Seven-Day Menu Planner


Family Sunday

With a name like Wild Mushroom Beef Stew (see recipe), you won't need any other words to describe the family meal besides "delicious." Serve the beef and vegetable dish with mixed greens and crusty bread. Buy a peach cobbler for dessert and top it with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough stew and cobbler for Monday.


Heat-and-Eat Monday

Use the stew leftovers for Stuffed Baked Potatoes. Spoon some of the heated leftover chopped beef, vegetables and gravy over split baked potatoes. Serve your simple meal with a lettuce wedge and whole-grain rolls. Warm the leftover cobbler for dessert and serve it with vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save some ice cream for Tuesday.


Meatless Tuesday

Try Tomato and Bean Soup Provencal for a delicious no-meat meal. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a Dutch oven on medium; add 2 cloves minced garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 (14.5-ounce) can undrained diced tomatoes with basil, garlic and oregano, 1 1/4 cups water, 1 (14-ounce) can unsalted vegetable broth and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in 1 (16-ounce) can butter beans (rinsed) and heat through. Stir in 1 (5- or 6-ounce) package coarsely chopped baby spinach leaves until wilted. Ladle into shallow bowls; garnish with chopped fresh basil or flatleaf parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Alongside, add egg salad sandwiches on whole-grain toast with lettuce and tomatoes. Leftover ice cream with chocolate sauce is your dessert.


Express Wednesday

Serve Spanish-Style Eggs for a quick meal. Cook 1/2 cup chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper until softened. Add 1 cup chopped tomato and 6 eggs. Stir over low heat until eggs are set. Add hash browns (from frozen), a packaged green salad and toasted whole-wheat English muffins to round out the meal. For dessert, fresh pineapple chunks are perfect.


Kids Thursday

Call the kids for Pita Burgers. Stuff whole-wheat pitas with hot veggie burgers (from frozen, cut to fit), chopped lettuce and tomatoes. Add reduced-fat sour cream and guacamole. Sliced apples make a crunchy dessert.


Budget Friday

Be frugal and serve Pasta With Mushrooms and Peas (see recipe) tonight. Add a Caesar salad and whole-grain bread. For dessert, pears are easy.


Easy Entertaining Saturday

Our guests requested the recipe for Southwestern Fish (see recipe), and yours will, too. Serve the pretty, flavor-packed entree with brown rice, a romaine salad and sourdough bread. Buy a coconut cream pie for dessert.

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Wild Mushroom Beef Stew (Sunday)

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup unsalted beef broth

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/4 cup dry red wine

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 pound baby red potatoes, halved or quartered

8 ounces assorted mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini and oyster, cut into quarters

1 cup baby carrots

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

In a large bowl, combine meat, flour, salt, thyme and pepper; toss to coat. Place in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine broth, tomato paste, wine and garlic; mix well and add to slow cooker. Add potatoes, mushrooms and carrots. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours (or on high 4 to 5 hours) or until the beef and vegetables are tender. Stir well and garnish with parsley before serving. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 251 calories (percent calories from fat, 30), 25 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat), 71 milligrams cholesterol, 335 milligrams sodium.

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Pasta With Mushrooms and Peas (Friday)

12 ounces fettuccine

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 (8-ounce) package sliced mushrooms

2/3 cup half-and-half

1 (10-ounce) package frozen green peas, thawed

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Coarse salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled for garnish

Cook pasta according to directions; return to pot after draining. Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium; add onion and mushrooms and cook 5 minutes or until onion is softened and moisture in mushrooms has evaporated. Add half-and-half and peas. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 3 or 4 minutes or until peas are heated through and sauce is slightly thickened. Stir in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon pasta into a large serving dish; pour sauce over pasta. Garnish with cheese and bacon. Serve immediately. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 379 calories (percent calories from fat, 25), 17 grams protein, 54 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 11 grams fat (4.3 grams saturated fat), 22 milligrams cholesterol, 212 milligrams sodium.

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Southwestern Fish (Sunday)

1 1/2 pounds fish fillets (trout, snapper, tilapia or other mild fish)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 medium onion, chopped

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons chile powder

1 (15-ounce) can reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed

1 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 cup chopped fresh plum tomatoes

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, diced

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Arrange the fish in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Drizzle with lime juice. In a large nonstick skillet, cook the garlic and onion on medium for 5 minutes or until softened. Add green chiles, cumin, chile powder, black beans, corn and tomatoes; cook 5 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Add the cilantro and spoon sauce over fish. Bake, covered, 20 to 25 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork and is opaque throughout. Remove from oven. Garnish with avocado and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 223 calories (percent calories from fat, 30), 18 grams protein, 24 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, 8 grams fat (1.6 grams saturated fat), 66 milligrams cholesterol, 282 milligrams sodium.

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