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7-Day Meal Planner: Start week with roast beef and salad

Family Sunday

That terrific aroma coming from the kitchen is roast beef. Serve the juicy entree with packaged long grain and wild rice, fresh broccoli, and walnut, beet and pomegranate seed salad (see recipe). Add whole-grain bread. Buy a coconut cream pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough beef for Monday; save enough pie for Tuesday.

Shopping list: Beef to roast, packaged long grain and wild rice, fresh broccoli, mixed baby greens, microgreens (if desired), beets (fresh, canned or jarred), pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries, walnuts, orange, extra-virgin olive oil, black pepper, garlic, whole-grain bread, coconut cream pie.

Heat and eat Monday

Slice that delicious leftover beef and make a roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwich. Make the sandwiches on whole-grain toast; spread with honey mustard and top with watercress. Serve with baked fries (frozen). Make instant butterscotch pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert.

Shopping list: Swiss cheese, whole-grain bread, honey mustard, watercress, frozen baked fries, instant butterscotch pudding, 1 percent milk.

Express Tuesday

Make a quick meal of scramble wraps. Beat 4 eggs and 4 egg whites. Stir in 1 cup chopped ham and 1 (8-ounce) can rinsed corn. Scramble as usual. Spoon on 4 warm fat-free flour tortillas; roll. Top with salsa. Serve with vegetable soup. Leftover pie is your dessert.

Shopping list: Eggs, ham, canned corn, fat-free flour tortillas, salsa, vegetable soup.

Meatless Wednesday

Prepare pasta with tomato-Gorgonzola sauce (see recipe) for a delicious, no-meat dinner. Serve the pasta dish with a spinach salad with sliced fresh mushrooms. Add garlic bread. Enjoy peanut butter cookies for dessert.

Shopping list: Medium pasta shells, olive oil, onion, crushed red pepper, black pepper, no-salt-added tomato paste, garlic, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes with oregano, onion and garlic (or with Italian seasonings), balsamic vinegar, 1 percent milk, crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, fresh basil, fresh spinach, fresh mushrooms, garlic bread, peanut butter cookies.

Kids Thursday

The kids will love Tex-Mex pizza. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Place 1 (14-ounce) pizza crust on sheet; cover with 3/4 cup drained mild salsa, spreading almost to edge. Sprinkle with 1 cup Mexican cheese blend; slice 3 cooked chicken (or other flavor) sausages (9 ounces total) evenly over top of cheese. Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned and bubbly. Cool slightly before slicing. Add halved cherry tomatoes and dip. Serve peaches for a light dessert.

Shopping list: Cooking spray, pizza crust, mild salsa, Mexican cheese blend, cooked chicken sausage (or another flavor), cherry tomatoes, dip, peaches.

Budget Friday

Meatloaf is a favorite, especially one as good as this. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1 and 1/2 cups crushed cornflakes with 2 tablespoons skim milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons ketchup, 10 ounces 95 percent lean ground beef, 8 ounces lean ground veal, 6 ounces lean ground pork, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 2 egg whites. Shape into a 9-by-5-inch loaf on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Spread top with 1/3 cup ketchup.

Bake 1 hour, or until meat registers 160 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes and cut into 12 slices. Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed fresh zucchini and crusty bread. Fat-free chocolate ice cream is dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Shopping list: Cornflakes, skim milk, ketchup, lean ground beef, lean ground veal and lean ground pork, onion, fresh parsley, Dijon mustard, dried basil, coarse salt, pepper, eggs, cooking spray, potatoes to mash, fresh zucchini, crusty bread, fat-free chocolate ice cream.

Easy entertaining Saturday

Guests will like creamy Cajun shrimp (see recipe). Serve it over linguine. Add asparagus on the side, along with a Boston lettuce salad and Italian bread. Make a black and white parfait by layering fat-free vanilla and leftover chocolate ice creams. Top with strawberry sauce.

Shopping list: Butter, sliced crimini mushrooms, red bell pepper, flour, Cajun seasoning, coarse salt, fat-free half-and-half, fat-free chicken broth, linguine, medium uncooked peeled and deveined shrimp, fresh flatleaf parsley, asparagus, Boston lettuce, Italian bread, fat-free vanilla ice cream, strawberry sauce.

The Recipes

Walnut, beet and pomegranate seed salad (Sunday)

Preparation time: 10 minutes

6 cups packed mixed baby greens

2 cups sliced cooked beets, chilled

(use fresh, canned or jarred)

1 cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries

3 tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

In a large salad bowl or platter, arrange greens. Arrange beets on top and sprinkle with seeds or cranberries and walnuts. In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, oil, pepper and garlic. Right before serving, drizzle dressing over salad. Makes 4 servings. (Adapted from “The Plant-Powered Diet: The Lifelong Eating Plan for Achieving Optimal Health, Beginning Today,” Sharon Palmer; The Experiment, 2012.)

Per serving: 169 calories, 4g protein, 9g fat (44 percent calories from fat), 1g saturated fat, 21g carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 83mg sodium, 6g fiber.

Pasta with Tomato-Gorgonzola sauce (Wednesday)

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: About 15 minutes, plus pasta

12 ounces medium pasta shells

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon no-salt-added tomato paste

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 (14.5-ounce) cans undrained no-salt-added

diced tomatoes with oregano, onion and garlic

(or use diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings, if desired)

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup 1 percent milk

1/3 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook pasta according to directions; drain. Return to pot. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Add onion, crushed red pepper and black pepper; cook 5 minutes, or until onion is softened. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes and vinegar. Bring to boil and cook, uncovered, 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add milk; simmer 1 minute, then stir in cheese, basil and cooked pasta. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings. (Adapted from Cuisine at Home magazine.)

Per serving: 297 calories, 11g protein, 4g fat (12 percent calories from fat), 1.7g saturated fat, 54g carbohydrate, 7mg cholesterol, 120mg sodium, 3g fiber.

Creamy Cajun shrimp (Saturday)

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: About 20 minutes

1 tablespoon butter

8 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms

1 large red bell pepper, halved and cut into 1/4-inch slices

2 teaspoons flour

1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

2/3 cup fat-free half-and-half

1 cup water

1 (14-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth

6 ounces linguine

1 pound medium shrimp (uncooked,

peeled and deveined)

1/4 cup fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped

In a large nonstick skillet, melt butter on medium- high. Add mushrooms and bell pepper to pan; cook 4 minutes or until moisture evaporates. Add flour, seasoning and salt; cook 30 seconds. Stir in half-and-half; cook 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly.

Meanwhile, combine water and broth in a Dutch oven; bring to boil. Break pasta in half; add to pan. Bring mixture to boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes. Add shrimp to pan. Cover and simmer 3 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. Remove Dutch oven from heat and drain. Add pasta mixture and parsley to skillet; toss to mix. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 322 calories, 26g protein, 5g fat (14 percent calories from fat), 2.1g saturated fat, 44g carbohydrate, 151mg cholesterol, 814mg sodium, 2g fiber.

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