7 Day Menu Planner by Susan Nicholson

7 Day Menu Planner For January 31, 2021

Sunday Family

Gather the family for the Super Bowl and start the fun by passing around a deli VEGETABLE TRAY WITH DIPS. At halftime, serve BEST-EVER CHILI. Add CORNBREAD (from mix). For an easy dessert, buy BROWNIES.

Save enough chili and brownies and make enough cornbread for Monday.

Shopping List

vegetable tray with dips, lean ground beef, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, coarse salt, canned reduced-sodium red kidney beans, jar salsa, canned chopped green chilies, tomato paste, reduced-fat sour cream, cilantro, green onions, shredded 50% light cheddar cheese, jalapenos, cornbread mix, brownies.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
less than 35 minutes
  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 (28-ounce) can rinsed reduced-sodium red kidney beans
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) jar salsa
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Reduced-fat sour cream, cilantro leaves, sliced green onion, shredded 50% light cheddar cheese and jalapeno slices for garnish

In a Dutch oven, cook beef, onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder and salt on medium high 8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onions are softened. Stir in beans, salsa, green chilies and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with garnishes.

Per serving: 310 calories, 32 grams protein, 6 grams fat (17% calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 62 milligrams cholesterol, 796 milligrams sodium, 10 grams fiber.

Monday Heat and Eat

Serve the leftover CHILI over leftover TOASTED CORNBREAD. Split and broil the cornbread 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Spoon the heated leftover CHILI over the cornbread. On the side, deli COLESLAW goes well. Leftover BROWNIES and SLICED PEACHES make a good dessert.

Save enough peaches for Tuesday.

Shopping List

deli coleslaw, peaches.

Tuesday Express

Make SPAGHETTI WITH WHITE CLAM SAUCE for a quick meal. In a saucepan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil; add 1 teaspoon minced garlic and cook 1 minute. Add 1 (10.5- or 12-ounce) can or jar clam sauce; heat through. Toss sauce with cooked spaghetti. Serve with a packaged GREEN SALAD and GARLIC TOAST. Leftover SLICED PEACHES are an easy dessert.

Shopping List

olive oil, garlic, canned or jar clam sauce, spaghetti, packaged green salad, garlic toast.

Wednesday Budget

Soup is always a good way to stretch the budget, and HAM AND BLACK BEAN SOUP fits the bill: In a saucepan, combine 1 cup cubed cooked ham, 1 cup salsa, 2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium black beans (rinsed) and 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cover; simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with sliced green onions.

Serve with a SPINACH SALAD and CRACKERS. Try SLICED APPLES for dessert.

Shopping List

cubed cooked ham, salsa, canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned unsalted chicken broth, green onions, fresh spinach, crackers, apples.

Thursday Kids

These HOT DOG SMILEY-FACE SANDWICHES will surely win the kids over. For each serving, cut 1 lowest-fat lowest-sodium hot dog at 1/2-inch intervals almost completely through (leave 1/4 inch intact). Cook in small nonstick skillet on medium 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned and hot dog has curled; remove from skillet. Meanwhile, for each serving, place 1 slice 2% cheese on a slice of whole-grain bread. Place in skillet. Cover and cook 1 to 2 minutes over low or until cheese melts. Remove from skillet. Place hot dog on bread for mouth of "face." To complete the face, use sliced pimiento-stuffed olives for eyes, cherry tomato halves for the nose, small potato chips for ears and finely shredded lettuce for hair.

Serve with baked WAFFLE FRIES (from frozen). TROPICAL FRUIT is easy for dessert.

Shopping List

lowest-fat lowest-sodium hot dogs, sliced 2% cheese, whole-grain bread, pimiento-stuffed olives, cherry tomatoes, potato chips, lettuce, frozen waffle fries, tropical fruit.

Friday Meatless

Your no-meat dinner will be delicious tonight with ITALIAN WHITE BEANS. Serve over sliced POLENTA. Add a LETTUCE AND TOMATO SALAD and CRUSTY BREAD. PEARS are a simple dessert.

Look for tubes of polenta in the produce section.

Shopping List

olive oil, onion, crushed red pepper, garlic, bay leaves, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, white wine vinegar, coarse salt, black pepper, refrigerated or other polenta, lettuce, tomato, crusty bread, pears.


makes 6 servings
Prep time:
15 minutes
Cook time:
about 15 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons water (see Note)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium cannellini beans
  • 4 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add onion; cook 6 minutes. Add red pepper, garlic and bay leaves; cook 4 minutes. Stir in water and beans. Cook 3 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in vinegar, salt and pepper. Discard bay leaves and serve.

Note: If beans become too dry, thin with additional water.

Per serving: 178 calories, 7 grams protein, 6 grams fat (28% calories from fat), 0.6 gram saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 207 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Saturday Entertain the Family

Serve the family BROILED FLOUNDER WITH LEMON: Heat broiler. Coat baking rack with cooking spray. Lay fish on rack and brush with olive oil; sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper. Broil 2 to 3 inches from heat, 2 to 4 minutes (depending on thickness), until fish is just cooked through and edges flake with fork. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over fillets and serve immediately.


Shopping List

cooking spray, flounder, olive oil, coarse salt, pepper, lemons, reduced-fat cream cheese, frozen chopped spinach, crumbled blue cheese, rice, walnuts, Boston lettuce, baguette, raspberry sorbet, butter cookies.


makes 8 servings
Prep time:
10 minutes
Cook time:
less than 15 minutes, plus rice and walnuts
  • 1 (8-ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and undrained
  • 1 (4-ounce) package crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts (see Note)

In a large skillet on medium, heat cream cheese and water; cook and stir 3 or 4 minutes or until cheese is melted. Add spinach, blue cheese and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Add rice; cook 3 to 5 minutes or until heated through, Remove from heat. Stir in walnuts and serve.

Note: To toast walnuts, heat oven to 350 degrees, spread on flat baking sheet and bake 5 to 10 minutes or until golden.

Per serving: 256 calories, 10 grams protein, 15 grams fat (53% calories from fat), 7.2 grams saturated fat, 21 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 346 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.