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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | March 22, 2023 at 1:53 a.m.
Salmon With Asparagus and Chive Butter Sauce (America’s Test Kitchen/Daniel van Ackere)

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

SUNDAY: For a special family day, Beef Burgundy (see recipe) will please everyone. Serve it over noodles with green peas, a mixed green salad and whole-grain bread alongside. For dessert, angel food cake with a dab of chocolate ice cream is easy.

Plan ahead: Save enough Beef Burgundy, peas and cake for Monday; save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Thin the leftover stew with unsalted beef broth for Beef Vegetable Soup; add to the soup any leftover vegetables hiding in your refrigerator, plus salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain crackers. Slice the leftover cake and top with any berries for dessert.

TUESDAY: It's burger night, and the kids will love Turkey Burgers topped with pizza sauce on whole-grain buns. Serve them with oven fries and add orange sections on chopped lettuce on the side. Some leftover ice cream for dessert will bring on happy faces.

WEDNESDAY: Skip meat tonight for this Mushroom and Pepper Frittata: In a large oven-safe skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil on over medium heat. Cook 1 medium onion (chopped) and 1 red bell pepper (chopped) for 3 minutes. Add 8 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms; cover and cook 1 minute. Stir and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Heat broiler. In a large bowl, whisk 8 eggs, ¼ cup water, ¾ cup shredded asiago cheese, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper. Return skillet to medium heat and add 1 more tablespoon oil. Add egg mixture and ¼ cup sliced fresh basil leaves; cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-low; sprinkle mushrooms over eggs. Cover and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until just the edges are puffed. Sprinkle ¼ cup more asiago cheese over top; broil 1 minute. Serve with whole-grain toast and fresh tropical fruit.

THURSDAY: Make it quick with Palermo Pizza tonight. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Top a 12-inch fully cooked pizza crust (from frozen) with canned eggplant appetizer (caponata), some sliced ripe olives, sliced red onion, sliced plum tomatoes and fresh grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with some dried oregano. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until hot. Serve with a packaged green salad. For an easy dessert, try red and green grapes.

FRIDAY: Get out the slow cooker again for Southwestern Chicken Soup (see recipe). Serve with a sliced avocado on lettuce salad and crusty bread. Slice kiwis for dessert.

SATURDAY: Expect extended applause when you serve your guests Salmon With Asparagus and Chive Butter Sauce (see recipe). Add long-grain and wild rice (from mix) and dinner rolls. Complete your outstanding meal with Orange Ginger Cheesecake: Stir a little grated fresh ginger into some orange marmalade and spoon over a cheesecake.


Beef Burgundy

  • 1 (8-ounce) package baby carrots
  • ¾ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup unsalted beef broth
  • 1 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (8-ounce) package fresh mushrooms, halved
  • ¼ cup quick-mixing flour such as Wondra

Place carrots in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle marjoram and pepper over beef; add to slow cooker. Add broth, wine, garlic and mushrooms; cover and cook on low 6 hours. Remove about ½ cup liquid from cooker; mix with flour. Pour back into cooker and continue cooking on low about 30 more minutes or until thickened and beef and carrots are tender. Ladle into bowls and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 216 calories, 24 g protein, 8 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 71 mg cholesterol, 75 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

Southwestern Chicken Soup

  • 4 ½ cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen shoe peg corn, partially thawed
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into thin strips
  • ½ teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning blend
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Less-sodium seasoned salt to taste

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, mix together the broth, tomatoes with liquid, chiles, beans, corn, both bell peppers, onion, chicken and garlic pepper. Cover and cook on high 1 hour. Reduce heat to low and continue cooking 6 to 7 hours or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. Stir in the cumin and add seasoned salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Makes about 15 cups.

Nutrition information: Each cup (prepared with unsalted broth, no-salt added tomatoes, reduced-sodium beans and without seasoned salt) contains approximately 119 calories, 13 g protein, 1 g fat, 12 g carbohydrate, 33 mg cholesterol, 113 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1

Salmon With Asparagus and Chive Butter Sauce

  • 1 pound thick asparagus, trimmed
  • ¾ teaspoon coarse salt, divided use
  • 4 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless salmon filets, 1 inch thick
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Lay asparagus in a single layer in 12-inch skillet; add 1 cup water and ¼ teaspoon salt. Pat salmon dry with paper towels and sprinkle with the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper; lay salmon across the asparagus spears in skillet. Place over high heat until water comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cover and cook until asparagus is tender and salmon is still translucent when checked with tip of paring knife and internal temperature reaches 125 degrees, about 8 minutes. Transfer salmon and asparagus to platter. Add wine to skillet; increase heat to medium-high and simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat, whisk in chives and butter; season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour sauce over salmon and asparagus. Serve with lemon wedges. (Adapted from "Five-Ingredient Dinners," America's Test Kitchen.)

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 343 calories, 38 g protein, 16 g fat, 5 g carbohydrate, 102 mg cholesterol, 495 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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