7-day menu planner

Posted: February 7, 2018 at 1:41 a.m.

Red Velvet Brownie Conversation Hearts

SUNDAY: There's hardly anything easier to prepare than a baked turkey breast. Serve it with your favorite macaroni and cheese. Stir in a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles (drained) to spice up the flavor. Alongside, add a spinach salad and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy a Boston cream pie.

Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and Boston cream pie for Monday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover turkey for Turkey Melts. Set oven to broil. Place 4 slices toasted whole-grain bread on a baking sheet. Spread 2 teaspoons grainy mustard on each slice. Top each with 2 slices turkey and slices from 1 apple, then divide 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese among sandwiches. Broil 6 inches from heat source until cheese melts. Serve open-faced with brown rice and a romaine salad. Slice the leftover Boston cream pie for dessert.

TUESDAY: Make Sloppy Joes from a seasoning mix and serve them over whole-grain hamburger buns. Add oven fries and carrot and celery sticks. Peaches make a good dessert.

WEDNESDAY: Expect a new tiara when your cupcake swoons over Maple-Mustard Pork Tenderloin With Pears. Cut 1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin into 8 medallions. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons honey mustard, 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high; add pork and cook both sides 4 to 5 minutes total. Add maple-mustard sauce and 2 firm pears, cored and cut into 8 wedges each. Cook 2 more minutes or until pears are tender. Spoon medallions, pears and sauce over mashed sweet potatoes. Add green peas, a bibb lettuce salad and dinner rolls. For a sweet finish, Red Velvet Brownie Conversation Hearts (see recipe) will spell it out for your valentine.

Plan ahead: Save enough dessert for Friday.

THURSDAY: Tonight's Grilled Three-Cheese Sandwiches are easy and full of flavor. Coat one side of a slice of dense white bread with cooking spray and place coated side down on a heated skillet or grill. Sprinkle with coarsely shredded asiago, sliced mozzarella and sliced fontina cheeses. Top with another slice of bread and coat top with cooking spray. Grill, pressing down with spatula, until bread is golden and cheese is melted, turning once. Repeat for each sandwich. Serve with creamy, ready-to-eat, tomato soup and a spinach salad. For a light dessert, try chunky applesauce.

FRIDAY: For an easy meal, Southwest Chicken Skillet (see recipe) is just right. Serve the one-dish meal with a lettuce wedge and extra tortillas. For dessert, enjoy brownies.

SATURDAY: Invite guests for a special meal of Scampi With Fettuccine (see recipe). Add a mixed green salad and garlic bread. For dessert, serve raspberry sorbet with butter cookies.

THE RECIPES

Red Velvet Brownie Conversation Hearts

1 "family-size" package fudge brownie mix

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 (1-ounce) bottle red food coloring

8 cups (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Assorted food coloring as desired

For the brownies: Empty mix into large bowl. Add sour cream, eggs and red food coloring; mix well. Spoon batter into a 9-by-13-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Bake and cool as directed on package. Cut out cooled brownies with heart-shaped cookie cutters. Place brownies on wire rack set over baking sheet.

For the icing: Mix sugar, water and syrup in medium saucepan. Cook on medium-low until sugar is melted, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla. Divide and tint with desired colors. Spoon icing over top and sides of brownies. If icing is too thick, gently heat to pouring consistency. Let stand until icing is set. Use remaining icing to decorate or write on brownies with a pastry bag.

Makes 24 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 274 calories, 2 g protein, 4 g fat, 58 g carbohydrate, 19 mg cholesterol, 74 mg sodium and no fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 4.

Southwest Chicken Skillet

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 (16-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables with broccoli, red bell pepper, onions and mushrooms (or similar)

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed

1 cup chunky salsa

1 (8-inch) flour tortilla cut into 2-by-1-inch strips (see note)

1 cup shredded light cheddar cheese

Reduced-fat sour cream

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Cook chicken 3 to 4 minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in vegetables, beans and salsa; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until vegetables are softened. Sprinkle with tortilla strips and cheese. Cover and cook 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Garnish with sour cream and serve.

Makes 5 servings.

Note: For crisp tortilla strips, bake at 425 degrees for 4 to 7 minutes.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium beans) contains approximately 312 calories, 32 g protein, 10 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 70 mg cholesterol, 687 mg sodium and 6 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices 1 1/2.

Scampi With Fettuccine

8 ounces fettuccine

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 pounds raw medium shrimp, shelled, deveined and tails removed

2 medium green onions, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Cook and drain fettuccine according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil on medium. Cook remaining ingredients in oil 2 to 3 minutes, stirring frequently until shrimp are pink. Remove from heat; toss fettuccine and shrimp together in skillet and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker: The Big Book of Pasta

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 424 calories, 42 g protein, 9 g fat, 45 g carbohydrate, 274 mg cholesterol, 330 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:

susan@7daymenu.com

Food on 02/07/2018