Seven-day menu planner

Seven-day menu planner


Shopping List


Beef top-sirloin steak, red bell pepper, whole fresh mushrooms, any marinade, brown rice, baby carrots, canned condensed chicken broth, red pepper jelly, whole-grain rolls, deep-dish peach cobbler.


Garlic powder, cumin, dried oregano, olive oil, boneless, skinless chicken breasts, onion, fat-free chicken broth, canned chopped green chiles, bay leaf, canned reduced-sodium cannellini beans, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, green onions, jicama, celery, cornbread mix, pears.


Baking potatoes, fresh cilantro if desired, fresh zucchini, whole-grain bread.


Oranges, fresh baby spinach, fresh chives, garlic, fresh ginger, extra-virgin olive oil, rice vinegar, any steak or deli roast beef, deli soup, crusty rolls, fat-free chocolate ice cream.


Saltine crackers, pecans, coarse salt, paprika, eggs, chicken breast tenders, cooking spray, honey-mustard dip, frozen hash-browned potatoes, green beans, soft rolls, strawberry sauce.


Canned no-salt-added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, canned no-salt-added vegetable broth, fresh mushrooms, rice, small pasta shells (such as ditalini), green bell pepper, Italian seasoning, shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese, slivered almonds, romaine, garlic bread, peaches.


Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, coarse salt, pepper, paprika, olive oil, butter, canned water-packed artichokes, green onions, fat-free chicken broth, dry sherry, cornstarch, fresh rosemary, couscous, fresh spinach, cheesecake, light whipped cream.

Main dish


Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: less than 30 minutes.

11/2 teaspoons garlic powder

11/2 teaspoons cumin

3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 to 11/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth

1 (41/2-ounce) can chopped green chiles

1 bay leaf

2 (15-ounce) cans reduced-sodium cannellini beans, rinsed

Shredded Monterey Jack cheese and sliced green onions for garnish

Combine garlic powder, cumin and oregano in a small dish and blend; set aside. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add chicken and onion; cook 4 to 5 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned, stirring often. Stir in chicken broth, chiles, mixed spices and bay leaf. Simmer on low heat 15 minutes. Stir in beans and simmer 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and serve. Top with shredded Monterey Jack cheese and green onion for garnish. Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 341 calories, 34 grams protein, 8 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 826 milligrams sodium, 12 grams fiber. Dietary exchanges: 2 starch, 4 lean meat.

Main dish


Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: less than 1 hour.

1 (141/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano

1 (14-ounce) can no-salt-added vegetable broth

2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced

1 cup rice, cooked

3/4 cup small pasta shells (such as ditalini)

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

3/4 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese

1/3 cup toasted slivered almonds

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine tomatoes, broth, mushrooms, rice, pasta, bell pepper and Italian seasoning in a 2-quart casserole dish. Cover and bake 45 to 50 minutes or until pasta is tender and all liquid is absorbed, stirring once during baking. Stir in cheese and almonds before serving. Serves 6.

Per serving: 273 calories, 14 grams protein, 9 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 2.7 grams saturated fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, 11 milligrams cholesterol, 154 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber. Dietary exchanges: 2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean meat, 1/2 fat.

Main dish


Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: less than 15 minutes.

6 (5- to 6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 to 21/2 pounds)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 (141/2-ounce) can water-packed artichokes, drained and cut into quarters

2 green onions, chopped

2/3 cup fat-free chicken broth

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 tablespoon cornstarch

11/2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and paprika. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high; add chicken and cook 5 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Remove chicken; set aside. Melt butter in same skillet over medium heat. Add artichokes and green onions; cook 1 minute. Mix together broth, sherry, cornstarch and rosemary; add to artichoke mixture. Return chicken to skillet. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until sauce thickens. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 218 calories, 31 grams protein, 7 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 2.1 grams saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, 96 milligrams cholesterol, 558 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber. Dietary exchanges: 1 vegetable, 4 lean meat.

Universal UClick

SUNDAY (Family)

Make red pepper beef kebabs for family day. Cut 11/2 pounds beef top-sirloin steak into 1-inch cubes. Cut 1 large red bell pepper into 1-inch pieces. Marinate beef, peppers and 8 large, stemless, whole fresh mushrooms in any marinade, tossing to coat. Alternately thread beef, peppers and mushrooms on each of 4 (12-inch) metal skewers. Heat broiler. Place skewers on rack in broiler pan 3 to 4 inches from heat. Broil 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness, turning occasionally. Serve the colorful kebabs with brown rice. On the side, cook 2 pounds baby carrots in 1 (101/2-ounce) can condensed, undiluted chicken broth until fork-tender. Stir in 1 (101/2-ounce) jar of red pepper jelly, and you have pepper jelly-glazed carrots. Add whole-grain rolls. For dessert, serve a deep-dish peach cobbler. Plan ahead: Save enough peach cobbler for Tuesday.

MONDAY (Budget)

We’re crazy about chili, so we loved this easy Santa Fe white chili (see recipe). On the side, you can munch on jicama and celery sticks. Add cornbread (from a mix). Pears are a simple dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough chili for Tuesday.

TUESDAY (Heat and Eat)

Make dinner easy tonight with chili spuds. Bake potatoes (6 to 8 ounces each) and slash the tops; spoon hot (leftover) chili over them. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if you like. Add steamed fresh zucchini along with whole-grain bread. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert.


Make it quick tonight with beef, orange and spinach salad. In a large bowl, gently mix segments from 3 oranges, 8 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves, 1/4 cup fresh chives, 3 cloves minced garlic, 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger, 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil and 1 tablespoon rice vinegar. Divide among 4 serving plates. Top with 1 pound any grilled and thinly sliced steak or deli sliced roast beef. (Adapted from Cooking With an Asian Accent, Ying Compestine; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014.) Add deli soup along with crusty rolls. End the meal with a scoop of fat-free chocolate ice cream. Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday and enough soup for Friday.


Make the kids happy with chicken fingers with honey-mustard dip. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together 16 finely crushed saltine crackers, 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 2 teaspoons paprika. Whisk 2 egg whites until frothy; one at a time, dip 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast tenders into egg white and then into cracker mixture. Coat chicken on both sides with cooking spray; place on rack coated with cooking spray on a broiler pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken fingers are golden brown; turn once. Serve with honey-mustard dip. Add hash-browned potatoes (frozen), green beans and soft rolls on the side. For dessert, top leftover ice cream with strawberry sauce. Plan ahead: Cook rice for Friday's risotto. Save enough strawberry sauce for Saturday.

FRIDAY (Meatless)

Start your meal with leftover soup and follow it with this delicious version of baked risotto (see recipe) that’s easy to prepare. Serve with a romaine salad and garlic bread. For dessert, enjoy peaches.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

We recommend serving rosemary chicken with artichokes (see recipe) to your guests and adding it to your favorites file. Serve with couscous and a spinach salad. Buy a cheesecake for dessert and top it with leftover strawberry sauce and light whipped cream.

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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