Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different aspect of meal planning.
There's a family meal, a kids' menu, a heat-and-eat meal that recycles leftovers, a budget meal that employs a cost-cutting strategy, a meatless or "less meat" dish, an express meal that requires little or no preparation, and an entertaining meal that's quick.
SUNDAY / Family
Start the week with pork tenderloin and a delicious sauce. Accompany with couscous and some fresh broccoli. Add sourdough rolls. For dessert, spoon peaches over fat-free pound cake.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork, couscous, cake and peaches for Monday. Save any leftover broccoli for Tuesday.
Pork Tenderloin With Raspberry Mint Sauce
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes for sauce, 30 minutes for pork plus 5 minutes standing
2 1-pound well-trimmed pork tenderloins
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup raspberry vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed)
Heat oven to 350. Place pork in shallow baking pan; roast 30 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 155. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes or until it reaches 160. Meanwhile, combine the 2/3 cup water, vinegar and sugar in a medium pan. Bring to boil. Add mint and chives. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Strain, reserve liquid. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water and gradually stir into mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Fold in raspberries. Slice tenderloin and serve with sauce.
Per serving: 217 calories, 25 grams protein, 4 grams fat (18 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 19 grams carbohydrate, 67 milligrams cholesterol, 60 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
MONDAY / Heat and Eat
Take it easy tonight and make pork sandwiches on pumpernickel bread. Spread the bread with canned cranberries if you like. Heat and toss the leftover couscous with 1/4 cup drained crushed pineapple. Enjoy cake and peaches for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save leftover pineapple for Thursday.
TUESDAY / Meatless
Make a creamy Cheesy Frittata for a no-meat meal. Serve with fresh cauliflower and add any leftover broccoli. On the side, make a sliced avocado salad. Add whole-wheat rolls. For dessert, scoop fat-free chocolate ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Wednesday.
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes
2 teaspoons margarine or butter
3 cups frozen potatoes O'Brien
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 whole eggs
8 egg whites
1/2 cup 1 percent fat or low-fat cottage cheese
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
Heat broiler. Melt margarine or butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add potatoes, salt and pepper. Cook 4 minutes until lightly browned. Whisk whole eggs, egg whites and cottage cheese until foamy. Pour over potatoes; sprinkle with tomatoes and Cheddar cheese. Cover, cook 8 minutes or until bottom is almost set. Broil until top has set.
Note: Protect skillet handle by wrapping with foil.
Per serving: 304 calories, 24 grams protein, 10 grams fat (30 percent calories from fat),4 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 221 milligrams cholesterol, 742 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
WEDNESDAY / Kids
Kids are always at the table on time for spaghetti and meatballs (frozen) with marinara sauce (store-bought). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Crunch on carrot sticks and add crusty bread.
Slurp a triple chocolate malt for dessert. Blend 4 cups fat-free chocolate ice cream, 1 cup 1 percent chocolate milk and 1/4 cup chocolate-flavored instant malted milk until smooth.
THURSDAY / Express
Turkey Chili Stacks are a quick meal tonight with just a few store-bought ingredients. Serve deli coleslaw on the side. (Mix leftover pineapple with the slaw). Cookies are dessert.
Turkey Chili Stacks
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: less than 5 minutes
4 store-bought corn muffins
2 15-ounce cans low-fat turkey chili with beans
Warm and cut muffins crosswise into thirds. Place bottoms on dinner plates. Heat and spoon half the chili on bottoms, add another muffin layer, then the rest of the chili, ending with the third muffin layer. Serve immediately.
Per serving: 354 calories, 18 grams protein, 8 grams fat (21 percent calories from fat), 3.6 grams saturated fat, 52 grams carbohydrate, 50 milligrams cholesterol, 1,331 milligrams sodium, 7 grams fiber.
FRIDAY / Budget
Chicken Noodle Soup can cure almost everything, including blown budgets. Serve with a spinach salad and multigrain bread. Add plums for dessert.
Chicken Noodle Soup
Makes about 12 cups
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: less than 20 minutes
8 cups fat-free chicken broth
2 cups water
1/2 cup each thinly sliced scallions and finely chopped celery (with leaves)
1 16-ounce package frozen mixed vegetables
3 cups uncooked wide no-yolk noodles
1/2 teaspoon curry powder