7-Day menu planner

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner

Credit: 7-Day Menu Planner


Treat the family to Oven-Fried Barbecue Chicken: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pour 1 1/2 cups buttermilk into a large, shallow dish. In a medium bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Dip 4 thighs, 4 legs and 3 breasts (all parts bone-in and skinless) in buttermilk. Drain excess liquid and dip in flour, shaking off excess. Place skin side down in an ungreased 15-by-10-inch rimmed baking pan. Coat both sides of chicken with cooking spray. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until chicken is crisp and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Meanwhile, mix 1/2 cup barbecue sauce and 2 Tablespoons honey. Five minutes before chicken is done, brush with sauce.

Make your own potato salad and buy deli coleslaw as accompaniments. Add cornbread (from mix). For dessert, enjoy a big bowl of fresh strawberries with light whipped cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and strawberries for Monday.


Planning a Memorial Day picnic today will be easy because most of the menu (leftover chicken, potato salad and coleslaw) is already made. Add crusty rolls. Now all you have to do is show your spirit and use the leftover strawberries to make a Very Berry Trifle (see recipe). Let’s celebrate!

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough trifle for Tuesday.


This Spinach-and-Artichoke Crab Salad uses imitation king crab, so you can have an elegant salad at a surprisingly low price: In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons sliced black olives and 1 (14-ounce) can quartered water-packed artichokes. Break apart 1 (8-ounce) package refrigerated imitation king crab meat and add to bowl. Add 1 (2-ounce) can drained diced pimentos, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 cup refrigerated spinach dip, and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Gently mix until well-blended. Spoon onto a serving platter that has been covered with a bed of 4 to 6 cups fresh baby spinach. Garnish platter with 2 medium tomatoes cut into wedges and 4 quartered hard-boiled eggs.

Serve with any Bean Soup and add a baguette. Leftover trifle is an easy dessert.


Put International Vegetable Soup (see recipe) on your favorites list. Add a mixed green salad and serve the soup with Cheese Toast (shredded cheddar cheese melted on whole-grain toast). Sliced peaches are dessert.


Stop by the deli for Turkey-and-Swiss Sandwiches on whole-grain bread. Add a lettuce and tomato salad and baked chips. Fresh pineapple is your dessert.


The kids won’t be able to resist Sloppy Jacques: In a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound lean ground beef for 5 or 6 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Stir in 2 Tablespoons flour; mix well. Add 1 (10 1/2-ounce) can condensed French onion soup. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Continue cooking and stirring 2 more minutes or until sauce thickens. Spoon onto toasted whole-grain hamburger buns.

The kids will want oven fries (from frozen) with their sandwiches. Add Stuffed Celery Boats (celery sticks with any cheese spread). Oatmeal Cookies work wonders for dessert.

TIP: The adults might want some spicy barbecue sauce on their sandwiches.


Your lucky guests will rave over your Scallops in Peanut Sauce (see recipe). Serve the flavorful combination over spaghetti. Add whole-grain rolls and these lemon mint sugar snap peas alongside: In a large skillet, melt 4 Tablespoons butter on medium-high. Add 1 chopped leek (white and light green parts -- about 1 1/2 cups) and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Cook 3 to 4 minutes or until just softened. Add 1/4 cup white wine or unsalted chicken broth; boil 1 minute. Stir in 1 (15-ounce) package frozen stringless sugar snap peas. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat. Transfer to serving dish; top with 1 tablespoon minced fresh mint and 1 Tablespoon lemon zest.

For a refreshing finale, try Fresh Fruit Sorbet: Place 2 1/2 cups (about 1 pound) any packaged frozen fruit pieces and 2 Tablespoons sugar (or more to taste) into a food processor. Puree fruit by pulsing processor while gradually adding 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice for 2 minutes or just until sorbet becomes well-blended and smooth. Serve immediately or freeze.

TIP: To serve frozen sorbet, microwave on medium (50% power) 30 seconds at a time until sorbet softens enough to serve.


Servings: makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: none; chilling time: 2 hours

2 cups sliced strawberries

2 cups blueberries

1 cup raspberries

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided

3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon pure orange extract

1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

4 cups angel food cake cubes, divided

In a large bowl, toss berries, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Set aside. In a large chilled bowl, beat cream, remaining sugar and vanilla and the orange extract with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently stir in sour cream. In a 2-quart glass serving bowl, layer 2 cups cake cubes, half of the berry mixture and half of the whipped cream mixture. Repeat layers; cover. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. Garnish with more berries if desired.

Per serving: 196 calories, 2 grams protein, 12 grams fat (52% calories from fat), 7.3 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 37 milligrams cholesterol, 85 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.


Servings: makes about 12 cups

Preparation time: less than 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 hours

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green peppers, celery and onion, with liquid

2 cups frozen or canned no-salt-added corn, rinsed

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth

2 medium red potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 cup frozen chopped onions

1 cup medium salsa

1 cup frozen green beans

In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine all ingredients; mix well. Cover and cook on high 6 hours or until vegetables are tender. Thin with additional broth or water if desired.

Per cup: 152 calories, 6 grams protein, no fat (0% calories from fat), no saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 260 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.


Servings: makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 27 minutes

1 1/2 cups shredded carrots

12 to 16 sea scallops (about 1 pound)

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

1/4 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon cornstarch

3/4 teaspoon coriander

1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 1/2 cups fresh snow peas

Sliced green onions and roasted peanuts for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. On two 18-by-12-inch pieces of heavy-duty foil, divide carrots in an even layer; top each with half of scallops. In a small bowl, combine teriyaki sauce, peanut butter, cornstarch, coriander and red pepper; blend until smooth. Spoon sauce evenly over scallops; divide and arrange snow peas on top of scallops in an even layer. Double-fold foil to make a packet. Place packets in a rimmed baking pan. Bake 25 to 27 minutes. Remove from oven. Open packets away from your face to allow steam to escape. Arrange all contents on a serving platter; garnish with green onions and peanuts. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 252 calories, 20 grams protein, 7 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 27 milligrams cholesterol, 1,381 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: susan@7daymenu.com. Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan’s blog: makingthemenu.com. And check out Susan’s book: “7-Day Menu Planner for Dummies” is on shelves now. Order yours on Amazon.com.

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