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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | May 24, 2023 at 1:58 a.m.
Louisiana Crab Cakes (Courtesy of McCormick USA)

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

SUNDAY: Try these Louisiana Crab Cakes (see recipe) for a special family meal. Alongside, make your potato salad and add coleslaw and hush puppies (from mix). Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough crab cakes and coleslaw for Monday and enough Boston cream pie for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Celebrate Memorial Day with leftovers and make heated Crab Cake Sandwiches on toasted English muffins. Add tartar sauce, corn-on-the-cob and leftover coleslaw. How about chocolate chip cookies with a dollop of chocolate ice cream for dessert?

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Wednesday.

TUESDAY: Cheese Ravioli With Mushrooms and Peas (see recipe) is a great no-meat dinner. Serve with a romaine salad and garlic bread. Leftover Boston cream pie makes a good dessert.

WEDNESDAY: The kids will be happy you are serving Broiled Honey-Sesame Chicken Tenders for dinner: Marinate chicken tenders in honey teriyaki (or another flavor) marinade (from jar) for 10 minutes, then roll in sesame seeds before broiling on a baking sheet lined with nonstick foil for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with brown rice, green beans and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, leftover cookies are all you'll want.

THURSDAY: Go Italian with Panini Caprese for dinner. Cut a 10- to 14-ounce focaccia loaf (olive oil and herb or another flavor) in half horizontally. On bottom half, arrange 8 ounces fresh sliced mozzarella cheese and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Top with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons extra-virgin oil and 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar. Cover with bread top; press down gently. Cut into wedges and serve. Add baked chips. For dessert, fresh pineapple is light.

FRIDAY: One of my favorite fast meals is Chicken Salad Stuffed Avocados: Buy deli chicken salad and add some chopped walnuts and halved grapes. Spoon the mixture into halved avocados that have been coated with lemon juice. Garnish top with paprika. Serve on mixed greens and add tomato wedges to the plates, along with oven fries (from frozen) and crusty bread. Enjoy fresh blueberries for dessert.

SATURDAY: Entertain guests with delicious Pork Medallions With Blue Cheese Chive Topping (see recipe). Serve with orzo tossed with a little olive oil and chopped fresh parsley, steamed fresh asparagus, a bibb lettuce salad and a baguette. For dessert, top strawberry ice cream with fresh strawberries.


Louisiana Crab Cakes

  • 1 egg
  • 1 (5.75-ounce) package crab cake mix such as Zatarain's
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 pound fresh lump or back fin crabmeat
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil

In a large bowl, beat egg. Add crab cake mix and mayonnaise; stir until well blended. Add crabmeat; toss gently to combine. Shape mixture into 8 patties and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium. Add 4 crab cakes; fry about 4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature 165 degrees). Repeat with remaining crab cakes, adding additional oil if needed.

Makes 8 crab cakes.

Nutrition information: Each crab cake (prepared with low-fat mayonnaise) contains approximately 183 calories, 15 g protein, 4 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 63 mg cholesterol, 648 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1 ½


Cheese Ravioli With Mushrooms and Peas

  • 1 (24-ounce) bag frozen cheese-filled ravioli (about 45 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 8 ounces fresh crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup frozen green peas
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomato Alfredo sauce
  • ½ cup tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 2 teaspoons basil pesto

Cook ravioli according to directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil and garlic powder in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add onion, mushrooms and peas. Cook 7 minutes or until onions are softened and mushrooms release their liquid. Stir in Alfredo sauce, pasta sauce and pesto; cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes or until hot. Drain ravioli and return to skillet. Pour sauce over ravioli, stirring gently to coat. Heat 2 to 3 minutes; serve.

Makes 5 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 364 calories, 12 g protein, 11 g fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 24 mg cholesterol, 578 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3


Pork Medallions With Blue Cheese Chive Topping

  • 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese (about ½ cup)
  • 3 tablespoons finely snipped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon plain breadcrumbs

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Cut tenderloin into 1-inch slices. Flatten to ¾-inch thickness. Sprinkle with pepper.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until brown, turning once. Transfer pork to a baking sheet covered with nonstick foil.

In a small bowl, mix together blue cheese, chives and breadcrumbs, breaking cheese into fine crumbs. Top pork slices evenly with cheese mixture. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 201 calories, 27 g protein, 9 g fat, 2 g carbohydrate, 84 mg cholesterol, 235 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:

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