Sunday’s Pomegranate Roasted Leg of Lamb goes well with brussels sprouts and crusty bread. Contributed by American Lamb Board
Photo: 7-Day Menu Planner
Photo: 7-Day Menu Planner

7 Day Menu Planner

12/ 4

Family Sunday

Family day is a perfect time to splurge and serve Pomegranate Roasted Leg of Lamb (see recipe). The lamb goes well with orzo tossed with toasted pine nuts. Serve with brussels sprouts and crusty rolls. For dessert, serve strawberry ice cream in pretty dessert dishes.

Plan ahead: Save enough lamb for Monday; save some ice cream for Thursday.

12/ 5

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Take advantage of the leftover lamb and prepare Pitas for dinner. Spread pita bread with hummus or plain yogurt and layer with lettuce and thin slices of lamb and tomatoes. Serve with deli tabbouleh. For dessert, apricots go well.

12/ 6

Budget Tuesday

Pay tribute to the colors of the Mexican flag with Colorful Mexican Chili (see recipe). It’s a blend of vegetables, beans and chicken you’ll enjoy with a lettuce wedge and cornbread (from a mix). Pears are your dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough chili for Wednesday.

12/ 7

Kids Wednesday

Make Chili Tacos for the kids tonight. Heat the leftover chili and spoon it into taco shells. Top with reduced-fat sour cream. Add some crunch with baby carrots on the side. The kids can prepare instant chocolate pudding with 1 percent milk. Teach them to swirl strawberry jam through the pudding for extra-good flavor.

12/ 8

Express Thursday

Make a great meal with one of the new McCormick Oven Bake Sauces (or try another brand and flavor). Our favorite was Italian Parmesan Chicken. You’ll need 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts or thighs, 3 cups zucchini (cut into 1-inch cubes), 1 cup grape tomatoes and the sauce. Serve the chicken with quick-cooking rice, a packaged green salad and whole-grain rolls. Scoop leftover ice cream for dessert.

Tip: If you use bone-in chicken, use 2 1/2 pounds.

12/ 9

Meatless Friday

Whether you call them Ranch Eggs or Huevos Rancheros, you can serve the flavorful dish morning or evening. Heat 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas in two batches in 1 tablespoon hot canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high for 2 minutes on each side or just until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Arrange tortillas in an even layer on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Break 4 eggs in 1 tablespoon hot canola oil in the same skillet and cook 2 minutes on each side or to desired doneness. Place 1 egg in center of each tortilla; top each egg evenly with 2 tablespoons shredded Monterey Jack cheese with jalapeno peppers. Broil 5 inches from heat 1 minute or until cheese melts. Sprinkle evenly with chopped fresh cilantro. Top with salsa.

Serve with hash-browned potatoes (frozen). Buy a coconut cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Saturday.

12/ 10

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Almost any guest would like Broiled Ginger-Glazed Pork Chops (see recipe). Serve with sweet carrots with rice. Combine 1 1/2 pounds baby carrots and 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted chicken broth in a skillet on medium-high. Bring to a boil; cook, stirring often, 12 to 15 minutes or until carrots are softened and broth is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Stir in 1/3 cup apricot preserves, 2 tablespoons less-sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until mixture thickens and carrots are glazed. Serve over the rice.

Add a spinach salad and sourdough bread. Leftover coconut cake is your dessert.

** ** **

Pomegranate Roasted Leg of Lamb (Sunday)

1/2 cup pomegranate juice

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coarse grated onion

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon pepper

4 to 4 1/2 pounds lamb leg, boned, rolled and tied

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together pomegranate juice, vinegar, garlic, onion, olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Place lamb on roasting rack in roasting pan; spoon marinade over lamb. Roast 20 minutes per pound or until internal temperature of lamb registers 145 to 160 degrees, basting with marinade every 15 minutes. Remove from oven; cover and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serves 12.

Per serving: 191 calories (percent calories from fat, 39), 28 grams protein, 1 gram carbohydrate, no fiber, 8 grams fat (2.7 grams saturated fat), 87 milligrams cholesterol, 227 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Colorful Mexican Chili (Tuesday)

2 seeded and chopped jalapeno peppers

1 medium chopped white onion

5 cloves minced garlic

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium great northern beans, rinsed

1 cup unsalted chicken broth

12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 chopped Roma tomatoes

1 cup shredded 50 percent light pepper jack cheese

Fresh chopped cilantro

Add jalapeno peppers, onion, garlic, beans and broth to a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Place chicken on top of bean mixture and sprinkle basil and cayenne over the chicken and mixture. Cover and cook on low 6 hours. Fifteen minutes before serving, remove the chicken and shred with 2 forks. Add the shredded chicken, tomatoes and pepper jack cheese to cooker, stirring until well-blended. Cover and let cook on low 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted. Spoon chili into individual serving bowls and garnish each serving with cilantro. Serves 6.

Per serving: 234 calories (percent calories from fat, 18), 25 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 5 grams fat (2.3 grams saturated fat), 46 milligrams cholesterol, 343 milligrams sodium.

** ** **

Broiled Ginger-Glazed Pork Chops (Saturday)

6 1/2-inch-thick bone-in pork chops (about 2 1/2 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/3 cup apricot preserves

3 minced cloves garlic

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon less-sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

Place chops on a rack coated with cooking spray on a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Combine preserves, garlic, water, soy sauce and ginger; spread over chops. Broil 6 inches from heat for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 425 degrees; move baking sheet to middle of oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 155 degrees. Remove from oven; cover and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Per serving: 228 calories (percent calories from fat, 29), 27 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrate, no fiber, grams fat (2.1 grams saturated fat), 83 milligrams cholesterol, 312 milligrams sodium.

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