Seven-Day Menu Planner

10/ 27

SUNDAY (Family) — Tickle the family taste buds with CREOLE EYE OF ROUND ROAST. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Shake 3 tablespoons flour in a large (14-by-20-inch) oven bag (such as Reynolds); place bag in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. To bag, add 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced no-salt-added tomatoes with onions and garlic or stewed tomatoes and 3 teaspoons Creole or Cajun seasoning. Squeeze bag to blend in flour. To bag, add 2- to 2 1/2-pound eye of round beef, 2 ribs celery (cut into 1/2-inch slices) and 1 medium red bell pepper (cut into strips). Turn bag to coat beef with sauce. Arrange ingredients in an even layer in bag. Close bag with nylon tie; cut 6 (1/2-inch) slits in top.

Bake 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until meat thermometer reads 145 degrees. Thinly slice beef. Stir sauce; serve with beef. (Note: Don’t overcook; eye of round beef is very lean and will toughen in a heartbeat.)

Serve the savory beef dish with RICE and a ROMAINE SALAD. Add WHOLE-GRAIN ROLLS. For dessert, top ANGEL FOOD CAKE SLICES with fat-free STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough beef and cake for Monday; save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

10/ 28

MONDAY (Heat and Eat) — Bring on the 10-MINUTE CHILI for dinner. In a large pot, combine 2 cups shredded cooked (leftover) beef, 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium pinto beans, 2 cups picante sauce or thick and chunky salsa and 2 teaspoons chili powder. Cook over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until hot. Stir occasionally. Garnish with sliced green onions and reduced-fat sour cream.

Serve with deli COLESLAW and CORNBREAD (from a mix). Finish with leftover CAKE and BLUEBERRIES, topped with light whipped cream.

PLAN AHEAD: Buy enough coleslaw for Wednesday.

TIP: Add as much leftover “tomato sauce” from roast to the chili as desired.

10/ 29

TUESDAY (Budget) — Put TURKEY BURGERS on the low-cost menu for tonight. Mix 12 ounces ground turkey with half packet onion soup mix and form into patties. Grill or pan-fry and serve the burgers on toasted whole-grain buns. Top burgers with LETTUCE, TOMATOES, LOW-FAT MAYONNAISE and MUSTARD. Serve with O'BRIEN POTATOES (frozen). Scoop the leftover ICE CREAM for dessert.

10/ 30

WEDNESDAY (Express) — What could be easier than buying a HAM STEAK and pan-frying it for a quick meal? Serve it with BAKED SWEET POTATOES sprinkled with cinnamon. Add leftover COLESLAW and MULTIGRAIN ROLLS. Serve fresh PINEAPPLE CHUNKS with toasted shredded coconut for dessert.


THURSDAY (Kids) — My mother and I had fun one Halloween dressing up in 100-year-old clothes from the attic for our costumes, and eating DIPPY CHICKEN before our Halloween parade. Now this dish can be enjoyed by everyone again. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat chicken tenders with cooking spray, then cornflake crumbs. Bake 15 minutes, turning once. Make a dipping sauce from 2 parts apricot jam to 1 part mustard.

Serve with OVEN FRIES (frozen) and CELERY STICKS. Add SOFT ROLLS. Don’t be scared of GINGERBREAD SKELETONS (see recipe) for dessert.

PLAN AHEAD: Save enough “skeletons” for Friday.

11/ 1

FRIDAY (Meatless) — Forget meat tonight and make TORTELLINI SOUP (see recipe). Serve the hearty soup with GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES and a MIXED GREEN SALAD. Munch on leftover GINGERBREAD SKELETONS for dessert.

11/ 2

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining) — Invite friends for your own GRILLED TUNA. Serve it with BALSAMIC SAUCE. Combine 1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 4 teaspoons dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in a small pan. Bring to boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Spoon over tuna and top with sliced green onions.

Serve with COUSCOUS, GINGER-SESAME VEGETABLE BLEND (see recipe) and BAGUETTES. For dessert, buy LEMON BISCOTTI from the bakery.

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Makes 18 big cookies

Preparation time: 20 minutes; chilling time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes per batch; cooling time: 30 minutes


1 cup brown sugar, packed

3/4 cup butter or buttery spread (such as Smart Balance)

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 (1-pound) container vanilla creamy ready-to-spread frosting

In large bowl, beat sugar, butter, molasses and egg with electric mixer on medium until well blended. On low speed, beat in flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt and cloves. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; gather into a ball and press into a flat disk. Wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray. On lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with floured 4- to 5-inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. Place gingerbread men 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Reroll dough and cut more cookies.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until no indentation remains when touched in center. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Remove lid and foil from frosting container. Microwave on high 30 seconds in container; stir until smooth. Spoon frosting into resealable plastic bag; seal. Cut a tiny corner of bag. Twist bag around frosting; squeeze to pipe frosting into skeleton design on cookies. (Adapted from the “Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook,” Diane Carlson, senior editor; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.)

NOTE: If you don’t want to bake all the cookies now, divide dough in half; freeze up to 3 months.

Per cookie: 329 calories, 3 grams protein, 12 grams fat (33 percent calories from fat), 5.8 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 31 milligrams cholesterol, 256 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

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Makes about 9 cups

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes


3 (14-ounce) cans vegetable broth

2 (9-ounce) packages refrigerated spinach tortellini

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained

4 green onions, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried basil

Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, for garnish

Bring broth to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add tortellini, tomatoes, onions, garlic and basil. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Ladle into bowls. Garnish with parmesan.

Per cup: 147 calories, 6 grams protein, 4 grams fat (22 percent calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, 13 milligrams cholesterol, 679 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

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Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes


3 cups fresh broccoli florets

2 cups fresh snow peas

1 medium onion, sliced

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon toasted (dark) sesame oil or canola oil

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, combine broccoli, peas, onion and bell pepper. In a medium bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, ginger and red pepper; pour over vegetables and toss to coat. Divide and center vegetables on 2 sheets (18-by-24-inch) heavy-duty foil; pour remaining soy mixture over vegetables. Double-fold tops and ends to allow heat circulation. Bake 10 to 15 minutes on a cookie sheet. Open packets away from your face and serve.

Per serving: 68 calories, 3 grams protein, 3 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 0.4 gram saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 148 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.