Seven-day menu planner starts with Asian barbecue chicken

SUNDAY (Family)

Enjoy Asian barbecue chicken (see recipe) for family day. Serve it with jasmine rice and sugar snap peas. Add a bibb lettuce salad and baguettes.

Top fat-free vanilla ice cream with peach sauce for dessert. Cook 2 sliced, fresh peeled peaches and 1/4 cup orange juice until soft. Mash until chunky; sweeten with sugar to taste. Chill until ready to serve. Spoon over ice cream.

Plan ahead: Prepare enough chicken and save enough ice cream for Monday.


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You can serve leftover chicken along with your own baked beans and coleslaw for a Monday night meal that kids will enjoy. Serve with sliced tomatoes, deviled eggs and whole-grain rolls. Spoon the leftover ice cream over brownies when it’s time for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Thursday.

TUESDAY (Budget)

We never get tired of budget-stretching meatloaf, especially if it’s as tasty as Italian meatloaf with fresh basil and provolone (see recipe). Meatloaf is best with your mashed potatoes. Add a spinach salad with red onion rings and crusty rolls. Fresh plums are great for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough meatloaf for Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY (Heat and Eat)

Dinner will be a breeze tonight because you’re making broiled open-face meatloaf sandwiches on Italian bread. Top with marinara sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan. Broil until bubbly. Add a lettuce wedge. For dessert, what could be better than a nectarine?

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THURSDAY (Meatless)

Use your microwave and some of the bountiful summer bell peppers for chickpea- and couscous-stuffed peppers (see recipe). Add fresh green beans, a mixed greens salad and sourdough bread. Serve the leftover brownies and add some fresh apricots for dessert.

FRIDAY (Express)

Make it fast with fettuccine with broccoli-clam sauce. Cook fettuccine according to directions. Add fresh broccoli florets to boiling pasta water 5 minutes before fettuccine will be done. Drain; toss with heated clam sauce. Add packaged greens and garlic bread. Fresh cherries are dessert.

SATURDAY (Easy Entertaining)

Take it easy and serve your guests grilled strip steaks tonight. Combine 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, 2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 cloves chopped garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; reserve 2 teaspoons mixture for garnish. Press seasoning evenly on 2 (10-ounce, 1-inch thick) boneless strip steaks. Grill 11 to 15 minutes for medium-rare to medium doneness; turn occasionally. Let stand 5 minutes. Carve into slices; sprinkle with remaining seasoning.

Roasted potatoes, a romaine salad and crusty rolls are perfect alongside. Muffin berry shortcakes are a delicious dessert. Toast split blueberry muffins, cut-side down, in a toaster oven or buttered skillet. Cool and top with light whipped cream and sliced fresh strawberries.

Shopping List


Hoisin sauce, honey, reduced-sodium soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, green onions, fresh ginger, cayenne pepper, bone-in skinless chicken thighs, cooking spray, jasmine rice, sugar snap peas, bibb lettuce, baguettes, fat-free vanilla ice cream, fresh peaches, sugar.


Baked beans, coleslaw, tomatoes, deviled eggs, whole-grain rolls, brownies.


Sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil), ketchup, seasoned bread crumbs, onion, fresh basil, provolone cheese, eggs, garlic, 95 percent lean ground beef, cooking spray, potatoes to mash, fresh spinach, red onion, crusty rolls, fresh plums.


Italian bread, marinara sauce, Parmesan, lettuce, nectarines.


Red bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, canned reduced-sodium chickpeas or garbanzo beans, vegetable broth, couscous, reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, fresh mint, hot mango chutney (such as Crosse & Blackwell), fresh green beans, salad greens, sourdough bread, fresh apricots.


Fettuccine, fresh broccoli florets, clam sauce, packaged greens, garlic bread, fresh cherries.


Fresh thyme, fresh oregano, lemon, garlic, pepper, beef boneless strip steaks, potatoes to roast, romaine, crusty rolls, blueberry muffins, light whipped cream, fresh strawberries.

Main dish


Makes 8 servings. Preparation time: less than 15 minutes; marinating time: 1 to 2 hours. Cooking time: less than 30 minutes.

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 tablespoons orange juice

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chopped green onions, plus more for garnish

1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 pounds bone-in, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)

In a medium bowl, mix together hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, orange juice, garlic, green onions, ginger and cayenne pepper. Pour into resealable plastic bag, add chicken, turn to coat, and marinate 1 to 2 hours in refrigerator. Remove chicken. Boil marinade in a small pan for 2 minutes. Arrange thighs on rack of foil-lined broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Place pan on oven shelf on medium position. Broil about 15 minutes; turn and broil about 10 minutes more, basting occasionally with marinade, until thighs are done, taking care not to burn. Garnish with green onions and serve.

Per serving: 183 calories, 23 g protein, 8 g fat (41 percent calories from fat), 2.2 g saturated fat, 3 g carbohydrate, 132 mg cholesterol, 325 mg sodium, no fiber. Carb choices: 0.

Main dish


Makes 12 slices. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 1 hour; standing time: 10 minutes.

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup seasoned bread crumbs

3/4 cup onion, finely chopped

3/4 cup fresh basil, chopped

1/2 cup shredded provolone cheese

2 egg whites

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pound 95 percent lean ground beef

1/3 cup ketchup for topping

Combine water and tomatoes in a bowl; let stand for 30 minutes or until soft. Drain tomatoes; finely chop. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup ketchup, bread crumbs, onion, basil, provolone, egg whites, garlic and beef in a large bowl. Add tomatoes to mixture. Shape meat into a 9-by-5-inch loaf and place on a broiler pan rack coated with cooking spray. (Line broiler pan with foil for easy cleanup.) Spread the 1/3 cup ketchup over loaf. Bake 1 hour or until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Tent with foil; let stand 10 minutes before slicing.

Per slice: 141 calories, 12 g protein, 4 g fat (25 percent calories from fat), 1.7 g saturated fat, 15 g carbohydrate, 24 mg cholesterol, 386 mg sodium, 1 g fiber. Carb choices: 1.

Main dish


Makes 8 pepper halves. Preparation time: 15 minutes. Cooking time: less than 20 minutes.

4 large red bell peppers

4 teaspoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 2/3 cups reduced-sodium chickpeas or garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

2/3 cup couscous

1 cup reduced-fat crumbled feta cheese, divided

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped and divided

1/4 cup hot mango chutney (such as Crosse & Blackwell), divided

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes. Arrange in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high (100 percent power) for 8 minutes; drain. Return peppers to dish; set aside. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pan on medium. Add garlic; cook 2 minutes. Add cumin, turmeric and cinnamon and cook 30 seconds. Stir in chickpeas and broth; bring to boil. Stir in couscous; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in 1/3 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons mint. Divide mixture evenly among pepper halves in dish. Top peppers with remaining cheese, mint and the chutney. If desired, broil in oven for 2 minutes or until browned.

Per pepper half: 230 calories, 11 g protein, 6 g fat (22 percent calories from fat), 1.7 g saturated fat, 34 g carbohydrate, 7 mg cholesterol, 469 mg sodium, 6 g fiber. Carb choices: 2.

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