Seven-day menu planner

Beef Barley Boup (Tuesday)

4 teaspoons canola oil, divided

3/4 cup finely chopped onion

2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

2 (14-ounce) cans unsalted beef broth

2 cups water

8 ounces baby carrots (about 1 3/4 cups)

8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms

1 cup diced red bell pepper

3/4 cup quick-cooking barley

1 pound beef top sirloin steak, cut 3/4-inch thick; or shoulder top blade steak (flatiron steak)

Coarse salt and pepper

1 cup frozen peas

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 4-quart stockpot or saucepan over medium. Add onion, 1 tablespoon garlic and thyme; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add broth, water, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper and barley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 10 minutes or until barley and vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, cut steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick strips. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon garlic. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add half the beef; stir-fry 3 to 4 minutes for medium-rare to medium. Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil and beef. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Add beef and frozen peas to barley-vegetable mixture; cook, uncovered, 2 minutes or until peas are tender. Serves 4.

Per serving: 360 calories, 32 grams protein, 9 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 38 grams carbohydrate, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 195 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Chickpea Stew (Friday)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 medium red onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 cup water

1 pound medium red potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium chickpeas, rinsed

Coarse salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided

1 medium tomato, cut into 1-inch cubes

Heat oil in a Dutch oven on medium-high; cook cumin seeds 10 seconds. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring, 5 to 8 minutes or until dark brown. Add coriander seeds; cook, stirring, 20 seconds. Stir in water, potatoes, chickpeas, salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon cilantro. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add tomato; increase heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cilantro and serve. Serves 4.

Per serving: 254 calories, 9 grams protein, 5 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.3 gram saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 38 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Magic Peach Cobbler (Saturday)


1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup light corn syrup

5 cups frozen sliced peaches, thawed


1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup 2 percent milk, mixed with 1/8 teaspoon pure lemon extract

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, mix together water, sugar and corn syrup; bring to boil. Add peaches and cook 10 minutes on medium, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let peaches cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix sugar, flour and baking powder. Whisk in milk-lemon blend until most of lumps are gone. Pour the melted butter into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish; tip dish to cover bottom well. Pour topping into dish; spread evenly. Spoon peaches and their syrup on top, in middle of dish. (Don’t mix the two layers together.) Sprinkle cinnamon evenly all over top of cobbler. Bake 45 minutes or until crust is golden. Serve warm. (Adapted from “A Real Southern Cook: In Her Savannah Kitchen,” Dora Charles; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.) Serves 10.

Per serving: 315 calories, 3 grams protein, 5 grams fat (13 percent calories from fat), 2.5 grams saturated fat, 69 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 231 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.



Make family day special with sweet-spicy Roast Pork Tenderloins with Ginger Peach Glaze. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon dried thyme. Rub 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins with seasoning mixture. Roast, uncovered, on a rack 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 145 degrees.

Meanwhile, combine 1 cup peach preserves, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger. Spoon half of mixture on pork the last 10 minutes of cooking. Let pork stand 5 minutes before slicing. Heat remaining preserves mixture and serve with pork.

Add baked sweet potatoes, fresh Brussels sprouts and dinner rolls. Buy a Boston cream pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork, sweet potatoes and pie for Monday.



Slice the leftover pork and make Pork Sandwiches.Spread whole-grain bread with honey-mustard sauce. Top with lettuce and the pork. Cut leftover sweet potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray, and bake in a 425-degree oven 10 to 15 minutes or until hot. Serve with mixed greens. Leftover pie is a quick dessert.



Soup is a money-saver, and Beef Barley Soup (see recipe) is a quick way to see savings. Serve with a spinach salad with orange sectionsand add crackers on the side. lime sherbet is a cool dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Thursday.



he kids will love these Caribbean Chicken Fingers, just like we did. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper; mix well. Coat 1 pound chicken tenders with seasonings. Broil on a pan coated with cooking spray 3 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Serve with oven fries (frozen), peas and carrots (frozen) and bread sticks. For dessert, tropical fruit carries on the island theme.

Plan ahead: Save enough peas and carrots for Thursday.



Make it quick tonight with Tuna Pitas. Combine 2 cups deli tuna salad with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts and a handful of halved seedless grapes. Line whole-wheat pitas with lettuce and fill with tuna mixture. Serve with baked potato chips and leftover peas and carrots. Dessert is leftover sherbet and sugar cookies.

Shopping list: deli tuna salad, walnuts, seedless grapes, whole-wheat pitas, lettuce, baked potato chips, sugar cookies.



Make Chickpea Stew (see recipe) for a hearty quick meal. Serve with rice, a lettuce wedge and flatbread. For dessert, fresh pineapple spears are always welcome.



Relax with your guests as Italian chicken is cooking. Rub 3 pounds bone-in skinless chicken parts (such as legs, breasts, thighs) with 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chicken and cook 2 minutes, browning on all sides. Place chicken, 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, 1 (0.62- to 1.25-ounce) package Italian-style spaghetti sauce mix and 1 cup dry white wine in a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 6 to 7 hours or on high 3 to 4 hours. Add 4 cups sliced zucchini (1/2-inch thick) and 8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms during last hour of cooking. Serve the chicken-vegetable mixture over linguine.

Add mixed greens and focaccia. Magic Peach Cobbler (see recipe) is melt-in-your-mouth delicious. It's especially good topped with fat-free vanilla ice cream.