A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families
SUNDAY: Enjoy the applause from the family when you present Southwestern Chicken and Corn Dinner. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour inside a large foil cooking bag. Sprinkle each of 8 bone-in, skinless chicken pieces (4 breasts and 4 thighs) with 2 teaspoons Mexican seasoning blend. Arrange chicken and 3 ears fresh or frozen corn-on-the-cob (cut in pieces), 1 red and 1 green medium bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces, and 1 medium onion cut into eighths in an even layer inside bag. Sprinkle 2 more teaspoons seasoning blend over vegetables. Double-fold end and place in 1-inch-deep pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Open away from your face to allow steam to escape. Serve with mixed greens and cornbread. Flan is dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough chicken for Monday.
MONDAY: Use those leftovers in this Baked Chicken and Spaghetti (see recipe). It's just mild enough for children, and there's a bonus: one casserole for tonight and another for the freezer for another night. Serve with a lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls. Sliced peaches are an easy dessert.
TUESDAY: Being a penny pincher, I'm always looking for the perfect Vegetable Beef Soup (see recipe). Until I find it, try this. Serve with a romaine salad and bread sticks. Warmed bread pudding is good for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough soup and bread pudding for Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: Leftover soup is always better the next day. Serve with an Avocado-Grapefruit Green Salad. (Add chopped avocado and fresh grapefruit sections to salad greens. Drizzle with poppy seed dressing and toss.) Serve with whole-grain rolls. Enjoy leftover bread pudding for dessert.
THURSDAY: Tonight's French Dip Sandwiches are quick. Heat slices of deli roast beef in au jus gravy. Serve on toasted split French bread with bowls of gravy for dipping. Add oven fries and a bibb lettuce salad. Chocolate ice cream is a welcome dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
FRIDAY: Keep it simple tonight with Ravioli With Peas and Pesto. Cook 1 pound refrigerated cheese ravioli according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine 1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings (drained) and ½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil leaves. Place 2 cups frozen green peas in a colander. Drain ravioli over peas. Transfer mixture to a large serving bowl and toss with ¼ cup refrigerated basil pesto; top with tomato mixture. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Serve with mixed greens and crusty rolls. Buy deli brownies for dessert.
Plan ahead: Buy enough brownies for Saturday.
SATURDAY: Invite friends for Pork Chops With Herb Mustard Butter (see recipe). Add baked sweet potatoes, a red-tipped lettuce salad and sourdough bread to your meal. Make a Triple Chocolate Sundae for dessert. Warm leftover brownies, top with leftover chocolate ice cream and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Add a dollop of whipped cream.
Baked Chicken and Spaghetti
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 to 3 cups shredded cooked leftover chicken
1 (10 ¾-ounce) can reduced-sodium and -fat cream of mushroom soup
2 ½ cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 to 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook spaghetti according to directions; drain.
Combine peppers and onion; cover and microwave on 100 percent power for 4 minutes or until softened; drain.
In a large bowl, combine spaghetti, cooked vegetables, chicken, soup, 1 ½ cups cheese, seasoned salt and cayenne. Stir in 1 cup broth and add more as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Divide into two 8-by-8-inch baking dishes coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese. Cover one casserole and freeze for up to 6 months. Cover second casserole with foil; bake 35 minutes or until bubbly.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 463 calories, 29 g protein, 16 g fat, 48 g carbohydrate, 86 mg cholesterol, 545 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 3.
Vegetable Beef Soup
1 pound well-trimmed beef stew meat, cut into bite-size pieces
½ teaspoon garlic salt
4 shakes Worcestershire sauce
1 medium russet potato, peeled and cubed
1 cup thinly sliced fresh carrots
1 cup packaged angel hair coleslaw mix
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini OR 2 yellow squash, chopped
1 (10-ounce) package frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 (16-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 (14-ounce) can unsalted beef broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon pepper
Place beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle garlic salt on beef, then shake on Worcestershire sauce. Add potato, carrots, coleslaw mix, onion, squash, green beans, corn, tomato sauce, broth, oregano and pepper. Press down ingredients with the back of a large spoon. Add enough water to just cover vegetables. Cook on low 8 to 10 hours. Mix well, adjust seasonings and serve immediately.
Makes 14 cups.
Nutrition information: Each cup contains approximately: 94 calories, 8 g protein, 2.5 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 20 mg cholesterol, 98 mg sodium, 2 g fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: .5.
Pork Chops With Herb Mustard Butter
4 ½-inch-thick bone-in pork loin chops
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (2 ounces) butter, softened
¼ cup chopped flatleaf parsley, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons honey mustard
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
Heat broiler with oven rack 5 inches from heat.
Sprinkle chops evenly with salt and pepper and place on wire rack in a foil-lined broiler pan.
Mix together butter, parsley, honey mustard and sage in a small bowl until blended. Top each chop with 1 round tablespoon of the butter mixture. Broil 8 to 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Garnish with additional parsley. (Adapted from Quick-Fix Dinners from the editors of Southern Living, Time Inc. Books.)
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 284 calories, 23 g protein, 19 g fat, 4 g carbohydrate, 95 mg cholesterol, 397 mg sodium and no fiber.
Carbohydrate choices: 0.5.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:
Food on 03/13/2019
Print Headline: 7-day menu planner