7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For December 28, 2014

Sunday Family

Prepare your own ROAST CHICKEN for the family. Accompany it with BAKED WILD RICE WITH MUSHROOMS. Add FRESH BROCCOLI and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Buy a BOSTON CREAM PIE for dessert.

Save enough chicken, baked rice and pie for Monday.

Shopping List

chicken to roast, wild rice, long-grain rice, French bread, olive oil, onion, garlic, sliced crimini mushrooms, dried sage, dried thyme, coarse salt, black pepper, unsalted chicken stock (such as Kitchen Basics), toasted pecans, cooking spray, fresh broccoli, whole-grain rolls, Boston cream pie.


Makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
less than 1 hour, plus rice
  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  • 3 cups cubed day-old French bread
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (such as Kitchen Basics)
  • 1/3 cup toasted chopped pecans

Rinse and cook wild rice according to directions; cook long-grain rice according to directions. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on baking sheet; broil 5 to 6 inches from heat 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir after 2 minutes; set aside.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat olive oil on medium. Add onion and garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook 3 more minutes; stir occasionally. Add sage, thyme, salt, pepper and both cooked rices; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in stock. Add pecans and toasted bread; toss lightly. Transfer to a 3-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake 40 minutes or until hot.

Per serving: 183 calories, 5 grams protein, 6 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 167 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Monday Heat and Eat

Take Sunday's leftovers and turn them into BAKED CHICKEN WITH RICE. Chop some leftover chicken, mix it with the leftover baked rice, moisten with a little unsalted chicken stock and heat. Add GREEN BEANS and CRUSTY BREAD. Slice the leftover PIE for dessert.

Shopping List

unsalted chicken stock, green beans, crusty bread.

Tuesday Budget

MEXICAN BEEF STEW will stretch your budget. On the side, serve the easy stew with a LETTUCE WEDGE and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Refreshing ORANGE SECTIONS are your dessert.

Shopping List

canola oil, beef stew meat, coarse salt, lower-sodium beef broth, thick and chunky salsa, zucchini, reduced-sodium black beans, frozen corn, cornstarch, tomatoes, fresh cilantro, reduced-fat sour cream, lettuce wedge, whole-grain rolls, oranges.


Makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 2 hours
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup prepared thick and chunky salsa
  • 2 medium zucchini, halved and sliced (3/4-inch slices)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
  • Chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, reduced-fat sour cream for garnish

Heat canola oil in a Dutch oven on medium until hot. Brown beef in batches; pour off drippings. Return beef to pot; season with salt. Stir in broth and salsa; bring to boil. Reduced heat; cover tightly and simmer 1 1/2 hours. Stir in zucchini, beans and corn; continue cooking, covered, 15 to 20 minutes or until beef is tender. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Serve with garnishes as desired.

Per serving: 362 calories, 37 grams protein, 16 grams fat (41 percent calories from fat), 4.8 grams saturated fat, 15 grams carbohydrate, 106 milligrams cholesterol, 469 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Wednesday Express

For a quick meal, heat a HAM STEAK according to directions. Serve with BAKED SWEET POTATOES, frozen GREEN PEAS and BISCUITS (refrigerated). For dessert, CHUNKY APPLESAUCE is easy.

Buy enough biscuits for Thursday.

Shopping List

ham steak, sweet potatoes to bake, frozen green peas, refrigerated biscuits, chunky applesauce.

Thursday Kids

These TACO CUPS are just right for the kids tonight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown 1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef in a large nonstick skillet; drain. Add any reduced-sodium dry taco seasoning mix and 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce; mix well. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes; stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, press 1 (12-ounce, 10-count) can refrigerated biscuits into cups of medium-sized muffin pan. Spoon beef mixture into each cup (about 2 tablespoons). Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Sprinkle with shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Garnish with reduced-fat sour cream and mild salsa.

Serve with CARROT STICKS. Make instant VANILLA PUDDING with 1 percent milk for the kids. Swirl chocolate syrup on top.

Shopping List

95 percent lean ground beef, reduced-sodium dry taco seasoning mix, canned no-salt-added tomato sauce, 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, mild salsa, carrot sticks, instant vanilla pudding, 1 percent milk, chocolate syrup.

Friday Meatless

Take the standard and dress it up into PENNE WITH ARUGULA. Serve with frozen GREEN PEAS and GARLIC BREAD. PEACHES are good for dessert.

Shopping List

penne pasta, extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper, sliced crimini mushrooms, coarse salt, jarred roasted red peppers, arugula leaves, parmesan cheese, black pepper, slivered almonds, frozen green peas, garlic bread, peaches.


Makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
less than 15 minutes, plus penne
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, rinsed and cut into thin slices (1 1/2 cups)
  • 8 cups arugula leaves (8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Cook penne according to directions. Reserve 1/3 cup cooking water; drain penne.

Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until fragrant but not brown. Add mushrooms and salt; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until browned (add a little water if mixture seems dry). Stir in roasted red peppers and arugula; increase heat to medium-high. Cook 3 or 4 minutes or until arugula is wilted.

Place penne in a large, warm bowl. Add reserved water, arugula mixture, 1/3 cup parmesan and black pepper; toss to coat. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining parmesan. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 326 calories, 15 grams protein, 9 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 335 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Saturday Easy Entertaining

BAKED FLOUNDER WITH FRESH LEMON PEPPER will please any guest. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (yellow part of 2 to 3 lemons), 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/4 teaspoons crushed black peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 2 cloves minced garlic. Place 4 (6-ounce) flounder fillets on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Rub lemon mixture evenly over fillets. Bake 8 minutes or until fish is opaque throughout. Garnish with lemon wedges.


Shopping List

lemons, extra-virgin olive oil, black peppercorns, coarse salt, minced garlic, flounder fillets, cooking spray, potatoes, fresh parsley, butter, fresh carrots, Bibb lettuce, baguettes, cheesecake.