7 Day Menu Planner

Friday’s Mexican Rice and Bean Skillet With Chorizo is not an expensive meal to prepare. Contributed by “Better Homes and Gardens: Skillet Meals,” Jan Miller, editor; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

Friday’s Mexican Rice and Bean Skillet With Chorizo is not an expensive meal to prepare. Contributed by “Better Homes and Gardens: Skillet Meals,” Jan Miller, editor; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.

12/ 11

Family Sunday

Make family day special with your own Roast Chicken with gravy. Add scalloped potatoes on the side, along with broccoli with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a bibb lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls.

You'll understand the name after you taste Strawberries Supreme. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Stir in 1 quart halved fresh strawberries, 1/4 cup no-calorie sweetener (such as Splenda) or 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Cook 1 minute or until mixture is thoroughly heated. Spoon it over vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and ice cream for Monday; buy enough strawberries for Tuesday.

12/ 12

Heat-and-Eat Monday

Curry and soy sauce will turn your leftover chicken into zesty Chicken Rice Curry Casserole (see recipe). Serve with mixed greens and crusty bread. Leftover ice cream works for dessert.

Plan ahead: Toast enough almonds for Saturday.

12/ 13

Kids Tuesday

You'll love the smiles you put on the kids' faces with Funny Face Pizza (see recipe) for dinner. Serve the funky pizza with cherry tomato halves. For dessert, leftover plain strawberries are perfect.

Plan ahead: Soak Wednesday's beans overnight.

12/ 14

Meatless Wednesday

Warm up on a chilly night with Winter White Bean Soup. Soak 8 ounces dry great Northern beans in cold water overnight; drain. Cook 2 chopped carrots and 1 large chopped onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high for 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth, 1 bay leaf, 1/2 cup roasted garlic teriyaki marinade (such as Kikkoman or another brand), the soaked beans and 4 cups water; cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, discard stems and center ribs from 8 ounces mustard greens or kale; cut leaves into 2-inch pieces. Stir greens into soup. Cook, covered, 25 minutes longer or until beans are tender. Discard bay leaf.

Serve with (deli) egg salad sandwiches on whole-grain bread and garnished with lettuce and tomatoes. Peaches are an easy dessert.

12/ 15

Express Thursday

Forget heroes! It's all about Italian Heroines tonight. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add 8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms and 1 cup thinly sliced onion; cook 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often, until onions are lightly browned.

Meanwhile, on a baking sheet, spread cut sides of 4 hoagie or sub rolls with 6 tablespoons pesto sauce. Divide and top with 8 ounces sliced deli turkey and 2 cups deli-style marinated roasted red and yellow bell peppers, followed by the onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes or until cheese melts.

Serve with baked chips. For dessert, enjoy your favorite ice cream bar.

12/ 16

Budget Friday

It's not expensive to make, and Mexican Rice and Bean Skillet With Chorizo (see recipe) is packed with flavor. Serve the easy-to-prepare dish with a spinach salad and cornbread (from a mix). Fresh pineapple spears are good for dessert.

12/ 17

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Serve guests your favorite Grilled Fish. On the side, enjoy wild rice pilaf with cranberries and apples. Rinse and drain 1 1/2 cups wild rice. Bring 3 cups water to boil; add rice. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/2 cup dried cranberries. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar. In a large bowl, combine rice and 2 cored and diced Granny Smith apples. Add the oil mixture and toss. Serve warm or cold. Top with 1/4 cup leftover toasted sliced almonds.

Add a Boston lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls. Buy a blackberry cobbler and top with light whipped cream for dessert.

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Chicken Rice Curry Casserole (Monday)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder

1 cup 1 percent milk

1 1/4 cups water, divided

3 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 cups chopped cooked leftover chicken

1 cup quick-cooking rice

1 (10-ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables

1 small onion, chopped

2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; add curry and cook 1 minute. Add milk and 3/4 cup water; bring to boil.

Meanwhile, blend flour and 1/2 cup water until smooth; gradually stir into curry mixture. Return to boil and cook 1 minute, stirring often, or until thickened. Stir in soy sauce, chicken, rice, vegetables and onion. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake 25 minutes or until bubbly and rice is tender. Just before serving, sprinkle with almonds. Serves 4.

Per serving: 373 calories (percent calories from fat, 26), 29 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (2.1 grams saturated fat), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 400 milligrams sodium.

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Funny Face Pizza (Tuesday)

3/4 pound 95 percent lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 (15-ounce) can seasoned diced tomato sauce for chili

3/4 cup reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

6 whole-wheat pita breads or 1 thin ready-to-bake pizza crust

6 slices 50 percent light cheddar or part-skim mozzarella cheese

Chopped fresh cilantro, reduced-fat sour cream and sliced black olives for garnishes

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef with onion on medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; do not drain. Stir in tomato sauce and beans; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Place pita breads on large baking sheet. Spread beef mixture evenly on breads. Cut any desired shape out of each cheese slice with cookie cutter or knife. Place cheese cut-outs on each pita bread (or pizza crust). Bake 3 to 4 minutes or until beef topping is hot and cheese is melted. Garnish as desired. Serves 6.

Per serving: 353 calories (percent calories from fat, 22), 29 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrate, 7 grams fiber, 9 grams fat (4.4 grams saturated fat), 46 milligrams cholesterol, 1,074 milligrams sodium, .

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Mexican Rice and Bean Skillet With Chorizo (Friday)

12 ounces uncooked Mexican chorizo, casings removed

2 cups frozen corn kernels

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

1 cup quick-cooking rice

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium pinto beans, rinsed

3/4 cup Mexican four-cheese blend

Shredded lettuce for garnish

Chopped fresh tomatoes for garnish

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium; cook chorizo 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove and drain on paper towels. Drain fat from skillet. In same skillet, combine corn, tomatoes, rice, water, chili powder and cumin. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered, 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in beans and chorizo; heat though. Remove from heat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand 2 or 3 minutes or until cheese is slightly melted. Top with lettuce and tomatoes and serve. Serves 6. (Adapted from “Better Homes and Gardens: Skillet Meals,” Jan Miller, editor; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.)

Per serving: 481 calories (percent calories from fat, 49), 24 grams protein, 40 grams carbohydrate, 6 grams fiber, 27 grams fat (10.7 grams saturated fat), 62 milligrams cholesterol, 938 milligrams sodium.