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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


maple or other syrup

balsamic vinegar

black pepper

thick-sliced, smoked pork loin chops

canned creamed corn

fresh broccoli

crusty bread

lemon pie


vegetable oil

long-grain rice


fresh carrots


canned tomatoes

canned green chilies


reduced-sodium chicken broth



vegetarian refried beans




lean ground beef

taco shells


fresh tomatoes


canned pinto beans




turkey burgers

multigrain rolls

fresh mushrooms

cooking spray



red onion

fresh tomatoes

frozen oven fries

fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt


canned pinto beans

frozen corn

quick-cook barley

canned Mexican-style tomatoes


chili powder



salad greens

corn bread mix

butterscotch brownies or ingredients to make your own


elbow macaroni

lean ground beef


bell peppers




marinara sauce

canned plum tomatoes


bread sticks


red onions

well-trimmed boneless leg of lamb

cayenne pepper



coarse (kosher) salt

olive oil

cooking spray


plain fat-free yogurt

fresh mint



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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