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story.lead_photo.caption Balsamic Onion Mocha Flank Steak Courtesy of Cattlemen's Beef Board

A week’s worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families

SUNDAY: Balsamic Onion Mocha Flank Steak (see recipe) is just what the family ordered for today. Prepare your own green beans to go with the roast. Add a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. For a special dessert, slice coconut cake.

Plan ahead: Save enough steak for Monday. Save enough cake for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Make Steak Tacos tonight. For the sauce: In a small bowl, combine 1 cup sour cream, 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro and 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers; mix well, cover and refrigerate. For filling: Cut leftover steak into thin slices and then into strips. Stir-fry 1 medium red bell pepper and 1 onion, each thinly sliced, about 4 minutes. Add steak; stir-fry 1 minute or until hot. Spoon meat and vegetables into warm tortillas. Top with sauce, roll and eat. Serve with pinto beans. Tropical fruit (such as pineapple, mango, papaya or bananas) is dessert.

TUESDAY: Skip meat tonight and try this Potato-Vegetable Frittata (see recipe). Serve with a spinach salad and toasted English muffins. For dessert, enjoy leftover cake.

WEDNESDAY: Chili With Beans (see recipe) is always an economical meal. Spoon it over cornbread cut into squares. Top the chili with sour cream. Serve with mixed greens. Fresh pineapple chunks are good for dessert.

THURSDAY: Treat the kids to Chix Stix. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush all sides of 1 pound of chicken tenders with mayonnaise and then dip and coat all sides in 1 cup panko (use seasoned crumbs, if you prefer). Place on a foil-lined baking sheet; bake 15 minutes or until golden. Make a dip from 1 part low-fat mayonnaise and 1 part honey mustard sauce. Serve with potato nuggets (such as tater tots) and tiny green peas (from frozen). Add soft rolls. For dessert, munch on peanut butter cookies.

FRIDAY: Choose your favorite frozen vegetable lasagna and add mixed greens for tonight's dinner. Garlic bread goes well on the side. Buy tapioca pudding for dessert.

SATURDAY: Invite guests for Maple-Glazed Salmon. Heat broiler. Sprinkle 6 (5- to 6-ounce) salmon filets evenly with coarse salt. In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium. Add salmon, skin side up; cook 2 minutes. Place salmon, skin side down, on broiler rack coated with cooking spray; place rack in broiler pan lined with foil and brush salmon with 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Broil 5 inches from heat, 5 to 7 minutes or until syrup caramelizes. Brush with 2 more tablespoons syrup; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives. Serve with jasmine rice and sugar snap peas. Add a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. For dessert, buy a key lime pie.


Balsamic Onion Mocha Flank Steak

1 cup light balsamic vinaigrette dressing, divided use

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground espresso coffee

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 flank steak (1 ½ to 2 pounds)

1 medium onion, chopped

Combine one-third of the vinaigrette, the cocoa, coffee and pepper in a small bowl; mix well. Pour mixture into a resealable plastic bag; add steak and seal. Turn to coat and marinate in refrigerator 6 hours to overnight. Remove steak; discard marinade. Place steak on rack of broiler pan 2 to 3 inches from heat. Broil 13 to 18 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning once.

Meanwhile, cook onion and remaining vinaigrette in medium pan on medium heat, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until onion is tender. Remove from heat. Carve steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Top with onion mixture and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 186 calories, 23 g protein, 8 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 65 mg cholesterol, 413 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 0.5.

Potato-Vegetable Frittata

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 medium red onion, sliced

1 medium zucchini, sliced

3 whole eggs

6 egg whites

½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

½ cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 cup chopped cooked potatoes

Salsa, for garnish

In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium. Add onion and zucchini; cook 5 minutes until almost softened.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, egg whites, cheeses and parsley. Stir potatoes into skillet mixture, then pour egg mixture over top. Cover and cook on low 8 to 10 minutes or until bottom is golden and top is set. Cut into 4 wedges and serve with salsa.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 238 calories, 19 g protein, 11 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 157 mg cholesterol, 385 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1.

Chili With Beans

1 large white onion, chopped

2 pounds lean ground beef

2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium kidney beans

1 ½ cups unsalted tomato juice

1 (10 ¾-ounce) can condensed reduced-sodium tomato soup

1 tablespoon chili seasoning

½ teaspoon coarse salt

¼teaspoon pepper

Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish

Chopped green onions for garnish

Microwave white onion on high (100 percent power) for 6 minutes or until softened; drain. Place cooked onion, beef, beans, juice, soup, chili powder, salt and pepper in 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Cook on high 5 hours. Mix well. Ladle into bowls, garnish with cheese and green onions, and serve.

Makes 8 cups.

Nutrition information: Each cup (prepared with reduced-sodium beans and soup) contains approximately 263 calories, 31 g protein, 6 g fat, 25 g carbohydrate, 62 mg cholesterol, 534 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1.5.

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

Food on 03/20/2019

Print Headline: 7-day menu planner

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