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

Menu Planner

September 27, 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

Prepare your own roast chicken for the family. Choose a 4- to 6-pound hen, if possible. Accompany the chicken with Black-Eyed Pea Salad (see recipe). Add sourdough bread. For dessert, top a fat-free pound cake with fresh fruit.

Tip: For best results with the salad, use freshly cooked or canned black-eyed peas; the frozen ones are too mushy.

Plan ahead: Chop 2 cups leftover chicken and save for Monday, along with leftover cake and half the salad.

Monday/Leftovers

Tonight's chicken-pea salad is easy. Combine Sunday's leftover salad with the 2 cups of chopped, cooked chicken; season with salt and pepper. Serve on a bed of red-tip lettuce. Start your meal with canned tomato-basil soup and crackers. Just add leftover cake for an easy finish.

Tuesday/Kids

No problem getting the kids to the table when you serve Taco Soup (see recipe). Serve with baked corn chips. For an easy dessert, sliced pears and cookies fill the bill.

Wednesday/Meatless

Forget about meat with Two-Cheese Veggie Pizza. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl, toss 8 ounces (about 2 1/2 cups) sliced fresh mushrooms, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside. Place a 12-inch prebaked pizza shell on a baking sheet. Top with 2 cups trimmed fresh spinach leaves, 1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese, 3 sliced plum tomatoes and the mushroom mixture. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and another ] cup mozzarella; bake until cheese melts, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with a green salad and fresh orange sections for dessert.

Thursday/Budget

What a delicious way to save money. Angel-Hair Pasta With Tomato Cream Sauce is flavorful and easy (see recipe). Serve with a mixed green salad and Italian bread. Instant fat-free pistachio pudding made with skim milk is a perfect dessert for an easy meal.

Friday/Express

Your family won't believe you didn't spend all day preparing Chicken With Couscous and Spinach (see recipe). But only you need to know how quick this delicious combo is. You only need to work with five ingredients (plus water), and dinner is ready in under 20 minutes. Serve with crusty bread and fat-free %o strawberry ice cream.

Saturday/Entertaining

Take a trip to South America with Grilled Steak and Potatoes With Chimichurri Sauce (see recipe). Accompany the steak with a Boston lettuce salad with toasted walnuts and a light vinaigrette. Fruit sorbet and sugar cookies make a light dessert.

Tip: Chimichurri is a pesto-like mixture of fresh parsley, oil and garlic that originated in South America. Vinegar is added in the recipe given to help tenderize the top round.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

roasting hen

canned or dried black-eyed peas

long-grain rice

red onion

red bell pepper

carrot

canned green chili peppers

fresh parsley

fresh basil

limes

olive oil

garlic

cumin

salt

black pepper

sourdough bread

fat-free pound cake

fresh fruit

Monday

salt

black pepper

red-tip lettuce

canned tomato-basil soup

crackers

Tuesday

ground turkey

salsa

reduced-sodium chicken broth

canned fat-free refried beans

carrots

cumin

chili powder

lettuce

fat-free sour cream

baked corn chips

pears

cookies

Wednesday

fresh mushrooms

Italian seasoning

salt

black pepper

prebaked pizza shell

fresh spinach

reduced-fat shredded mozzarella cheese

plum tomatoes

olive oil

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

oranges

Thursday

angel-hair pasta (capellini)

marinara sauce

frozen petite green peas

fat-free sour cream

salad greens

Italian bread

instant fat-free

pistachio pudding

skim milk

Friday

couscous with Parmesan or other flavor mix

packaged fresh spinach

skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

canned diced tomatoes

feta cheese, tomato-and-basil-flavored or plain

crusty bread

fat-free strawberry

ice cream

Saturday

flat-leaf parsley

olive oil

white vinegar

garlic

salt

beef top-round steak

sweet potatoes

Yukon Gold (or other "yellow") potatoes

Boston lettuce

walnuts

light vinaigrette

fruit sorbet

sugar cookies

Black-Eyed Pea Salad (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Marinating time: 1 hour

3 cups cooked or canned black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained

1 cup cooked long-grain rice (1/3 cup uncooked)

1 red onion, sliced

1/2 medium red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, shredded

1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chili peppers, drained

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and black pepper, to taste

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