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story.lead_photo.caption Courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen

A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families

SUNDAY: Think of warm tropical breezes instead of cold February winds when you prepare Caribbean Roast Pork Loin for the family. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, blend 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon pepper, ½ teaspoon nutmeg and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Rub onto 1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin roast (trimmed of visible fat). Place in shallow pan; roast 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with Poppy Seed Noodles (toss cooked egg noodles with poppy seeds and a little butter), sugar snap peas and dinner rolls. Buy peach crisp for dessert and top it with vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork for Monday.

MONDAY: Make Savory Pork Stir-Fry with leftover pork. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add 2 cups cooked (leftover) pork cut into strips and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in 1 (16-ounce) package frozen stir-fry vegetables and 1 tablespoon water. Cover; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are hot. Serve over brown rice. Add crusty bread. Munch on gingersnaps for dessert.

TUESDAY: This Enchilada Casserole (see recipe) is low in cost and mild enough for kids. Serve with a grapefruit salad. Make instant chocolate pudding for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough casserole for Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY: Enjoy an easy meal and heat the leftover casserole tonight. Add a packaged mixed green salad. Buy cupcakes for dessert.

THURSDAY: Make Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Guacamole Wraps -- a new twist on an old favorite. Microwave 4 slices bacon 3 to 4 minutes on 100% power; let stand until crisp. Spread 4 (8-inch) tortillas with cream cheese; top each tortilla with 2 tablespoons mild salsa and shredded lettuce; spread evenly. Place 1 bacon slice, some sliced tomato and 2 tablespoons guacamole on each tortilla and roll tightly. Serve with baked potato wedges (from frozen) sprinkled with chile powder, if desired. For dessert, fresh pineapple chunks are kid-friendly.

FRIDAY: Enjoy this flavorful Lemony Linguine Bowl (see recipe) for a no-meat dinner. Add romaine salad on the side, along with flatbread. Apricots are dessert.

SATURDAY: Guests will want seconds of creamy Rigatoni and Chicken. Cook 8 ounces rigatoni or another tube pasta according to package directions; drain. Cut 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast into ½-inch slices and season with ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add chicken and cook 1 ½ minutes per side or until edges are lightly browned. Stir in 3 ½ to 4 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until softened. Add 1 cup whole milk or half-and-half and cook 3 minutes or until mixture is reduced by half. Stir in a heaping ¼ cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese and ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Simmer and stir 1 minute or until cheese melts. Toss hot pasta with sauce and divide among six plates. Garnish with extra parmesan and chopped parsley if desired. Serve with an Italian salad and crusty rolls. Your guests will swoon over Strawberry Cream Cheese Cream Puffs (see recipe) from a former Pillsbury Bake-off Finalist.


Enchilada Casserole

1 (10-ounce) can enchilada sauce, divided use

12 ounces ground turkey breast

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed

1 (10 ¾-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

½ cup sour cream, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

12 (6-inch) corn tortillas

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Chipotle (smoked jalapeno) salsa for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Coat a 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread half of the enchilada sauce over bottom of dish; set aside.

In a large skillet, cook turkey, onion and garlic 4 to 5 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and onion is softened; drain. Add beans, soup, sour cream, cumin and oregano. Place 4 tortillas in baking dish on top of enchilada sauce, tearing to cover. Top with half the meat mixture and a third of the cheese. Repeat once with 4 more tortillas, remaining meat and half of the remaining cheese. Top with remaining 4 tortillas and remaining enchilada sauce. Cover tightly with foil that has been coated with cooking spray (to prevent it from sticking to top of casserole). Bake 45 minutes. Remove cover. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately; garnish with sour cream and salsa.

Makes 6 servings.

Lemony Linguine Bowl

2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (see note)

2 tablespoons PLUS 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

Pinch salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

6 ounces linguine

3 ounces (3 cups) fresh baby spinach

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

2 fried eggs (optional)

Toss panko with 2 teaspoons oil in bowl until evenly coated. Microwave 1 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until light golden brown; set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining oil, parmesan, zest, juice, garlic, salt and pepper together; set aside.

Cook linguine according to package directions; reserving ¼ cup cooking water, drain and return to pot. Stir in parmesan mixture and spinach, tossing 1 minute or until spinach is slightly wilted and pasta is coated; adjust consistency with reserved cooking water as needed and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Divide among individual bowls, then sprinkle with bread crumbs and basil. Top with fried eggs if desired. Pass extra parmesan as you serve. (Adapted from Bowls: Vibrant Recipes With Endless Possibilities, America's Test Kitchen.)

Makes 2 servings.

Note: Double recipe for 4 servings.

Strawberry Cream Cheese Cream Puffs

½ cup butter

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs

1 (8-ounce) package Neufchatel cream cheese, softened

½ cup strawberry preserves

1 (8-ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line large cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat 1 cup water, the butter and salt on medium-high until boiling. With wooden spoon, stir in flour. Reduce heat to low; beat vigorously about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Add 1 egg at a time, beating vigorously after each addition until mixture is smooth and glossy. Drop dough in ¼ cup portions 3 inches apart on cookie sheet, forming 12 mounds. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Remove from pan to cooling rack; prick side of each puff with tip of sharp knife to release steam. Cool completely, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat cream cheese and preserves with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping until combined; refrigerate. Just before serving, cut each puff in half horizontally. Spoon some cream cheese mixture into bottom half of each puff; place tops over filling. Sprinkle with sugar and serve immediately. Refrigerate remaining puffs.

Makes 12 servings.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:

Food on 02/26/2020

Print Headline: 7-day menu planner


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