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

Menu Planner

This week's menus

January 10, 1999|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

Make it a relaxing family day and prepare Crunchy Baked Chicken (see recipe). What goes better with chicken than your own mashed potatoes with gravy? Fresh, steamed broccoli spears add color and a vitamin boost. You'll want dinner rolls, too. Bake a frozen blackberry cobbler for dessert. Now, sit back and enjoy good comfort food at its easiest and best.

Plan ahead: Save half the chicken and cobbler and make 2 cups extra mashed potatoes for Monday.

Monday/Kids

Bajaritas, a restaurant in Atlanta, inspired these Barbecued Chicken Burritos. No kid will be able to resist them. Reheat leftover chicken and cut into 1/2 -inch strips; reheat mashed potatoes. Divide chicken and mashed potatoes among 4 large 8- to 10-inch flour tortillas; top with store-bought barbecue sauce. Roll tightly and heat in the microwave on medium (50 percent power) 1 minute per burrito or until hot. Serve with your own carrot and raisin salad. Top warmed leftover cobbler with fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt for a crowd-pleasing dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Express

Winter or summer, stuffed peppers always taste good to me. For an easy meal tonight, pick up one of the frozen packages at the grocery store. To make dinner even easier, while the peppers cook, prepare a package of your favorite quick-fix potatoes. Stay on an easy roll with frozen French-cut green beans and a packaged green salad. Add bread. For dessert, leftover vanilla yogurt with chocolate sauce is perfect.

Plan ahead: Save any leftover green beans for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Meatless

White Bean, Chickpea and Spinach Soup is filling and tasty (see recipe). Legumes such as beans and chickpeas are good, low-fat, protein sources. Serve the soup with mixed greens and multigrain rolls. For dessert, instant chocolate mousse made with skim milk gives a sweet finish.

Tip: Add any leftover green beans to soup. To shred spinach, stack leaves and slice crosswise.

Thursday/Budget

Unwrap your new slow cooker (or dust off your old one) for All-Day Beans and Beef Chili (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and corn bread made from a mix. Finish the meal with fresh fruit.

Plan ahead: Save half the chili for Friday.

Friday/Heat and Eat

Lucky you -- you prepared most of tonight's dinner yesterday. Put the ingredients together to make a Beef Vegetable Soup (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and bread sticks. For dessert, angel food cake with strawberry sauce is light.

Tip: For a thicker soup, add 1/2 cup quick rice when you add the broth.

Saturday/Entertaining

The delicate flavors of Salmon, Peas and Pasta (see recipe) will please any guest. Add a romaine salad topped with freshly shaved Parmesan cheese and a light vinaigrette. Serve with crusty bread. For dessert, frozen lemon meringue pie gives a fine finish.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

eggs

corn flakes

garlic powder

black pepper

ground red pepper

boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

potatoes to mash

prepared gravy

fresh broccoli

dinner rolls

frozen blackberry cobbler

Monday

flour tortillas

barbecue sauce

ingredients for carrot and raisin salad

fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

Tuesday

frozen stuffed peppers

package of quick-fix potatoes

frozen French-cut green beans

packaged green salad

bread

chocolate sauce

Wednesday

olive oil

onion

garlic

carrots

potatoes

vegetable broth

canned chickpeas

canned white beans

salt

lemon

black pepper

packaged fresh spinach

salad greens

multigrain rolls

instant chocolate mousse

skim milk

Thursday

beef stew meat

canned diced tomatoes with garlic and onions

canned white beans

canned kidney beans

salt

pepper

picante sauce or thick and chunky salsa

chili powder

fat-free sour cream

scallions

salad greens

corn bread mix

fresh fruit

Friday

canned beef broth

quick-fix rice

any frozen vegetable mixture

Italian seasoning

salad greens

bread sticks

angel food cake

strawberry sauce

Saturday

reduced-sodium chicken broth

salmon fillets

extra-virgin olive oil

leeks

red bell pepper

frozen green peas

salt

orange

linguine

romaine lettuce

Parmesan cheese

light vinaigrette

crusty bread

frozen lemon meringue pie

Crunchy Baked Chicken (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

6 egg whites

1 1/2 cups finely crushed corn flakes

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon each: black pepper and ground red pepper

8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 pounds)

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