Seven-day menu planner

03/26/2014 2:35 PM

03/26/2014 2:36 PM

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.

WEDNESDAY (Express)

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.

THURSDAY (Kids)

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.

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