A guide to preparing a week's worth of meals

Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of meal planning. There's a family meal, a kids' menu aimed at younger tastes, a heat-and-eat meal that recycles leftovers, a budget meal that employs a cost-cutting strategy, a meatless or "less meat" dish for people who may not be strict vegetarians but are trying to cut down on meat, an express meal that requires little or no preparation, and an entertaining menu that's quick.

SUNDAY / Family


You can plan ahead and serve Slow Cooker Rosemary Chicken and you'll have more time with the family. Serve the complete meal with a spinach salad and lots of crusty bread.

Make or buy bread pudding for dessert.


Plan ahead: Save enough bread pudding for Monday.

Slow Cooker Rosemary Chicken

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 3 1/2 to 9 hours

6 medium halved red potatoes

3 medium sliced carrots

2 medium onions cut into wedges


1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 to 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

1 3- to 3 1/2 pound whole chicken

1/2 cup fat-free chicken broth

Into a 4- or 5-quart slow cooker, put potatoes, carrots, onions, salt and pepper and mix well. Tuck rosemary sprigs under breast skin of chicken. Place in cooker. Pour chicken broth over top. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours or on high 3 1/2 to 5 hours. (If you cook on high, use 1 cup broth.). Remove to a large serving platter. Discard skin.


Per serving (without chicken skin): 445 calories, 44 grams protein, 10 grams fat (18 percent calories from fat), 2.6 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 108 milligrams cholesterol, 788 milligrams sodium, 8 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Meatless

We're crazy about these Black Bean Enchiladas and you will be, too. Serve them with rice.

Make a Sunshine Salad by tossing orange sections with salad greens.

Warm the leftover bread pudding for dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook enough rice for Tuesday.


Black Bean Enchiladas

Makes 8 enchiladas

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 18 to 24 minutes

2 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce, divided

1 teaspoon vegetable oil


1 medium sliced onion separated into rings

1 small sliced red bell pepper

1/2 of 1 canned jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped (see note)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 15-ounce can rinsed and drained black beans

8 6-inch corn tortillas


1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese, divided

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spoon 2 / 3 cup enchilada sauce into bottom of 8- by 12-inch baking dish. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeno pepper and garlic; cook and stir 3 or 4 minutes or until onion is softened. In medium bowl, combine onion mixture and beans; mix well. Spoon about 2 tablespoons bean mixture down center of each tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon cheese and roll. Place, seam side down, over enchilada sauce in baking dish. Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over filled enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Note: Removing the seeds will make the pepper less hot. Wear rubber gloves to handle the pepper and be careful not to touch your face.

Per enchilada: 195 calories, 9 grams protein, 6 grams fat (27 percent calories from fat), 1.9 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 8 milligrams cholesterol, 508 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.


My mother knew a thing or two about stretching the food budget, so Stuffed Peppers were on the menu often; they still are at our house. Serve with baked potatoes and a lettuce wedge salad. Add whole-wheat rolls. Oatmeal cookies and pears are an easy dessert.


Plan ahead: Bake 2 extra potatoes and save enough cookies for Wednesday.

Stuffed Peppers

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 50 minutes

4 green bell peppers


1/2 pound each lean ground beef and ground turkey breast

1/2 large chopped onion

1 cup cooked (leftover) rice

3 tablespoons ketchup, divided

1 teaspoon dried oregano, divided

1/2 teaspoon each salt and black pepper


1 14 1/2 -ounce can Italian-style chopped tomatoes

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut peppers in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Cover and microwave peppers cut side down 4 minutes on high (100 percent power); drain and turn cut side up. Meanwhile, in medium bowl combine beef, turkey, onion, rice, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, salt and black pepper; mix well. Divide and spoon into pepper halves. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, remaining ketchup and remaining oregano; mix well. Spoon over peppers. Cover dish tightly with foil. Bake 35 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake 10 more minutes or until meat is no longer pink. Place on platter and spoon juices over peppers.

Per serving: 299 calories, 29 grams protein, 6 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 31 grams carbohydrate, 59 milligrams cholesterol, 685 milligrams sodium, 5 grams fiber.

WEDNESDAY / Heat & Eat

Corn and Potato Chowder is great for these cold winter nights. Microwave 1 medium chopped onion 4 minutes on high (100 percent power); drain. In a large saucepan, combine 1 15-ounce can cream-style corn, the cooked onion, 2 cubed cooked (leftover) potatoes, 2 / 3 cup water and 4 teaspoons chicken-flavor instant bouillon and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and add 3 cups 1 percent milk and 1 tablespoon margarine or butter. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup 1 percent milk and 1 / 4 cup flour until smooth. Add to chowder; cook and stir 5 minutes until bubbly and thickened. Serve with a deli carrot salad and multigrain rolls.

If you have time to make dessert, watch your Valentine swoon over this Cherry Chocolate Heart.


Cherry Chocolate Heart

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: about 20 minutes

Cooking time: crusts

1 15-ounce package refrigerated pie crusts with 2 9-inch crusts

2 teaspoons flour, divided


6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese

3 / 4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 / 3 cup fat-free hot fudge topping

1 21-ounce can no-sugar-added cherry pie filling


Allow both crust pouches to stand at room temperature 15 to 20 minutes. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Remove one crust from pouch, unfold. Press out fold lines and repair any tears. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon flour over crust. Turn crust, floured side down, on ungreased cookie sheet. Make a heart-shaped pattern using a piece of paper 10 1/2 inches high by 10 inches wide. Using the paper pattern as a guide, cut crust into heart shape. (Discard excess dough, or cut it into shapes, spread with butter, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake.) Generously prick heart crust with fork. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Let cool. Repeat with remaining crust. In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer on medium 3 or 4 minutes or until smooth. Add cream, beat until thickened.

To assemble: place one pie crust on serving platter; spread with 1/3 cup hot fudge topping. Carefully spread half the cream cheese mixture over topping. Spoon , of the pie filling over cream cheese. Spread second crust with remaining hot fudge and place over filling. Carefully spread with remaining cream cheese mixture. Spoon remaining pie filling about 1 inch from edge, following the shape of heart. Serve immediately and get ready for a big hug.

Per serving: 327 calories, 4 grams protein, 14 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 7.5 grams saturated fat, 45 grams carbohydrate, 25 milligrams cholesterol, 267 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.


Call the kids for Turkey Trot Spaghetti. Cook 8 ounces spaghetti (break into 3 pieces) according to directions, but without salt or oil. In a large nonstick skillet, cook 1 pound ground turkey 5 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Stir in 2 14 1/2 -ounce cans fat-free chicken broth, 1 6-ounce can tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and dried oregano and 1 / 4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, add cooked spaghetti, reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes, stirring, or until heated through. Serve with Celery Boats. Cut ribs of celery in 2-inch pieces and stuff with reduced-fat pimento cheese. Add bread sticks. Serve chunky applesauce and gingersnaps for dessert.

FRIDAY / Express


Not-Your-Mother's Beef Pot Pie speaks for itself. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spoon 1 40-ounce can beef stew into a 9-inch pie plate. Place 1 refrigerated pie crust (from a 15-ounce package) over stew. Press crust edges to pie plate and flute. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese. Cut 3 or 4 slits in crust to vent. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until crust is golden and stew is thoroughly heated. Serve with a packaged green salad. Lime sherbet is an easy dessert.

SATURDAY / Easy Entertaining

Entertain in style with Pork Tenderloin With Raspberry Sauce Supreme. Serve with baked potatoes and crusty rolls. For dessert, make hot fudge sundaes and spoon heated fat-free hot fudge sauce over fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Pork Tenderloin with Raspberry Sauce Supreme

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes


Cooking time: about 10 minutes

1 pound pork tenderloin cut into 8 crosswise pieces

cayenne pepper to taste

2 teaspoons margarine or butter

6 tablespoons red raspberry preserves

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1 tablespoon ketchup

1/2 teaspoon each prepared horseradish and soy sauce

1 clove minced garlic

2 kiwi, peeled and thinly sliced

fresh raspberries (optional)

Press each pork tenderloin slice into 1-inch thickness. Lightly sprinkle both sides of each slice with cayenne pepper. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, melt margarine or butter. Add pork slices, cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine preserves, vinegar, ketchup, horseradish, soy sauce and garlic and simmer over low heat about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Keep warm. Place cooked pork slices on warm serving platter. Spoon sauce over each pork slice; top with a slice of kiwi. Garnish serving platter with remaining kiwi and optional raspberries.


Per serving: 257 calories, 24 grams protein, 6 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 1.7 grams saturated fat, 27 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 180 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

Shopping List

What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)


red potatoes






fresh rosemary

whole chicken

fat-free chicken broth


fresh spinach

crusty bread

ingredients for or store-bought bread pudding


enchilada sauce

vegetable oil



red bell pepper

jalapeno pepper


canned black beans

corn tortillas


reduced-fat Mexican blend cheese


orange sections

salad greens


green bell peppers


lean ground beef

ground turkey breast



dried oregano



black pepper

canned Italian-style chopped tomatoes

potatoes to bake


whole-wheat rolls

oatmeal cookies





canned cream-style corn

chicken-flavor instant bouillon

1 percent milk


margarine or butter


deli carrot salad

multigrain rolls

refrigerated pie crusts

reduced-fat cream cheese


powdered sugar

pure almond extract

heavy cream

fat-free hot fudge topping

canned no-sugar-added cherry pie filling




ground turkey

fat-free chicken broth

tomato paste


dried oregano




reduced-fat pimento cheese

bread sticks

chunky applesauce




canned beef stew

refrigerated pie crust

Parmesan cheese

packaged green salad

lime sherbet



pork tenderloin

cayenne pepper

margarine or butter

red raspberry preserves

red wine vinegar



prepared horseradish

soy sauce



fresh raspberries (optional)


crusty rolls

potatoes to bake

fat-free hot fudge sauce

fat-free vanilla ice cream

Susan Nicholson is an Atlanta-based cookbook author and regis- tered dietitian. She can be reached by e-mail: menuplanner@