7 Day Menu Planner

Skip the meat with Wednesday’s Asian Vegetables and Noodles With Peanut Sauce. CONTRIBUTED BY McCormick.com

Skip the meat with Wednesday’s Asian Vegetables and Noodles With Peanut Sauce. CONTRIBUTED BY McCormick.com

12/ 18

Family Sunday

Make family-day dining a tasty experience with Sage and Wild Mushroom Pork Chops (see recipe). Alongside, add parsley-buttered potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pie for Monday.

12/ 19

Kids Monday

Tell the kids that Flashy Fish Tacos are for dinner and watch them hurry to the table. In a 1-quart baking dish, mix together 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano and 1/4 teaspoon cumin; microwave on high (100 percent power) for 30 seconds. Stir in 2 (6-ounce) cans drained, water-packed light tuna, 1 (14-ounce) can drained no-salt-added petite diced tomatoes, 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce and juice of 1/2 lime. Microwave on high 2 minutes or until heated through; stir once.

Microwave 4 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas for 10 seconds on high until warm. Spoon some of the hot filling onto each tortilla; top each one with 1/4 cup shredded 50 percent light cheddar cheese, and fold over.

Serve with yellow rice (from a mix) and avocado slices. Enjoy leftover pie for dessert.

12/ 20

Budget Tuesday

It's easy, low-cost and has lots of flavor, and that's why White Corn Chili is for dinner. Brown 3/4 pound lean ground beef in a large pot for 5 minutes on medium-high or until it's no longer pink; drain. Add 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can drained no-salt-added whole-kernel white corn, 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, 2 cups salsa and 1 (16-ounce) can rinsed, reduced-sodium kidney beans. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until hot. Garnish with shredded 50 percent light jalapeno cheddar cheese.

Serve with a mixed greens salad and baked tortilla chips. Add pears for dessert.

Plan ahead: Double the chili recipe for Thursday night.

12/ 21

Meatless Wednesday

Skip meat for Asian Vegetables and Noodles With Peanut Sauce (see recipe). Add a lettuce wedge and sesame bread sticks. Make pistachio pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert

12/ 22

Heat-and-Eat Thursday

Enjoy having leftover Chili for dinner. Serve it over brown rice this time. Add coleslaw and cornbread (from a mix). Enjoy tangerines for dessert.

12/ 23

Express Friday

Tonight's Reuben Pierogi Bake will be on the table quickly. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a shallow 10-inch round baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, heat 1 (14.1- to 16.9-ounce) package frozen pierogies (any kind, such as Mrs. T's) in 2 quarts boiling water for 5 minutes or until they float. Drain well and transfer to prepared baking dish. Layer 4 ounces thinly sliced deli corned beef (cut into 2-inch squares) and 1 cup rinsed and drained refrigerated sauerkraut over pierogies; drizzle with 1/3 cup reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing and top with 4 ounces thinly sliced Swiss cheese. Bake 10 minutes or until pierogies are hot and cheese melts.

Serve with pickled beets. Buy a cheesecake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cheesecake for Saturday.

12/ 24

Easy Entertaining Saturday

You'll be busy tonight, so Beef and Smoked Gouda Grits (see recipe) will be perfect. Serve with a romaine salad and whole-grain rolls. Top leftover cheesecake with warm cherry preserves.


Sage and Wild Mushroom Pork Chops (Sunday)

2 teaspoons dried sage

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 center-cut, bone-in pork chops (trimmed, 1 inch thick), about 1 1/4 pounds

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cups thinly sliced fresh mushrooms (such as shiitake or crimini)

1 cup unsalted chicken broth

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a small bowl, mix together sage, ginger and pepper. Rub evenly on both sides of chops. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chops; cook 5 to 6 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Remove from skillet; cover with foil to keep warm. Add mushrooms to skillet; cook and stir 5 minutes. Stir in broth, vinegar, maple syrup, thyme and garlic powder, scraping browned bits from bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 to 10 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Spoon over chops and serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 222 calories (percent calories from fat, 38), 21 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, 1 gram fiber, 9 grams fat (1.9 grams saturated fat), 63 milligrams cholesterol, 79 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Asian Vegetables and Noodles With Peanut Sauce (Wednesday)

7 ounces stir-fry rice noodles (such as Thai Kitchen or another brand)

1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/3 cup unsalted vegetable stock

3 tablespoons dry sherry

2 tablespoons chives

2 tablespoons fish sauce (see Note)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cups coarsely chopped bok choy

1 cup fresh bean sprouts

1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips

Prepare rice noodles as directed on package. Rinse under cold water; drain well. Set aside. Place peanut butter, vegetable stock, sherry, chives, fish sauce, sugar and sesame oil in bowl of food processor; cover. Process until smooth. Set aside. Heat canola oil in large skillet or wok on medium heat. Add bok choy, bean sprouts and bell pepper; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir in peanut butter mixture. Bring to simmer. Add noodles; toss to coat. Spoon noodle mixture into serving bowls and serve. Serves 4.

Note: Fish sauce is made from anchovies. If you cannot eat it, delete it and substitute with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt.

Per serving: 432 calories (percent calories from fat, 38), 9 grams protein, 57 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 18 grams fat (2.8 grams saturated fat), no cholesterol, 708 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Beef and Smoked Gouda Grits (Saturday)

3 1/2 cups water

1 cup quick-cooking grits

1 cup shredded smoked Gouda cheese

2 tablespoons butter, softened

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

6 ounces coarsely chopped portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1 (17-ounce) package refrigerated fully cooked beef tips with gravy

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Boil water in a medium pan. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 5 to 7 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and butter; stir until cheese and butter are completely melted. Remove from heat. Cover; set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add mushrooms and onion. Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until onion is softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in beef tips with gravy; continue cooking 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Divide grits among 4 shallow bowls. Top with beef mixture, garnish with parsley and serve. Serves 6.

Per serving: 370 calories (percent calories from fat, 38), 26 grams protein, 31 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 16 grams fat (7.6 grams saturated fat), 78 milligrams cholesterol, 824 milligrams sodium.