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

Menu Planner

November 01, 1998|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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

This week's menus

Main course: Roast chicken is presented with Sesame Spinach and Baked Rice and Pecan Casserole.

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 meal that recycles leftovers, a budget meal, 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 a quick menu for entertaining.

Sunday/Family

Prepare a 4- or 5-pound roast chicken for the family. Serve with Baked Rice and Pecan Casserole (see recipe). Sesame spinach is a flavorful side dish. Remove tough stems and wash 1 pound fresh spinach; pat dry with paper towels. Coat a Dutch oven with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Add spinach; cover and cook until it wilts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Complete meal with sourdough rolls.

Plan ahead: Save half the rice casserole for Monday and 1 1/2 cups chopped chicken for Tuesday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Make Stuffed Peppers with Sunday's leftover rice. Remove 1/2 inch from tops of 4 medium red (or other) bell peppers; core and rinse. Place cut side down in an 8-by-11-inch baking dish with 2 tablespoons water. Cover and cook in the microwave on high (100 percent power) 2 to 4 minutes or until tender crisp; drain. Stuff peppers with rice-pecan mixture, cover, and cook on medium (50 percent power) 10 to 15 minutes or until peppers are tender and filling is hot. Let stand, covered, 3 minutes. Serve with steamed fresh broccoli spears and biscuits. Make Fruit and Cream Parfaits for dessert (see recipe).

Plan ahead: Save half the parfaits for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Budget

For Chicken Noodle Supper:

In a large saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add two 3-ounce packages chicken-flavor ramen noodle soup mix, 1 1/2 cups leftover chopped cooked chicken, 1 cup frozen peas and carrots, 2 tablespoons chopped onion; mix well. Cook over medium-high heat 4 to 6 minutes or until vegetables are softened. Stir in one 4-ounce can sliced mushrooms (drained); cook 2 more minutes or until hot. (Adapted from the Pillsbury booklet "Grilling, Picnics and Camping," 1998, $2.99.) Serve with a green salad and bread. Have leftover parfaits for dessert.

Wednesday/Kids

With Beanie Weenie Bake (see recipe) serve corn muffins. Supervise while the children make slice-and-bake cookies for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare Thursday's sandwich tonight. Save half the cookies for Thursday.

Thursday/Meatless

Make this Italian Sandwich (see recipe) the day before if you have time. Refrigerate it up to two days before serving. Serve with canned minestrone soup and crackers. For dessert, fresh fruit and leftover cookies are simple.

Friday/Express

Pick up a package of Mexican rice as the base for Mexican Paella. In a medium saucepan, boil 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth. Add rice mix, 1 large chopped green bell pepper and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Boil 1 minute; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Stir in 1 pound large shrimp (peeled and deveined) and 1/4 cup sliced pimento-stuffed olives. Cook 5 minutes, stirring once or until rice is tender and shrimp are cooked through. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. (Adapted from Woman's Day magazine.) Serve with soft tortillas. On the side: a jicama and avocado salad. For dessert, prepare fat-free butterscotch pudding with skim milk.

Saturday/Entertaining

Treat your guests to Grilled Lamb Chops. Serve with oven-roasted new potatoes and Red Onion Blossoms (see recipe given to me by my friend Dana Campbell). Add sun-dried tomato bread or other dense bread. Sorbet and lemon cookies are a light dessert.

Baked Rice, Pecan Casserole (Sunday)

Makes 10 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 1/2 hours

cooking spray

1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup sliced scallions

1 clove minced garlic

1 teaspoon melted butter or margarine

2 cups long-grain rice

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon each: ground black pepper and turmeric

3 (14 1/2 -ounce) cans beef broth

1 cup water

3/4 cups chopped, toasted pecans

sliced scallions for garnish

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray, saute mushrooms, scallions and garlic in butter or margarine, 5 minutes or until softened. Add rice; cook over medium heat 3 minutes; stir constantly. Add thyme, pepper and turmeric. Stir well. Add broth, water and pecans; bring to boil. Remove from heat; spoon into baking dish. Cover and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Garnish with scallions if desired.

Per serving: 223 calories, 7 grams protein, 7 grams fat (28 percent calories from fat), 0.8 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 1 milligram cholesterol, 552 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Fruit and Cream Parfaits (Monday)

Makes 8 servings

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