This week's menus

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

February 14, 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/Valentine's Day

Be My Valentine Beef and Mushroom Dijon will impress any romantic (see recipe). Serve fresh broccoli spears garnished with a lemon twist to accompany the beef and vegetables. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, Mocha-Menthe Mousse will warm the coldest heart (see recipe).

Monday/Heat and Eat

Make 4 servings of Green Salsa Chicken tonight. In a large saucepan, combine 2 cups cooked, chopped chicken and 1 1/2 cups green salsa. Stir in 1 (11-ounce) can Mexicorn (rinsed and drained) and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Serve this flavorful chicken mixture over rice. Add canned pinto beans. You'll want tortillas, too. For dessert, a cherry pie sure will be delicious tonight.

Tuesday/Express

Beef Stew Bread Bowls are fun and easy with just two ingredients. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Turn a 12-cup muffin pan upside down. Coat with cooking spray. Remove soft bread sticks from an 11-ounce refrigerated package; do not uncoil, but separate each dough stick section from the other sections. Place each section over inverted muffin cup, pressing dough over entire surface. Bake 16 to 20 minutes. Heat 2 (16-ounce) cans of beef stew. Spoon about 1/3 cup stew into warm bread bowls. Garnish with fat-free sour cream. Add coleslaw from the deli and steam fresh carrots to accompany your meal. For dessert, fat-free frozen strawberry yogurt would taste good.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt and prepare enough carrots for Wednesday. Marinate kebabs mixture for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Kids

Your little angels will have fun helping you make Kid Kebabs (see recipe). Serve them with rice and leftover carrots. Add soft rolls. Chocolate chip cookies and leftover yogurt hit the dessert-spot just right.

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Thursday.

Thursday/Budget

Hold the line on food costs with Chili-Stuffed Potatoes. Prepare your own turkey chili or buy it from the grocery store. Bake 4 (8- to 10-ounce) potatoes. Slash the tops and stuff with the heated chili. Top with reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese. Serve with mixed greens and crusty bread. Sliced peaches and leftover cookies make a simple dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare 6 cups cooked (2 cups uncooked) rice for Friday.

Friday/Meatless

Savory Pilaf is power-packed with fiber and nutrients (see recipe). You'll want a big green salad to go with the rice-bean- vegetable combination, and some multigrain rolls as well. Homemade or store-bought bread pudding is good for dessert.

Saturday/Family

A big, fat, juicy roasted hen, prepared your way and served with lots of whipped potatoes, has all the elements of a real family feast. On the side, fresh snow peas and carrots are colorful and delicious. Toss the peas and carrots with a tablespoon of apricot preserves to present a different flavor. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, Tiffany Pie is dreamy (see recipe).

Beef and Mushroom Dijon (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

3/4 pounds boneless sirloin or top round steak, 3/4 inches thick

cooking spray

8 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 2 1/2 cups)

1 medium onion, sliced

1 (10 3/4 -ounce) can condensed, reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 cups hot cooked rice (1 cup uncooked)

lemon peel for garnish

Slice beef into very thin strips; set aside. Coat a medium, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat 1 minute. Add mushrooms and onion and cook until softened. Remove pan from heat; spoon vegetables into another container. Wipe skillet with paper towel, recoat with cooking spray and heat on medium-high 1 minute. Add beef and cook 4 or 5 minutes or until browned, stirring often. Add soup, water and mustard. Heat to a boil. Return vegetables to pan and heat through or about 3 minutes. Serve over rice. Garnish with lemon peel.

Per serving: 370 calories, 25 grams protein, 8 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 2.8 grams saturated fat, 49 grams carbohydrate, 58 milligrams cholesterol, 763 mg. sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Mocha-Menthe Mousse (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than 10 minutes

Chilling time: 2 hours

1 1/2 cups 1 percent milk

1 tablespoon instant coffee granules

1 tablespoon creme de menthe or / teaspoon mint extract

1 (3.4-ounce) package chocolate fudge instant pudding and pie filling mix

1 1/4 cups frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed (divided use)

fresh mint sprigs and cocoa for garnish

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