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 youngertastes, 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.
Prepare your own pork tenderloin roast today and serve it with store-bought chutney for an easy family feast. Accompany the pork with Potato and Pea Salad (see recipe). Serve with sesame bread sticks. For dessert, slice up a store-bought Boston cream pie.
Plan ahead: Prepare enough pork and save half the pie for Monday. To save time, cook Monday's rice today.
Monday/Heat and Eat
There's no need to heat the kitchen tonight when you prepare Strawberry-Pork Salad (see recipe). Serve the refreshing, nutritious salad with crusty bread and leftover pie.
We tried a chicken-and-biscuits meal from our supermarket freezer for an easy, no-brainer dinner. The brand we picked up was 28 ounces per package ($3.49); you may need two packages for the family. Serve with fresh broccoli spears and squeeze a fresh lemon over the already vitamin C-packed broccoli. Serve with a packaged green salad. Frozen fat-free vanilla yogurt topped with warmed fudge sauce makes for a fine finish.
Plan ahead: Cook Wednesday's brown rice tonight to save time. Save enough yogurt for Friday.
No one will notice you saved money when you dish up delicious Beef and Curry Stir-Fry (see recipe). Serve the flavorful combination with a spinach salad and whole-wheat rolls. For a light dessert, fresh fruit is in order.
Tip: For small amounts of apple juice, buy baby food juice.
The kids will give you a gold star when you serve them Pizza Dogs. Serve their favorite fat-free hot dogs on buns and top with store-bought pizza sauce. Sprinkle with a little shredded pizza cheese. For kid approval, add oven fries and your own carrot and pineapple salad. The children can make their own Bumpy Pudding for dessert. Combine instant chocolate pudding with skim milk and stir in small marshmallows for the "bumps."
Dinner will be easy tonight when you ladle out Tortelloni Soup (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and garlic bread. For dessert, make a peach sundae. Top leftover yogurt with sliced peaches and melted seedless raspberry jam.
Grilled Grouper With Tomato-Papaya Salsa (see recipe) and rice is a meal any guest would welcome. Serve the savory fish and salsa with canned black beans mixed with canned corn and chopped red and green peppers. (Rinse and drain before combining.) Toss the bean and corn combo with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Serve on a platter on a bed of red-tip lettuce.
Make this easy Pear Crisp for dessert: Heat oven to 325 degrees. Drain 1 (15 1/4 -ounce) can pear halves and arrange in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with finely crumbled cinnamon graham crackers. Bake about 15 minutes or until hot.
What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)
dry white wine
frozen green peas
sesame bread sticks
Boston cream pie
mixed salad greens
packaged frozen chicken and biscuits
packaged green salad
frozen fat-free vanilla yogurt
Granny Smith apples
apple cider or apple juice
fat-free hot dogs
hot dog buns
shredded pizza cheese
frozen oven fries
ingredients for carrot and pineapple salad
instant chocolate pudding
frozen cheese tortelloni
bag of shredded carrots
packaged fresh spinach
seedless raspberry jam
canned black beans
canned corn with chopped red and green peppers
canned pear halves
cinnamon graham crackers
Potato and Pea Salad (Sunday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: less than 15 minutes
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 pound small red potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup frozen green peas
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped scallions
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill