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story.lead_photo.caption Sausage and Apples (Courtesy of Gibbs Smith/Helene Dujardin)

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

SUNDAY: Prepare your own baked turkey breast for the family today. Alongside, Pear-Almond Couscous is perfect: In a medium saucepan, combine 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth, ¼ cup golden raisins, ¼ teaspoon coarse salt, ¼ teaspoon cumin and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in 1 (16-ounce) can pear halves (drained and chopped), 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 cup couscous, heaping ¼ cup sliced almonds, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro and 1 teaspoon butter. Cover; let stand 10 minutes before serving. Add steamed fresh green beans and dinner rolls to round out the meal. Buy a carrot cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and cake for Monday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover turkey for Toasty Tomatoes and Turkey: Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup shredded (leftover) cooked turkey, 2 (14 ½-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with chiles, 1 small chopped onion, 2 ½ cups fresh bread cubes and ½ teaspoon coarse salt. Spoon mixture into a 7-by-11-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Dot with 1 tablespoon butter. Bake 20 minutes. Sprinkle with ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese and bake 10 more minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Serve with a spinach salad and whole-grain rolls. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

TUESDAY: Sausage and Apples is delicious on a cold winter's night. Prick skins on 1 pound of sausage links. Add links to a cold, large skillet and fry, turning sausages frequently, over medium-high heat until deep brown all over. If links are more than ½ inch in diameter, add a bit of water to pan after initial browning to keep links from burning before sausage is cooked through. Cover if necessary to ensure sausages are thoroughly cooked. Core and slice 2 gala apples or other cooking apples into ½-inch wedges. Add apples to skillet and cook until apples are brown, soft and caramelized, but not mushy. Drain apples on a plate lined with paper towels, if necessary. Serve sausage and apples while hot. (Adapted from Nathalie Dupree's Favorite Stories & Recipes by Nathalie Dupree, Gibbs-Smith.) Serve with hash-browned potatoes (from frozen), a romaine salad and rye bread. For dessert, ginger snaps are all you need.

WEDNESDAY: Kids can't eat enough lightly breaded chicken nuggets (from frozen). Pair them with curly fries (from frozen) and steamed fresh broccoli florets. Add bread sticks. For dessert, they'll love banana pudding.

Plan ahead: If time permits, assemble tomorrow's Pot Roast Soup tonight.

THURSDAY: We're always in the mood for grilled cheese sandwiches, especially when we have them with Pot Roast Soup (see recipe). Add a packaged green salad. For dessert, chocolate ice cream is easy.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

FRIDAY: Serve these highly seasoned Spicy Baked Potatoes (see recipe) in shallow bowls to catch the jam-packed flavors. Add a mixed green salad and cornbread. Plums are plum good for dessert.

SATURDAY: Put Tilapia Filets With Capers and Almonds (see recipe) in your favorites file as we did. Serve the fish with orzo to catch the sauce. Add steamed fresh carrots tossed with butter and minced parsley for a pretty plate. Sourdough rolls go in the breadbasket. For dessert, top leftover ice cream with crumbled meringue cookies from the bakery.

THE RECIPES

Pot Roast Soup

1 (2- to 2 ½-pound) boneless beef shoulder roast

2 cups chopped onions

1 (14 ½-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onions, with liquid

1 cup frozen hash-browned potatoes

1 cup lower-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ teaspoon coarse salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

2 cups broccoli slaw

½ cup frozen peas

Cut beef roast into 12 equal pieces. Place beef in a 4 ½- to 5 ½-quart slow cooker. Add onions, tomatoes, potatoes, broth, garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper. Cover and cook on high 5 to 6 hours, or on low 8 to 9 hours, until beef is fork-tender. Stir in broccoli slaw; continue cooking, covered, 30 minutes or until broccoli slaw is crisp-tender. Turn off slow cooker. Stir in peas; let stand, covered, 5 minutes before serving.

Makes about 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 277 calories, 36 g protein, 6 g fat, 20 g carbohydrate, 98 mg cholesterol, 512 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1.5.

Spicy Baked Potatoes

4 (8-ounce) baking potatoes

1 teaspoon canola oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

1 large green or red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 (15- to 16-ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce, with liquid

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon minced pickled jalapeno pepper, optional

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Sour cream, for garnish

Scrub potatoes and pierce with a fork. Place on triple-folded white paper towels and microwave on high for 6 minutes per pound (see note). Wrap in fresh paper towels, then a terry cloth towel and let stand 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil on medium in a large skillet. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook 5 minutes or until softened. Stir occasionally. Add beans with liquid, Worcestershire sauce and jalapeno pepper (if desired). Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until heated through. Split potatoes and top with bean mixture. Sprinkle with cheese and garnish with sour cream.

Note: Use paper towels to absorb moisture; wrap the potatoes in paper towels after baking for the same reason. The terry cloth towel holds in the heat.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 412 calories, 16 g protein, 10 g fat, 64 g carbohydrate, 25 mg cholesterol, 647 mg sodium and 9 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 4.

Tilapia Filets With Capers and Almonds

¾ cup all-purpose flour

Coarse salt to taste

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 ½ pounds tilapia (or flounder) filets

2 tablespoons butter, divided use

2 teaspoons olive oil, divided use

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup capers, drained

1 lemon, sliced paper-thin

Put the flour, salt and pepper in a pie plate; mix well. Coat fish in flour mixture, shaking off the excess; transfer to a plate.

In a large skillet, heat 1 ½ teaspoons butter and 1 teaspoon of the oil until butter is melted. Add half the fish and cook over medium heat 3 to 4 minutes or until golden and crisp; turn once. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Repeat with another 1 ½ teaspoons butter, remaining oil and remaining fish. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the almonds to the skillet. Cook 2 minutes or until golden. Add capers and lemon and cook 1 minute or until heated through. Pour sauce over fish and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 334 calories, 38 g protein, 15 g fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 100 mg cholesterol, 395 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1.

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

susan@7daymenu.com

Food on 02/12/2020

Print Headline: 7-day menu planner

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