7-Day Menu Planner for week of July 24

SUNDAY (Family)

Serve colorful pork chops Veracruz (see recipe) for family day along with rice and steamed fresh yellow and zucchini squash. Add baguettes. For dessert, raspberry sherbet is refreshing. Plan ahead: Save enough sherbet for Monday.

MONDAY (Meatless)

Black beans with corn and tomatoes takes advantage of garden-fresh vegetables. In a large bowl, combine 2 (15-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium black beans, 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes, 2 teaspoons chopped parsley, 2 cups cooked (and cooled) fresh corn, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper; mix well. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve with a lettuce wedge with hard-cooked egg slices and sourdough rolls. Leftover sherbet is a smooth dessert.

TUESDAY (Express)

Make these four-ingredient Italian beef sandwiches and have them on the table in 15 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut a 7-inch diameter loaf of focaccia bread in half horizontally. Layer with 4 provolone cheese slices (1/2 ounce each), 1/4 cup giardiniera (from jar), 3/4 pound deli roast beef slices and 4 more cheese slices. Top with other half of bread. Cut sandwich in fourths and place on a nonstick foil-lined baking sheet. Press down on sandwiches with spatula. Bake 10 minutes or until cheese melts and sandwiches are hot. Serve immediately with a spinach salad. Try chocolate mint cookies for dessert.


Keep costs down with Monte Cristo strata. Coat a 12-by-7-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place 4 slices deli ham on bottom. Top with 3 slices Swiss cheese and 4 slices whole-grain sandwich bread. Layer with 4 more slices ham, 3 slices cheese, 4 slices bread and 3 slices cheese. In a bowl, whisk together 4 whole eggs, 1 cup 1 percent milk, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over strata. Cover and chill 2 to 24 hours. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 20 minutes; uncover and bake 25 minutes more or until hot. Broil top to crisp if desired. Serve with peas and carrots (fresh or frozen) and a Caesar salad. For dessert, try plums.


Treat the kids to little turkey “cupcakes.” Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-size (or two 6-size) regular muffin pan with cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine 1 pound ground turkey breast, 2 teaspoons canola oil, 1/2 cup quick-cooking rice and 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed chicken and stars soup. Divide mixture and spoon into the muffin pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Let stand 5 minutes before serving with macaroni and cheese, green beans and whole-grain bread. Enjoy grapes for dessert. Plan ahead: Save some turkey cupcakes for Friday.

FRIDAY (Heat and Eat)

Make turkey tacos tonight. In a pan, heat crumbled leftover turkey cupcakes with a little unsalted chicken broth. Spoon into heated taco shells. Top with shredded lettuce, salsa, reduced-fat sour cream and chopped jalapeno peppers. Serve with canned black-eyed peas. Enjoy nectarines for dessert.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

Invite friends for rotini with halibut and peas (see recipe). Serve with rice and a traditional Israeli salad (see recipe). Add hummus and pita bread. Dessert is baklava.

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:

Pork Chops Veracruz

Yield: makes 4 servings

4 boneless well-trimmed pork chops (about 1 1/4 pounds, 1/2-inch thick)

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 pound fresh tomatoes, chopped

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup thinly sliced pimiento-stuffed green olives (about 20 small)

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Sprinkle pork chops on both sides with salt. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high. Add chops; cook 5 to 8 minutes, turning once, until browned and just cooked through. Remove to a plate; cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add onion and garlic to skillet; cook on medium for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until softened and browned. Add tomatoes, chilies with liquid, cumin and cinnamon. Cook 8 to 10 minutes or until onions are very tender and mixture is saucy. Stir in olives and lime juice. Return chops to skillet; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through.

Per serving: 270 calories, 30 grams protein, 12 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 3.1 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 75 milligrams cholesterol, 668 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Rotini With Halibut And Peas

Yield: makes 6 servings

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

12 ounces halibut, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or other firm white fish)

2 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cups frozen peas, thawed

1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth

12 ounces multigrain rotini pasta

Freshly chopped parsley to garnish

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Add halibut and cook about 3 minutes or until almost cooked through, stirring occasionally. Remove fish with slotted spoon, place in a bowl and set aside. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Return fish to skillet; season with salt and pepper and heat thoroughly. Place fish and tomatoes in a bowl and set aside. Heat remaining olive oil in same skillet over medium. Add onion and cook 3 minutes or until onion is softened. Add peas and vegetable broth to skillet. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes. Process peas and broth mixture in a blender until smooth. Return mixture to skillet and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook rotini according to package directions; drain and return to pot. Add fish mixture to hot rotini and toss. Pour pea sauce on a large platter. Top with fish and rotini mixture. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Per serving: 364 calories, 20 grams protein, 9 grams fat (23 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 51 grams carbohydrate, 28 milligrams cholesterol, 146 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

Traditional Israeli Salad

Yield: makes 6 servings

3 cups chopped tomatoes

3 cups seeded chopped cucumbers

1/4 cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon coarse salt

In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, oil, juice and salt. Toss well to combine, and serve. (Adapted from “Zahav,” Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.)

Per serving: 65 calories, 1 gram protein, 5 grams fat (63 percent calories from fat), 0.7 gram saturated fat, 5 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 327 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.