7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For December 22, 2019

Sunday Family

Prepare APPLE-GLAZED LAMB CHOPS for family day. Trim fat from 4 (6-ounce) lean lamb rib chops; set aside. Combine 1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice, 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon dry mustard in a large resealable plastic bag; add chops and marinate in refrigerator 2 hours. Turn bag occasionally. Heat broiler; remove chops from bag, reserving marinade. Place chops on broiler rack coated with cooking spray and then in broiler pan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat for 3 minutes per side for medium rare or to desired doneness, basting frequently with marinade. Discard remaining marinade.

Serve the chops with ROSEMARY AND GARLIC ROAST FINGERLING POTATOES: Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, place 2 pounds unpeeled fingerling potatoes and 10 cloves peeled garlic. Season to taste with coarse salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil; toss to coat. Transfer potatoes and garlic to a medium baking dish; roast 15 minutes or until potatoes are crusty on the outside and fork-tender. Remove from oven, sprinkle with 2 sprigs minced fresh rosemary leaves and return to oven for 7 to 10 more minutes before serving.

Add a CAESAR SALAD and DINNER ROLLS alongside. For dessert, top ANGEL FOOD CAKE with fat-free STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM.

Save enough cake for Monday and enough ice cream for Wednesday.

Shopping List

lean lamb rib chops, unsweetened apple juice, light brown sugar, dry mustard, cooking spray, fingerling potatoes, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, olive oil, fresh rosemary, Caesar salad, dinner rolls, angel food cake, fat-free strawberry ice cream.

Monday Budget

TURKEY SAUSAGE CHOWDER is a good way to save a few bucks. Bring 6 cups 1% milk to a simmer in a large pot. Add 1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, 3 cubed medium red potatoes and 1 small chopped onion. Return to a simmer; cover and cook 5 minutes. Meanwhile, remove casings from 12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage and form into 3/4-inch balls. Stir into pot. Simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until sausage and potatoes are cooked through. Serve the hearty chowder with a ROMAINE SALAD and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Top the leftover CAKE with fresh PINEAPPLE.

Save enough chowder for Thursday.

Shopping List

1% milk, frozen mixed vegetables, red potatoes, onion, sweet Italian turkey sausage, romaine, whole-grain rolls, fresh pineapple.

Tuesday Easy Entertaining/New Year's Eve

Invite friends to welcome the New Year and serve them FILET MIGNON WITH HERB-BUTTER SAUCE AND MUSHROOMS. Buy refrigerated MASHED POTATOES and add STEAMED GREEN BEANS alongside. Add a SPINACH SALAD and a BAGUETTE. For dessert, make or buy a CHOCOLATE LAYER CAKE. Enjoy a glass of CHAMPAGNE to welcome 2020!

Save enough cake for Thursday.

Shopping List

beef tenderloin steaks, coarse salt, pepper, butter, assorted mushrooms, shallots, lower-sodium beef broth, fresh or dried thyme, cornstarch, refrigerated mashed potatoes, fresh green beans, spinach, baguette, chocolate layer cake, champagne.


makes 4 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 15 minutes
  • 4 beef tenderloin steaks, cut 1 inch thick (about 6 ounces each)
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups assorted mushrooms, whole or cut in half if large
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1 1/2 cups lower-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium until hot. Place steaks in skillet; cook 10 to 13 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness (internal temperature of 145 to 160 degrees), turning occasionally. Remove to platter, season with salt and pepper. Keep warm. Heat butter in same skillet on medium until melted. Add mushrooms and shallots; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and browned. Add broth and thyme; deglaze skillet and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water in small bowl; stir into mushroom mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce with steaks.

Per serving: 272 calories, 34 grams protein, 12 grams fat (41 percent calories from fat), 5.3 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 96 milligrams cholesterol, 120 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Wednesday Meatless/New Year's Day

To guarantee good luck in the New Year, make this AVOCADO AND BLACK-EYED PEA FRITTATA. Serve with MIXED GREENS and CORNBREAD (from a mix). For dessert, scoop the leftover ICE CREAM.

Shopping List

onion, canola oil, avocado, canned black-eyed peas, eggs, reduced-fat sour cream, coarse salt, pepper, cumin, shredded 50% light sharp cheddar cheese, plum tomatoes, mixed greens, cornbread mix.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 30 minutes; standing time: 5 minutes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 large avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 8 whole eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 cup shredded 50% light sharp cheddar cheese
  • Sliced avocado, plum tomato slices and reduced-fat sour cream for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large oven-safe skillet, cook onion in canola oil on medium-high heat 3 or 4 minutes or until softened. Remove from heat; sprinkle onions evenly with chopped avocado and black-eyed peas. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg whites, sour cream, salt, pepper and cumin; pour over avocado mixture in skillet. Bake 25 minutes; sprinkle top evenly with cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven, let stand 5 minutes and serve. Garnish as desired.

Per serving: 310 calories, 20 grams protein, 19 grams fat (53 percent calories from fat), 6.1 grams saturated fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 266 milligrams cholesterol, 411 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Thursday Heat and Eat

Take it easy and warm the leftover CHOWDER for tonight. Add a LETTUCE AND TOMATO SALAD and CRACKERS on the side. Leftover CHOCOLATE CAKE is dessert.

Shopping List

lettuce, tomatoes, crackers.

Friday Express

You deserve another night off, so pick up COLD CUTS from the deli for sandwiches. Add WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD. To prepare the sandwiches, make sure you have LETTUCE, TOMATOES, low-fat MAYONNAISE, SPICY MUSTARD and PICKLES on hand. While you're shopping, buy some BROCCOLI SALAD and BAKED BEANS. If you want dessert, make instant VANILLA PUDDING with 1% milk.

Shopping List

deli cold cuts, whole-grain bread, lettuce, tomatoes, low-fat mayonnaise, spicy mustard, pickles, broccoli salad, deli baked beans, instant vanilla pudding mix, 1% milk.

Saturday Easy Entertaining

Serve your guests SHRIMP SCAMPI tonight with ANGEL HAIR PASTA. Add fresh steamed SNOW PEAS and GARLIC BREAD to your menu. For dessert, CHERRY COBBLER with LIGHT WHIPPED CREAM seals the deal.

Shopping List

unpeeled uncooked large shrimp, butter, red bell pepper, garlic, white wine or unsalted chicken broth, fresh parsley, lemon, coarse salt, black pepper, paprika, angel hair pasta, fresh snow peas, garlic bread, cherry cobbler, light whipped cream.


makes 4 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 10 minutes, plus pasta
  • 1 pound large shrimp, unpeeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • Paprika for garnish
  • 8 ounces angel hair pasta

Peel shrimp, leaving tails intact. Starting at tail end, "butterfly" underside of each shrimp, cutting into, but not through, back of shrimp. Divide shrimp among 4 gratin dishes, arranging shrimp cut-side up. Heat broiler. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add red bell pepper and garlic; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in wine or broth, parsley, lemon juice, salt and black pepper. Spoon over shrimp; sprinkle with paprika. Place gratin dishes on broiler pan; broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 6 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Cook angel hair according to directions; drain. Serve shrimp over pasta.

Per serving: 311 calories, 21 grams protein, 3 grams fat (10 percent calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, 129 milligrams cholesterol, 361 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.