7 Day Menu Planner


Family Sunday

The family won't be able to resist Glazed Lamb Chops today. Whisk together 3/4 cup dry red wine, 1/3 cup orange juice, 4 chopped garlic cloves, 4 chopped shallots, 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano and 3 tablespoons olive oil. Reserve 1/4 cup. Pour remaining marinade into a large bowl; add 18 (2- or 3-ounce) lamb rib chops. Cover and chill 2 hours. Remove chops; discard marinade. Sprinkle chops with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Place them on rack(s) of a roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Stir together reserved 1/4 cup marinade and 2 tablespoons honey. Broil chops 3 inches from heat 5 minutes on each side or to desired doneness, basting with honey mixture after 3 minutes. Serve. Add deli tabbouleh, sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar and flatbread. Buy bread pudding for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough lamb, tabbouleh, whole cucumbers and bread pudding for Monday.


Heat-and-Eat Monday

Make Stuffed Pitas from Sunday's leftovers. Chop leftover lamb and combine with the leftover tabbouleh. Moisten with a little plain yogurt to taste. Line whole-grain pitas with lettuce leaves and fill with lamb mixture.

To accompany the pitas, make cucumber salad. Peel, halve lengthwise, remove seeds and slice 2 medium (leftover) cucumbers. Combine 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint and 3 tablespoons golden raisins; mix well. Spoon over cucumbers and toss to coat. Warm the leftover bread pudding for dessert.


Wild Card Tuesday

For our global pantry, I can always depend on Nancy Waldeck, an Atlanta chef and cooking teacher, to create healthful easy recipes such as this Africa-Inspired Gumbo (see recipe) made in the slow cooker. Serve it over brown rice. Add a red-tipped lettuce salad and cornbread. Peanut butter cookies are perfect for dessert.


Kids Wednesday

Treat the kids to Pizza Burgers. Mix together 1 pound ground chicken or turkey, 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese and 1/3 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs. Shape into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Cook in a little canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 6 minutes, turning occasionally. Top with pizza sauce and shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Cover; cook 1 minute to melt cheese. Serve on toasted English muffins with oven fries (from frozen) and celery sticks. Win raves with cupcakes for dessert.


Budget Thursday

Tuna and Bow-Tie Pasta Salad (see recipe) is a great low-cost meal. Serve with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, try red and green grapes.


Express Friday

Make it quick with Reuben Sandwiches for tonight's meal. Lay 8 slices rye bread on a baking sheet. Spread one side of each slice with a little butter. Turn 4 slices over and spread evenly with reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing; layer corned beef slices, Swiss cheese and rinsed refrigerated sauerkraut on top of dressing. Top with remaining slices, butter side up. Heat broiler. Broil 4 minutes or until lightly browned; turn once. Serve with pickled beets. Sliced mango is dessert.


Easy Entertaining Saturday

Invite your guests for Vinegar Chicken With Tomatoes (see recipe). Serve with rice tossed with chopped fresh parsley, a bibb lettuce salad and baguettes. For dessert, serve a very French chocolate mousse.

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Africa-Inspired Gumbo (Tuesday)

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 cups chopped red onion

1 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 cup chopped celery

3 cloves garlic, grated

2 tablespoons whole-wheat or other flour

2 cups unsalted vegetable broth

1 (14.5-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained

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

8 ounces minced crimini mushrooms

2 cups chopped zucchini, cut into half-moons

1 cup frozen sliced okra, thawed

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 cup Cajun or Creole seasoning (Tony Chachere or another brand)

1 bay leaf

1/4 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Coarse salt and black pepper to taste

Chopped parsley

Hot sauce

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, celery and garlic and cook 8 minutes or until softened and beginning to brown. Transfer the vegetables to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Return skillet to stove; heat remaining oil. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 4 minutes or until golden brown. Add broth; bring to a boil. Once boiling, pour into slow cooker. Add tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, zucchini, okra, Worcestershire, Cajun seasoning, bay leaf and red pepper. Mix together; cover and cook on low 6 to 8 hours. Remove bay leaf; add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley and serve with hot sauce. (Adapted from a recipe by chef Nancy Waldeck, tasteandsavor.com.) Makes about 8 servings.

Per serving: 145 calories (percent calories from fat, 22), 6 grams protein, 25 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 4 grams fat (0.6 gram saturated fat), no cholesterol, 263 milligrams sodium.

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Tuna and Bow-Tie Pasta Salad (Thursday)

8 ounces bow-tie pasta

6 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 (6-ounce) cans light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

1 (9-ounce) package frozen green beans, thawed

2 cups halved grape tomatoes

1/3 cup chopped red onion

Cook pasta according to directions; drain and rinse with cold water until cool. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, basil, garlic and pepper. Add tuna, beans, tomatoes, onion and pasta; toss well. Let stand 10 minutes and serve. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 407 calories (percent calories from fat, 12), 29 grams protein, 59 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 5 grams fat (0.9 gram saturated fat), 36 milligrams cholesterol, 618 milligrams sodium.

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Vinegar Chicken With Tomatoes (Saturday)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 shallots, diced

3 pounds chicken parts (legs, thighs, breasts)

Coarse salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

2 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1 cup unsalted chicken stock

2 cups halved cherry tomatoes, divided

1 cup fresh diced tomatoes (any kind)

In a Dutch oven, melt butter on medium-high. Add shallots; cook 2 minutes, stirring often. Season all chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Add to pan in batches; cook 4 to 7 minutes on each side or until skin is golden. Add garlic, vinegar, tarragon and stock to pan. Allow liquid to heat to a simmer while scraping bottom of pan. Add half the cherry tomatoes and all diced tomatoes to pan and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes. Remove smaller pieces of chicken as they are done. Add remaining tomatoes, cover and cook another 10 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the rest of the chicken; reduce the sauce on medium-high about 10 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn. Return chicken to pan and serve hot. Remove skin if desired. (Adapted from “Bring It,” Ali Rosen, Running Press.) Makes 4 servings.

Per serving (chicken without skin): 297 calories (percent calories from fat, 34), 37 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (4.9 grams saturated fat), 128 milligrams cholesterol, 177 milligrams sodium.

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