SUNDAY: Family Day
Mom will be so proud of you when you give her baked eggs with spinach: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8 x 8 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine two (10 ounce) packages of frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry) and 8 ounces of low-fat cream cheese until thoroughly mixed. Distribute evenly in the bowl. Using a serving spoon, make 6 indentations in the spinach mixture. Break an egg into each well. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan and 1/2 cup panko crumbs. Scatter everything on top, making sure the eggs are covered. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired level. Serve each egg with the spinach mixture. Complete the meal with Canadian bacon, fresh strawberries and toasted whole wheat English muffins.
TIP: Buy mom some pretty flowers.
SHOPPING LIST: cooking spray, frozen chopped spinach, low-fat cream cheese, eggs, parmesan cheese, panko crumbs, Canadian bacon, fresh strawberries, whole English muffins.
MONDAY: Kid’s favorite
Treat the kids to crispy chicken bites. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine 1/3 cup low-fat buttermilk or other milk, 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In a separate shallow container, place 1 1/2 cups of shredded unsweetened whole grain cereal. Cut 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and dip them in the milk mixture (drain excess water) and then in the granola. Place the chicken on a foil-lined rimmed baking pan. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden.
Serve with honey mustard dip. Add oven fries (from the freezer), green beans, and celery sticks. Some chunky applesauce for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: Low-fat buttermilk or other milk, coarse salt, pepper, unsweetened whole grain cereal, boneless skinless chicken breast, honey mustard dip, frozen oven french fries, green beans, celery sticks, chunky applesauce.
TUESDAY: Cheap food
It’s budget-friendly and flavor-friendly, so the braised steak with peppers and onions (see recipe) was a hit at our house. Serve over brown rice. Add coleslaw and whole wheat rolls to complete the meal. Fresh pineapple sticks are good for dessert.
PLAN AHEAD: Save enough beef and peppers for Thursday.
SHOPPING LIST: Onions, red peppers, canned tomatoes with no added salt or regular fire-roasted diced tomatoes, chili powder, cinnamon, coarse salt, black pepper, top round or flank steak, fresh cilantro, brown rice, coleslaw, whole seed buns, fresh pineapple sticks.
WEDNESDAY: Meatless meal
Skip meat for chipotle chayote potatoes (see recipe). Serve with steamed carrots, a spinach salad, and whole wheat tortillas. Fresh blueberries call for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: Light buttery spread, onions, canned reduced-sodium black beans, frozen corn, fresh chayote or zucchini, baked potatoes, plain yogurt, garlic powder, coarse salt, pepper, shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, chipotle or other salsa, avocado, carrots , fresh spinach, whole wheat flour tortillas, fresh blueberries.
THURSDAY: Warm up and eat
There’s nothing shabby about steak tacos for a quick meal. Shred the leftover beef and heat it up along with the peppers and sauce. Spoon into taco shells and garnish with shredded romaine, reduced-fat sour cream, and chopped cilantro. Add reduced-sodium pinto beans on the side. Make flan (from the mix) for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: Taco shells, romaine, reduced-fat sour cream, fresh cilantro, reduced-sodium pinto beans, flan mix.
FRIDAY: Express cooking
Pasta with Pesto, Tuna and Roasted Peppers is almost ready! Toss any drained cooked pasta with some pesto, water-stuffed canned tuna (drained and flaked), and some chopped roasted red peppers (from the jar). Serve with freshly grated parmesan, a tossed green salad and garlic bread. Try plums for dessert.
SHOPPING LIST: any pasta, pesto, canned albacore tuna packed in water, jarred roasted red peppers, Parmesan cheese, mixed leafy greens, garlic bread, prunes.
SATURDAY: Slightly entertaining
Entertain good friends with creamy parmesan shrimp (see recipe). Add a Boston lettuce salad and a baguette. For dessert, buy a coconut cream cake.
SHOPPING LIST: unsalted butter, shrimp, coarse salt, garlic, whipped cream, parmesan cheese, pepper, parsley, Boston salad, baguette, coconut cream cake.
Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered nutritionist. She can be reached by email: [email protected] Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The menu planner is also accessible at 7daymenuplanner.com. Read Susan’s blog: makingthemenu.com. And check out Susan’s book! “7 Day Meal Planner For Dummies” is on store shelves now. Order today at Amazon.com!
BRAZED STEAK WITH PEPPERS AND ONIONS (Tuesday)
Servings: Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 7 to 8 hours on low
1 onion, cut into 10 wedges
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 (14-ounce) cans of no added salt or regular diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
2 teaspoons chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 pounds top round or flank steak, cut into 6 pieces (see NOTE)
Chopped fresh coriander for garnish
In a 5-quart or larger slow cooker, combine onion, paprika, tomatoes, chili powder, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper; mix well. Place the beef between the vegetables and cover. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Remove the beef and shred if desired; Back to the slow cooker. Mix well. Sprinkle with coriander when serving.
NOTE: I used Top Round Steak because it was less expensive.
Per serving: 184 calories, 27 grams protein, 3 grams fat (16% calories from fat), 1.2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 57 milligrams cholesterol, 268 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
Carb count: 0.5.
TWICE BAKED CHIPOTLE CHAYOTE POTATOES (Wednesday)
Servings: Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: approx. 25 minutes, plus potatoes
2 teaspoons light butter flavored spread
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup canned reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh chayote or zucchini
4 (5- to 6-ounce) baked potatoes
1/2 cup non-fat plain yogurt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Mexican cheese
1/3 cup chipotle or other salsa
Avocado slices for garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the spread in a medium non-stick pan. Add onion, beans, corn and chayote. Cook for 10 minutes or until onion is soft. Meanwhile, pierce potatoes and microwave on high (100% power) for 6 minutes per pound. Remove from the microwave, wrap in a terry towel and leave to rest for 3 minutes. Remove from towel; let cool slightly. Halve lengthways; Gently scoop out the mashed potatoes, leaving a 1/4-inch peel. Mashed potatoes; Stir in cooked vegetables, yogurt, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cheese and salsa. Place potato skins on a rimmed baking sheet. Spoon the potato mixture into bowls. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Garnish with avocado and serve.
Per serving: 232 calories, 10 grams protein, 5 grams fat (18% calories from fat), 2.2 grams saturated fat, 39 grams carbohydrate, 9 milligrams cholesterol, 428 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.
Carb count: 2.5.
CREAMY PARMESAN SHRIMP (Saturday)
Servings: Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 5 minutes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish
In a large skillet, melt butter on medium-high. Season shrimp with salt; Add pan. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until the shrimp are opaque. Place shrimp on a plate and cover. Put the garlic in the pan. Boil 30 seconds. Add cream. Bring to a boil. Cook for about 1 minute. Put the shrimp back into the pan. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately. (Adapted from “Scrumptious,” Christy Denney, Shadow Mountain Publishing.)
Per serving: 309 calories, 25 grams protein, 21 grams fat (62% calories from fat), 12.2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 254 milligrams cholesterol, 779 milligrams sodium, no fiber.
Carbohydrate count: 0.