Seven-Day Menu Planner

7/ 26

Family Sunday

Our family is putting PORK MEDALLIONS WITH CINNAMON COUSCOUS AND MANGO CHUTNEY (see recipe) on our favorites list. Serve with STEAMED FRESH ZUCCHINI, a MIXED GREENS SALAD and CRUSTY ROLLS. Buy or make BANANA PUDDING for dessert.

7/ 27

Express Monday

Stop by the deli for the always-popular BARBECUE ROTISSERIE CHICKEN. While you’re there, add deli MACARONI SALAD and COLESLAW to your menu. Make CORNBREAD (from a mix) and slice WATERMELON for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough coleslaw and watermelon for Tuesday.

7/ 28

Meatless Tuesday

Keep it simple tonight and make PINTO BEAN CHILI. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium. Add 1 finely chopped onion; cook 7 minutes or until softened. Add 3 cloves minced garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chili powder and 3/4 teaspoon cumin. Stir in 3 tablespoons tomato paste. Add 3 1/2 cups unsalted vegetable broth, 8 ounces frozen white kernel corn and 1 (8-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato sauce. Stir in 4 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans. Cover; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer about 30 minutes. Stir in a handful of chopped fresh cilantro and serve with grated reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, finely chopped red onion, reduced-fat sour cream and corn chips for garnish. (Adapted from “Meatless in Cowtown,” Laura Samuel Meyn and Anthony Head; Running Press, 2015.)

Serve with leftover COLESLAW and add GUACAMOLE. Leftover WATERMELON is a sweet summer dessert.

7/ 29

Kids Wednesday

Here come the kids for CHICKEN CALZONES. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface, roll 16 ounces of refrigerated pizza dough to form a 9-by-14-inch rectangle (1/4-inch thick). Transfer to baking sheet. Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce, 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 cup cooked shredded carrots and 1 (6-ounce) can drained chicken breast over half the dough. Fold other half of dough over filling. Seal edges by pressing with the tines of a fork. Prick top with fork and coat with cooking spray. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool 5 minutes before cutting.

Add CELERY STICKS to munch on. For dessert, make a SUNSHINE LEMON SMOOTHIE. In a blender, combine 2 cups 1 percent milk, 2 cups reduced-fat lemon yogurt, 1/2 cup ice and 3 tablespoons powdered lemonade mix. Blend until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour and drink.

7/ 30

Budget Thursday

The family was always at the table on time when this MEATLOAF (see recipe) was on the menu. Serve this updated family favorite with BAKED POTATOES and top with reduced-fat SOUR CREAM. We had FRESH GREEN BEANS from the garden, along with my dad’s specialty, homegrown TOMATOES (sliced). For dessert, PEACHES were all we wanted.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough meatloaf and tomatoes and bake extra potatoes for Friday.

7/ 31

Heat-and-Eat Friday

Slice the leftovers for MEATLOAF SANDWICHES on whole-grain bread slathered with low-fat mayonnaise; add a lettuce leaf.

Alongside, CUCUMBER DILL POTATO SALAD is perfect. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream, 1/2 cup seeded and diced cucumber, 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill, 1 teaspoon light brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon white or black pepper. Reserve half of dressing; toss the other half with diced and peeled (leftover) baked potatoes. Add SLICED (leftover) TOMATOES. Fresh PLUMS make a dandy dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save remaining half of the cucumber dill dressing for Saturday.

8/ 1

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Showcase your entertaining skills with your GRILLED SALMON WITH CUCUMBER DILL SAUCE (leftover). Serve the delicious combo with ROASTED RED POTATOES and STEAMED FRESH ASPARAGUS. Add BAGUETTES. For a special treat, slice MILLION-DOLLAR POUND CAKE (see recipe) for dessert and top it with FRESH STRAWBERRIES.

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1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 1/4 teaspoons pepper

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons chili powder

1 pound pork tenderloin, well-trimmed and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

2 1/2 cups water

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon butter

1 1/2 cups couscous

Mango (or peach) chutney for garnish

Combine salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder; rub mixture over all surfaces of medallions. Heat broiler. Broil 6 to 8 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 145 degrees; turn once.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring water, cinnamon and butter to boil; stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Serve medallions with couscous and chutney. Serves 4.

Per serving: 380 calories, 30 grams protein, 5 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 62 milligrams cholesterol, 210 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 3 1/2.

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MEATLOAF (Thursday)


1 medium green bell pepper, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast

2 egg whites

1 whole egg

5 cups bran flakes or cornflakes

2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup, divided

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon coarse salt

Freshly ground black pepper

In a 1-quart measure, combine bell pepper and onions. Cover and microwave on high (100 percent power) 4 to 5 minutes or until softened; drain.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pepper and onions, beef, turkey, egg whites, egg, cereal, 1 can of the soup, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients together (do not over-mix). Place half the mixture on a microwave-safe baking rack or bacon rack and shape into a loaf; coat with half the remaining tomato soup. Cover with wax paper. Microwave on high 9 to 12 minutes. Remove from microwave. Cover loaf with foil and let stand 3 to 4 minutes. Slice and serve. While the first meatloaf is standing, repeat process with the other loaf; wrap and refrigerate. Serves 8.

Per serving: 325 calories, 31 grams protein, 8 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 91 milligrams cholesterol, 803 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2 1/2.

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1 pound butter, softened

3 cups sugar

6 eggs

4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Beat butter on medium 1 to 7 minutes (or until creamy and lighter-yellow color). Gradually add sugar, beating on medium, until a fluffy white. (Times vary according to power of mixer.) Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yolk disappears. Add flour to creamed mixture, alternating with milk; begin and end with flour. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition. (Batter should be smooth and flour should be well incorporated. If batter has lumps, stir gently with a rubber spatula.) Stir in almond extract and vanilla extract.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. (To grease pan: Use butter or vegetable shortening, greasing every part of pan. Sprinkle with a light coating of flour over greased surface.) Bake 1 hour and 40 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. (Adapted from Southern Living magazine.) Makes 16 slices.

Per slice: 499 calories, 6 grams protein, 26 grams fat (45 percent calories from fat), 15.4 grams saturated fat, 62 grams carbohydrate, 132 milligrams cholesterol, 235 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Carb count: 4.

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