Seven-Day Menu Planner

12/ 27

Family Sunday

Family day is special when you serve CHICKEN CUTLETS WITH DIJON-TARRAGON SAUCE (see recipe). Serve the flavorful recipe over RICE and add FRESH BROCCOLI to the plate with BAGUETTES on the side. For dessert, buy a CHERRY COBBLER and top with fat-free CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough cobbler for Tuesday; save enough ice cream for Friday.

12/ 28

Budget Monday

Keep your budget in line with WINTER-SPICED BEEF AND APPLE STEW (see recipe). Serve with deli COLESLAW and BISCUITS. PLUMS are a light dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough stew for Tuesday.

12/ 29

Heat-and-Eat Tuesday

The leftover STEW just gets better as the flavors blend. Add a ROMAINE SALAD and WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. Top the leftover COBBLER with light whipped cream for dessert.

12/ 30

Meatless Wednesday

CAPRESE AVOCADO “CHEESEBURGERS” are a perfect no-meat dinner. Toast 4 whole-grain halved English muffins. Transfer to a plate, cut-side up. Immediately sprinkle each top half with 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella cheese. On each bottom half, arrange 1/4 avocado slices, 4 fresh basil leaves and thinly sliced red onion (1 medium). Toss 2 cups arugula with 4 teaspoons olive oil and 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar; set aside. Brush rounded side of 4 large portobella mushroom caps with 2 more teaspoons olive oil; sprinkle gill side with coarse salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Cover and cook mushrooms, gill-side up, 3 minutes. Reduce to medium heat; turn, cover and cook mushrooms 3 more minutes or until cooked through. Place gill-side up on bottom muffin halves. Top with sliced tomatoes and the dressed arugula. Add muffin top and serve. (Adapted from “The With or Without Meat Cookbook,” Jackie Newgent; American Diabetes Association, 2014.)

Add deli CARROT SALAD on the side. Buy VANILLA PUDDING and top with STRAWBERRIES for dessert.

12/ 31

Easy Entertaining

Celebrate New Year’s Eve with your best friends and enjoy delicious FLANK STEAK WITH HORSERADISH SAUCE (see recipe). Serve with ROASTED RED POTATOES, CARROTS AND ONIONS (toss with olive oil, coarse salt and pepper to taste and roast on a flat baking sheet covered with nonstick foil, 30 to 35 minutes in a 425-degree oven). Add a BIBB LETTUCE SALAD and DINNER ROLLS. For dessert, check your favorite pastry shop for PEACH MELBA. Happy New Year!

1/ 1

Easy Entertaining Friday

It wouldn’t be a proper New Year’s Day without BLACK-EYED PEAS WITH HAM. Combine 2 ham hocks (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds total) with enough water to cover. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 1 hour.

Meanwhile, rinse and pick over 1 pound dry black-eyed peas; place peas in 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Top with ham hocks, 4 cups of the ham hock water, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, 2 medium onions (cut into thin wedges), 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers (with liquid), and coarse salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low 5 to 7 hours or until peas are soft, but not mushy. (I cooked mine for 5 hours and they were perfect, but it depends on your cooker.) Remove ham hocks and trim the fat. Add meat from hocks back to the stew; mix well.

Serve with COLLARD GREENS and CORNBREAD. For dessert, leftover ICE CREAM is simple.

1/ 2

Express Saturday

Try any frozen SHRIMP ENTREE for an easy meal. Accompany it with any PASTA tossed with pesto, a packaged GREEN SALAD and GARLIC BREAD. Keep dessert simple and enjoy PEARS.


4 (4-ounce) chicken cutlets

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 shallots, peeled and sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine or unsalted chicken broth

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 cup half-and-half

Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper to taste; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add chicken and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until browned, turning once. Transfer chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Add shallots to skillet and cook 2 minutes or just until browned. Add wine or broth; deglaze pan (loosen browned bits on skillet), bring to boil and simmer to reduce liquid by half. Add mustard, tarragon and half-and-half, stirring gently until ingredients are well-mixed. Add chicken and any accumulated juices back to skillet; bring to simmer and cook 5 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 259 calories, 27 grams protein, 14 grams fat (49 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 95 milligrams cholesterol, 311 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

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4 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 1/2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons flour

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted beef broth

3 ounces frozen apple juice concentrate, undiluted

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium firm Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

Heat a small nonstick skillet on medium. Add cumin seeds, stirring constantly; cook for 1 minute or until aromatic. Remove from pan; set aside. Add beef to 4-quart or larger slow cooker; sprinkle with flour. Toss to coat. Add cumin seeds, broth, apple juice concentrate, thyme, allspice, pepper, salt, potatoes and apples. Stir to combine. Cook on low 7 to 8 hours or on high 3 1/2 to 4 hours. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 229 calories, 18 grams protein, 6 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligrams cholesterol, 219 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

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For the steak:

1/4 cup rye or bourbon whiskey (or unsalted beef broth)

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak

1 to 2 tablespoons steak seasoning (such as McCormick Grill Mates or another brand)

For the sauce:

1/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

Place whiskey and soy sauce in a resealable plastic bag. Add steak; seal and refrigerate 24 hours, turning occasionally.

For the sauce: Combine yogurt, horseradish, mustard and garlic. Cover and chill.

When ready to cook, heat grill or broiler on medium. Remove steak from bag and discard marinade. Pat steak dry with paper towels and coat steak with cooking spray. Rub steak with seasoning. Place steak on grill rack or broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Cook 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until internal temperature registers 145 degrees or the desired degree of doneness. Cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 175 calories, 26 grams protein, 6 grams fat (34 percent calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 581 milligrams sodium, no fiber.