A clip-and-save guide to a week's worth of meals This week's menus

Menu Planner

July 12, 1998|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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

Everyone likes grilled chicken breasts. Pick up some uncooked boneless, skinless breasts from the grocery store and grill them to your taste. Lentil Salad With Watercress (see recipe) makes a delicious accompaniment. It's flavor-packed and fiber-packed as well. Serve with crusty bread. And you'll make everyone smile when you present strawberry shortcake with light whipped topping for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare 6 extra grilled chicken breasts for Monday and Tuesday.

Tip: You'll save fat and calories when you make the shortcake with fat-free pound cake and use light whipped topping.

Monday/Kids

The kids will come running for Chicken Tostadas (see recipe). For dessert, let them make instant fat-free vanilla pudding with sliced bananas. Teach them to make the pudding with skim milk.

Plan ahead: Make extra pudding for Tuesday night.

Tuesday/Salad days

For a light and easy meal, make Asian Chicken Salad (see recipe) with leftover grilled chicken. Hearty appetites might want rice as a side dish. Serve leftover pudding for dessert. Top it with light whipped topping.

Wednesday/Express

We liked Digiorno's Light Alfredo Sauce over fettuccine. The 10-ounce refrigerated container of sauce is about $3.50. Just before serving, stir 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream into the sauce. Limit the sauce to [ cup per serving. Toss sauce with cooked fettuccine and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add a packaged green salad and crusty bread from the bakery for an easy meal.

Thursday/Meatless

You'll think you're on the islands with Greek Vegetable Medley (see recipe). On the side, serve couscous and warm whole-wheat pita bread. For dessert, fresh fruit is as refreshing as a cool island breeze.

Friday/Budget

You'll be popular and save money when you serve Spaghetti With Spinach and Tomatoes (see recipe). Add a green salad and Italian bread.

Saturday/Entertaining

Expect rave reviews when you serve your guests Shrimp and Orzo (see recipe). Accompany the seafood-pasta combo with a salad of Boston lettuce with light vinaigrette. Sprinkle with crumbled Roquefort and toasted walnuts. Add multigrain rolls.

A cool dessert, Apricot Freeze (see recipe) is a lot like sorbet, but easier to prepare.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt

black pepper

reduced-sodium chicken broth

dried lentils

yellow onion

garlic

bay leaf

fresh tomato

red onion

Italian parsley

fresh sage

watercress

crusty bread

fresh strawberries

fat-free pound cake

light whipped topping

Monday

canned stewed tomatoes

canned black beans

jalapeno chili

cumin

flour tortillas

reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

dark-green lettuce

avocado

instant fat-free vanilla pudding

skim milk

bananas

Tuesday

rice vinegar

low-sodium soy sauce

brown sugar

dark sesame oil

hot sauce

romaine or other lettuce

red bell pepper

scallions

dry-roasted peanuts

rice

light whipped topping

Wednesday

DiGiorno's or other light Alfredo sauce

fat-free sour cream

fettuccine pasta

Parmesan cheese

packaged green salad

crusty bread

Thursday

olive oil

onions

garlic

cooking spray

white potatoes

zucchini

red and green bell

peppers

salt

black pepper

fresh plum tomatoes

parsley

dried oregano

couscous

whole-wheat pita

fresh fruit

Friday

spaghetti

olive oil cooking spray

onion

garlic

Italian seasoning

reduced-fat condensed cream of celery soup

black pepper

fresh spinach

plain nonfat yogurt

fresh tomatoes

Parmesan cheese

fresh oregano

salad greens

Italian bread

Saturday

reduced-sodium chicken broth

orzo pasta

frozen green peas

packaged shredded carrots

cooked and peeled shrimp

sun-dried tomato pesto

plum tomato

Parmesan cheese

Boston lettuce

light vinaigrette

crumbled Roquefort cheese

walnuts

multigrain rolls

canned pear halves

apricot preserves

brandy or apricot liqueur

fresh mint

Lentil Salad With Watercress (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

FOR THE DRESSING:

2 tablespoons each: olive oil, balsamic vinegar and water

1/4 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE LENTILS:

3 1/2 cups water

1 can (14 1/2 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup dried lentils

1/2 yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

FOR THE SALAD:

1 large, diced tomato (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed

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