7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For December 20, 2020

Sunday Family

Family day is special when you serve CHICKEN CUTLETS WITH DIJON-TARRAGON SAUCE. Serve the flavorful recipe over RICE and have FRESH BROCCOLI. Add a BAGUETTE on the side. For dessert, buy a CHERRY COBBLER and top it with CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM.

Save enough cobbler for Tuesday; save enough ice cream for Friday.

Shopping List

chicken cutlets, coarse salt, pepper, canola oil, shallots, dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth, Dijon mustard, dried tarragon, half-and-half, rice, fresh broccoli, baguette, cherry cobbler, chocolate ice cream.


makes 4 servings
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time:
about 15 minutes
  • 4 (4- or 5-ounce) chicken cutlets
  • Coarse salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1 cup half-and-half

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add chicken and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, turning once. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add shallots to skillet and cook 2 minutes or just until browned. Add wine or broth; deglaze pan (loosen browned bits on skillet), bring to a boil and simmer to reduce liquid by half. Add mustard, tarragon and half-and-half, stirring gently until ingredients are well-mixed. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to skillet; bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Serve.

Per serving: 259 calories, 27 grams protein, 14 grams fat (49% calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 311 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Monday Budget

Keep your budget in line with WINTER-SPICED BEEF AND APPLE STEW. Serve with deli COLESLAW and BISCUITS. PLUMS are a light dessert.

Save enough stew for Tuesday.

Shopping List

cumin seeds, lean beef stew meat, flour, unsalted beef broth, frozen apple juice concentrate, dried thyme, allspice, pepper, coarse salt, sweet potatoes, Granny Smith apples, deli coleslaw, biscuits, plums.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
20 minutes
Cook time:
3 1/2 to 4 hours on high, or 7 to 8 hours on low
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted beef broth
  • 3 ounces frozen apple juice concentrate, undiluted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Heat a small nonstick skillet on medium. Add cumin seeds, stirring constantly; cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Remove from pan; set aside. Add beef to 4-quart or larger slow cooker; sprinkle with flour. Toss to coat. Add cumin seeds, broth, apple juice concentrate, thyme, allspice, pepper, salt, potatoes and apples. Stir to combine. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Per serving: 229 calories, 18 grams protein, 6 grams fat (25% calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligrams cholesterol, 219 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Tuesday Heat and Eat

Enjoy the leftover STEW tonight, which will be even better now that the flavors have blended. Add a ROMAINE SALAD and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Warm the leftover COBBLER and top it with light whipped cream for dessert.

Shopping List

romaine, whole-grain rolls, light whipped cream.

Wednesday Meatless

CAPRESE AVOCADO "CHEESEBURGERS" are a perfect no-meat dinner. Toast 4 halved whole-grain English muffins. Transfer to a plate, cut side up. Immediately sprinkle each top half with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. On each bottom half, arrange 1 sliced avocado quarter, 4 fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced red onion to taste. Toss 2 cups arugula with 4 teaspoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; set aside. Brush rounded side of 4 large portobello mushroom caps with 2 more teaspoons olive oil; sprinkle gill side with coarse salt and pepper. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Cover and cook mushrooms, gill-side up, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn, cover and cook mushrooms 3 more minutes or until cooked through. Place gill-side up on bottom muffin halves. Top with sliced tomatoes and the dressed arugula. Add muffin top and serve. (Adapted from "The With or Without Meat Cookbook" by Jackie Newgent, American Diabetes Association, 2014.)

Add deli CARROT SALAD on the side. Buy VANILLA PUDDING and top with STRAWBERRIES for dessert.

Shopping List

whole-grain English muffins, shredded mozzarella, avocado, fresh basil, red onion, arugula, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, portobello mushrooms, coarse salt, pepper, deli carrot salad, vanilla pudding, strawberries.

Thursday Entertain the Family

Celebrate New Year's Eve and enjoy delicious BALSAMIC MARINATED FLANK STEAK. Serve with ROASTED RED POTATOES, CARROTS AND ONIONS (toss with olive oil, add coarse salt and pepper to taste and roast in a 425-degree oven on a flat baking sheet covered with nonstick foil, 30 to 35 minutes). Add a BIBB LETTUCE SALAD and DINNER ROLLS. For dessert, check your favorite pastry shop for PEACH MELBA. Happy New Year!

Shopping List

balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh basil, Dijon mustard, garlic, sugar, beef flank steak, coarse salt, pepper, red potatoes, carrots, onion, bibb lettuce, dinner rolls, peach melba.


makes 4 servings
Prep time:
10 minutes; marinating time: 6 hours to overnight
Cook time:
16 to 21 minutes
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 beef flank steak (about 1 to 1 1/2 pounds)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine vinegar, oil, basil, mustard, garlic and sugar in small bowl. Place steak and marinade in resealable plastic bag; close securely and turn steak to coat. Marinate in refrigerator 6 hours or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove steak; discard marinade. Place steak on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 16 minutes (or 16 to 21 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill) for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Season steak with salt and pepper to taste. Carve steak crosswise into thin slices and serve.

Per serving: 160 calories, 23 grams protein, 7 grams fat (40% calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, no carbohydrate, 65 milligrams cholesterol, 84 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Friday Entertain the Family

It wouldn't be a proper New Year's Day without BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH HAM. Combine 2 ham hocks (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total) with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Meanwhile, rinse and pick over 1 pound dry black-eyed peas; place peas in 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with ham hocks, 4 cups of the ham hock water, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 medium onions (cut into thin wedges), 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (with liquid), and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low 5 to 7 hours or until peas are soft, but not mushy. (I cooked mine for 5 hours, and they were perfect, but it depends on your cooker.) Remove ham hocks and discard the fat. Add meat from hocks back to the peas; mix well.

Serve with COLLARD GREENS and CORNBREAD. For dessert, leftover ICE CREAM is simple.

Shopping List

ham hocks, dry black-eyed peas, garlic, onions, canned diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, coarse salt, pepper, collard greens, cornbread.

Saturday Express

Try any frozen SHRIMP ENTREE for an easy meal. Accompany it with any PASTA tossed with pesto sauce, a packaged GREEN SALAD and GARLIC BREAD. Keep dessert simple and enjoy some PEARS.

Shopping List

any frozen shrimp entree, any pasta, pesto sauce, packaged green salad, garlic bread, pears.