Aug 06, 2023


A week's worth of quick, healthful meals for budget-minded families

SUNDAY: Prepare your own boneless leg of lamb for family day. Serve with Baked Dijon Potato Wedges: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 medium red potatoes into wedges. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon garlic powder; mix well. Add potatoes to bowl; toss to coat. Spread potatoes in a single layer on baking sheet covered with nonstick foil. Bake 15 minutes; turn potatoes. Bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until tender. Add fresh green beans, a spinach salad and sourdough bread. Fresh strawberries topped with whipped cream is dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough lamb, green beans and strawberries for Monday.

MONDAY: Lamb, Green Beans and Gnocchi makes good use of leftovers. Cook gnocchi according to package directions; drain and set aside. In same pot, heat a little canola oil. Add minced garlic to taste and cook until golden. Add chopped leftover cooked lamb, leftover green beans and gnocchi; toss to coat and heat through. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Leftover strawberries sprinkled with chia seeds are your dessert.

TUESDAY: Skip meat for Tex-Mex Layered Bean Salad: In a 3 ½-cup straight-sided salad bowl, layer salad as follows: 1 large red or yellow bell pepper (seeded and chopped), 1 cup chopped red onion, 1 (16-ounce) bag salad mix (iceberg lettuce, carrots and cabbage, or make your own mixture), 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese, 2 (15-ounce) cans three-bean salad (drained). Set aside. Mix together ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup sour cream and 2 tablespoons finely chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Spread mayonnaise mixture over top of salad. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 8 hours. Just before serving, sprinkle with ½ cup crumbled tortilla chips and 1 small sliced avocado. Toss and serve. Add crusty rolls. Fresh nectarines are always a welcome dessert.

WEDNESDAY: Turn an ordinary deli roast chicken into Rotisserie Chicken With Apricot Glaze: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small pan on medium-high; add 2 thinly sliced shallots and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in ½ cup apricot preserves, 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon hot sauce and ¼ teaspoon Creole seasoning. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes or until heated. Brush glaze over 1 (2- to 4-pound) deli roast chicken. Place chicken on rack of nonstick foil-lined roasting pan. Bake 15 minutes. Serve with potatoes o'brien (from frozen), a packaged green salad and biscuits. Enjoy fresh tropical fruit for dessert.

THURSDAY: Economical meals are always welcome at our table, and Slow-Cooker Pork Posole (see recipe) is packed with flavor and easy on the budget. Serve it with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. Fresh blueberries topped with light whipped cream are good for dessert.

FRIDAY: No kid will be able to resist Soft and Crunchy Tacos (see recipe). Serve them with corn-on-the-cob. How about fresh peaches for dessert, sprinkled with toasted coconut?

SATURDAY: Serve your guests Warm Greek Shrimp Salad (see recipe) for a summertime treat. Add couscous. Start the meal with your gazpacho. For dessert, pair chocolate wafer cookies with fresh raspberries.


Slow-Cooker Pork Posole

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

Sprinkle pork with 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high until just smoking. Add half of pork and cook 7 minutes or until browned on all sides. Transfer all pork (browned and uncooked) to 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Add onion and remaining salt to now-empty skillet; cook over medium heat about 5 minutes or until softened and browned. Stir in garlic, chile powder and oregano; cook 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer onion mixture to slow cooker. Stir in hominy, broth and tomatoes with juice. Cover and cook until pork is tender, 6 to 7 hours on high or 7 to 8 hours on low. Skim fat. Season with coarse salt and pepper to taste; serve. (Adapted from "The Healthy Back Kitchen," Griffin R. Baum, M.D., America's Test Kitchen)

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving (prepared with reduced-sodium hominy, reduced-sodium chicken broth and no-salt added tomatoes) contains approximately 332 calories, 25 g protein, 9 g fat, 41 g carbohydrate, 66 mg cholesterol, 1,378 mg sodium and 7 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2 ½


Soft and Crunchy Tacos

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Put taco shells on a baking sheet; spread tortillas on another baking sheet. Sprinkle each tortilla with 1 tablespoon cheese; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium and add beef; cook 5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Stir in taco seasoning and ¾ cup water (or the amount listed on seasoning packet). Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, put baking sheets in oven; bake 3 minutes or until cheese melts.

Center a taco shell in each flour tortilla and bring up sides of tortillas. Fill tacos with beef mixture, lettuce, remaining cheese and taco sauce. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 tacos.

Nutrition information: Each taco (prepared with whole-wheat flour tortillas, reduced-fat cheese and reduced sodium taco seasoning) contains approximately 287 calories, 16 g protein, 9 g fat, 32 g carbohydrate, 36 mg cholesterol, 780 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: 2


Warm Greek Shrimp Salad

Place spinach in a large salad bowl; set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Add onion and pepper; cook 4 minutes or until softened. Add shrimp and ¼ cup dressing. Cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are just opaque. Remove from heat. Stir in olives, remaining salad dressing, lemon juice and lemon zest. Immediately pour over spinach; toss to coat and slightly wilt spinach. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information: Each serving contains approximately 216 calories, 25 g protein, 10 g fat, 10 g carbohydrate, 183 mg cholesterol, 698 mg sodium and 2 g fiber.

Carbohydrate choices: ½

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and registered dietitian. She can be reached by email: [email protected]

Print Headline: 7-Day Menu Planner

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SUNDAY:MONDAY: TUESDAY:WEDNESDAY:THURSDAY: FRIDAY:SATURDAY:THE RECIPESSlow-Cooker Pork Posole2 ½ pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch piecesCoarse salt and ground black pepper1 tablespoon canola oil1 medium onion, chopped5 cloves garlic, minced1 ½ tablespoons chile powder1 teaspoon dried oregano3 (15-ounce) cans white or yellow hominy, rinsed3 cups chicken brothSoft and Crunchy Tacos8 taco shells8 fajita-size flour tortillas1 cup shredded cheddar cheese1 pound lean ground beef1 (1.25-ounce) packet taco seasoning1 cup shredded romaine1 cup taco sauceWarm Greek Shrimp Salad1 (8- to 10-ounce) package baby spinach leaves1 small red onion, chopped1 medium red bell pepper, chopped1 pound large uncooked shrimp, peeled and deveined½ cup Greek oil-and-vinegar dressing (or another vinaigrette), divided use1/3 cup halved kalamata olives1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice2 teaspoons lemon zest (yellow part only)Crumbled feta cheese for garnish[email protected]