why Easy One-Pan Red Curry With Spinach and Carrots (see recipe) will be on the menu tonight. Serve it with a packaged Caesar salad and flatbread. Try vanilla pudding for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Here's a variation of the ubiquitous Chicken Loaf (see recipe). We liked it with mashed potatoes and fresh steamed broccoli. Add a red-tipped lettuce salad and whole-grain bread. For a light dessert, try orange sections.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken loaf for Thursday.
THURSDAY: Tacos are always a favorite, and tonight's Chicken Tacos will be no different. Crumble and heat the leftover chicken loaf. Spoon into taco shells and top with salsa, shredded cheese and sour cream. Toss some sliced carrots with a little peach preserves and heat. Red and green grapes are dessert.
FRIDAY: Red Beans and Rice is a standard no-meat meal for some. Cook ½ cup chopped onion, ½ cup chopped celery and 1 clove minced garlic in 2 teaspoons olive oil for 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1 (16-ounce) can red beans (rinsed), 2 cups cooked brown rice, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Simmer 5 minutes or until hot. Add a leaf lettuce salad with egg wedges and cornbread from a mix. For an easy dessert, try pears.
SATURDAY: Invite guests for Lemon-Basil Shrimp and Pasta (see recipe). Alongside, add a bibb lettuce salad and Italian bread. For dessert, buy a cheesecake and garnish it with cherry topping.
Easy One-Pan Red Curry With Spinach and Carrots
3 medium carrots, cut into ¼-inch rounds
1 (2-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and grated
½ cup water
2 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk
¼ cup red curry paste
½ teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon coconut (or other) sugar
3 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
Cashews and crushed red pepper for garnish, if desired
In a Dutch oven on medium-low heat, add carrots, ginger and water. Cook 5 to 8 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to keep carrots cooking. Add chickpeas, milk, curry paste, salt and sugar and stir well. Increase heat to medium-high; bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover; reduce heat to low and simmer about 5 minutes or until chickpeas and carrots are tender and sauce has slightly thickened. Stir in spinach and lime juice. Remove from heat, stirring until spinach is wilted. Add extra lime juice and salt to taste. Garnish as desired and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
(Adapted from The Vegan 8 by Brandi Doming, Oxmoor House)
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 366 calories, 13 g protein, 18 g fat, 39 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 1,103 mg sodium and 9 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2 ½.
1 pound ground chicken
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 24)
½ cup minced onion
2 tablespoons minced green bell pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; mix well (don't overmix). Pack mixture into an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve.
Makes 12 slices.
Nutrition information: Each slice contains approximately 77 calories, 8 g protein, 2 g fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 36 mg cholesterol, 127 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: ½.
Lemon Basil Shrimp and Pasta
8 ounces spaghetti
1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled and deveined
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
4 cups fresh baby spinach
Cook pasta according to package directions; add shrimp the last 3 minutes of cooking. Drain; place mixture in a large bowl. Stir in basil, capers, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and spinach. Mix well and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 377 calories, 31 g protein, 8 g fat, 44 g carbohydrate, 183 mg cholesterol, 410 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 01/02/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner