7-day meal planning: Save money and time

Creating delicious meals for your family every night of the week can be a burden. Cooking nightly is time consuming, often costly, and is sometimes made difficult by picky eaters. However, there are solutions to make homecooked meals easier!

Family in the Kitchen

Plan your meals and organize your grocery list in advance to make food shopping and weekly cooking a breeze. Then cook up these seven meals that are simple, inexpensive, healthy, and will please even the pickiest eaters.

A recipe for every night of the week

Spicy Sausage and Penne

Makes 4 servings

8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 pound sliced Italian sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (26-ounce) jar spicy tomato and basil pasta sauce
1 pound box of whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. Spray a large skillet with nonstick cooking spray and sauté mushrooms over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Drain out extra liquid and add sausage and onion to pan and cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often.

2. Pour in pasta sauce and cook 5 minutes or until heated through. Toss sauce, sausage and mushrooms with cooked pasta. Top with cheese.

Curried Salmon Salad

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
14 ounces skinless, boneless salmon, chopped
1/2 cup red seedless grapes, halved
1/4 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup sliced almonds
4 whole wheat rolls


1. Whisk together mayonnaise, garlic salt, curry powder and ginger. Gently mix in salmon, grapes, celery, and almonds. Serve on a bed of lettuce with whole-wheat rolls.

Greek Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

Makes 4 servings

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 cups frozen cut green beans
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 ounce crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. and, in a large bowl, combine chicken with green beans, tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper.

2. Spoon mixture onto 4 large sheets of aluminum foil. Fold sides up and over to make packages. Bake packages on a baking sheet for 20 to 24 minutes. Open packages and top with feta.

Brown Sugar Beef Steaks

Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup steak sauce
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon lime juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless beef chuck eye steaks, about 1 inch thick
Steamed mixed vegetables

1. Preheat grill to medium. Whisk together steak sauce, brown sugar, limejuice and pepper in a large bowl. Take 2 tablespoons of marinade out of bowl and save for later.

2. Place steaks in marinade and let sit in refrigerator for at least 10 minutes, turning to coat. Take steaks out of bowl, discarding marinade.

3. Place steaks on grill and cook 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness. During the last 2 minutes, brush with saved marinade. Just before serving, sprinkle steaks with salt and serve with steamed vegetables.

Ravioli and Bacon

Makes 4 servings

1 cup low-fat milk
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 (9 ounces each) packages frozen ravioli, cooked according to package directions
2 cup frozen broccoli florets
2 green onions, chopped
4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1. Heat milk, cream cheese, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a large pot over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring often.

2. Place cooked ravioli in pot with broccoli, coating well with cheese mixture. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Add in green onions and bacon. Cook 2 minutes.

Grilled Portobello Sandwiches

Makes 4 servings

1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 large Portobello mushrooms caps
Steak seasoning
8 slices Italian bread
Lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise or other garnishes

1. Preheat grill to medium. In a small bowl, whisk together oil and vinegar. Brush mixture onto both sides of mushrooms. Season with steak seasoning and salt.

2. Grill mushrooms 3 to 4 minutes per side. Brush the rest of the oil mixture onto one side of each piece of bread. Grill bread, oil side down until lightly toasted.

3. Place 1 mushroom cap between 2 slices of bread and garnish with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise or whatever garnishes you like.

Mexican Chile Pie

Makes 4 servings

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
Cooking spray
2 (4 ounces each) cans whole green chile peppers, cut lengthwise, seeds removed, drained
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
4 eggs
1 cup low-fat milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Dash of cayenne pepper
Prepared salsa


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large skillet, sauté onion in butter over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Mix in flour, stirring for 1 minute.

2. Place chiles in a cooking spray coated 9-inch glass pie plate. Top with cheese.

3. Whisk eggs, milk, garlic salt and cayenne together and mix in onions. Pour egg mixture over chiles and cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with salsa.

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