Quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: How about your own boneless roasted pork loin for the family today? Serve it with Creamy Chopped Chickpea Pecan Salad (see recipe). Add Green Beans With Tomatoes and Feta: Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil on medium in a wide saucepan. Add 1 cup finely chopped yellow onions and 2 cloves minced garlic; cook 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb; cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Add 2 (14-ounce) cans undrained stewed tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 30 minutes or until mixture becomes saucy. Add 2 pounds trimmed fresh green beans (cut into 2-inch pieces); simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Add ⅓ cup chopped flatleaf parsley; simmer 5 minutes. Spoon into serving bowls; garnish with ½ cup crumbled Greek feta cheese. Add sourdough bread. Buy or make a plum tart for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork, chickpea salad and tart for Monday.
MONDAY: Make Pork Sandwiches with the leftovers. Layer slices of pork and roasted red peppers on rosemary bread (or another dense bread) that has been spread with honey-mustard dressing. Serve with leftover chickpea salad. End with the leftover plum tart for dessert.
TUESDAY: Make Chicken Stir-Fry for a quick meal. Cook and stir 4 cups fresh vegetables for stir-fry (such as bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and carrots) or 1 (1-pound) package frozen stir-fry vegetables in 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium-high 3 or 4 minutes or until softened. Add 1 (8- to 10-ounce) package refrigerated, cooked, sliced chicken breast and ½ cup stir-fry sauce; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until hot. Spoon over quick-cooking rice. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Fresh kiwi is dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Hurry-Up Lasagna has "kids' favorite" written all over it. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spread 1 ¼ cups (from a 26-ounce jar) red pasta sauce into dish. Arrange 12 frozen large cheese ravioli (from a 30-ounce bag) over sauce and scatter 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry) over ravioli. Top with 1 cup (of 2 cups total) shredded mozzarella cheese. Cover with another layer of ravioli, the remaining sauce and mozzarella. Cover tightly with foil and bake 25 minutes; uncover and bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until bubbly. Serve with celery canoes (cream cheese in celery sticks). Try one of summer's best desserts: Fresh nectarines.
THURSDAY: Take a few liberties with the traditional and make "Paella" Pronto (see recipe). Add a mixed green salad and whole-grain pita bread. Slice cantaloupe wedges for dessert.
FRIDAY: Skip meat tonight with Pierogies on the menu. Cook 1 (16.9-ounce) package frozen potato-and-onion pierogies in boiling water 5 minutes or until they float; remove from heat, drain and return to pot. Meanwhile, combine 1 ½ cups marinara sauce, ½ cup sliced green olives and ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper in separate saucepan; bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over hot pierogies; stir gently. Serve on individual plates and garnish with dollops of ricotta cheese. Serve with mixed greens and fresh peaches.
SATURDAY: Treat your guests to Curried Chicken Salad With Blackberries (see recipe). Serve the refreshing salad with orzo pasta tossed with parmesan cheese and add poppy seed muffins. Slice coconut cake for dessert.
Creamy Chopped Chickpea Pecan Salad
⅔ cup pecan pieces
2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrots
½ cup finely chopped apples
¼ cup currants or raisins
4 green onions, tops only, thinly sliced
For the dressing:
6 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon coarse salt
Generous pinch pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Fresh or dried dill or parsley, chopped (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, combine pecans, chickpeas, celery, carrots, apples, currants or raisins and onions; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and ¼ cup water. Pour dressing over chickpea mixture; toss to mix. Scoop salad into endive lettuce leaves and garnish with fresh dill, if desired; serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with low-fat mayonnaise) contains approximately 194 calories, 6 g protein, 9 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, trace cholesterol, 533 mg sodium, 6 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.5.
1 (10-ounce) package frozen petite green peas
1 (13 ½-ounce) package mild to hot turkey sausage, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
¾ to 1 pound chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 (8-ounce) package yellow rice mix (see note)
⅛ teaspoon coarse salt
Black pepper to taste
Microwave peas 3 minutes on 100% power; set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook sausage 3 to 4 minutes on medium-high; stir occasionally. Remove to a plate.
In same skillet, add chicken and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Transfer to separate plate.
In same skillet, add bell pepper, garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add rice mix (discard seasoning packet if watching sodium), 2 cups water and sausage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, 10 minutes or until most of liquid has been absorbed. Stir peas and chicken into rice mixture and cook, covered, 5 minutes or until heated through. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Note: The rice seasoning packet adds 493 mg sodium per serving.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared without seasoning packet from rice) contains approximately 338 calories, 27 g protein, 8 g fat, 37 g carbohydrate, 90 mg cholesterol, 613 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.5.
Curried Chicken Salad With Blackberries
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
Pepper to taste
⅓ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon dry white wine
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 green onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
¼ cup golden raisins
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
¼ cup roasted, salted cashews
In a large skillet, heat oil on medium. Sprinkle chicken with the salt and pepper; cook chicken 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from pan; chill in refrigerator 20 to 30 minutes, then cut into ½-inch cubes. Combine mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, lemon juice and ginger in a large bowl. Add chicken, onion, celery, raisins and berries; toss to coat. (If using frozen berries, refrigerate 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.) Just before serving, add cashews. Spoon salad onto a bed of lettuce and serve.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-fat mayonnaise) contains approximately 327 calories, 27 g protein, 12 g fat, 28 g carbohydrate, 73 mg cholesterol, 526 mg sodium and 5 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 07/24/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner