Seven-Day Menu Planner

7/ 6

Family Sunday

Surprise the family with BALSAMIC MARINATED FLANK STEAK. In a resealable plastic bag, combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Add 1 (1 1/2-pound) flank steak; turn to coat. Refrigerate 6 hours to overnight. Remove steak; discard marinade. Grill 11 to 21 minutes for medium-rare to medium, turning several times.

Add CORN-ON-THE-COB, TOMATO WEDGES drizzled with olive oil and chopped fresh basil and WHOLE-GRAIN BREAD. For dessert, make a BROWNIE SUNDAE with brownies topped with fat-free vanilla ice cream. Drizzle chocolate syrup over all.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough brownies for Monday.

7/ 7

Meatless Monday

You’ll receive plenty of compliments on your no-meat meal with AVOCADO TORTILLA SOUP. In a large pan, combine 3 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth, 2 (10.75-ounce) cans condensed tomato soup, 1/2 bunch finely chopped cilantro leaves, 3 cloves finely chopped garlic and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil; decrease heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Cool slightly and puree in batches in a blender. Return to pan; add 1 cubed ripe avocado, reserving 8 cubes for garnish. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with reserved avocado and crumbled baked tortilla chips.

Serve the soup with GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES and a LETTUCE WEDGE. Leftover BROWNIES are dessert.

7/ 8

Budget Tuesday

No one will suspect what you’ve done to make EAT-YOUR-VEGETABLES MEATLOAF (see recipe) super-healthful, but pat yourself on the back for making the meatloaf more nutritious. Serve the vegetable-packed loaf with BAKED POTATOES and GREEN BEANS. Add CRUSTY BREAD. For dessert, ORANGE SHERBET is cool and light.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough meatloaf and bake extra potatoes for Wednesday. Save enough sherbet for Thursday.

7/ 9

Heat-and-Eat Wednesday

Yesterday’s meatloaf is today’s MEATLOAF SANDWICHES. Make them on whole-grain bread spread with low-fat mayonnaise and topped with LETTUCE. Cut the leftover potatoes into wedges, coat with cooking spray and bake in a 425-degree oven until hot. Top them with some low-fat sour cream and crumbled bacon, if you like.

Add a SPINACH SALAD. FRESH PEACHES are a good summertime dessert.

7/ 10

Express Thursday

Dinner will be quick with COUSCOUS WITH GRILLED CHICKEN. Prepare any packaged plain couscous mix. Stir in chopped fresh tomatoes, sliced green onions and a light vinaigrette dressing. Spoon onto a platter. Top with refrigerated grilled chicken. Garnish with chopped pistachios or fresh mint leaves.

Serve with sliced CUCUMBERS in plain yogurt. Add FLATBREAD. Leftover SHERBET is dessert.

7/ 11

Kids Friday

Kids of all ages will like MEATBALL STROGANOFF (see recipe). Serve it over no-yolk NOODLES. Munch on CARROT STICKS on the side. Add SOFT ROLLS. Have some fun and introduce the kids to UNIQ fruit. (It looks like a withered grapefruit and tastes like an orange; peel it, divide into sections and eat.)

TIP: If you can’t find uniq fruit, use any fresh fruit.

7/ 12

Easy Entertaining Saturday

Treat your guests to CHICKEN WITH OLIVES AND CAPERS (see recipe). Serve with MASHED POTATOES to catch the juices, along with YELLOW SQUASH. Add SOURDOUGH ROLLS. For dessert, dust purchased MADELEINES with powdered sugar and serve them with sliced FRESH STRAWBERRIES.

THE RECIPES

EAT-YOUR-VEGETABLES MEATLOAF (Tuesday)

Servings: Makes 10 slices

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes; standing time: 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 medium carrots, finely chopped (see NOTE)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large rib celery, finely chopped

1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast

2 eggs

1 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup

Combine carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic. Microwave on high (100 percent power) for 5 minutes; drain. Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, combine beef, turkey, eggs, bread crumbs, milk, Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper, thyme, 1/2 cup ketchup and the microwaved vegetable mixture; mix to combine, but do not over-mix. In a 9-by-13-inch baking pan lined with foil, shape mixture into a 10-by-5-inch loaf. Brush with remaining ketchup. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes; let stand 10 minutes.

NOTE: I used a food processor to chop carrots, onion, celery, bell pepper and garlic.

Per slice: 176 calories, 24 grams protein, 4 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 90 milligrams cholesterol, 473 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 3 lean meat.

** ** **

MEATBALL STROGANOFF (Friday)

Servings: Makes 9 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

INGREDIENTS

MEATBALLS

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

3 cups bran flakes

3/4 cup lower-sodium beef broth

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

SAUCE:

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 cup lower-sodium beef broth

1 tablespoon tomato paste or ketchup

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

In a large bowl, combine beef, bran flakes, broth, egg, green onions, garlic powder and pepper; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 18 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs. Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium and cook meatballs 8 minutes or until no longer pink; turn as necessary. Remove from skillet; keep warm.

Add mushrooms and cook 3 to 5 minutes on medium or until softened. Add broth and tomato paste or ketchup, stirring to remove particles that may have stuck to skillet. Use a fork and stir flour into sour cream; stir mixture into skillet. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Add meatballs and continue cooking on medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes or until meatballs are heated through and sauce has thickened slightly.

Per serving: 185 calories, 20 grams protein, 6 grams fat (30 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 14 grams carbohydrate, 69 milligrams cholesterol, 271 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 2 1/2 lean meat.

** ** **

CHICKEN WITH OLIVES AND CAPERS (Saturday)

Servings: Makes 5 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 10 thighs)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 cup mixed pitted olives

3 tablespoons rinsed capers

Juice of 1 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken, skin-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Scatter lemon wedges, olives and capers on top of chicken. Pour lemon juice and olive oil over chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees. (Adapted from “Sweet Paul Eat and Make,” Paul Lowe; Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.)

Per serving (without skin): 295 calories, 26 grams protein, 20 grams fat (61 percent calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 144 milligrams cholesterol, 623 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1 1/2 fat.

Per serving (with skin): 374 calories, 27 grams protein, 28 grams fat (68 percent calories from fat), 6.3 grams saturated fat, 3 grams carbohydrate, 158 milligrams cholesterol, 631 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Dietary exchanges: 4 lean meat, 3 fat.

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