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

Menu Planner

This week's menus

February 21, 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 an outstanding family day with Maple-Glazed Pork Chops (see recipe). Serve the chops with canned creamed corn and fresh broccoli. Add crusty bread. For dessert, a store-bought lemon pie is nice.

Plan ahead: Save half the pie for Monday.

Monday/Budget

Saving money is always good, and this Mexican rice (see recipe) lets you save a lot of the green stuff. You'll want canned vegetarian refried beans and tortillas on the side to go with the economical rice. Some people will want to spoon salsa over the rice or beans. Let them. Put leftover pie on the table.

Plan ahead: Save half the Mexican rice for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Heat and Eat

Tonight's tacos will be ready before you know it. In a large, nonstick skillet, brown 1/2 pound lean ground beef; drain well. Add leftover Mexican rice to the meat and heat thoroughly, about 5 minutes. Spoon mixture into warmed taco shells. Top with shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and some salsa. On the side, canned pinto beans are easy. Fruit and cookies make a light finish.

Wednesday/Express

Make it a burger night with store-bought Turkey Burgers. Serve the burgers on multigrain rolls with sauteed mushrooms. Coat a large, nonstick skillet with cooking spray and saute 1 pound sliced mushrooms until softened. Season with salt and pepper and cook until the liquid from mushrooms evaporates, about 5 minutes. Spoon over burgers. Garnish with thinly sliced red onions and tomatoes. Serve the burgers with oven fries. For dessert, fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt will taste good.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt for Thursday.

Thursday/Meatless

Colder weather calls for chili. Tonight's Vegetarian Chili will help keep you warm (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and corn bread from a mix. Buy or make butterscotch brownies and top with leftover frozen yogurt.

Plan ahead: Label, date and freeze half the chili for another cold night. Save half the brownies for Friday.

Friday/Kids

Treat the kids to Hole in the Wall Gang Camp Chop Suey (see recipe; it comes from the famed cookbook of the Paul Newman camps for children with cancer). Serve chopped lettuce on the side. The gang would like bread sticks, too. For dessert, every gang loves leftover brownies.

Saturday/Entertaining

Every guest will enjoy Lamb and Red Onion Kebabs With Cucumber Sauce with its aromatic blend of Middle Eastern spices and lamb, a classic combination (see recipe). Serve the savory kebabs with couscous and steamed baby carrots. Pita bread goes well. Lime sherbet is a refreshing dessert.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

maple or other syrup

balsamic vinegar

black pepper

thick-sliced, smoked pork loin chops

canned creamed corn

fresh broccoli

crusty bread

lemon pie

Monday

vegetable oil

long-grain rice

onion

fresh carrots

garlic

canned tomatoes

canned green chilies

cumin

reduced-sodium chicken broth

salt

pepper

vegetarian refried beans

tortillas

salsa

Tuesday

lean ground beef

taco shells

lettuce

fresh tomatoes

salsa

canned pinto beans

fruit

cookies

Wednesday

turkey burgers

multigrain rolls

fresh mushrooms

cooking spray

salt

pepper

red onion

fresh tomatoes

frozen oven fries

fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

Thursday

canned pinto beans

frozen corn

quick-cook barley

canned Mexican-style tomatoes

salsa

chili powder

cumin

salt

salad greens

corn bread mix

butterscotch brownies or ingredients to make your own

Friday

elbow macaroni

lean ground beef

onion

bell peppers

garlic

salt

pepper

marinara sauce

canned plum tomatoes

lettuce

bread sticks

Saturday

red onions

well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb

cayenne pepper

cinnamon

cumin

coarse (kosher) salt

olive oil

cooking spray

cucumber

plain fat-free yogurt

fresh mint

garlic

couscous

baby carrots

pita bread

lime sherbet

Maple-Glazed Pork Chops (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: less than

5 minutes

Cooking time: less than

15 minutes

6 tablespoons maple or other syrup

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

freshly ground black pepper

4 thick-sliced, smoked pork loin chops

Heat broiler. In a small saucepan, combine syrup with vinegar and simmer until reduced by half and just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5 minutes). Season with pepper and set aside. Brush generous amounts of glaze over both sides of chops. Broil until heated throughout, or 3 to 4 minutes a side. (Adapted from "Hay Day Country Market Cookbook," by Kim Rizk, Workman, 1998, $13.95.)

Per serving: 267 calories, 28 grams protein, 7 grams fat (24 percent calories from fat), 2.4 grams saturated fat, 22 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 1,267 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Mexican Rice (Monday)

Makes 8 servings

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