7 Day Menu Planner For December 16, 2018

Sunday Express

Relieve some holiday stress and buy a SPIRAL-SLICED HAM for dinner. On the side, add BAKED MINI PUMPKINS STUFFED WITH HERBED FARRO AND PEANUTS. Serve with BISCUITS. Get in the spirit with PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM and ANGEL FOOD CAKE for dessert.

Save enough ham and biscuits for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Friday.

Shopping List

spiral-sliced ham, mini pumpkins, olive oil, coarse salt, pepper, farro, unsalted peanuts, fresh mint or parsley, lemon, dried cranberries, biscuits, peppermint ice cream, angel food cake.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
20 minutes, plus farro
  • 8 mini pumpkins
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Coarse salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups farro
  • 3/4 cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley (or 1/4 cup of each)
  • Juice and zest of one small lemon
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut tops off pumpkins and scoop out pumpkin seeds. Drizzle pumpkin "bowls" with olive oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes, until pumpkins soften. Meanwhile, cook farro according to directions; transfer to a bowl. Add peanuts, mint or parsley, lemon juice and zest, cranberries and salt and pepper to taste; toss to mix. When pumpkins are cooked, fill each with about 1/2 cup farro mixture and serve.

Per serving: 333 calories, 12 grams protein, 9 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 1.6 grams saturated fat, 54 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 29 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Monday Budget

Use the leftovers for HAM BISCUITS with HONEY MUSTARD. Add a SPINACH SALAD alongside.

Make my mother’s traditional PINEAPPLE BAKE for a festive side dish. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 3 beaten eggs, 2 beaten egg whites and 1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple with juice; mix well and pour into baking dish. Remove crusts from 7 slices white bread and cut into cubes. Spoon bread into dish and drizzle top with 3 tablespoons melted butter. Bake 1 hour and serve.

If you want still want dessert, munch on a CHRISTMAS COOKIE.

Save enough cookies for Thursday.

Shopping List

honey mustard, fresh spinach, cooking spray, flour, sugar, eggs, canned crushed pineapple, white bread, butter, Christmas cookies.

Tuesday Family

Everyone will be up early, so prepare this CRUSTLESS SPINACH TART right away for a simple brunch. Serve it with CANADIAN BACON, TOMATO JUICE and ORANGE SECTIONS.

Shopping List

cooking spray, dried Italian breadcrumbs, olive oil, sweet onion, eggs, 2 percent milk, shredded Mexican cheese blend, parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, tomato, reduced-sodium seasoned salt, smoked paprika, pepper, Canadian bacon, tomato juice, oranges.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 45 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup 2 percent milk
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, divided
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, divided
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a pie pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle crumbs along the sides and bottom of pan, turning the pan to coat. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high; cook onions 5 minutes or until softened and golden. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add cheese, reserving 1/2 cup Mexican blend and 1/4 cup parmesan for topping. Add onion, spinach, tomatoes and spices and stir lightly to combine. Pour into prepared pan. Top with remaining cheeses. Bake 40 minutes or until lightly browned and set in middle. Cool slightly; cut into wedges and serve.

Per serving: 235 calories, 17 grams protein, 16 grams fat (60 percent calories from fat), 7.9 grams saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 191 milligrams cholesterol, 524 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Wednesday Meatless

Take a break from meat and try ITALIAN BEANS AND VEGETABLES. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and seed 1 1/2 pounds butternut squash; cut into 1-inch chunks. Microwave squash 5 minutes on high (100 percent power). In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine squash, 3 (19-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, 1 large onion cut into thin slices, 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (thawed and squeezed dry), 1 tablespoon minced lemon peel (yellow part only), 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried sage and 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Add 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth; cover tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove foil and sprinkle with 4 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup) and 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese; bake, uncovered, 5 minutes or until cheeses melt. Add MIXED GREENS and CRUSTY BREAD on the side. Canned or chilled TROPICAL FRUITS are good for dessert.

Shopping List

butternut squash, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, onion, frozen chopped spinach, lemon, dried thyme, dried sage, coarse salt, unsalted vegetable broth, shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, mixed greens, crusty bread, canned or chilled tropical fruits.

Thursday Kids

Enough of the fancy food -- the kids will be ready for ENCHILADA CASSEROLE tonight. Serve with a CHOPPED LETTUCE SALAD. Leftover CHRISTMAS COOKIES are dessert.

Save enough casserole for Friday.

Shopping List

canola oil, onion, enchilada sauce, canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, canned Mexican-style corn, chile powder, cumin, cooking spray, corn tortillas, cooked or canned chicken breast, shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, corn tortillas, lettuce.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 25 to 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (19-ounce) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 (16-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (11-ounce) can Mexican-style corn, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (10-ounce) package 6-inch corn tortillas, divided
  • 3 cups chopped cooked or canned chicken breast, divided
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese blend, divided

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high and cook onion 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in enchilada sauce, beans, tomatoes, corn, chile powder and cumin. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Spoon one-third sauce mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with one-third of the tortillas, half the chicken and one-third of the cheese. Repeat layers with one-third of the sauce and tortillas, remaining chicken and one-third of the cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, sauce mixture and cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Per serving: 407 calories, 29 grams protein, 14 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 4.4 grams saturated fat, 42 grams carbohydrate, 63 milligrams cholesterol, 761 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Friday Heat and Eat

Take the evening off and heat the leftover CASSEROLE for dinner. Serve it with an AVOCADO AND GRAPEFRUIT SALAD on the side. Leftover ICE CREAM is an easy dessert.

Shopping List

avocados, grapefruit, lettuce (for salad).

Saturday Easy Entertaining

Entertain friends with your TARRAGON CHICKEN WITH BABY CARROTS. Season both sides of 4 bone-in skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 pounds) with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Rub 1/4 cup fresh chopped tarragon on both sides of chicken. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Add 2 cups frozen small white onions (thawed), 2 cups baby carrots, 1 cup seedless grapes, 3/4 cup unsalted chicken broth and 1 teaspoon dried thyme; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 10 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken, vegetables and grapes to a serving bowl. Dissolve 2 teaspoons cornstarch in an additional 1/4 cup broth. Add to pan and simmer 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Pour over chicken. Serve immediately with ORZO and CRUSTY ROLLS. For dessert, keep it light with SORBET and ALMOND THINS.

Shopping List

bone-in skinless chicken breast halves, coarse salt, pepper, fresh tarragon, olive oil, frozen small white onions, baby carrots, seedless grapes, unsalted chicken broth, dried thyme, cornstarch, orzo, crusty rolls, sorbet, almond thins.

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