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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | October 13, 2021 at 1:53 a.m.
Sirloin Kebabs on a Bed of Orzo (Courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board)

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

SUNDAY: Pork Tenderloin With Ginger-Peachy Glaze (see recipe) is perfect for family day. Serve the savory entree with couscous, green beans, a lettuce wedge salad and sourdough bread. A piece of lemon meringue pie is a delicious dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork for Monday; save enough pie for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Use the leftover pork for a quick Stir Fry. Heat a little canola oil in a large skillet or wok. Choose your favorite combination of frozen stir-fry vegetables and follow package directions for cooking. Mix in a stir-fry sauce and some leftover cooked pork, cut into strips. Cook until hot throughout. Serve over brown rice and garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Add mixed greens and bread sticks. How about pears for dessert?

TUESDAY: We're always ready to save money and to enjoy another version of Chicken Chili. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, combine 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (cubed), 2 (15-ounce) cans white beans (rinsed), 2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (drained) and 1 cup frozen (thawed) corn. Mix together 1 (1.25-ounce) package slow-cooker chili seasoning mix and 1 cup unsalted chicken broth until blended and add to cooker. Cover and cook 6 hours on low. Serve over cornbread squares (from mix). Add a romaine salad. For dessert, slice the leftover pie.

Plan ahead: Save enough chili for Thursday.

WEDNESDAY: What kid could resist Bean-and-Veggie Wraps? Heat 4 (6- to 8-inch) flour tortillas as directed on package. In a large skillet on medium heat, cook 2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms about 5 minutes or until they lose their moisture. Stir in 1 (15-ounce) can black beans (rinsed); heat through. Stir in 4 cups fresh spinach leaves; remove from heat. Divide bean mixture among tortillas. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese. Fold one end of each tortilla about 1 inch over filling; fold right and left sides over folded end, overlapping. Fold remaining end down. Serve with corn on the cob and celery sticks. Fresh pineapple spears are dessert.

THURSDAY: Heat the leftover chili and garnish it with shredded jalapeno cheese, chopped green onions and sour cream. Serve with a packaged green salad and baked tortilla chips. Kiwis are a simple dessert.

FRIDAY: This Chickpea and Tomato Curry (see recipe) will make you forget about meat tonight. Serve it with basmati rice, a spinach salad and flatbread. For dessert, make instant vanilla pudding and top it with caramel sauce.

SATURDAY: Everyone will enjoy Sirloin Kebabs on a Bed of Orzo (see recipe). Serve it with broccoli slaw and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, buy fruit tarts.


Ginger-Peachy Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 ½ teaspoons less-sodium seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 pork tenderloins (1 pound each)
  • ½ cup all-fruit or sugar-free peach preserves
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix seasoned salt and thyme. Rub evenly over pork. Place on a rack coated with cooking spray in a foil-lined roasting pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix preserves, Worcestershire sauce and ginger. Spoon over pork during the last 10 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven; carefully tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with all-fruit preserves) contains approximately 160 calories, 22 g protein, 3 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 61 mg cholesterol, 266 mg sodium and no fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

■ ■ ■

Chickpea and Tomato Curry

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • Plain yogurt for garnish, if desired

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and curry powder; cook 5 minutes or until the onions are softened. Stir in chickpeas and tomatoes; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cilantro, juice and salt. Garnish each serving with yogurt, if desired, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium chickpeas) contains approximately 330 calories, 15 g protein, 5 g fat, 53 g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 816 mg sodium and 13 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices count: 3 ½

■ ■ ■

Sirloin Kebabs on a Bed of Orzo

  • For the orzo:
  • 1 cup uncooked orzo pasta, plus ingredients listed on package cooked according to package directions
  • 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1 inch thick (1 pound)
  • 2 green, red or yellow bell peppers, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared Italian dressing
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons shredded parmesan cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Prepare grill for medium heat. Soak 8 (8-inch) bamboo skewers in water 10 minutes; drain.

While the grill heats, cook orzo according to package directions.

Cut beef steak into 1 ¼-inch pieces. Toss beef and bell peppers with basil, dressing and garlic in large bowl. Alternately thread beef and peppers onto skewers.

Place kebabs on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, about 11 to 15 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally (or 13 to 16 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill).

While the kebabs cook, combine the cooked orzo with the basil, parmesan and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Season kebabs with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over orzo mixture.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 341 calories, 28 g protein, 9 g fat, 36 g carbohydrate, 58 mg cholesterol, 131 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2 ½

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


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