Seven-day menu planner


Shopping List


Whole roasting chicken, bottled ginger beer, canola oil, coarse salt, pepper, lemon, potatoes, butter, Italian parsley, red-tipped lettuce, whole-grain rolls, pound cake, strawberries.


Butter, packaged sliced mushrooms, garlic, coarse salt, pepper, packaged long-grain and wild rice blend, fat-free chicken broth, reduced-fat sour cream, Italian parsley, lettuce, crusty rolls, peaches.


Deli ham, Swiss cheese, rye bread, frozen potato wedges, packaged green salad, chocolate-mint cookies.


Canola oil, boneless skinless chicken breasts, green bell pepper, onion, paprika, dried oregano, cumin, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, canned reduced-sodium black beans, canned great Northern beans, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, fat-free chicken broth, frozen corn, brown rice, salad greens, biscuits, pears.


Eggs, coarse salt, canola oil, frozen O’Brien potatoes, frozen petite green peas, jar chopped pimientos, salsa, fresh spinach, whole-grain English muffins.


Lean ground beef, canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes, fresh carrots, potatoes, celery, beef bouillon cubes, pepper, dried oregano, frozen green beans, lettuce, bread sticks, store-bought cupcakes.


Coarse salt, tilapia fillets, butter, fresh mushrooms, pepper, dry sherry, fat-free chicken broth, skim milk, cornstarch, couscous, asparagus, baguettes, cheesecake, canned crushed pineapple.

Main dish


Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: about 30 minutes.

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 cup green bell pepper, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can great Northern beans, rinsed

1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with liquid

1 cup fat-free chicken broth

1 cup frozen corn

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chicken, bell pepper and onion; cook and stir 6 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Add paprika, oregano, cumin, garlic powder and cayenne; mix well. Stir in beans, tomatoes, broth and corn. Bring to boil; Reduce heat to low; simmer 20 minutes or until heated through. Makes about 8 cups.

Per cup: 213 calories, 19 grams protein, 4 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 0.5 gram saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 36 milligrams cholesterol, 386 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.

Main dish


Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes.

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, divided

4 (5- or 6-ounce) tilapia fillets

3 teaspoons butter, divided

1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons dry sherry or fat-free chicken broth

2/3 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/4 cup skim milk

1 teaspoon cornstarch

Sprinkle 1/8 teaspoon salt over fillets. Melt 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add fillets and cook 4 minutes on each side or until fish is opaque throughout. Remove fillets from skillet and keep warm. Melt remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons butter in skillet. Add 1/8 teaspoon salt, mushrooms and pepper; cook 4 minutes or until mushrooms are golden. Add sherry or broth and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Whisk together broth, milk and cornstarch. Add mixture to skillet and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook 1 minute. Spoon sauce over fish snd serve. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 202 calories, 33 grams protein, 6 grams fat (25 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 79 milligrams cholesterol, 376 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Main dish


Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: about 35 minutes

3 teaspoons butter, divided

2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 cups packaged long-grain and wild rice blend (or enough to serve 8, according to package)

6 cups fat-free chicken broth (or liquid quantity advised on package)

4 cups cooked (leftover) chopped chicken

2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

Heat 2 teaspoons butter in a large pot on medium. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and pepper; stir and cook 6 minutes or until mushrooms are moist and browning. Add rice blend (discard seasoning packet), stir and cook 2 minutes. Add broth and remaining butter. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low; cover and cook according to rice package directions, or until rice is tender and broth is nearly absorbed. Stir in chicken and sour cream. Cook, uncovered, on low 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until chicken is heated and rice is creamy. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley. Serve and garnish with more chopped parsley. Makes 8 servings.

Pe r serving: 343 calories, 28 grams protein, 8 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 3.5 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 848 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Universal UClick

SUNDAY (Family)

Treat the family to ginger-beer glazed chicken, a roasted chicken that has an old but updated Southern-style sticky-sweet caramelized coating. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove giblets from 1 (5- to 7-pound) whole roasting chicken; place breast-side up in a roasting pan. In a small saucepan, bring one (12-ounce) bottle ginger beer to a boil; continue boiling 10 to 15 minutes or until it is reduced by half. Whisk 1 tablespoon canola oil, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper into reduced ginger brew. Brush half the mixture over chicken. Stuff 1 sliced lemon into cavity. Cover with foil and roast 45 minutes. Remove foil, brush with remaining ginger beer mixture and continue roasting 1 hour 15 minutes uncovered (or until meat thermometer registers 165 degrees in thickest part of thigh), basting with sticky pan juices every 20 minutes. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 10 minutes. Carve, transfer to serving platter and ladle with more pan juices. Serve with Italian parsley buttered potatoes and a red-tipped lettuce salad. Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, sliced pound cake topped with strawberries is easy. Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and cake for Monday.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat)

Take advantage of leftover chicken and make chicken with long-grain and wild rice (see recipe). Serve with a lettuce wedge and crusty rolls. For dessert, top the leftover cake with sliced peaches.

TUESDAY (Express)

Make dinner quick tonight with grilled ham and Swiss cheese sandwiches on rye. Serve with frozen potato wedges and a packaged green salad. Enjoy seasonal chocolate-mint cookies for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Thursday.


Save some bucks with economical chicken chili with black beans and corn. (see recipe). Serve the chili over brown rice. Add a mixed green salad and biscuits. For dessert, pears are low cost.

THURSDAY (Meatless)

Skip meat tonight and enjoy this potato-vegetable frittata. In a medium bowl, beat 6 large eggs and 4 egg whites with 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add 1 (24-ounce) bag frozen O’Brien potatoes, 2 cups frozen petite green peas and 1 (2-ounce) jar drained chopped pimientos. Cover and cook, turning potatoes occasionally, 8 minutes or just until potatoes start to brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. Pour eggs over vegetables, cover and cook 6 to 8 minutes or until eggs have set. Cut into wedges and serve with salsa. Add a spinach salad and toasted whole-grain English muffins. Bring out the leftover cookies for dessert.


Mention the word “hamburger” and the kids will come running for hamburger soup. In a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound lean ground beef 5 minutes on medium or until no longer pink; drain well. Add 4 cups water, 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice, 3 medium sliced carrots, 2 medium diced potatoes, 1/2 cup sliced celery, 4 beef bouillon cubes, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes and vegetables are tender. Add 1 cup frozen green beans. Cover and simmer 15 more minutes or until tender. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad and bread sticks. Buy cupcakes for dessert.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

tilapia with sherry-mushroom sauce (see recipe) will please any guest. On the side, couscous and asparagus work well. add baguettes. Buy a cheesecake for dessert and top with (drained) canned crushed pineapple.

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: Follow Susan on Twitter: @7DayMenu. The Menu Planner is also accessible at Read Susan's blog:

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