A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Gather the family for Gremolata-Topped Roast Beef (see recipe). Accompany the roast with fingerling potatoes roasted in olive oil and garnished with chopped fresh parsley, along with steamed sliced yellow squash. Add sourdough bread. For dessert, top pineapple sorbet with toasted coconut.
Plan ahead: Save enough beef and coconut for Monday.
MONDAY: Slice and heat the leftover beef and make Tex-Mex Wraps on warm corn tortillas along with sliced avocado, shredded lettuce and reduced-fat sour cream. Add chili beans on the side. Buy mini vanilla cupcakes for dessert and sprinkle with leftover coconut.
TUESDAY: Stretch the food budget with Fusilli With Lentils, Sausage and Tomatoes (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge and crusty bread. Pears are good for dessert.
WEDNESDAY: Make Stuffed Potatoes for dinner and skip the meat. Bake large potatoes, slash the tops, squeeze ends, and top the potatoes with a heated mixture of 1 cup drained salsa, 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (rinsed) and 1 (11-ounce) can Mexican-style corn (rinsed). Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. Serve with a packaged Caesar salad and whole-grain rolls. Scoop strawberry ice cream for dessert.
THURSDAY: Make it quick tonight with this Turkey Reuben Loaf. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spread bottom half of a split loaf of Italian bread with Russian dressing. Top with rinsed and drained canned sauerkraut, deli sliced turkey and sliced Swiss cheese. Replace top, wrap in foil and bake 30 minutes. Cut into serving-size sandwiches and serve with dill pickles and baked potato chips. Plums are a light dessert.
FRIDAY: Surprise the kids with Spaghetti Sundaes tonight. Cook 8 ounces spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Fill 4 ice cream sundae dishes half full with the spaghetti. Divide and pour 2 cups heated marinara sauce over the spaghetti. Thaw and heat frozen mini meatballs and top each sundae with 2 or 3 of them, along with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add a chopped lettuce salad and soft rolls. Pop red and green grapes into your mouth for dessert.
SATURDAY: "Yum yum," said our guests, and so will yours when you serve them Flounder With Tomatoes, Olives and Feta (see recipe). Serve with orzo tossed with freshly grated parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Add fresh broccoli and a baguette. For dessert, make Mixed Fruit Crepes: Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mash 3 ripe bananas with 2 tablespoons half-and-half and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cover one side of 10 packaged crepes with the mixture. Drain 1 (14 ½-ounce) can peaches and 1 (14 ½-ounce) can pears. Cut the fruits into small pieces and lay over the banana mixture. Roll or fold the crepes and place in a baking dish coated with cooking spray. Dot with butter and bake 15 minutes. Divide among serving plates and garnish with a dollop of light whipped cream.
Tip: Look for packaged crepes in the produce section.
Gremolata-Topped Roast Beef
1 medium lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless rump roast
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl, combine juice and zest from same lemon, parsley, garlic and pepper. Press mixture evenly into all surfaces of roast. Place roast on rack in shallow roasting pan. Roast 1 ¼ to 1 ¾ hours for medium-rare. Remove roast when internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Transfer to carving board; tent loosely with foil. Let stand 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.
Makes 10 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 185 calories, 29 g protein, 7 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 79 mg cholesterol, 38 mg sodium and no fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 0.
Fusilli With Lentils, Sausage and Tomatoes
12 ounces fusilli pasta
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed
1 (19-ounce) can lentil soup
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano (lightly drained)
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Coarse salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium, heat oil. Add sausage and cook, breaking up clumps, 3 to 5 minutes or until browned. Add lentil soup and tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook 6 to 10 minutes or until heated through and slightly reduced, stirring occasionally. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper. Add mixture to pasta; toss and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 318 calories, 15 g protein, 5 g fat, 54 g carbohydrate, 15 mg cholesterol, 496 mg sodium and 6 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.5.
Flounder With Tomatoes, Olives and Feta
1 pound flounder filets
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano with liquid
⅓ cup sliced black olives
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ cup crumbled garlic-and-herb or plain feta cheese
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, layer flounder, then onion. Spoon tomatoes and olives evenly over flounder; sprinkle with basil and cheese. Bake, uncovered, 25 minutes or until fish is opaque.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 174 calories, 17 g protein, 7 g fat, 12 g carbohydrate, 56 mg cholesterol, 983 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 05/01/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner