7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For December 15, 2019

Sunday Family

Relieve some holiday stress and buy a SPIRAL-SLICED HAM for dinner. Stop by the deli for POTATO SALAD and COLESLAW. Add WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS.

We always get in the spirit with PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM CAKE. Horizontally slice a 10-inch angel food cake into three layers. Place the bottom layer on a serving plate. In a bowl, combine 1 quart vanilla ice cream (slightly softened), 6 (1 1/2-ounce) chopped chocolate-covered peppermint patties, 1/3 cup chopped pecans and 1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract; mix well. Spread 1/3 mixture on bottom cake layer; top with second cake layer and 1/3 of the mixture; repeat for last layer. Cover and freeze; remove from freezer 10 minutes before slicing to serve.

Save enough ham and refreeze the cake for Tuesday.

Shopping List

spiral-sliced ham, deli potato salad, deli coleslaw, whole-grain rolls, angel food cake, vanilla ice cream, chocolate-covered peppermint patties, pecans, peppermint extract.

Monday Meatless

Try meatless ITALIAN BEANS AND VEGETABLES tonight for a change. Add a MIXED GREEN SALAD and CRUSTY BREAD. 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.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
20 minutes
Cook time:
about 1 hour
  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) peeled, seeded butternut squash, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 (16-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 large onion, cut into thin slices
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (yellow part only)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup unsalted vegetable broth
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Microwave squash 5 minutes on high (100 percent power); drain. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, combine squash, beans, onion, spinach, lemon zest, thyme, sage and salt. Add broth; cover tightly with foil. Bake 45 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove cover and sprinkle with cheeses; bake uncovered 5 minutes or until cheeses melt.

Per serving: 309 calories, 18 grams protein, 5 grams fat (15 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 49 grams carbohydrate, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 994 milligrams sodium, 13 grams fiber.

Tuesday Budget/Christmas Eve

Enjoy HAM BISCUITS (made with leftover ham) tonight before you tuck in the children. Add a SPINACH SALAD alongside your meal.

Make our family's favorite to go with the ham, PINEAPPLE BAKE to serve on the side. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large 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. Add 7 slices cubed white bread (crusts removed). Spoon into baking dish and drizzle top with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake 1 hour.

If you must have a little something extra, PEPPERMINT ICE CREAM CAKE is in the freezer.

Assemble Wednesday's casserole this evening.

Shopping List

biscuits, fresh spinach, cooking spray, flour, sugar, eggs, canned crushed pineapple, white bread, butter.

Wednesday Family/Christmas

Everyone will be up early, so bake the SPINACH, BACON AND MUSHROOM CASSEROLE right away. Serve with FRESH ORANGE WEDGES. Munch on CHRISTMAS COOKIES to celebrate the holiday.

Shopping List

bacon, sliced mushrooms, onion, Italian bread, frozen chopped spinach, parmesan cheese, eggs, 1% milk, Italian seasoning, coarse salt, pepper, shredded Swiss cheese, plum tomatoes, oranges, Christmas cookies.


makes 12 servings
Prep time:
20 minutes; chilling time: 1 hour to overnight
Cook time:
55 to 60 minutes; standing time: 10 minutes
  • 8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 8 ounces thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 (16-ounce) loaf Italian bread, cut into 18 (1/2-inch) slices
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, plus additional if desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 thinly sliced plum tomatoes, drained on paper towels
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; set aside. Remove drippings from skillet. Add mushrooms and onion to skillet; cook and stir 6 to 8 minutes or until liquid has evaporated. Arrange half the bread slices in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with spinach, mushroom mixture, bacon and parmesan. Layer with remaining bread slices. In a large bowl, beat eggs with wire whisk. Add milk, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; mix well. Gradually pour into baking dish. Top with tomato slices. Sprinkle with Swiss cheese. Sprinkle lightly with additional Italian seasoning, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

Before baking, remove from refrigerator and let stand 1 hour. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until center of casserole is set and top is lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 283 calories, 18 grams protein, 12 grams fat (39 percent calories from fat), 5.4 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 148 milligrams cholesterol, 529 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Thursday Kids

Enough of the fancy food! The kids will be ready for ENCHILADA CASSEROLE tonight. Add CARROT STICKS for munching. SLICED PEACHES 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, chili powder, cumin, cooking spray, corn tortillas, cooked or canned chicken breast, shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese, carrots, peaches.


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-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 (11-ounce) can Mexican-style corn, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (10-ounce) package (6-inch) corn tortillas, divided
  • 3 cups cooked or canned chicken breast, chopped and divided
  • 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Mexican-blend cheese, 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, chili powder and cumin. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Spoon 1/3 of sauce mixture into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Layer with 1/3 of the tortillas, half the chicken and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat layers with 1/3 of the sauce and 1/3 of the tortillas, remaining chicken and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, sauce mixture and cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

Per serving: 403 calories, 30 grams protein, 13 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 4.3 grams saturated fat, 43 grams carbohydrate, 62 milligrams cholesterol, 808 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

Friday Heat and Eat

Take the evening off and warm up the leftover ENCHILADA CASSEROLE for dinner. Serve it with an AVOCADO AND GRAPEFRUIT SALAD on the side. Make FLAN (from a mix) for dessert.

Marinate Saturday's chicken overnight.

Shopping List

avocados, grapefruit, lettuce for salad, flan mix.

Saturday Easy Entertaining

Entertain friends with MEDITERRANEAN CHICKEN. In a large bowl, combine 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 tablespoons dried oregano, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar and 1/3 cup olive oil, 24 bite-size pitted prunes, 6 ounces pitted Spanish green olives, 2 tablespoons rinsed capers and 2 bay leaves; mix well. Add 8 bone-in skinless chicken thighs; turn to coat. Marinate 6 to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, transfer chicken and marinade to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Stir 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/3 cup dry white wine together; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high 4 hours or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees. Remove and discard bay leaves; serve chicken with fruit and juices. Makes about 4 servings.

Serve with RICE, MIXED GREENS and ITALIAN BREAD. For dessert, make it light with any SORBET and ALMOND THINS.

Shopping List

garlic, dried oregano, coarse salt, black pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, pitted prunes, pitted Spanish green olives, capers, bay leaves, bone-in skinless chicken thighs, brown sugar, dry white wine, rice, mixed greens, Italian bread, any sorbet, almond thins.