7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For September 20, 2020

Sunday Family

Family day is a good time for GRILLED BALSAMIC PORK CHOPS. Combine 8 boneless pork chops (3/4 inch thick) with 1 1/2 cups balsamic vinaigrette in a resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate 2 to 24 hours. Remove chops, pat dry and discard marinade. Grill over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning once.

On the side, (packaged) RICE PILAF and GREEN PEAS (from frozen) make a pretty plate. Add WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. For dessert, buy a CARROT CAKE and lose most of the frosting.

Save enough pork chops for Monday; save enough cake for Tuesday.

Shopping List

boneless pork chops, balsamic vinaigrette, packaged rice pilaf, frozen green peas, whole-grain rolls, carrot cake.

Monday Heat and Eat

Reinvent those leftover pork chops as GRILLED PORK AND PROVOLONE PANINIS: Spread 1 teaspoon pesto on each of 8 slices Italian bread. Top 4 slices with thinly sliced cooked pork and 4 (1-ounce) slices provolone cheese. Top with remaining 4 bread slices. Lightly brush outer surface with olive oil; grill in skillet on medium until toasted on each side.

Serve with deli COLESLAW and BAKED CHIPS. Sprinkle cinnamon on SLICED APPLES for dessert.

Shopping List

pesto, Italian bread, provolone cheese, olive oil, deli coleslaw, baked chips, cinnamon, apples.

Tuesday Meatless

We liked this BLACK BEAN LASAGNA for a no-meat dinner. Serve it with a crisp LETTUCE WEDGE and GARLIC BREAD. Leftover CAKE is your dessert.

Shopping List

cooking spray, canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned no-salt-added or regular crushed tomatoes with puree, onion, green bell pepper, medium salsa, chili powder, cumin, reduced-fat ricotta cheese, garlic powder, eggs, no-cook-style lasagna noodles, reduced-fat cheddar cheese, lettuce, garlic bread.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
40 to 45 minutes; standing time: 15 minutes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
  • 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added or regular crushed tomatoes, with puree
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup medium salsa
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup reduced-fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 10 no-cook-style lasagna noodles
  • 6 ounces shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. In large bowl, mash beans slightly. Stir in tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, salsa, chili powder and cumin; mix well. In small bowl, combine ricotta, garlic powder and egg; blend well. Spread 1 cup of tomato mixture over bottom of dish. Top with half of noodles, overlapping slightly. Top with half of remaining tomato mixture. Spoon ricotta mixture over top; spread carefully. Top with half of cheddar cheese, then with remaining noodles, tomato mixture and cheddar cheese. Cover with nonstick foil; bake 40 to 45 minutes or until noodles are tender. Uncover; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Per serving: 271 calories, 17 grams protein, 6 grams fat (19% calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 42 milligrams cholesterol, 244 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

Wednesday Kids

When I was a kid, no dinner made me happier than grilled FRANKS ON BUNS and BAKED BEANS. Of course, you'll want mustard and relish on the hot dogs. It's easy to munch on CELERY STICKS.

For dessert, there were the PURPLE COWS to laugh about: Put scoops of vanilla ice cream into tall glasses; fill with grape soda. Slurp with a straw.

Buy the lowest-sodium and lowest-fat frankfurters you can find, and look for reduced-sodium baked beans, too.

Shopping List

reduced-sodium and reduced-fat frankfurters, buns, canned reduced-sodium baked beans, mustard, relish, celery, vanilla ice cream, grape soda.

Thursday Budget

This CHICKEN-CORN CHOWDER is a delicious way to save money. Serve with GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES, SWEET PICKLES and deli CARROT SALAD. FRESH BLUEBERRIES are good for dessert.

Shopping List

butter, onion, celery, fresh jalapeno pepper, flour, 2% milk, cooked or canned chicken breast, frozen corn, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, coarse salt, canned no-salt-added cream-style corn, bread and cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches, sweet pickles, deli carrot salad, fresh blueberries.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 10 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken breast, or 1 (10- to 12-ounce) can chicken breast, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can no-salt-added cream-style corn

Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, celery and jalapeno pepper; cook 4 minutes or until vegetables are softened, stirring often. Add flour and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in milk, chicken, frozen corn, thyme, cayenne pepper, salt and creamed corn. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes or until thickened.

Per serving: 266 calories, 21 grams protein, 7 grams fat (24% calories from fat), 3.4 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 55 milligrams cholesterol, 162 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Friday Express

You can have CHILI CHEESE PIEROGIES for a quick meal tonight. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Layer 1 package (thawed) frozen onion pierogies in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish; top with 1 (15-ounce) can vegetarian chili and bake 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with 4 ounces shredded 50% light cheddar cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with reduced-fat sour cream before serving.

Serve with deli BROCCOLI SALAD and BAKED TORTILLA CHIPS. Fresh TROPICAL FRUITS make a quick dessert.

Shopping List

frozen onion pierogies, canned vegetarian chili, shredded 50% light cheddar cheese, reduced-fat sour cream, deli broccoli salad, baked tortilla chips, fresh tropical fruits.

Saturday Entertain the Family

The family always enjoys GRILLED CHICKEN. Garnish it with MANGO, BLACK BEAN AND CORN SALSA. Add LEMON AND HERB RED POTATO SALAD. Serve with fresh STEAMED ZUCCHINI and a BAGUETTE. Buy a CHEESECAKE for dessert.

Shopping List

chicken to grill, mangoes, canned reduced-sodium black beans and corn for salsa, red potatoes, white vinegar, coarse salt, lemons, pepper, extra-virgin olive oil, green onions, fresh tarragon, fresh parsley, fresh chives, capers, fresh zucchini, baguette, cheesecake.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
10 to 15 minutes; cooling time: 30 minutes
  • 3 pounds red potatoes, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus salt for cooking potatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest plus 3 tablespoons juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green onion, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh tarragon
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons capers, minced

Combine potatoes, 8 cups water, vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt in Dutch oven; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook 10 to 15 minutes at a strong simmer until potatoes are just tender. Meanwhile, whisk lemon zest and juice, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Slowly whisk in oil until emulsified; set aside. Drain potatoes thoroughly, then transfer to rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle 2 tablespoons dressing over hot potatoes and gently toss until evenly coated. Let potatoes cool about 30 minutes, stirring once hallway though cooling. Whisk dressing to recombine; stir in onions, tarragon, parsley, chives and capers. Add cooled potatoes to remaining dressing and gently stir to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Adapted from "The Complete Summer Cookbook," America's Test Kitchen.)

Per serving: 209 calories, 4 grams protein, 10 grams fat (40% calories from fat), 1.3 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 232 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.