Seven-day menu planner

5/29

MEATLESS SUNDAY

Burgers are always welcome around here, and we especially liked these no-meat Black Bean Burgers with Cilantro Lime Aioli (see recipe). Serve on whole-grain hamburger buns, with lettuce and sliced tomatoes. Make or buy potato salad and add coleslaw to go on the side. Pick up some brownies for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough coleslaw and brownies for Monday; save enough potato salad for Tuesday.

5/30

FAMILY MONDAY

Celebrate Memorial Day with family and friends. Everyone will enjoy Quick-Cured Pork Loin with Mustard-Dill Sauce (see recipe). Serve it with leftover coleslaw and your own baked beans. Add crusty bread. For dessert, sliced watermelon goes well with leftover brownies.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork, baked beans and watermelon for Tuesday.

5/31

HEAT AND EAT TUESDAY

Create pork barbecue sandwiches on whole-grain buns with the leftover pork. Slice and heat the pork and top with your favorite barbecue sauce. Alongside, add leftover potato salad and leftover baked beans. There will be plenty of leftover watermelon for dessert.

6/1

BUDGET WEDNESDAY

Grilled Sausage with Tomatoes and Peppers makes a low-cost dinner and a pretty plate. Heat grill or broiler. Thread wedges from 4 ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds) on metal skewers. On other skewers, thread 1 pound Italian sausage (cut into 2-inch pieces) and 1 yellow bell pepper (cut into 8 pieces). Brush each skewer with 1/3 cup balsamic or Italian vinaigrette (discard any leftover vinaigrette). Place skewers on grill or broiler pan. Grill or broil sausage and peppers 7 minutes on each side or until sausage is cooked through. Grill tomato skewers 4 minutes or until hot and the skin is lightly browned in spots. Remove from skewers and serve over a bed of rice.

Add a lettuce wedge on the side and sourdough bread. Try papaya for dessert.

Tip: Strawberry papayas with pink flesh are sweeter than other varieties. Ripen firm papayas at room temperature in a loosely closed plastic bag. Refrigerate ripe fruit in a plastic or paper bag up to three days.

6/2

EXPRESS THURSDAY

Chicken Salad-Stuffed Pitas are easy. Add a chopped apple and chopped fresh dill to taste to 2 cups deli chicken salad. Pile it into lettuce-lined whole-wheat pitas. Serve with baked chips and tomato wedges. Sliced melon (any) is a good dessert.

6/3

KIDS FRIDAY

Make a quick meal of Cheesy Chicken Crunchers. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In one of three shallow bowls, place 3/4 cup flour with 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; in second bowl, whisk together 2 eggs with 1/2 cup 1 percent milk; and in third bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes and 1 cup 50 percent light shredded cheddar cheese. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dip 1 pound chicken tenders first in flour mixture, then in egg mixture. Lastly, roll in cornflakes mixture, coating entire piece of chicken. Place in baking pan. (Discard coating mixtures.) Bake 25 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning.

Continue the crunch with Carrot and Celery Sticks and (any) dip. Mashed potatoes are kid-friendly. Peaches are dessert.

6/4

EASY ENTERTAINING SATURDAY

Broiled Garlic Shrimp makes a good company meal. Coat 1 pound uncooked large peeled and deveined shrimp with garlic-flavored or other cooking spray. Place shrimp in a large resealable plastic bag along with 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs and shake until shrimp are coated. Place them on a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 6 minutes, turning once, or until golden and cooked through.

Serve with lemon wedges and Roasted Tomatoes with Cannellini Beans and Capers (see recipe) and a bibb lettuce salad. Add crusty bread.

For dessert, Island Bananas with Coconut is light. Grate zest from 2 limes; set aside. Toss 4 medium-firm sliced bananas with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Add 1/4 cup salted peanuts and 2 tablespoons honey; mix well. Spoon into dessert dishes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons flaked coconut and lime zest.

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