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

Menu Planner

This week's menus

January 17, 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

Gather the family for a meal of easy boneless Smothered Pork Loin Chops (see recipe). Serve the chops with baked sweet potatoes and garnish with fresh orange slices. Add frozen sugar snap peas and sourdough bread. For dessert, how about a store-bought coconut custard pie? Your family will give you another gold star for this delicious meal.

Plan ahead: Save two pork chops and any leftover pie for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Make a pork stir-fry with Sunday's leftover chops. Slice the chops and combine with a package of frozen stir-fry vegetables. Mix the pork-vegetable combo with prepared stir-fry sauce and serve the mixture over rice. Add crusty bread. If you're lucky, leftover pie is waiting for you for dessert.

Tuesday/Express

Run into the store and wrap up tonight's dinner: Ranch Wraps (see recipe). Serve canned pinto beans on the side. For dessert, oatmeal cookies and sliced peaches are easy.

Wednesday/Budget

You'll be happy as a clam with the money you save serving -- what else? -- Clam Chowder tonight (see recipe). Just add a green salad and multigrain rolls to this easy meal. For dessert, fresh fruit is light.

Plan ahead: To save time on Thursday, cook 1 1/2 cups brown rice in 3 cups vegetable broth tonight.

Thursday/Meatless

Enjoy the nutty flavor of brown rice in Vegetable Pilaf (see recipe). Serve the flavorful rice-vegetable melange with a mixed green salad and crusty bread. Fat-free frozen strawberry yogurt is a perfect dessert.

Plan ahead: Save half the pilaf and enough frozen yogurt for Friday.

Friday/Kids

The kids will think you're cool when you serve them Stuffed Pitas using leftover pilaf. Line pita bread with lettuce leaves. Combine the leftover pilaf with a 10-ounce package of cooked, carved chicken breasts. Add a little broth or water to moisten if necessary. Heat the mixture and stuff the pitas. Serve them with baked corn chips. For dessert, you probably noticed that the leftover strawberry yogurt needs some chocolate sauce.

Saturday/Entertaining

Your guests will be happy when you serve them Filets Mignons With Bleu Cheese (see recipe). Baked potatoes and steamed fresh spinach are easy, low-fat accompaniments. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, sorbet with gourmet cookies is a delicious finish to a company meal.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

cornstarch

canned beef broth

pepper

cooking spray

boneless pork loin chops

onion

sweet potatoes

orange

frozen sugar snap peas

sourdough bread

coconut custard pie

Monday

frozen stir-fry vegetables

stir-fry sauce

rice

crusty bread

Tuesday

sliced, cooked turkey breast

flour tortillas

tomato

shredded carrots

shredded lettuce

shredded Cheddar cheese

reduced-fat ranch salad dressing

canned pinto beans

oatmeal cookies

sliced peaches

Wednesday

reduced-sodium chicken broth

dried thyme

pepper

potatoes

celery

onion

1 percent milk

flour

canned minced clams

salad greens

multigrain rolls

fresh fruit

Thursday

vegetable oil

fresh broccoli

fresh carrots

onion

fresh mushrooms

garlic

dried thyme

dried basil

salt

pepper

brown rice

vegetable broth

pecans

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

crusty bread

fat-free frozen strawberry yogurt

Friday

pita bread

lettuce

carved, cooked chicken breasts

broth

baked corn chips

chocolate sauce

Saturday

filets mignons

garlic

cracked black pepper

canned beef broth

dry red wine

bleu cheese

baking potatoes

fresh spinach

dinner rolls

sorbet

package of gourmet cookies

Smothered Pork Loin Chops (Sunday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: under 25 minutes

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can beef broth

1/8 teaspoon pepper

6 boneless pork loin chops, 1/2 inch thick

cooking spray

1 medium sliced onion

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch, broth and pepper; set aside. Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high 1 minute. Cook chops until browned or about 5 minutes per side. (Cook in 2 batches if necessary.) Remove skillet from heat; remove chops. Wipe skillet with paper towel and recoat with cooking spray. Add onion and cook over medium heat until softened or about 5 minutes. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to skillet. Cook until mixture boils and thickens, about 4 or 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Return chops to pan. Cover and cook over low heat 5 minutes or until chops are tender.

Per serving: 227 calories, 31 grams protein, 9 grams fat (36 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 73 milligrams cholesterol, 345 milligrams sodium, trace fiber.

Ranch Wraps (Tuesday)

Makes 4 wraps

Preparation time: 10 minutes

8 thin slices cooked turkey breast

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