Seven-day menu planner

SUNDAY (Family)

Bake your own turkey breast today and make or buy gravy to spoon over it. Accompany the juicy bird with mashed potato bake (see recipe). Try chilled asparagus salad with sherry vinaigrette. Fill a bowl with water and ice. Hard-cook 1 egg and mince; set aside. Cut 1 inch from bottoms of 1 pound thin asparagus and peel the lower 2 inches. In a large skillet or saucepan wide enough to hold asparagus, bring 6 cups water to boil; add 1 teaspoon coarse salt. Add asparagus; cook 2 minutes, adjusting heat if necessary. Drain; immediately transfer asparagus to ice bath to chill. Drain well; blot thoroughly with paper towels. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/8 teaspoon honey and 1 tablespoon minced green onion. Whisking constantly, drizzle in 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil until thoroughly combined. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss the asparagus with the vinaigrette and arrange on platter. Chill 30 minutes to allow asparagus to absorb vinaigrette. Garnish with the minced egg. (Adapted from “The Flexitarian Table,” Peter Berley; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2007.) Add dinner rolls. For dessert, buy or make a blueberry cobbler. Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and cobbler for Monday. Save enough turkey, gravy and potatoes for Tuesday.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat)

Use your leftovers for turkey corn chowder (see recipe). Add a spinach salad and crackers. Top the leftover cobbler with light whipped cream for a quick dessert. Plan ahead: Prepare the turkey chowder the day before to allow the flavors to blend.

TUESDAY (Budget)

Save some money and make open-face hot turkey sandwiches (use whole-grain bread) with the leftover turkey and gravy. On the side, heat the leftover potatoes and serve them alongside steamed fresh carrots tossed with a little orange marmalade. For dessert, plums are easy.

WEDNESDAY (Meatless)

You’ll enjoy the light flavor of pasta with lemon cream sauce. Cook 8 ounces rotini pasta according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, melt 1 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 cups fresh asparagus cut into 1-inch pieces, 1 medium chopped zucchini and 2 cloves minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, 6 to 8 minutes or until softened. Remove with slotted spoon and add to pasta. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup whole milk and 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel; boil 2 to 3 minutes to reduce to about 1/3 cup. Pour sauce over pasta; toss to coat. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with mixed greens and garlic bread. For dessert, top brownies with light whipped cream. Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Thursday.

THURSDAY (Express)

Make it quick tonight with meatball and pepper subs. In a large pan, combine 2 cups marinara sauce with 1 (16-ounce) package frozen bell peppers and bring to boil. Add 1 (12-ounce) package refrigerated, fully cooked Italian turkey meatballs. Cover; simmer 3 to 4 minutes to heat through. Spoon into toasted split club (or sandwich) rolls. Serve with deli carrot salad. Serve the leftover brownies for dessert.


Treat the children (and adults) to salsa chicken. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Divide and sprinkle 4 teaspoons reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix on both sides of 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast halves. Place chicken in a 7-by-12-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup mild salsa over chicken. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken registers 165 degrees. Sprinkle chicken with 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese; continue baking 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese melts. Garnish with reduced-fat sour cream. Serve with packaged yellow rice, green beans and fat-free whole-grain flour tortillas. For dessert, toss sliced oranges with a little pure vanilla extract.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

Invite your guests for linguine with sea scallops and grape tomatoes (see recipe). Serve with a bibb lettuce salad and baguettes. What dessert could be better than fresh sliced strawberries over fat-free vanilla ice cream, topped with light whipped cream?