7 Day Menu Planner

Thursday’s Pomegranate Glazed Carrots is a new twist on a side dish favorite. Contributed by the California Walnut Board
Thursday’s Pomegranate Glazed Carrots is a new twist on a side dish favorite. Contributed by the California Walnut Board

11/ 19

Family Sunday

Aromatic and delicious, Pork Chops With Fruited Couscous (see recipe) will be a family favorite. Serve the combination with fresh broccoli and whole-grain rolls. For dessert, try strawberry ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

11/ 20

Meatless Monday

Manicotti With Spinach and Ricotta (see recipe) takes a little extra time, but the result is worth it. Serve the no-meat entree with a lettuce wedge and garlic bread. Fresh pineapple is a simple dessert.

11/ 21

Kids Tuesday

Teach the kids how to make their own Chicken Fingers tonight. Serve with oven fries (frozen) and baby carrots with hummus to dip, rounding out the meal. Leftover ice cream works for dessert.

11/ 22

Express Wednesday

For a fast dinner, enjoy Mediterranean Tuna Salad. Combine 2 (8-ounce) packages Mediterranean salad greens (or other lettuce mix) in a large bowl. Add 2 small cucumbers (peeled, sliced and seeded), 1 cup cooked green beans, 1 pint grape tomatoes (halved), 1 (12-ounce) can water-packed light tuna (drained), 1/4 cup Greek salad dressing, some crumbled basil and tomato feta cheese, and 10 sliced kalamata olives. Toss to mix and coat. Serve with any vegetable soup and bread sticks. Add fresh tropical fruits for dessert.

11/ 23

Family Thursday

Celebrate Thanksgiving with the family with the traditional Turkey, gravy, dressing and mashed potatoes. Introduce Pomegranate Glazed Carrots (see recipe), a new twist for a side-dish favorite. Add any cranberry sauce to the special occasion. Finish the feast with a small piece of pumpkin pie topped with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough turkey for Friday and enough pie for Saturday.

11/ 24

Heat-and-Eat Friday

Use some of the leftover turkey in Cashew Turkey Pitas. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups diced leftover turkey, 1/2 cup sliced celery and 1/3 cup chopped cashews. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons mango chutney and 1/2 teaspoon curry powder. Spoon dressing over turkey mixture and toss until well-blended. Halve 2 pieces of pita bread; stuff each half with turkey mixture. Serve with couscous and cucumber spears. Peaches sprinkled with nutmeg are dessert.

11/ 25

Budget Saturday

For a change of pace and an economical entree, Hamburger Soup has a good flavor. Heat a Dutch oven to medium; add 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 medium chopped onion and 2 cloves garlic (minced). Cook 6 minutes or until beef is no longer pink and onions are softened; drain. Add 2 medium Yukon gold potatoes (peeled and diced), 3 1/2 cups unsalted beef broth, 1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice, 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 bay leaf, and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Add 3 cups fresh or frozen mixed vegetables and any leftover vegetables on hand. Simmer 15 more minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve with mixed greens and whole-grain crackers, and have some leftover pie for dessert.

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Pork Chops With Fruited Couscous (Sunday)

3/4 teaspoon cumin

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 boneless pork chops, 3/4 inch thick (1 to 1 1/4 pounds)

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cups water

1 3/4 cups couscous

1/4 cup raisins

1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

2 tablespoons pine nuts

In a small bowl, combine cumin, coriander, cinnamon and cayenne pepper; rub onto both sides of chops. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; cook chops, turning once, about 7 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, boil water and prepare couscous according to directions, adding raisins, apricots and pine nuts to water. Serve chops over couscous. Serves 4.

Per serving: 490 calories (percent calories from fat, 16), 30 grams protein, 73 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, 9 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat), 57 milligrams cholesterol, 54 milligrams sodium.

Manicotti With Spinach and Ricotta (Monday)

8 manicotti shells

1 (10-ounce) package chopped frozen spinach

1 (15-ounce) carton reduced-fat ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with roasted garlic, undrained (such as Muir Glen)

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste with Italian herbs

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 cup water

1 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook shells according to directions; drain. In a medium bowl, microwave spinach 1 minute on high (100 percent power) or until thawed; squeeze dry. In a separate bowl, combine spinach, ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese and garlic powder. Spoon into cooked shells; place in a 7-by-11-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Combine tomatoes, tomato paste, basil and water; mix well. Pour over shells. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through. Serves 6.

Per serving: 311 calories (percent calories from fat, 29), 21 grams protein, 33 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 10 grams fat (5.1 grams saturated fat), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 743 milligrams sodium.

Pomegranate Glazed Carrots (Thursday)

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 tablespoons honey

1 pound carrots, cut into 1-inch diagonal slices

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme leaves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Boil juice in a small saucepan on medium-high 15 minutes or until it is reduced to 1/4 cup; stir in honey. Place carrots, oil, salt and pepper on a small baking sheet lined with non-stick foil; stir well to coat. Bake 15 minutes, stirring once or twice. Drizzle pomegranate glaze over carrots and stir to coat. Bake 10 minutes more, stirring once or twice. Stir in walnuts and cranberries and bake 5 minutes more or until carrots are desired tenderness. Transfer to serving dish; sprinkle with thyme. Serves 6.

Per serving: 177 calories (percent calories from fat, 42), 2 grams protein, 3 grams fiber, 9 grams fat (0.9 gram saturated fat), no cholesterol, 138 milligrams sodium.