7 day menu planner

A quick and healthy meal for the week for families on a budget.

SUNDAY: Try this BBQ Braised Brisket for a family day out. Mix together 2 tablespoons chili powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder. Squeeze the mixture onto a flat half of a 3 lb. boneless beef brisket. Place fat side up in a 4 ½ to 5 ½ liter slow cooker. Combine ¾ cup barbecue sauce and ½ cup dry red wine. Pour the brisket into the stove. Cook at high temperature for 4 to 6 hours or at low temperature for 8 to 10 hours or until the meat is tender. Delete; get warm. Remove fat from liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes or until reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally. Trim fat as desired. Cut diagonally across the grain into thin slices. Serve with sauce. Garnish with potato salad, mixed greens, and whole grain buns. Buy a chocolate meringue pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Set aside enough beef for Monday and enough pie for Tuesday.

MONDAY: Celebrate Memorial Day with leftover beef brisket sandwiches on the menu. Serve them on whole grain buns with pickled cucumbers. Add veggie baked beans and coleslaw to your holiday table. How about a blondie and peach sorbet for dessert?

Plan ahead: Set aside enough brownies for Wednesday.

TUESDAY: Pasta with Tomato Basil Sauce (see recipe) is so easy and so good you’ll want this recipe in your favorites file. Serve with spinach salad and Italian bread. The leftover pie slice is perfect for dessert.

WEDNESDAY: The kids will love you serving Turnovers pizza for dinner. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out 1 can (13.8 oz) chilled pizza crust dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square. Cut the dough into four 6-inch squares. Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce on each square so that the edges are within ½ inch. Top with grated carrots, pepperoni slices and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Fold each square in half on top of the filling. Press the edges to seal. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Serve warm. For dessert, peach slices and leftover blondies are all you need.

THURSDAY: It’s good for your wallet and tastes good at the same time, so try the sausage and pea penne (see recipe) tonight. Serve with a slice of lettuce and garlic bread. For dessert, fresh pineapple is a delight.

FRIDAY: Make a quick dinner with crab cakes (frozen) and tartar sauce today. Add toasted potatoes (chilled), broccoli salad and crispy bread. Enjoy fresh blueberries for dessert.

SATURDAY: Treat your guests to a delicious balsamic-glazed pork tenderloin with lentils (see recipe). Serve combo with fresh yellow pumpkin, arugula salad and baguettes. For dessert, top strawberry ice cream with chocolate sauce.


Pasta with tomato-basil sauce

  • 1 (9 oz) pack of chilled fettuccine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, drained
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup torn basil leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmigianino-Reggiano cheese

Boil pasta according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and salt; cover and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from fire; stir in basil and pepper. Add tomato mixture to pasta; stir to combine. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional information: Each serving contains approximately 305 calories, 11 g protein, 11 g fat, 43 g carbohydrates, 9 mg cholesterol, 427 mg sodium, and 3 g fiber.

Choice of carbs: 3

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Penne with sausage and peas

  • 12 ounces whole grain penne pasta
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 5 oz chicken sausage with sundried tomatoes or other flavor, cut diagonally
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound seeded and chopped tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen small green peas, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Boil the pasta according to package instructions. drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sausage; cook 3 minutes, turning, until browned. Put the sausage on a plate with a slotted spoon. Reduce heat to medium; add garlic. Cook 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and salt; cook 2 minutes. Add broth, peas and fried sausages. heating through. Combine pasta, sausage mixture and 1 tablespoon cheese. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information: Each serving contains approximately 289 calories, 13 g protein, 6 g fat, 49 g carbohydrates, 22 mg cholesterol, 346 mg sodium, and 9 g fiber.

Choice of carbs: 3

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Pork tenderloin in balsamic glaze with lentils

  • 1 cup green lentils, washed
  • 1 red apple, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 (1 ¼ lb) pork tenderloin

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil; add the lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, 20 to 30 minutes or until soft; drain and rinse under cold water to cool. In a medium bowl, mix lentils with apple, celery, parsley, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons oil, salt and pepper.

While the lentils are cooking, combine the vinegar and sugar in a small bowl. Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork and cook 6 to 8 minutes until browned. Send to the oven; fry for 10 to 12 minutes or until pork is 145 degrees. Drizzle twice with the vinegar and sugar mixture during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from oven; cover with foil and let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve with lentils and any drip from the pan.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutritional Information: Each serving contains approximately 465 calories, 45g protein, 13g fat, 44g carbohydrates, 92mg cholesterol, 208mg sodium, and 8g fiber.

Choice of carbs: 3

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be contacted by email: [email protected]

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