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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | January 5, 2022 at 2:02 a.m.
Pot Roast Soup (Courtesy of Cattlemen's Beef Board)

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

SUNDAY: For family day, make easy Pot Roast Soup. In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, place a 2 ½-pound boneless shoulder roast (cut into 12 pieces). Add 2 cups chopped onions, 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with green peppers and onion, 1 cup frozen hash brown potatoes (cubes), 1 cup unsalted beef broth, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, ½ teaspoon coarse salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours or until beef is fork-tender. Stir in 2 cups broccoli slaw; continue cooking 30 minutes or until crisp-tender. Turn off cooker, stir in ½ cup frozen peas. Let stand 5 minutes. Add a romaine salad and whole-grain bread. Have some yellow layer cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough beef and gravy for Monday; save enough cake for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Use the leftovers for Open-Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches. Place the heated beef over whole-grain bread slices; spoon hot gravy over the beef. Add mashed potatoes and a lettuce wedge alongside. Enjoy pears for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save and freeze enough mashed potatoes for Thursday.

TUESDAY: Continue the soup theme with a bowl of Black Bean Soup. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium heat. Add 1 large onion (finely chopped), 1 medium green bell pepper (chopped) and 3 cloves garlic (minced). Cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, puree 1 (15-ounce) can (of 2 cans total) black beans (with liquid) with 2 cups vegetable broth. To the pot, add 1 teaspoon cumin and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Cook 1 minute. Add 1 tablespoon tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in bean puree and the other can beans (with liquid). Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, partially cover pot and simmer 10 minutes, stirring often. Stir in ¼ cup dry sherry if desired. Ladle into bowls and garnish with diced tomatoes. Serve with a spinach salad with hard-cooked egg wedges on the side and cornbread. Slice the leftover cake for dessert.

WEDNESDAY: Make this easier version of Turkey Moussaka (see recipe) for a low-cost meal. Serve it with mixed greens and bread sticks. Fresh pineapple is a simple dessert.

Plan ahead: Take Monday's mashed potatoes from freezer and place in refrigerator.

THURSDAY: The "z" in Meatzloaf (see recipe) stands for zucchini, but that's our little secret. The kids will love it. Serve with leftover mashed potatoes, steamed sliced carrots and soft rolls. For dessert, try tapioca.

FRIDAY: For a quick meal, Curry Chicken Salad fills the bill. Into 2 cups deli chicken salad, stir 2 teaspoons curry powder and ¼ cup diced red apples. Spread the mixture on whole-grain bread or stuff it into a pita. Serve with a packaged green salad. Try vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

SATURDAY: Glazed Salmon With Sesame Green Beans (see recipe) is a delicious entree. Pair it with roasted red potatoes, a bibb lettuce salad and a baguette. For dessert, top brownies with leftover ice cream.


Turkey Moussaka

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 12 ounces roasted eggplant dip
  • 1/3 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Heat oil in a large oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat. Add onion, bell peppers, garlic, bay leaf, paprika, cinnamon and allspice. Cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened. Add turkey; cook 8 minutes or until just browned. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a simmer. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. Heat broiler. Stir in eggplant dip; simmer 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf. Remove pan from heat; top with feta. Broil 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown cheese. Just before serving, garnish with mint.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 259 calories, 23 g protein, 12 g fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 46 mg cholesterol, 825 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 1

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  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini (1 large or 2 small)
  • 1/3 cup Italian dry breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 ½ pounds very lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon yellow mustard

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, mix eggs, zucchini, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, oregano, pepper and beef until well-blended. Press mixture into an ungreased 9-inch deep-dish glass baking dish. Bake 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix together sugar, ketchup and mustard. Remove loaf from oven; pour off drippings (the zucchini releases a lot of moisture as it cooks). Spread topping over loaf. Return to oven; bake 10 to 15 minutes more or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with 95% lean beef) contains approximately 167 calories, 21 g protein, 6 g fat, 8 g carbohydrate, 93 mg cholesterol, 344 mg sodium and 1 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

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Glazed Salmon With Sesame Green Beans

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 4 teaspoons less-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons five-spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon filets
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen thin (French) green beans, thawed and drained
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

In small bowl, whisk honey, soy sauce, five spice powder and garlic.

Place salmon on a large plate. Pour spice mixture over salmon; turn to coat. Marinate 15 minutes at room temperature.

Meanwhile, toss green beans with canola and sesame oils. Arrange beans on rimmed baking pan lined with foil; bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven; push beans to one side of pan. Place salmon, skin side down, on other side of pan. Brush salmon with any remaining marinade. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until salmon is medium doneness and beans are crisp-tender. Remove salmon from pan, leaving skin. Toss beans with sesame seeds and lemon juice. Serve beans with salmon.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 388 calories, 39 g protein, 14 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate, 80 mg cholesterol, 332 mg sodium and 4 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2

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


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