A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Enjoy family day with grilled Garlic-Lime Marinated Chicken. In a resealable plastic bag, combine ½ cup fresh lime juice, 5 tablespoons canola oil, ¼ cup tequila or unsalted chicken broth, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Add 8 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts; turn to coat. Refrigerate 1 hour. Heat grill. Remove chicken; discard marinade. Grill or broil 5 to 7 minutes per side. Serve with one of our favorites, Mediterranean Savory Potato Salad (see recipe). Add sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and topped with slivers of fresh basil leaves and crusty rolls. For dessert, slice pound cake and top with sliced fresh peaches.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken, potato salad and cake for Monday.
MONDAY: Take it easy and enjoy Sunday's chicken and potato salad leftovers. Add some deli coleslaw on the side, along with whole-grain rolls. For dessert, leftover cake goes well with chocolate ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.
TUESDAY: Slow cookers, simplicity and budgets go together, and Italian Beef Stew is all of the above. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, layer 2 pounds well-trimmed beef cubes for stew, 2 medium onions cut into wedges and 1 large red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces. Pour 2 cups spaghetti sauce (from a jar) over all. Cover and cook on low 7 to 8 hours. Add 1 ½ pounds yellow summer squash cut into ¾-inch chunks; cook 15 minutes on high or until squash is tender; mix well. Season with coarse salt and black pepper to taste. Serve over fettuccine, along with a mixed green salad. Add garlic bread. Pears are dessert.
WEDNESDAY: The kids will laugh when you tell them that Dogs With Doggone Good Salsa are on the menu tonight. Combine 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 cup mild salsa and ½ medium chopped yellow bell pepper; mix well. Spoon over grilled hot dogs in whole-grain hot dog buns. Add oven fries and raw baby carrots with a ranch dressing dip. Let the kids make instant banana pudding for dessert. Have them slice some bananas to stir into the pudding.
THURSDAY: You won't miss meat when you serve Green Bean, Red Rice and Almond Salad (see recipe). Serve with deviled eggs and a baguette. Leftover chocolate ice cream is dessert.
FRIDAY: Try a packaged jambalaya mix for a quick meal tonight. Serve with a romaine salad. Continue the New Orleans tradition and serve warm bread pudding from the bakery for dessert. Let the good times roll!
Plan ahead: Save enough bread pudding for Saturday.
SATURDAY: Serve your lucky friends Chile-Cumin Pork Tenderloin (see recipe) and wait for the compliments. Accompany the spicy pork with Black Bean Salad: In a medium bowl, combine 1 (16-ounce) can rinsed black beans, 4 thinly sliced green onions with half of the tops, 1 cup salsa, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and just from ½ lime; mix well. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature before serving. Warm the leftover bread pudding and top with Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, microwave ½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter on 100% power for 45 seconds (covered) or until melted. Stir in ½ cup sifted confectioners' sugar, 1 egg (lightly beaten) and 2 tablespoons bourbon (or 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract); microwave on 50% power for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring several times.
Mediterranean Savory Potato Salad
3 pounds russet potatoes
4 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
¼ cup Greek feta
5 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
Place potatoes in saucepan and add enough water to cover potatoes by 2 inches; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes or until tender; drain. Refrigerate until cool. Cut potatoes into quarters.
Place in large bowl; add tomatoes, feta and spinach.
In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil and salt and pepper; mix well and pour over potato mixture. Toss to coat with dressing.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 218 calories, 5 g protein, 9 g fat, 32 g carbohydrate, 4 mg cholesterol, 328 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 2.
Green Bean, Red Rice and Almond Salad
2 pounds French green beans
3 tablespoons unsweetened almond butter
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 cups cooked red or brown rice (from 1 cup uncooked)
⅔ cup whole almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup flatleaf parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Steam green beans 7 to 8 minutes until just cooked through (but not limp); cool.
In a large serving bowl, whisk together almond butter, olive oil, orange juice, cider vinegar and salt. Add beans and turn gently to coat. Stir in rice. Just before serving, add chopped almonds and parsley; sprinkle with pepper and toss to combine.
Makes 6 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 362 calories, 11 g protein, 20 g fat, 41 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 523 mg sodium and 8 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.
Chile-Cumin Pork Tenderloin
1 tablespoon chile powder
1 ½ teaspoons cumin
1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon coarse salt
⅛ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 ¾ to 2 pounds pork tenderloins
Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine chile powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper; mix well. Rub spice mixture into all sides of pork tenderloin. Place meat on rack of shallow roasting pan. Bake 16 to 20 minutes, turning once. Set oven to broil; broil 2 minutes, turning once. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. If necessary, roast 2 more minutes or until desired temperature is reached. Slice and serve.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 110 calories, 19 g protein, 3 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 52 mg cholesterol, 118 mg sodium and no fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 0.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 09/18/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner