Seven-day menu planner

 Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (Thursday)
Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (Thursday)
7-Day Menu Planner



Canola oil, center-cut pork chops, coarse salt, canned Mexicorn, green or red salsa, fresh cilantro, canned reduced-sodium black beans, avocado, grapefruit, lettuce (for salad), corn muffin mix, baked custard mix.


Canned turkey chili with beans, reduced-fat and reduced-sodium hot dogs (such as Applegate), whole-grain hot dog buns, carrot and celery sticks, any dip, fresh tropical fruit.


Cooking spray, eggs, 1 percent milk, hot pepper sauce, Swiss cheese, dense white bread, Dijon mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pineapple sherbet.


Lean ground beef, onion, saltine cracker crumbs, egg, 1 percent milk, prepared horseradish, coarse salt, pepper, jarred mushroom gravy, potatoes to mash, dill if desired, frozen petite green peas, whole-grain bread.


Turkey, dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes, plain dry bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, butter, Italian seasoning, frozen broccoli florets, frozen cauliflower florets, onion, flour, garlic powder, coarse salt, coarse ground black pepper, 1 percent milk, Neufchatel cream cheese, cranberry sauce (if desired) or pears, sweetened dried cranberries, light brown sugar, cider vinegar, fresh jalapeno pepper, lime, allspice, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie.


Fat-free chicken broth, carrots, celery, no-yolk extra-wide noodles, frozen petite green peas, fresh parsley, salad greens, crackers.


Tomatoes, olive oil, coarse salt, dried oregano, garlic, pepper, couscous, skinless salmon fillets, crusty bread, frozen lemonade concentrate, sugar.

Main dish


Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

1 pound lean ground beef

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup saltine cracker crumbs

1 egg white, slightly beaten

2 tablespoons 1 percent milk

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 (12-ounce) jar mushroom gravy

Combine beef, onion, cracker crumbs, egg white, milk, horseradish, salt and pepper; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 4 oval (1/2-inch-thick) patties. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium until hot. Cook patties 7 to 8 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees; turn once. Remove from skillet and keep warm. Add gravy to skillet; heat through. Serve steaks with gravy. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 266 calories, 24 grams protein, 14 grams fat (47 percent calories from fat), 4.2 grams saturated fat, 10 grams carbohydrate, 72 milligrams cholesterol, 694 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Side dish


Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: less than 50 minutes

1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs

2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

4 tablespoons melted butter, divided

11/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided

1 (16-ounce) packaged frozen broccoli florets, thawed

1 (16-ounce) package frozen cauliflower florets, thawed

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons flour

11/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

11/4 cups 1 percent milk

4 ounces Neufchatel cream cheese, cubed

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan, 2 tablespoons melted butter and 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning in a small bowl. Set aside.

Cut any large broccoli or cauliflower florets into bite-size pieces. Melt the other 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet on medium. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in flour, remaining Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add milk; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Add Neufchatel cheese and remaining 1/4 cup parmesan; cook and stir until Neufchatel cheese is melted. Add vegetables; toss gently to coat. Spoon into a 2-quart shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top evenly with crumb mixture. Bake 40 minutes or until heated through and top is golden. Makes 10 servings.

Per serving: 154 calories, 7 grams protein, 9 grams fat (50 percent calories from fat), 5.3 grams saturated fat, 13 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 262 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Main dish


Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes, plus couscous; standing time: 3 minutes

21/2 cups tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup couscous

1 pound skinless salmon filets, cut into 4 pieces

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine tomatoes, olive oil, salt, oregano, garlic and pepper; let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water; stir in couscous. Cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes; fluff with fork. Divide couscous evenly and place in center of 4 (12-by-18-inch) pieces heavy-duty foil. Top with salmon. Spoon tomatoes and juices over salmon and couscous. Double-fold tops and sides of foil, leaving enough room for heat circulation. Place on baking sheet; bake 15 minutes. Transfer to plates; let stand closed 3 minutes. Open packets away from your face and, with a spatula, gently push contents onto plates. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 255 calories, 27 grams protein, 9 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 1.5 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligrams cholesterol, 575 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Universal UClick

SUNDAY (Family)

Surprise the family with pork chops with corn salsa. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium. Sprinkle 4 center-cut pork chops (3/4-inch thick, visible fat removed) with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt. Add chops and cook, turning once, 6 to 8 minutes or until meat near bone is barely pink or internal temperature is 145 degrees. Remove to platter; tent with foil to keep warm. To skillet, add 1 (11-ounce) can Mexicorn with liquid and 1 cup green or red salsa. Cook 2 or 3 minutes on medium or until hot. Spoon over chops; sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Serve the colorful dish with rinsed reduced-sodium black beans. Alongside, add a sliced avocado and grapefruit salad and corn muffins (from a mix). Baked custard (from a mix) is a smooth dessert.


The kids can help prepare chili dogs tonight. Heat canned turkey chili with beans and reduced-fat, reduced-sodium hot dogs (such as Applegate) in separate pans or use the microwave. Put hot dogs in toasted whole-grain buns and top with chili. Sprinkle a little shredded cheese on the top. On the side, munch on carrot and celery sticks and dip. Fresh tropical fruit finishes the meal.

Canned turkey chili with beans, reduced-fat and reduced-sodium hot dogs (such as Applegate), whole-grain hot dog buns, carrot and celery sticks, any dip, fresh tropical fruit.

TUESDAY (Meatless)

Make Monte Cristo sandwiches for a different cheese sandwich. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, beat 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites, 1/2 cup 1 percent milk and 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce. Put 2 slices Swiss cheese on each of 4 slices of dense white bread. Divide and spread 1 1/2 teaspoons (total) Dijon mustard on 4 more slices bread. Place mustard-side down on cheese. Dip both sides of sandwiches in egg mixture. Place on prepared baking sheet and bake 15 to 18 minutes, turning once, until cheese melts and both sides are browned.

Serve with a lettuce and tomato salad. Pineapple sherbet is good for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Wednesday.


Everyone can have steak on budget night —Salisbury steak (see recipe), that is. Serve with mashed potatoes and flavor them with dill if desired. Add frozen petite green peas and whole-grain bread. Leftover sherbet is dessert.

Lean ground beef, onion, saltine cracker crumbs, egg, 1 percent milk, prepared horseradish, coarse salt, pepper, jarred mushroom gravy, potatoes to mash, dill if desired, frozen petite green peas, whole-grain bread.

THURSDAY (Family/Thanksgiving)

Make your own roast turkey with all the family favorites of dressing, gravy, sweet potatoes and something new for the feast, broccoli cauliflower casserole (see recipe).

If you want something besides cranberry sauce, try spiced cranberry-pear chutney on the side. In a large saucepan, combine 3 large ripe pears cut into 1/2-inch pieces, 1 small chopped onion, 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1 seeded and finely chopped fresh jalapeno pepper, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice and 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir occasionally. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Add dinner rolls. Everyone will want your pumpkin pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and pie for Friday and enough casserole for Saturday. Save the rest of the leftovers for future meals.

FRIDAY (Heat and Eat)

Lighten up and use those leftovers for turkey noodle soup. Combine 3 (14-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth, 1 cup water, 1 cup sliced carrots and 1 cup sliced celery in a large pot. Bring to boil; add 4 ounces no-yolk extra-wide noodles and boil 6 minutes or until noodles are almost tender. Add 1/2 cup frozen petite green peas and boil 1 minute or until noodles and vegetables are tender. Stir in 2 1/2 cups large shreds of cooked (leftover) turkey and 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley; heat through.

Serve the soup with mixed greens and crackers. Slice the leftover pie for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare the lemon ice for Saturday if desired.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

For a change of pace, serve your guests baked salmon with tomatoes and couscous (see recipe). Add the leftover broccoli cauliflower casserole and crusty bread.

Soothe your palate with lemon ice for dessert. In a food processor or blender, process 1 (12-ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate (thawed), 3 cups ice cubes, 1 cup water and 1/3 cup sugar until smooth. Pour mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan and freeze for 45 minutes. Process partially frozen mixture until smooth. Return to pan; freeze 8 hours. Scrape with fork before serving.


Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email:

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