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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | June 2, 2021 at 1:57 a.m.
Stuffed Peppers (Courtesy of Incogmeato/Elena Besser)

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

SUNDAY: Family day will be extra-special with Chicken, Olives and Onions (see recipe) on the menu. Serve it with couscous, a romaine salad and flatbread. Peach cobbler with light whipped cream finishes a delightful meal.

Plan ahead: Save enough of the chicken entree and some cobbler for Monday.

MONDAY: Use Sunday's leftover chicken for Stuffed Chicken Pitas: Dice the leftover chicken entree and spoon it into whole-grain pitas along with some shredded lettuce and a dollop of plain yogurt. Alongside, add sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert.

TUESDAY: Skip meat for delicious Stuffed Peppers (see recipe). Serve them with a red-tipped lettuce salad and garlic bread. Enjoy plums for dessert.

WEDNESDAY: Oh, to be a kid again and find my childhood staple, Baked Beans 'n' Franks waiting for me! Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mix a 28-ounce can baked beans, 2 tablespoons molasses, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon mustard. Stir in sliced chicken or turkey hot dogs. Bake 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve with refrigerated sauerkraut (rinsed and squeezed-dry) heated with a little unsalted chicken broth. Add carrot sticks and soft rolls. Slice kiwis for dessert.

THURSDAY: One of my favorite quick meals lately is heat-and-serve Kung Pao Chicken over rice with a green salad. For dessert, fresh strawberries sound good. Tip: Add any leftover vegetables to the chicken.

Plan ahead: Save enough strawberries for Saturday.

FRIDAY: For a low-cost meal, pasta is always a good choice. Try Baked Rotini tonight. In a baking dish coated with cooking spray, toss hot cooked rotini or another pasta with your favorite pasta sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella. Bake until cheese melts and serve. Add a lettuce wedge and Italian bread. For dessert, munch on apple slices.

SATURDAY: Serve your guests Chile-Lime Pork Tenderloin (see recipe) tonight. Add broccoli, rice tossed with green peas, a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Top vanilla ice cream with leftover strawberries for dessert.

THE RECIPES

Chicken, Olives and Onions

  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 ½ pounds or 8 pieces bone-in skinless chicken breasts, legs and thighs
  • ¼ cup pitted Kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup packed chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, plus more for garnish

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and oil. Toss until well mixed. Arrange chicken in single layer on a rimmed sheet pan lined with nonstick foil. Scatter onion mixture over chicken. Roast 30 to 40 minutes. Scatter olives over chicken. Roast 5 more minutes or until internal temperature of chicken thigh reaches 165 degrees. Transfer mixture to platter and garnish with parsley.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 207 calories, 33 g protein, 7 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 89 mg cholesterol, 211 mg sodium and no fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 0

■ ■ ■

Stuffed Peppers

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 pound plant-based ground beef substitute (Incogmeato, Beyond Meat or Impossible)
  • 4 bell peppers (any color), halved lengthwise, seeds and membranes removed
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 medium diced tomato
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 fresh lime, cut into wedges
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced on bias
  • Cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Heat the oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add the beef substitute and cook 5 to 6 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Place pepper halves into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, cut side up.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked beef substitute, rice, tomato, beans and 1 cup cheese. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Divide mixture evenly among pepper halves. Drizzle with more oil, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, 10 more minutes. Garnish with lime wedges, onions and cilantro.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium beans and reduced-fat cheese) contains approximately 685 calories, 44 g protein, 32 g fat, 60 g carbohydrate, 30 mg cholesterol, 650 mg sodium and 16 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 4

■ ■ ■

Chile-Lime Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 (1- to 1 ¼-pound) pork tenderloin
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Pat pork dry and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix chile powder, juice, soy sauce and sugar. Rub mixture on pork.

Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet until hot. Add pork; sear on all sides, turning with tongs, about 4 minutes. Place skillet in oven; roast 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. While roasting, baste pork with accumulated juices. Add water, 2 tablespoons at a time, if needed. Remove tenderloin to a cutting board; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Slice on the diagonal and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 192 calories, 24 g protein, 10 g fat, 1 g carbohydrate, 74 mg cholesterol, 239 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: susan@7daymenu.com

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