7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For October 26, 2014

Sunday Family

Your family will lap up SPICY CHICKEN WITH RICE just like mine did. Add a MIXED GREENS SALAD and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS on the side.

Try this BLUEBERRY COBBLER for dessert. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a round, 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In the dish, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch; add 4 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries. Separate and arrange 1 (12.4-ounce) package refrigerated cinnamon buns (cinnamon-side down) on berries. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the rolls are golden and blueberries bubble. (If rolls brown too quickly, cover loosely with foil.) Remove from oven; drizzle with prepared frosting from package and serve warm.

Measure frozen berries before defrosting.

Save enough cobbler for Tuesday. Prepare enough rice for Friday (label and freeze).

Shopping List

skinless bone-in chicken thighs and legs, canned chopped tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, reduced-fat creamy peanut butter, rice, salad greens, whole-grain rolls, cooking spray, sugar, cornstarch, fresh or frozen blueberries, packaged refrigerated cinnamon buns.


Makes 6 servings
Prep time:
5 minutes
Cook time:
6 to 7 hours on low; 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high
  • 6 skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 6 skinless, bone-in chicken legs (about 1 pound)
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, divided
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat creamy peanut butter at room temperature, divided
  • 4 cups rice, cooked

Place 6 thighs in 4-quart or larger slow cooker; top with 1 can tomatoes and half the peanut butter. Repeat with remaining chicken, tomatoes and peanut butter. Cover and cook 6 to 7 hours on low or 3 1/2 to 4 hours on high. Spoon rice into pasta bowls. Top with chicken and sauce.

Per serving: 468 calories, 36 grams protein, 17 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 3.8 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 140 milligrams cholesterol, 777 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Monday Kids

If you want to get the kids to the table fast, serve them BEEF AND TOMATILLO CASSEROLE. Serve the kid-pleaser with deli CARROT SALAD and SOFT ROLLS. For dessert, let the kids make their own SMOOTHIES using lots of fruit and some Greek yogurt.

Save enough casserole for Wednesday.

Shopping List

packaged refrigerated regular or sun-dried tomato polenta (such as Melissa's), packaged refrigerated, fully cooked boneless beef pot roast with gravy, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, tomatillo sauce or salsa verde, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh cilantro if desired, deli carrot salad, soft rolls, fruit for smoothies, Greek yogurt.


Makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
less than 40 minutes
  • 1 (16-ounce) package refrigerated regular or sun-dried tomato polenta (such as Melissa's), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (see Note)
  • 2 (17-ounce) packages refrigerated, fully cooked boneless beef pot roast with gravy
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup tomatillo sauce or salsa verde
  • 1/2 cup 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Reduced-fat sour cream for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, if desired

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place polenta rounds on bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; set aside.

Meanwhile, microwave beef pot roast according to package directions. Remove meat from package; discard gravy and visible fat from beef. With 2 forks, shred beef in large bowl. Add tomatoes and tomatillo sauce to beef; mix well. Spoon mixture evenly over polenta. Sprinkle cheese over beef mixture. Bake, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sour cream and cilantro as desired.

Note: Look for polenta in the produce department.

Per serving: 259 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (22 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 46 milligrams cholesterol, 956 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Tuesday Meatless

Skip meat and go for a BAKED POTATO WITH BROCCOLI AU GRATIN. Bake the potatoes, slash the tops and cover with hot broccoli au gratin (frozen). Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese for a flavor boost.

Make crisp WEDGE SALADS WITH POMEGRANATES, CHIVES & TOASTED ALMONDS. Cut a chilled, cleaned head of iceberg lettuce into 4 wedges and plate them; season with coarse salt and pepper. Drizzle with parmesan ranch dressing, 2/3 cup pomegranate arils (seeds), 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds and 2 tablespoons chopped chives (divided). (Adapted from "Seriously Delish" by Jessica Merchant; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014.)

Add WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Warm the leftover COBBLER and top with fat-free VANILLA ICE CREAM for dessert.

Soak beans for Thursday; save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Shopping List

potatoes to bake, frozen broccoli au gratin, parmesan, iceberg lettuce, coarse salt, pepper, parmesan ranch dressing, pomegranate arils, sliced almonds, chives, whole-grain rolls, fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday Express

Dinner is ready! Warm Monday's leftover CASSEROLE and serve it with a packaged GREENS SALAD for dinner in a flash. Serve with CRUSTY BREAD. PEACHES are a light dessert.

Make soup for Thursday if time permits.

Shopping List

packaged greens salad, crusty bread, peaches.

Thursday Budget

Beans are a great way to stretch your food dollar, and this GOOD OLE BEAN SOUP is a delicious example. Serve it with deli COLESLAW and CORNBREAD (from a mix). For dessert, PEARS are easy.

Save enough soup and cornbread and defrost Sunday's rice for Friday.

Shopping List

mixed dried beans, fat-free chicken broth, smoked turkey parts, onion, canned diced tomatoes with green chilies (such as Ro-Tel), lemon, deli coleslaw, cornbread mix, pears.


Makes about 16 cups
Prep time:
10 minutes; soaking time for beans: 4 hours to overnight
Cook time:
2 1/2 hours
  • 3 cups mixed dried beans (1 pound)
  • 8 cups water or fat-free chicken broth, or mixture of both
  • 1 pound smoked turkey parts, without skin
  • 2 cups onion, chopped
  • 1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chilies (such as Ro-Tel), slightly drained
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon

Sort and rinse beans. Place them in a large pot and cover with 3 inches water; soak 4 hours to overnight. Drain and rinse beans. Return to pot. Add water and/or broth and turkey parts. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, microwave the onion on high (100 percent power) 3 minutes or until softened; drain. Add tomatoes to onion; cover and microwave 1 minute. Add to bean mixture and mix well. Cover and simmer 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally. Add lemon juice; cover and cook 30 minutes. Remove turkey from soup. Remove meat from bones, chop and add turkey back to soup. Mix well. Serve immediately.

Per cup: 118 calories, 9 grams protein, 2 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 0.2 gram saturated fat, 18 grams carbohydrate, 12 milligrams cholesterol, 113 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Friday Heat and Eat

Keep dinner simple and top leftover RICE with leftover SOUP. Add a ROMAINE SALAD and leftover CORNBREAD. Everyone will enjoy OATMEAL cookies to munch on for dessert.

Shopping List

romaine, oatmeal cookies.

Saturday Easy Entertaining

For your guests, prepare GRILLED LAMB CHOPS WITH TOMATO AND ONION. Heat a grill pan or heavy skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high. Combine 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon dried basil and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle half of mixture on 4 (1/4-inch thick) slices tomato and 4 (1/8-inch thick) slices onion. Rub 8 (3- to 4-ounce) well-trimmed lamb loin chops with other half of dry mixture. Add tomato, onion and lamb to pan. Cook vegetables 2 minutes on each side or until lightly browned; remove from skillet and keep warm. Cook lamb 8 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Serve immediately.

On the side, add packaged HERBED COUSCOUS, SUGAR SNAP PEAS and SOURDOUGH BREAD. For some crunch, add SLICED CUCUMBERS in plain yogurt. For dessert, spoon warmed CARAMEL SAUCE over leftover ICE CREAM.

Shopping List

cooking spray, coarse salt, dried basil, pepper, tomatoes, onion, lamb loin chops, packaged herbed couscous, sugar snap peas, sourdough bread, cucumbers, plain yogurt, caramel sauce.