7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For June 23, 2019

Sunday Family

The family will like the flavor of CUMIN-RUBBED STEAKS WITH AVOCADO SALSA VERDE, and you'll like how easy it is to prepare. Press 2 teaspoons ground cumin into 2 beef top loin strip steaks cut 1-inch thick. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add steaks and cook 12 to 15 minutes, turning occasionally, for medium-rare to medium doneness; let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup tomatillo salsa, 1 small diced avocado and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Carve steaks into slices; season with coarse salt as desired.

Serve steak with the SALSA, RICE, TOMATO WEDGES and CRUSTY ROLLS. For dessert, BLACKBERRY COBBLER is a summertime treat, especially when it's topped with LIGHT WHIPPED CREAM.

Cook an extra steak and save some cobbler for Monday.

Shopping List

ground cumin, beef top loin strip steaks, tomatillo salsa, avocado, cilantro, coarse salt, rice, tomatoes, crusty rolls, blackberry cobbler, light whipped cream.

Monday Heat and Eat

Use Sunday's leftovers for TACO SALAD. Combine 1/2 cup chunky salsa, 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise and 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream; mix well. In a large bowl, toss together 8 cups torn romaine, 1 pint halved grape tomatoes, 1 to 2 cups thinly sliced leftover steak, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup pitted, halved black olives and 1 ripe cubed avocado. Add the salsa dressing and toss gently. Top with 1 1/2 cups slightly crushed baked tortilla chips. Add reduced-sodium PINTO BEANS on the side. Warm the leftover COBBLER for dessert and top it with VANILLA ICE CREAM.

Save enough ice cream for Wednesday.

Shopping List

chunky salsa, low-fat mayonnaise, reduced-fat sour cream, romaine, grape tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, black olives, avocado, baked tortilla chips, reduced-sodium pinto beans, vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday Express

Make it a fast meal tonight with FETTUCCINE CAPONATA. Cook 8 ounces fettuccine according to directions. Meanwhile, mix together 1 (6- to 8-ounce) container eggplant appetizer (caponata), 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium chickpeas and 2 cups marinara sauce; heat sauce and toss with fettuccine. Serve with a GREEN SALAD and ITALIAN BREAD. Make instant PISTACHIO PUDDING with 1% milk for dessert.

Shopping List

fettuccine, eggplant appetizer (caponata), canned reduced-sodium chickpeas, marinara sauce, packaged green salad, Italian bread, instant pistachio pudding, 1% milk.

Wednesday Budget

No apologies are necessary for being frugal when you serve this delicious, low-cost CLAM CHOWDER. Serve the chowder with a LETTUCE AND TOMATO SALAD and CRACKERS. Make BROWNIES (from a mix) for dessert and add a dollop of leftover ice cream.

Save enough brownies for Thursday.

Shopping List

canola oil, onion, celery, coarse salt, white or black pepper, bottled clam juice, canned whole or chopped clams, red potatoes, flour, 2% milk, frozen mixed vegetables, lemon, lettuce, tomatoes, crackers, brownie mix.


makes about 8 1/2 cups
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 15 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white or black pepper
  • 2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice
  • 2 (6.5-ounce) cans whole or chopped clams, with liquid
  • 1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 cups 2% milk (see NOTE)
  • 1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a Dutch oven, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion, celery, salt and pepper and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are softened; stir occasionally. Add clam juice, clams with liquid and potatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender. In a 2-cup measure, whisk flour into milk until smooth. Add milk mixture and vegetables to pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Reduce heat, stir in lemon juice and ladle into bowls.

NOTE: Thin with additional milk if desired.

Per cup: 147 calories, 8 grams protein, 3 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 18 milligrams cholesterol, 607 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Thursday Kids

The kids got it right when they said they deserved HAMBURGERS with all the trimmings for Independence Day. Grill the lean ground beef burgers and serve them on whole-grain buns with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, low-fat mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. Enjoy POTATO SALAD WITH BUTTERMILK CHIVE DRESSING. Add BAKED BEANS and deli COLESLAW to your feast. Serve chilled WATERMELON and leftover BROWNIES for dessert.

Shopping List

lean ground beef, whole-grain hamburger buns, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, low-fat mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, prepared horseradish, fresh chives, fresh parsley, garlic powder, coarse salt, pepper, yellow potatoes, celery, dill pickles, baked beans, deli coleslaw, watermelon.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 15 minutes; chilling time: about 2 hours
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds yellow potatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup diced dill pickles, drained

In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, mayonnaise, mustard and horseradish until smooth. Stir in chives, parsley, garlic powder, salt and pepper. (Refrigerate overnight if desired.) Cook potatoes in boiling water about 15 minutes or until a sharp knife passes easily into them. Drain; let cool until you can handle, then peel and cut into 3/4-inch chunks. In a large bowl, toss the potatoes with celery and pickles. Pour the dressing over all and toss to combine. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours or until chilled. (Adapted from "Buttermilk: A Savor the South Cookbook," Debbie Moose, The University of North Carolina Press.)

Per serving: 215 calories, 6 grams protein, 1 gram fat (6 percent calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 46 grams carbohydrate, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 334 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Friday Meatless

SAVORY LENTILS let you skip meat and still get plenty of flavor. In a large pot, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add 2 cups lentils; boil 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally; drain. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium. Add 2 cups chopped red onions and 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic cloves; cook and stir 10 minutes, until tender. Add cooked lentils, 2 cups chunky salsa, 1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles, 1 (1.25-ounce) package reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix and 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add 1 cup chopped cilantro; mix well. Serve over COUSCOUS. Add a SPINACH SALAD and PITA BREAD alongside. Fresh PINEAPPLE is dessert.

Shopping List

lentils, olive oil, red onions, garlic, chunky salsa, canned diced green chiles, packaged reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix, coarse salt, cilantro, couscous, fresh spinach, pita bread, fresh pineapple.

Saturday Easy Entertaining

Your guests will swoon over the flavor of GRILLED CHIPOTLE CHICKEN. Serve the chicken with OKRA AND TOMATOES. Thinly slice 8 ounces fresh okra and 1 large shallot. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add okra and shallot; stir often 6 to 8 minutes or until okra is golden brown. Transfer to bowl. Heat another tablespoon oil in skillet. Add 1 large chopped green tomato, 1 pint halved grape tomatoes and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, 2 minutes or until softened. Combine with okra mixture. Stir in 1/4 cup flatleaf parsley leaves, 1/3 cup torn fresh basil and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Add RICE and CORNBREAD (from mix) alongside. Any FRUIT SORBET with BUTTER COOKIES is an easy, light dessert.

Shopping List

boneless skinless chicken thighs, light brown sugar, dried oregano, chipotle chili powder, coarse salt, fresh okra, shallot, olive oil, green tomato, grape tomatoes, garlic, flatleaf parsley, fresh basil, pepper, rice, cornbread mix, any fruit sorbet, butter cookies.


makes 4 servings
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time:
less than 10 minutes
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

Heat grill to medium-high. Place each thigh between 2 sheets heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a rolling pin or flat side of meat mallet. Combine sugar, oregano, chili powder and salt; rub over chicken. Grill chicken, covered with grill lid, 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Remove from grill and serve. (Adapted from "Quick-Fix Dinners," Oxmoor House.)

Per serving: 305 calories, 38 grams protein, 13 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 7 grams carbohydrate, 211 milligrams cholesterol, 384 milligrams sodium, no fiber.