A week's worth of healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Think tropical as the family enjoys Bacon-Wrapped Pork With Mango-Basil Relish (see recipe). Alongside, serve brown rice tossed with toasted cashews. Add steamed fresh asparagus and sourdough bread. Slice a chocolate cake for dessert.
Plan ahead: Grill 2 extra plain pork chops and save enough cake for Monday. If time permits, make Monday's soup today. Cook extra brown rice and freeze for Wednesday.
MONDAY: Make Split-Pea Soup With Pork for an easy meal. In a Dutch oven, combine 12 cups water, 1 (16-ounce) package split peas (picked over and rinsed), 3 chicken bouillon cubes and 2 cups chopped onion; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 1 hour or until peas are almost tender; stir occasionally. Add 1 ½ cups thinly sliced fresh carrots; simmer 20 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Stir in 1 to 2 cups diced leftover pork and simmer 10 more minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with croutons and sour cream. Add a spinach salad and crusty bread. Leftover cake is your dessert.
TUESDAY: Couscous With Roasted Vegetables (see recipe) makes a fine no-meat dinner. Add a mixed green salad and pita bread. For dessert, make instant butterscotch pudding and serve it topped with whipped cream.
Plan ahead: Thaw rice for Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: Saving money is easy with economical Across The Border Chicken. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into strips), and cook 5 minutes, stirring often. Stir in 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1 (14.5-ounce) can corn (rinsed), 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, 1 ½ teaspoons chile powder and 1 teaspoon onion powder. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve it over warmed leftover rice. Add a romaine salad and make cornbread from a mix. A bowl of peaches sounds good for dessert.
THURSDAY: Expect the kids to love helping you make Taco Monster Mouths (see recipe). Serve them with carrot sticks. For dessert, halved kiwis, scooped with a spoon, are fun.
FRIDAY: Who can resist grilled burgers (turkey or lean beef on whole-grain buns) With any or all of the trimmings: Lettuce, tomato, low-fat mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, onions and pickles? Accompany the all-American favorite with deli broccoli salad and baked chips. Scoop raspberry sorbet for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough sorbet for Saturday.
SATURDAY: Serve your guests Dijon Chicken: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ½ cup dry bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese, ½ teaspoon dried thyme and ¼ teaspoon pepper; mix well and set aside. Brush 3 tablespoons creamy mustard-mayonnaise blend on 4 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless chicken breasts. Coat in bread crumb mixture; shake off excess. Arrange on a rack coated with cooking spray and place rack in shallow baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. Serve with rice pilaf. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over steamed fresh green beans. Add a bibb lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls. For a festive dessert, serve leftover sorbet in stemmed glasses and add butter cookies alongside.
Bacon-Wrapped Pork With Mango-Basil Relish
8 strips bacon
4 boneless pork chops (1 ½ inches thick)
½ cup soy sauce
½ cup fresh lime juice
1 ½ teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
For the relish:
1 mango, peeled, pitted and finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
Wrap 2 strips of bacon around the sides of each pork chop, securing in several places with wooden picks.
Mix together the soy sauce, lime juice, cayenne pepper and garlic. Reserve half of the mixture for basting and place half in a shallow baking dish. Add pork to dish and turn to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning pork occasionally. (Marinate longer for more flavor.) Remove from marinade, discard marinade, and place pork on grill over medium coals. Cook for 12 to 16 minutes total, basting with reserved marinade several times, until internal temperature of pork reaches 145 degrees.
In a small bowl, stir together relish ingredients. Serve each chop with a large dollop of relish.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium soy sauce) contains approximately 390 calories, 44 g protein, 17 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 132 mg cholesterol, 547 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
Couscous With Roasted Vegetables
1 cup couscous
1 large red bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
1 large orange bell pepper, cut into ½-inch strips
1 medium yellow squash, cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼-inch diagonal slices
1 teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ teaspoon minced garlic
¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 ounces crumbled Greek feta cheese (basil-and-tomato flavored, if available)
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare couscous according to package directions; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together bell peppers, yellow squash and zucchini.
Separately, mix together salt, black pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, olive oil and vinegar. Pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Spread vegetables evenly over large baking sheet covered with foil, reserving marinade. Roast 12 to 14 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Cool vegetables; toss with reserved marinade, couscous and cheese.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 326 calories, 13 g protein, 11 g fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 10 mg cholesterol, 870 mg sodium and 5 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.
Taco Monster Mouths
12 large pimento-stuffed green olives
3 slices American cheese
6 flat-bottom taco shells
1 pound 95% lean ground beef
2 tablespoons less-sodium taco seasoning mix
2 plum tomatoes, cut lengthwise into thirds and pulp removed
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a slit into 1 side of each olive. Cut each of the cheese slices in half vertically with a zigzag line to look like teeth. Arrange taco shells on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until hot. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef on medium high 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning mix and 5 tablespoons of water. Reduce heat to medium; cook 5 minutes or until water has evaporated.
To assemble, add lettuce to taco shells to look like hair that's sticking out. Divide beef and fill shells. Place each taco on its side on serving plate; insert 1 tomato slice into meat filling to look like the tongue. Place 1 cheese slice with zigzag edge toward meat along top side of taco between the shell and filling for teeth. Press 2 olives onto shell to look like eyes on top.
Makes 6 tacos.
Each taco contains approximately 236 calories, 20 g protein, 12 g fat, 11 g carbohydrate, 51 mg cholesterol, 838 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 10/02/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner