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story.lead_photo.caption Tangy Tomato and Lemon Risotto (Photo courtesy of USA Rice)

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

SUNDAY: Spice up the family gathering with Sweet and Tangy Pork Tenderloin. Combine ½ cup packed light brown sugar, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon chile powder, 2 teaspoons cumin and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper in a resealable plastic bag; mix well. Add 2 trimmed pork tenderloins (1 pound each), turning to coat. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Place tenderloins on broiler rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in broiler pan lined with foil. Brush with marinade. Bake 20 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven, cover and let stand 5 minutes. Slice 1 tenderloin and serve. To accompany the pork, add roasted red potatoes, petite green peas (from frozen) and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, slice pound cake and top with blueberries.

Plan ahead: Save one of the tenderloins and enough cake for Monday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover pork tenderloin for a smoky-flavored Pork Chili. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium. Add 1 cup chopped onion; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Mix in 2 tablespoons chili seasoning. Cook 1 minute; chop and add the leftover pork tenderloin and cook 3 minutes. Add 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce, 1 (15 ½-ounce) can white hominy (rinsed), 1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid and 1 tablespoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce; mix well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with coleslaw and cornbread. Slice the leftover pound cake for dessert.

TUESDAY: It takes a little extra time, but Tangy Tomato and Lemon Risotto (see recipe) is worth it. Serve the creamy rice concoction with an Italian salad and garlic bread. For dessert, try tropical fruits.

WEDNESDAY: Make it a soup-and-sandwich night. Buy or make minestrone soup for this quick meal. The deli will have turkey sandwiches on whole-grain bread waiting for you, and you can add a mixed green salad. Scoop chocolate ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Friday.

THURSDAY: We never mind low-cost menus, especially when they have as much flavor as Lentils With Bacon and Tomatoes (see recipe). Serve the high-fiber dish with a spinach salad and flatbread. Peaches work for dessert.

FRIDAY: You'll hit a home run with Bat Boys on the menu: Spread a thin round of deli-sliced ham with mayonnaise and sprinkle with any shredded cheese. Roll tightly around a sesame bread stick or pretzel rod. Add oven fries (from frozen) and carrot salad alongside. For dessert, top leftover ice cream with marshmallow topping.

SATURDAY: Our guests were impressed with the flavor of this version of Chicken Marbella (see recipe), and I was impressed with how easy it was to prepare. Serve it with mashed potatoes to catch the juices. On the side, add a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. Raspberry sorbet with chocolate wafers is a simple dessert.

THE RECIPES

Tangy Tomato and Lemon Risotto

4 cups unsalted chicken broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 cup arborio rice

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup PLUS 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon

In a 2-quart saucepan on medium, heat broth to a simmer; reduce heat to low and keep warm.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan on medium. Add shallots; cook until soft. Add rice; stir 2 to 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high; stir in 1 cup broth. Continue stirring and adding remaining broth, 1 cup at a time, allowing each cup to be absorbed before adding another. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, 25 to 30 minutes or until broth is absorbed. Cook until rice is tender and mixture has a creamy consistency. Stir in tomatoes, lemon juice and zest. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 159 calories, 3 g protein, 2 g fat, 30 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 86 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2.

Lentils With Bacon and Tomatoes

3 slices bacon

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 small onion, thinly sliced

1 cup dry lentils

1 cup quick-cooking barley

2 (14-ounce) cans lower-sodium beef broth

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 (14 ½-ounce) can stewed tomatoes with liquid

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Microwave bacon on 100% power for 2 to 3 minutes; let stand 2 minutes.

In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium. Add onion and lentils and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is soft and lentils are lightly browned. Add barley, broth, cumin and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until lentils are soft; add tomatoes. Cook uncovered 15 to 20 minutes or until lentils and barley are tender and liquid is absorbed. Before serving, stir in parsley and crumble bacon on top.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 325 calories, 19 g protein, 5 g fat, 55 g carbohydrate, 5 mg cholesterol, 347 mg sodium and 10 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3.5.

Chicken Marbella

Heaping ½ cup pitted dried plums (prunes)

½ cup packed brown sugar

½ cup dry white wine

Heaping ¼ cup pitted green olives

¼ cup capers, rinsed

¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano

6 cloves garlic, chopped

3 bay leaves

2 ½ to 3 pounds bone-in skinless chicken parts (breasts, thighs, legs or combination)

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Combine plums, brown sugar, wine, olives, capers, vinegar, oil, oregano, garlic and bay leaves in a large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken; seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove and arrange chicken in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; pour marinade evenly over chicken. Bake 45 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. (Baste every 10 minutes with marinade.) Place chicken, plums, olives and capers on serving platter, reserving pan drippings. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle chicken with parsley and serve with reserved drippings as a sauce.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 549 calories, 42 g protein, 23 g fat, 42 g carbohydrate, 155 mg cholesterol, 583 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3.

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

susan@7daymenu.com

Food on 01/15/2020

Print Headline: 7-day menu planner

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