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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | August 10, 2022 at 1:57 a.m.
Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Caprese (Courtesy of Gwynn Galvin,

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

SUNDAY: Dazzle the family with Flank Steak With Red Wine Pan Sauce (see recipe) for dinner. Serve it with roasted red potatoes, grilled asparagus, mixed greens and whole-grain bread. Buy a Key lime pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough beef and pie for Monday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover beef, any stir-fry sauce and stir-fry vegetables to prepare a Beef Stir-Fry. Serve your creation over brown rice. Add a lettuce wedge and bread sticks. Slice the leftover pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook enough brown rice for Tuesday.

TUESDAY: Try a jar of simmer sauce, such as chicken tikka masala, and stir up an Indian feast to remember. Serve it over leftover rice. Add a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls, and that's dinner. Add a slice of cantaloupe for a refreshing ending.

WEDNESDAY: Try Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Caprese (see recipe) for a special no-meat dinner. Serve the mushrooms on whole-grain buns along with potato salad. Slice mangoes for dessert.

THURSDAY: For a fun summer dinner, treat the kids to Turkey Tortilla Cones (see recipe). Add corn on the cob and cherry tomato halves. Fresh peaches are your dessert.

FRIDAY: Keep the cost down with Oven-Fried Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave 8 slices bacon 30 seconds to 1 minute on 100% power or until limp. Wrap 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs with the bacon. In a flat dish, combine ½ cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, 1 teaspoon paprika and 1 teaspoon pepper. Coat chicken in mixture. Arrange on wire rack coated with cooking spray; place in a foil-lined broiler pan. Coat chicken with cooking spray. Bake about 45 minutes, turning once or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve with baked potatoes, sliced tomatoes and crusty rolls. Fresh figs are dessert.

SATURDAY: Invite guests for Apple Mustard Glazed Pork Chops for dinner: Season 4 boneless pork chops (¾ inches thick) with black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; brown chops 2 minutes. Turn; add ¼ cup apple juice, 2 tablespoons apple jelly and 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 8 to 10 minutes. Serve chops with the pan sauce and jasmine rice, steamed fresh zucchini, a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette. For dessert, spoon fresh blackberries over vanilla ice cream.


Flank Steak With Red Wine Pan Sauce

  • 1 (1 ½-pound) flank steak
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided use
  • ¼ cup minced green onions
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • ½ cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Warm an oven-safe platter in oven.

Season steak with salt and pepper.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add steak; cook 4 minutes. Turn; cook 4 more minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook steak 4 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees for medium-rare. Place steak on warm platter in oven.

In same skillet, cook green onions in pan juices on medium-high. Add wine; cook, scraping browned bits from skillet. Cook 1 minute to reduce wine. Stir in broth, mustard and peppercorns. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes to reduce by half. Slowly whisk in remaining butter 1 tablespoon at a time, letting it melt and blend into the sauce before adding the next tablespoon. Serve sauce with steak.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 266 calories, 24 g protein, 16 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 74 mg cholesterol, 341 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 0

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Grilled Portobello Mushrooms Caprese

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil PLUS several whole basil leaves
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 portobello caps (about 9 ounces)
  • 4 slices (4 ounces) fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup prepared basil pesto
  • 2 Campari tomatoes, sliced

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, garlic, chopped basil and salt until blended. Transfer mixture to a resealable plastic bag. Add portobello caps. Marinate 30 to 60 minutes, turning once. Remove mushrooms; discard marinade.

Meanwhile, heat grill to medium for direct-heat grilling. Grill 7 to 9 minutes per side or until tender, turning once. Arrange on serving platter. Top each with a mozzarella slice, 1 tablespoon pesto, 2 tomato slices and a fresh basil leaf.

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 188 calories, 9 g protein, 15 g fat, 6 g carbohydrate, 24 mg cholesterol, 273 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

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Turkey Tortilla Cones

  • 4 ounces Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 4 (6-inch) whole-grain tortillas
  • ¼ cup salsa
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 ounces cooked turkey breast, cut into strips
  • 4 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into strips
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips

Spread Neufchatel evenly on top 2/3 of each tortilla; spread salsa over cheese. Top with lettuce, turkey, cheddar cheese and bell pepper strips. Fold up bottom third of each tortilla; roll to make cone shape with folded end on bottom. Keep tortilla in cone shape with toothpick. Serve with additional salsa.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-fat cheddar) contains approximately 292 calories, 23 g protein, 13 g fat, 23 g carbohydrate, 58 mg cholesterol, 633 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

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


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