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7-Day Menu Planner

by Susan Nicholson | May 25, 2022 at 1:31 a.m.
Braised Barbecue Brisket (Courtesy of Cattlemen’s Beef Board)

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

SUNDAY: Try this Braised Barbecue Brisket for family day. Combine 2 tablespoons chile powder, 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder. Press mixture into a 3-pound boneless beef brisket flat half. Place fat side up in 4 ½- to 5 ½-quart slow cooker. Mix ¾ cup barbecue sauce and ½ cup dry red wine together. Pour around brisket in cooker. Cook on high 4 to 6 hours or on low 8 to 10 hours or until fork-tender. Remove; keep warm. Skim fat from liquid. Bring liquid to boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally. Trim fat as desired. Carve diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce. On the side, add potato salad, mixed greens and whole-grain rolls. Buy a chocolate meringue pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough beef for Monday and enough pie for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Celebrate Memorial Day with leftover Beef Brisket Sandwiches on the menu. Serve them on whole-grain buns with pickles on the side. Add vegetarian baked beans and coleslaw to the feast. How about blondies and peach sorbet for dessert?

Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Wednesday.

TUESDAY: Pasta With Tomato-Basil Sauce (see recipe) is so easy and so good, you'll want the recipe in your favorites file. Serve it with a spinach salad and Italian bread. A slice of leftover pie is perfect for dessert.

WEDNESDAY: The kids will be happy you are serving Pizza Turnovers for dinner. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough from 1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. Cut dough into four 6-inch squares. Spread 1 tablespoon pizza sauce on each square to within ½-inch of edges. Top with some shredded carrots, pepperoni slices and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Fold each square in half over filling. Press edges to seal. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm. For dessert, peach slices and leftover blondies are all you'll want.

THURSDAY: It's easy on your purse and tastes good at the same time, so try Penne With Sausage and Peas (see recipe) tonight. Serve with a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. For dessert, fresh pineapple is a delight.

FRIDAY: Make a fast dinner tonight with crab cakes (frozen) and tartar sauce. Add hash-browned potatoes (refrigerated), deli broccoli salad and crusty bread. Enjoy fresh blueberries for dessert.

SATURDAY: Entertain guests with delicious Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin With Lentils (see recipe). Serve the combo with fresh yellow squash, an arugula salad and baguettes. For dessert, top strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce.


Pasta With Tomato-Basil Sauce

  • 1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly shaved Parmigianino-Reggiano cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium saucepan on medium. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and salt; cover and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil and pepper. Add tomato mixture to pasta; toss to combine. Top with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 305 calories, 11 g protein, 11 g fat, 43 g carbohydrate, 9 mg cholesterol, 427 mg sodium and 3 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3

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Penne With Sausage and Peas

  • 12 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 ounces chicken sausage with sun-dried tomatoes or another flavor, sliced on diagonal
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes, turning, until browned. Scoop out sausage with slotted spoon to a plate. Reduce heat to medium; add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and salt; cook 2 minutes. Stir in broth, peas and browned sausage. Heat through. Combine pasta, sausage mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese. Top with remaining cheese.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 289 calories, 13 g protein, 6 g fat, 49 g carbohydrate, 22 mg cholesterol, 346 mg sodium and 9 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3

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Balsamic-Glazed Pork Tenderloin With Lentils

  • 1 cup green lentils, rinsed
  • 1 red apple, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 rib celery, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (1 ¼-pound) pork tenderloin

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 cups water to boil; add lentils and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes or until tender; drain and rinse under cold water to cool. In medium bowl, toss lentils with the apple, celery, parsley, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil and salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, in a small bowl, combine vinegar and sugar. Heat remaining oil in an ovenproof skillet on medium-high heat. Add pork and cook 6 to 8 minutes to brown. Transfer to oven; roast 10 to 12 minutes or until pork is 145 degrees. Baste with vinegar/sugar mixture twice during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven; tent with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with lentils and any pan drippings.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 465 calories, 45 g protein, 13 g fat, 44 g carbohydrate, 92 mg cholesterol, 208 mg sodium and 8 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 3

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


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