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

Menu Planner

April 04, 1999|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

This week's menus

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

Start your Easter celebration with Peach-Glazed Baked Ham. Roast a fully cooked, 12- to 16-pound ham (boneless or bone-in), fat side up, at 325 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes per pound until internal temperature is 140 degrees. Use a pastry brush to coat the ham with peach preserves the last 15 minutes of baking. Make Spicy Grits (see recipe) to accompany the ham. Add asparagus spears and crusty bread. For dessert, Easter Bunny Pie (see recipe) is as fresh as spring.

Plan ahead: Save leftover ham for Monday and Tuesday (and other meals to come) and enough pie for Monday.

Monday/Budget

Be a penny-pincher but not a flavor miser with Savory Rice and Ham (see recipe). Add some crunch with a mixed green salad. You'll want to make corn bread from a mix. Leftover pie will be a welcome dessert.

Plan ahead: Save half the ham and rice for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Heat and Eat

Dinner will be ready in a flash with Ham and Rice Stuffed Pitas. Warm Monday's leftover ham and rice, and stuff in whole-wheat pitas. Serve with canned black-eyed peas; add a splash of hot sauce if desired. Sprinkle cinnamon over store-bought chunky applesauce to accompany the meal. Add cookies for dessert.

Plan ahead: To save time tomorrow, make Wednesday's soup tonight.

Tip: To reduce sodium, rinse and drain black-eyed peas.

Wednesday/Express

Try Wyler's Soup Starter for the ultimate store-bought soup. We tried the beef vegetable flavor. You'll need 1 pound lean beef cubes or lean ground beef to add to the mix. I added extra water toward the end of the cooking time to thin the mixture. You can toss in any available leftover vegetables the last 15 minutes of cooking to freshen the flavor. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Fresh fruit is an easy dessert.

Thursday/Kids

It's burger night for the kids. Make their favorite burgers with all the trimmings. Serve with Cheesy Fries. For dessert, help the kids make Marshmallow Sandwiches. Prepare 1 (18-ounce) package chocolate chip cookie dough according to directions; cool completely. Place a large marshmallow on 1 cookie and microwave at medium (50 percent power) 10 to 20 seconds or until marshmallow expands. Top with second cookie. Cool 1 minute or so (if you can wait that long).

Friday/Meatless

"Eat your veggies" won't be a problem with Rosemary Roasted Vegetables (see recipe). You'll climb the food pyramid two steps at a time. Serve the flavorful melange over couscous and top with crumbled feta cheese. Add a green salad and sesame bread sticks.

Saturday/ Easy Entertaining

We loved this Mexican Chicken Casserole (see recipe) and so will your guests. If we had not been guests ourselves, we would have eaten the whole thing. For really hearty eaters, serve with rice. Add a dollop of store-bought guacamole and reduced-fat sour cream to a shredded lettuce salad. Add extra tortillas on the side. You'll want a light dessert, and lemon sherbet is just that.

Tip: Up the "heat" in the casserole by using hot green chilies and enchilada sauce.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

fully cooked ham

peach preserves

quick-cooking grits

salt

black pepper

cayenne pepper

reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

canned jalapeno pepper

asparagus spears

crusty bread

skim milk

3.4-ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding and pie filling

frozen lemonade concentrate

reduced-fat whipped topping

store-bought reduced-fat graham cracker pie crust

lemon

Monday

olive oil

red bell pepper

onion

garlic

long-grain rice

dried oregano

fat-free chicken broth

canned stewed tomatoes

red-pepper flakes

cilantro

salad greens

corn-bread mix

Tuesday

whole-wheat pitas

canned black-eyed peas

hot sauce

ground cinnamon

store-bought chunky applesauce

cookies

Wednesday

Wyler's Soup Starter

lean beef cubes or lean ground beef

salad greens

crusty bread

fresh fruit

Thursday

favorite burger ingredients

burger accompaniments

frozen steak fries

Parmesan cheese

Italian seasoning

salt

packaged chocolate chip cookie dough

large marshmallows

Friday

fresh rosemary

olive oil

red wine vinegar

salt

garlic

zucchini

carrots

bell peppers (red, yellow or orange)

red onion

whole mushrooms

cooking spray

couscous

feta cheese

salad greens

sesame bread sticks

Saturday

fat-free chicken broth

canned chopped green chilies (mild to hot)

boneless, skinless chicken breasts

olive oil

onion

evaporated skim milk

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

tub-style light cream cheese

canned enchilada sauce (mild to hot)

corn tortillas

cooking spray

shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

baked corn chips

rice

store-bought guacamole

reduced-fat sour cream

lettuce

lemon sherbet

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