Seven-day menu planner

SUNDAY (Family)

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate family day than with baked chicken and rice with mushrooms (see recipe). Serve the family-pleaser with roasted green beans with basil. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss 1 pound trimmed green beans and 8 unpeeled garlic cloves (ends trimmed) with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Arrange on a rimmed baking pan in a single layer on one side of the pan. Add 1 small, halved onion (sliced into thin, half-moon slices) on the other side of the pan. Drizzle onion with another tablespoon oil. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon coarse salt over all. Roast 20 minutes or until browned and tender. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins into a large bowl; mash. Add green beans, onion and 1/4 cup sliced basil leaves; toss well. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice; toss and serve. (Adapted from “Carla’s Comfort Foods,” Carla Hall; Atria Books, 2014.) Add sourdough bread. For dessert, treat the family to sour cream pound cake (see recipe) with fresh strawberries. Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and rice for Monday; save enough cake for Monday and Wednesday.

MONDAY (Heat and Eat)

Take a break and heat the leftover chicken and rice for dinner. Serve it with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. Leftover cake is good for dessert.


If I were a kid, I’d like my mom to make potato hot dog soup. In a large pan, combine 2 cups peeled and diced potatoes, 1 (14-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth, 1 cup water and 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme; mix well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups frozen corn; bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender. In small bowl, combine 1 cup skim milk and 1/3 cup flour; blend until smooth. To pan, add milk mixture and 4 hot dogs, cut into 1/2-inch slices (see tip). Cook and stir over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture boils and thickens slightly. Crunch on baby carrots and add crackers on the side. For dessert, nutty nana treats are just right. Combine 2 cups chocolate pudding with 1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter and 1 1/2 cups fat-free frozen whipped topping (thawed). Spoon into 6 dessert dishes, layering with some sliced bananas, peanuts and more whipped topping. Tip: Look for lowest-sodium, lowest-fat hot dogs. I buy Applegate.


You won’t mind saving money when the result is as delicious as this summer frittata (see recipe). Serve the eggs-and-vegetable combo with hash-browned potatoes (frozen) and deli coleslaw. add toasted english muffins. Serve leftover cake with fresh pineapple for dessert.

THURSDAY (Meatless)

Tortellini with vegetables and pesto couldn’t be easier for a no-meat dinner. Combine frozen cheese tortellini (thawed), frozen Italian-style vegetables and sliced fresh mushrooms in a large nonstick skillet with a little water or vegetable broth. Cover and simmer until hot, then stir in pesto. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Halve kiwifruit and eat it with a spoon for dessert.

FRIDAY (Express)

Have a hurry-up dinner and serve tuna wraps. Combine 1 cup deli tuna salad with 7 cups shredded lettuce (about 1/2 medium head lettuce). Divide mixture and spoon down center of 4 (8- to 9-inch) fat-free flour tortillas. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons shredded 50 percent reduced-fat cheddar cheese on the sides of the tuna mixture. Heat a large nonstick skillet. Cook each tortilla about 2 minutes or until underside is golden-brown and cheese melts. Fold in on three sides, wrap in wax paper and a napkin and serve. Add baked potato chips and broccoli salad from the deli. Enjoy fudge bars (such as Healthy Choice or another brand) for dessert.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

Serve your guests broiled lamb chops with rosemary. Brush chops with a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic and chopped fresh rosemary before broiling. Serve with new potato gratin. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Slice 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Layer half the potatoes in dish. Combine 2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle half of mixture over potatoes. Layer remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle remaining spice mixture over all. Top with 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese. Slowly pour 1 cup half-and-half (fat-free or low-fat) over potatoes. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until potatoes are soft and top is browned. Add a cucumber, grape tomato and feta cheese salad (slice the cucumbers, halve the tomatoes and toss with reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese and a little vinaigrette), along with baguettes. For dessert, peach sorbet and butter cookies are easy.