A week’s worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Bake a turkey breast for family day. Use your secret weapon, the microwave, and prepare Risotto With Peas and Mushrooms (see recipe). Add a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy or make a cherry cobbler.
Plan ahead: Save enough turkey, risotto and cobbler for Monday.
MONDAY: These Turkey Roll-Ups make good use of leftover turkey. Mix together 5 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 3 tablespoons any chutney. Spread evenly over 8 (8-inch) whole-grain tortillas. Top with sliced turkey, thin slices of red onion and fresh spinach leaves. Roll tightly, cut in half, and serve with the leftover risotto. Add a lettuce wedge. Warm the leftover cobbler and top with vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.
TUESDAY: Try Cabbage With Smoked Sausage and Apples (see recipe) in your slow cooker tonight. Serve the savory dish with beets and dark rye bread. For dessert, pears are easy.
WEDNESDAY: Make a quick Meat Sauce With Pasta. Cook 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey in a Dutch oven until no longer pink; drain. Add 1 (24- to 26-ounce) jar tomato-and-basil pasta sauce, 1 (4- to 6-ounce) can sliced mushrooms (drained) and 1 teaspoon dried basil to meat. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over any prepared refrigerated pasta. Add a packaged green salad and garlic bread. Tapioca pudding is a good dessert to complete your meal.
THURSDAY: Quick and easy is what we call Lentil Soup With Tomatoes and Peppers. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add 1 ½ cups chopped onion, 1 ½ cups diced red bell pepper, 2 teaspoons minced garlic and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Cover and cook 8 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not browned; stir often. Add 4 cups unsalted vegetable broth or water, 1 cup rinsed and sorted dried lentils, 2 small bay leaves, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender. Mix in 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes to blend flavors. Remove bay leaves and serve. Accompany the soup with a spinach salad and cheese toast (use any shredded cheese on any dense bread and broil until the cheese melts). Leftover ice cream with butterscotch sauce is dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough butterscotch sauce for Friday.
FRIDAY: The kids can prepare their own Beany Burritos. Heat canned vegetarian refried beans and spread on burrito-size tortillas. Cover beans with drained salsa, shredded lettuce and any shredded cheese. Roll, cut in half and serve with rice. Munch on carrot sticks alongside. Finish with Rocky Road Parfait, a kid's ooey-gooey dream: In a tall dessert glass, layer prepared instant chocolate pudding with leftover butterscotch sauce, marshmallow cream, a few chopped pecans and some raisins; repeat and end with marshmallow cream.
SATURDAY: Invite friends for Pecan-Crusted Tilapia With Italian Salsa (see recipe). Serve with orzo tossed with chopped fresh parsley and steamed spinach tossed with olive oil and garlic. Add crusty bread. For dessert, buy fruit tarts.
Risotto With Peas and Mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
½ cup chopped onion
3 cups unsalted chicken broth
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen petite green peas
½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
In a 2-quart glass baking dish, cover and microwave butter and oil on 100% power for 45 seconds to 1 minute or until melted; mix in rice and onion. Cover and microwave on high 4 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth; cover and microwave on high 10 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cover and microwave on high 8 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Stir in peas; cover and microwave on high 2 minutes. Keep covered and let stand 5 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper; serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 157 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 8 mg cholesterol, 432 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.5.
Cabbage With Smoked Sausage and Apples
1 small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
4 juniper berries or 1 small sprig fresh rosemary (see note)
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
Generous pinch of caraway seeds
1 pound smoked sausage links, halved
½ teaspoon pepper
Coat the inside of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray. Layer cabbage, onion, apple, oil, garlic, bay leaf, juniper berries (or rosemary sprig), vinegar, sugar, mustard and caraway seeds in cooker. Mix well. Nestle the sausage pieces into the cabbage mixture. Cover and cook on low, stirring several times, 6 to 8 hours. Season with pepper. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig (if using) and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Note: Look for juniper berries in the spice aisle.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 241 calories, 12 g protein, 12 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 91 mg cholesterol, 866 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 1.5.
Pecan-Crusted Tilapia With Italian Salsa
1 cup pecan pieces
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 (4- to 6-ounce) tilapia filets
2 tablespoons pecan or olive oil
For the Italian salsa:
1 ½ cups diced cherry tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonaded
1 tablespoon pecan or olive oil
Coarse salt to taste
In a medium bowl, mix together pecans, garlic powder and dried basil; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk egg and mustard.
Pat fish dry. Coat each filet in egg mixture, then in pecan mixture. Place on a plate.
Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Place tilapia in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side, depending on thickness. Remove tilapia from pan.
For the Italian salsa: In a medium bowl, add tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, oil and salt. Toss to coat. To serve: Place tilapia on plate; top with Italian salsa.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 434 calories, 28 grams protein, 34 grams fat (67 percent calories from fat), 4 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 103 milligrams cholesterol, 113 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 0.5.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 10/09/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner