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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | October 6, 2021 at 1:54 a.m.
Mediterranean Beef Pot Roast (Courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board)

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

SUNDAY: Cooler days call for Mediterranean Beef Pot Roast (see recipe) for your family. Serve the savory entree with mashed potatoes, steamed carrots, mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, pair a yellow layer cake with coconut ice cream for an extra-special dessert.

Plan Ahead: Save enough pot roast, vegetables and cake for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover pot roast and vegetables for Vegetable Beef Soup. Dice the meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces; combine in large pot with enough lower-sodium beef broth to cover, 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes and ½ teaspoon dried thyme. Thin with water or broth as desired. Heat soup, ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Add a lettuce wedge and crackers. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

TUESDAY: Hold down food costs and enjoy a Pepper Cheese Omelet. Cook 2 strips bacon; crumble and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add 2 cups refrigerated (or frozen and thawed) o'brien potatoes (about half of a 20-ounce package); pat flat into skillet. Cook on low heat, uncovered, turning once, about 7 minutes or until crisp and brown. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat together 3 whole eggs, 3 egg whites, ¼ cup milk, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and a dash of pepper. Pour over potatoes in skillet. Top with 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. Cook covered 5 to 7 minutes or until egg mixture is set. Loosen omelet from skillet; fold in half. Turn out of skillet onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges to serve. Serve with a spinach salad and bran muffins (from mix). Enjoy strawberries for dessert.

WEDNESDAY: Let the kids help prepare Monster Burgers (see recipe). Serve the funny creations with oven fries (from frozen) and carrot salad. Tropical fruit is an easy dessert.

THURSDAY: Make it quick tonight with Tuna Melts. Spoon deli tuna salad onto whole-grain English muffins. Top tuna with sliced tomatoes and cheddar cheese. Broil until hot and cheese is melted. Serve with sweet red pepper soup. Apple slices sprinkled with cinnamon are a crunchy finish.

FRIDAY: Forget meat and enjoy 7-Layer Tortilla Pie. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Mash 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans (rinsed and well-drained) with a fork. Stir in ¾ cup picante sauce and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder until blended. In another bowl, mix another ¼ cup picante sauce, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (rinsed and well-drained) and ½ cup chopped tomatoes. Place 1 (of 7 total) 8-inch flour tortilla on a baking sheet. Spread ¾ cup pinto bean mixture over tortilla to within ½ inch of the edge. Top with ¼ cup (of 2 cups total) shredded cheddar cheese. Place another tortilla on top and spread with ¾ cup black bean mixture and ¼ cup cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Top with last tortilla and the remaining pinto bean mixture. Cover with nonstick foil. Bake 40 minutes or until the filling is hot. Uncover; top with remaining cheese. Cut the pie into wedges and serve with additional picante sauce and cilantro on the side. Accompany the pie with brown rice and sliced avocados. Make flan (from mix) for dessert.

SATURDAY: Serve your lucky diners Roasted Shrimp With Spaghetti (see recipe). Add an arugula salad and garlic bread. Top leftover ice cream with warm fudge sauce and toasted slivered almonds.

THE RECIPES

Mediterranean Beef Pot Roast

  • 1 boneless beef shoulder roast (2 ½ to 3 pounds)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 small onions, halved and sliced
  • 4 medium shallots, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped dates
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Lightly coat roast with flour. Heat oil in Dutch oven on medium. Brown roast evenly; remove from Dutch oven. Add 1 ½ cups water and the vinegar to Dutch oven; cook and stir until brown bits attached to pan are dissolved. Return roast to pan. Add onions, shallots, dates, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover tightly and cook in oven 2 ¼ to 3 ¼ hours or until roast is fork-tender. Remove roast; keep warm. Cook liquid and vegetables over medium-high heat to desired consistency. Carve roast. Serve with sauce.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 316 calories, 36 g protein, 13 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 108 mg cholesterol, 232 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1

■ ■ ■

Monster Burgers

  • 1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
  • 8 whole-grain burger buns
  • 8 slices (¾ ounce each) American cheese
  • 8 thin slices deli ham
  • 16 slices dill pickle
  • Ketchup

Form beef into 8 thin patties. Place on broiler pan. Broil patties along with bun tops 3 to 4 inches from heat 5 to 6 minutes per side or until burgers are no longer pink and buns are lightly browned.

To assemble: Place bottom halves of buns on serving platter. Place 1 cooked patty on each bun bottom. Cut each cheese slice in half in a zigzag pattern to look like teeth. Place half of cheese slice on burger, with "teeth" hanging off 1 side of patty. Loosely fold ham into tongue shape; place on top of "teeth." Place remaining cheese "teeth" on top of "tongue." Top with top halves of buns. Place 2 pickle slices on top for eyes. Dot "eyes" with ketchup for pupils.

Makes 8 sandwiches.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 315 calories, 30 g protein, 11 g fat, 24 g carbohydrate, 71 mg cholesterol, 978 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1 ½

■ ■ ■

Roasted Shrimp With Spaghetti

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided use
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15- to 19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 (5- to 6-ounce) package fresh baby spinach
  • 2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup packed chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking pan with nonstick foil.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions; reserve ¼ cup cooking water. Drain, return pasta to pot.

In the prepared roasting pan, combine 2 teaspoons oil, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes or until tomatoes begin to collapse.

In a medium bowl, toss beans, shrimp and remaining oil. Add to tomato mixture; stir to combine. Spread in a single layer and roast 5 minutes more or until shrimp are opaque throughout. Add spinach to cooked spaghetti in pot (add reserved water if pasta sticks together); toss to wilt spinach. Stir in shrimp mixture, feta and dill. Transfer to serving bowl; garnish with dill sprigs.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 462 calories, 32 g protein, 11 g fat, 63 g carbohydrate, 156 mg cholesterol, 519 mg sodium and 11 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 4

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: susan@7daymenu.com

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