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

Menu Planner

September 13, 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/Meatless

Take advantage of the summer's abundance with Mexican-Style Stuffed Zucchini (see recipe). Carry on the fresh-from-the garden theme with corn on the cob. Stay cool with crunchy jicama and sliced avocado salad on leaf lettuce. For dessert, make your own peach cobbler or purchase one.

Plan ahead: Save leftover cobbler for Wednesday.

Monday/Family

Treat the family to your own grilled chicken breast halves. Start the meal with cool Gazpacho (see recipe). Make or buy coleslaw and broccoli salad. Add crusty bread. Sara Lee's chocolate-banana layer cake makes a sweet finish.

Plan ahead: Grill two extra chicken breast halves and save leftover cake for Tuesday.

Tip: Discard chicken skin to cut fat and calories.

Tuesday/Heat and Eat

Take advantage of leftover grilled chicken with easy Chicken-Broccoli Divan (see recipe). Serve with quick rice and bread. You must have some leftover cake hidden somewhere!

Tip: Substitute 1 (16-ounce) package frozen broccoli florets for fresh broccoli if desired.

Wednesday/Kids

Introduce the kids to the islands with Jamaican Salsa Burgers on toasted whole-wheat hamburger buns (see recipe). Serve with oven fries. Warmed leftover cobbler with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt is true comfort food.

Plan ahead: Save leftover frozen yogurt for Thursday and Saturday. Buy enough hamburger buns for Friday.

Thursday/Budget

Rice is always a budget-stretcher, and with Spanish Rice no one will know your secret. In a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat, cook 3/4 pound lean ground beef, 1 medium chopped onion and 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper until beef is no longer pink and vegetables are softened, or about 5 minutes. Drain well. Stir in 1 cup long-grain rice, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, 1 cup salsa and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Finish with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt and strawberry sauce.

Plan ahead: Save leftover strawberry sauce for Saturday.

Friday/Express

Dinner will be on the table fast with lemon pepper chicken club sandwiches. Purchase a lemon-pepper rotisserie chicken. Remove drumsticks, wings and thighs and freeze for later use. Slice breast meat and four whole-wheat hamburger buns. Spread buns with honey-mustard sauce. Divide and arrange breast meat (discard skin) and 1/2 pound deli coleslaw on bottom of buns. Top with lettuce leaves and cover with top halves of buns. Secure with a toothpick and cut in half. Accompany the sandwiches with deli red potato salad.

Saturday/Entertaining

Maybe you're not in Rome, but Italian Beef Salad (see recipe) is bursting with Italian character and flavor. Serve with a salad of mixed greens and a light vinaigrette. For dessert, a strawberry sundae is easy when you use leftover fat-free vanilla frozen yogurt and strawberry sauce along with fresh strawberries. Don't forget to top it off with light whipped cream.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

zucchini

long-grain rice

scallions

salt

canned black beans

mild or medium-hot salsa

tomato sauce

cilantro

jalapeno jack or Monterey Jack cheese

corn on the cob

jicama

avocado

leaf lettuce

prepared peach cobbler or ingredients to make one

Monday

uncooked chicken breast halves

red or sweet onion

tomato

cucumber

yellow, red or green bell pepper

tomato juice

red wine vinegar

salt

black pepper

fresh basil

prepared coleslaw and broccoli salad or ingredients to make them

crusty bread

Sara Lee chocolate-banana layer cake

Tuesday

fresh broccoli florets

reduced-fat condensed cream of chicken soup

skim milk

black pepper

shredded, reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

cherry tomatoes

quick rice

bread

Wednesday

frozen vegetable burgers

apricot spreadable fruit

crushed pineapple

Dijon mustard

whole-wheat hamburger buns

red bell pepper

horseradish

frozen oven fries

fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

Thursday

lean ground beef

onion

green bell pepper

long-grain rice

chili powder

salt

pepper

salsa

salad greens

crusty bread

strawberry sauce

Friday

lemon pepper rotisserie chicken

honey-mustard sauce

deli coleslaw

lettuce

deli red potato salad

Saturday

penne pasta

frozen Italian green beans

olive oil

well-trimmed sirloin

onion

garlic

carrot

plum tomatoes

fresh basil

balsamic vinegar

salt

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

light vinaigrette

fresh strawberries

light whipped cream

Mexican-Style Stuffed Zucchini (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 50 minutes

4 (8-ounce) zucchini, halved lengthwise

1/2 cup long-grain rice

4 thinly sliced scallions

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