A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Enjoy the family gathering and put Braised Beef With Mushrooms and Barley (see recipe) on the menu. Serve with a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. Enjoy chocolate layer cake for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough beef and cake for Monday.
MONDAY: Make good use of leftovers and prepare Beef-and-Onion Soup. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter and cook 1 large onion (chopped) for 4 minutes; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flour, mix well and continue cooking 5 more minutes or until onions are softened. In another pan, heat 3 (14-ounce) cans unsalted beef broth. Add onions and 2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) beef to broth. Heat through. When ready to serve, ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle shredded Swiss cheese into each bowl. Serve with mixed greens and crusty bread. Bring out the leftover cake for dessert.
TUESDAY: These Chicken Tacos (see recipe) are just the incentive the kids need to get their homework done before dinner. Serve with canned vegetarian refried beans. Encourage your angels to dip carrot sticks into ranch dressing for some crunch and vitamin A. Serve pineapple chunks for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Tonight's Pizza With Beef and Mushrooms is a great way to save a little dough. Heat broiler; line broiler pan with foil. In a large skillet, cook ½ pound lean ground beef and ½ cup thinly sliced green onions over medium-high heat about 5 minutes; drain. Slice a 1-pound loaf French bread in half lengthwise and place, cut side up, on broiler pan. Spread 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste evenly over the two halves. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon dried oregano. Top with beef-onion mixture and 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms. Drizzle with ¼ cup Italian dressing, an additional ½ teaspoon dried oregano and ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Broil 6 inches from heat 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut into slices and serve. Add an Italian salad. Make instant butterscotch pudding for dessert.
THURSDAY: Make it quick tonight with Turkey Noodle Dinner. Cook 12 ounces egg noodles according to package directions; drain. In a large saucepan, combine cooked noodles with 1 (15-ounce) can turkey stew (such as Dinty Moore or another brand), 1 (10-ounce) package thawed and drained frozen chopped broccoli, ½ cup milk, 1 (4-ounce) can mushrooms (drained), ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese and ¼ teaspoon lemon juice. Heat thoroughly and serve. Add a packaged Caesar salad and sourdough bread. Buy rugelach for dessert.
FRIDAY: Enjoy the chewy texture of Feta-Spinach Rice Bake (see recipe). Serve with mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. Serve peaches for dessert.
SATURDAY: Invite guests for Asian-Style Baked Flounder tonight. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange 4 (6-ounce) flounder filets in centers of 4 (15-by-12-inch) pieces of foil. In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 2 tablespoons rice vinegar; divide and spoon over flounder along with 2 large sliced green onions (white part only). Fold foil into packets. Place on baking sheet and bake 8 minutes. Place each packet on a dinner plate; open packets (away from your face) and garnish with sliced green onions (green part). Serve with jasmine rice and fresh broccolini. Add crusty bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.
Braised Beef With Mushrooms and Barley
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (3-pound) boneless beef chuck roast (arm, blade or shoulder), trimmed
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces medium halved crimini or white mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves garlic , crushed
1 ¼ cups unsalted beef broth
1 bay leaf
½ cup medium pearl barley (see note)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed
Heat oil on medium in a Dutch oven. Add beef; brown evenly; remove from pan. Season with salt and pepper. In same pan, add mushrooms, onion and garlic. Cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Add beef, broth and bay leaf. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 ½ hours. Add barley. Cover and continue simmering 45 to 60 minutes or until beef and barley are tender. Remove beef to cutting board; keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Add peas to barley mixture. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until heated through. Cut beef into thin slices; serve with barley mixture.
Makes 8 servings.
Note: Pearl barley is medium, long-cooking barley; it is not interchangeable with quick barley.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 285 calories, 36 g protein, 9 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 65 mg cholesterol, 333 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
¾ cup mild barbecue sauce, divided use
1 (11-ounce) can no-salt-added corn, rinsed
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
1 small head lettuce, shredded
4 ounces shredded Mexican-blend cheese
Heat broiler. Brush chicken with ½ cup barbecue sauce. Broil chicken for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Meanwhile, heat corn according to package directions.
Cut chicken into ½-inch-thick slices.
In a medium bowl, mix chicken with remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce, corn and salt; keep warm.
Warm tortillas according to package directions.
Top tortillas with lettuce and chicken mixture; garnish with cheese. Fold and serve.
Makes 12 tacos.
Nutrition information: Each taco (prepared with reduced-fat cheese) contains approximately 164 calories, 16 g protein, 4 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 41 mg cholesterol, 254 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
Feta-Spinach Rice Bake
2 cups unsalted vegetable broth
1 cup brown rice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 ounces feta cheese, finely chopped
1 cup milk
3 egg whites, slightly beaten
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (1 ounce)
In a medium saucepan, bring broth to a boil over high heat. Stir in rice; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 35 minutes or until tender and broth is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with fork.
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 2 ½-quart shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat a large skillet to medium. Add onion and pepper and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, feta and cooked rice. Spoon into prepared baking dish and spread evenly.
In a medium bowl, mix milk and eggs. Pour evenly over spinach mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes or until set and bubbling around edges.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with 1 percent milk) contains approximately 389 calories, 21 g protein, 11 g fat, 54 g carbohydrate, 35 mg cholesterol, 707 mg sodium and 8 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3 ½.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 01/09/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner