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story.lead_photo.caption America's Test Kitchen Quick Beef-and-Bean Chili

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

SUNDAY: Serve the family Honey-Orange Glazed Ham today. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 2- to 3-pound fully cooked boneless ham on a rack in a roasting pan. Roast, uncovered, 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Meanwhile, mix together 1 tablespoon orange juice, ¼ cup honey, a pinch or so ground cinnamon and a pinch or so ground cloves. Baste ham with mixture the last 10 minutes of roasting. Let stand for 5 minutes; slice and serve. To accompany the family favorite, make your own scalloped potatoes and steam some fresh broccoli. Add whole-grain rolls. Enjoy apple cobbler for dessert and top it with vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ham and cobbler for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Make Georgia-Style Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwiches for an easy meal. Mix 2 tablespoons mayonnaise with 3 tablespoons peach preserves. Spread mixture evenly on one side of 8 slices of rye bread. Place 1 slice leftover ham on each of 4 slices of bread; sprinkle each ham slice with 2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Top with remaining bread slices; coat with cooking spray. Cook sandwiches in a large nonstick skillet on medium-low heat until cheese melts and bread is lightly browned. Serve sandwiches with a romaine salad. Warm the leftover apple cobbler for dessert.

TUESDAY: You can prepare Tomato Soup With Spinach and Corn in no time. Prepare 2 (10 ¾-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup according to directions, using 1% milk. Add 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach (thawed) and 1 cup frozen corn (thawed). Heat through. Serve with a lettuce wedge and cheese toast. Top the leftover ice cream with chocolate syrup for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chocolate syrup for Thursday.

WEDNESDAY: This Baked Eggplant and Polenta (see recipe) was a hit and went into our permanent collection of recipes. Serve with steamed spinach and a romaine salad with red onion rings. Add whole-grain bread. For dessert, plums are perfect.

THURSDAY: There's nothing like a good bowl of Quick Beef-and-Bean Chili (see recipe) to warm you up and take it easy on your purse. Serve with deli coleslaw and cornbread muffins (from mix). For dessert, enjoy Chocolate Swirl Pudding. Prepare instant vanilla pudding and swirl leftover chocolate syrup into the pudding. Top with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Prepare enough chili for Friday.

FRIDAY: Show the kids how you can use magic to turn the leftover chili into Chili Roll-Ups. Spoon the leftover chili into warmed whole-grain tortillas; top with shredded lettuce and any shredded cheese. Serve with celery sticks. Leapin' Lizard Crunch Bars are what dessert is all about to a kid -- green, but not a vegetable! Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Combine 1 (12-ounce) package miniature marshmallows and ½ cup peanut butter in a saucepan. Cook on low 10 minutes or until marshmallows melt, stirring constantly. Add 6 drops green food coloring (more if you want it to look really gross); mix well. Add 6 cups crisp rice cereal; mix well. Remove from heat and spoon mixture into prepared baking dish; spread evenly and press down with back of spoon. Refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into 8 long, thin strips, then cut strips in half. Remove bars from pan. Press 2 chocolate chips into one end of each bar to make eyes. Be brave and eat a lizard.

SATURDAY: Any guest would enjoy Chicken With Garlic (see recipe). Serve with mashed potatoes, petite green peas (from frozen), a bibb lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Make or buy cheesecake for dessert.


Baked Eggplant and Polenta

1 (1 ½-pound) eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 8 slices

1 (26-ounce) jar no-salt-added marinara sauce, divided use

8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided use

¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided use

1 (17- or 18-ounce) tube refrigerated ready-to-eat polenta, cut into 20 slices

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Coat eggplant slices with cooking spray on both sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to 375 degrees. Place 4 slices eggplant in bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread with 1 cup marinara sauce; sprinkle with about 6 ounces the mozzarella and 1 tablespoon parmesan. Repeat layers. Top with polenta slices, remaining sauce and remaining cheeses. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese melts.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 245 calories, 15 g protein, 7 g fat, 30 g carbohydrate, 27 mg cholesterol, 669 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2.

Quick Beef-and-Bean Chili

2 (15-ounce) cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed, divided use

2 (14.5-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes with liquid, divided use

1 ½ pounds 85% lean ground beef

1 medium onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons chile powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons sugar

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

Process half the beans and half the tomatoes and liquid in food processor to a coarse paste, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

Combine beef and onion in a Dutch oven; cook on medium, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon until meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chile powder, cumin and sugar and cook about 1 minute or until fragrant. Stir in bean mixture and remaining beans, tomatoes and liquid and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in cilantro and season with salt and pepper to taste. (Recipe from Cook It in Your Dutch Oven by the editors of America's Test Kitchen)

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium beans)contains approximately 417 calories, 31 g protein, 18 g fat, 37 g carbohydrate, 75 mg cholesterol, 302 mg sodium and 12 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2.5.

Chicken With Garlic

2 medium onions, chopped

4 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

8 skinless bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 ¾ pounds total)

8 skinless chicken legs (about 1 ¾ pounds total)

3 tablespoons olive oil

¾ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

½ cup dry vermouth or dry sherry or dry white wine (see note)

20 cloves garlic, separated, not peeled

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Combine onions, celery, tarragon and parsley in the baking dish. Rub chicken pieces with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place chicken on top of onions and celery. Drizzle with vermouth and tuck the garlic in and around the chicken. Cover with foil. Bake 1 ½ hours or until internal temperature of chicken is 165 degrees. Discard garlic and serve.

Note: I used vermouth.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 289 calories, 35 g protein, 16 g fat, no carbohydrate, 197 mg cholesterol, 307 mg sodium and no fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 0.

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

[email protected]

Food on 10/30/2019

Print Headline: 7-day menu planner

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