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

Menu Planner

December 20, 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 ham steak for the family and serve with Mixed Rice Pilaf With Dried Cherries, Apricots and Cinnamon (see recipe). Add a Boston lettuce salad and sourdough rolls for a delicious meal.

Plan ahead: Prepare enough ham and save half the pilaf for Monday.

Tip: Substitute raisins for the cherries if desired.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Tonight's ham pilaf is quick and easy. Dice Sunday's leftover ham and mix with leftover pilaf. If necessary, add a little water to moisten. Cover and heat mixture in the microwave on high (100 percent power) about 1 minute per cup. Serve a mixed green salad with your sweet-and-savory entree. Add crusty bread for a complete meal.

Tuesday/Express

Make a quick Cincinnati chili tonight. Cook 12 ounces spaghetti according to directions. Top with canned low-fat turkey chili or other low-fat chili. Top the chili-spaghetti mixture with shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese. Look for a packaged Italian salad in produce as an accompaniment. Slide on over to the bakery for sesame bread sticks. While you're there, you'll want some oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Plan ahead: Buy enough cookies for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Kids

The kids will want to prepare their own barbecue chicken sandwiches using one of the many prepared brands of chicken. Serve the chicken on toasted Kaiser rolls. The adults might like sliced dills with their sandwiches. Accompany this easy meal with frozen oven-fried potatoes and a store-bought or homemade carrot and pineapple salad. For dessert, serve leftover oatmeal cookies with fat-free frozen strawberry yogurt.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt for Thursday.

Thursday/Meatless

Savory Linguine Alla Marinara is easy to prepare and just right for this busy season (see recipe). Serve with a spinach salad and Italian bread.

Plan ahead: If you have time, prepare Friday's Christmas French Toast and refrigerate overnight.

Friday/Budget

It's Christmas! Before the family feast and all the festivities, start the big day with Christmas French Toast (see recipe). Serve with Canadian bacon and your own ambrosia. Munch on a few Christmas cookies for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Eric Ripert, the chef at Le Bernardin in New York City, created this easy shrimp recipe. Pretend you're in the Big Apple and make Eric's Broiled Shrimp With Garlic Butter (see recipe) for your lucky guests. Serve the shrimp with angel hair pasta tossed with fresh chopped herbs and a little unsalted butter. Steamed julienne bell peppers make a colorful side dish. Add baguettes. For dessert, serve fresh fruit with lemon cookies.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

ham steak

unsalted butter

sweet onions

curry powder

brown rice

wild rice

cinnamon stick

orange

reduced-sodium chicken broth

dried apricots

dried pitted cherries

sliced almonds

Boston lettuce

sourdough rolls

Monday

salad greens

crusty bread

Tuesday

spaghetti

canned low-fat turkey chili or other low-fat chili

reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

packaged Italian salad

sesame bread sticks

oatmeal cookies

Wednesday

prepared barbecue chicken

Kaiser rolls

sliced dill pickles

frozen oven fried potatoes

prepared carrot and pineapple salad or ingredients to make your own

fat-free frozen strawberry yogurt

Thursday

linguine

olive oil

garlic

red pepper flakes

canned plum tomatoes

salt

fresh basil

fresh spinach

Italian bread

Friday

French bread

eggs

1 percent milk

pure vanilla extract

ground cinnamon

margarine or butter

brown sugar

dark corn syrup

pecans or walnuts

Canadian bacon

ingredients for ambrosia

Christmas cookies

Saturday

unsalted butter

garlic

shallots

fresh Italian parsley

lemon

fine sea salt or other salt

uncooked large shrimp

angel hair pasta

any fresh herbs

frozen julienne bell peppers

baguettes

fresh fruit

lemon cookies

Mixed Rice Pilaf With Dried Cherries, Apricots and Cinnamon (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: A little over an hour; standing time: 10 minutes

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 cup chopped sweet onions

2 teaspoons curry powder

1 1/2 cups brown rice

1/2 cup wild rice

1 cinnamon stick

1 orange zest strip, 3 inches by 1/2 inch wide, plus extra for garnish

4 1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into pieces

1/2 cup dried pitted cherries

1/2 cup sliced natural almonds

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