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

Menu Planner

This week's menus

May 16, 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

Serve the family your own sliced roast beef, or pick up the same from the meat department of your supermarket. Add Long-Grain and Wild Rice With Pine Nuts and Feta Cheese Salad on the side (see recipe). Accompany the feast with steamed summer squash and sourdough bread. Angel food cake and lime sherbet make a springlike dessert.

Plan ahead: Save half the rice and enough cake for Monday. Toast 2 extra tablespoons of pine nuts for Saturday.

Monday/Meatless

Tonight's no-meat menu is easy. Make Savory Rice Burritos for a quick meal. In a large bowl, combine Sunday's leftover rice, 1 (15-ounce) can white beans (rinsed and drained) and 1/4 cup chopped parsley; mix well. Heat 4 large flour tortillas, spoon rice mixture down center, roll and serve. Add a mixed green salad.

Top Sunday's leftover cake with fresh berries for a light finish.

Tip: Layer tortillas in damp white paper towels, roll and heat in the microwave 30 to 40 seconds on high (100 percent power) or until hot.

Tuesday/Budget

No one will call you extravagant when you serve Confetti Hash Brown Casserole (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and corn muffins from a mix. Finish your economical meal with fresh fruit.

Plan ahead: Save half the casserole and make enough muffins for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Enjoy an extra 30 minutes of free time tonight because dinner is almost ready. Heat Tuesday's casserole and prepare a fresh spinach salad on the side. Warm the leftover muffins in the microwave, 5 seconds on high (100 percent power) for each muffin (yes, seconds -- you don't want hockey pucks!).

For dessert, try the new apricot-peach fig bars. We liked them better than their cousins, the plain fig.

Plan ahead: Save any leftover fresh spinach for Thursday.

Tip: Wrap muffins in white paper towels before microwaving.

Thursday/Express

With a few simple, store-bought ingredients, you can have Baked Ravioli for dinner tonight (see recipe). Serve with frozen Italian green beans and Italian bread. Make instant pistachio pudding with skim milk to continue the Italian theme.

Friday/Kids

Let the kids help prepare Sloppy Joe Biscuit Cups (see recipe). Serve with carrot and celery sticks and a pear salad.

For dessert, everyone would like a cookie.

Saturday/Entertaining

Transport your guests to faraway places. For the main course, serve Chicken Breasts Mediterranean Style (see recipe). Continue your food adventure with couscous, a staple of North African cuisine. Come on home for fresh asparagus spears and dinner rolls. Stay awhile with fruit tarts for dessert.

Tip: Make couscous with fat-free chicken broth to deepen the flavor.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

sliced roast beef, or ingredients for cooking your own

packaged long-grain and wild-rice mix

crumbled feta cheese

green and yellow bell peppers

onion

pine nuts

diced pimentos

extra-virgin olive oil

tarragon wine vinegar

black pepper

lettuce

summer squash

sourdough bread

angel food cake

lime sherbet

Monday

canned white beans

parsley

large flour tortillas

salad greens

fresh berries

Tuesday

cooking spray

canned baked-potato soup

reduced-fat sour cream

garlic powder

salt

frozen mixed vegetables

frozen hash-brown potatoes

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

corn muffin mix

fresh fruit

Wednesday

fresh spinach

apricot-peach fig bars

Thursday

cooking spray

lean ground beef or ground turkey

pasta sauce

frozen cheese ravioli

reduced-fat, shredded mozzarella cheese

frozen Italian green beans

Italian bread

instant pistachio pudding

skim milk

Friday

refrigerated buttermilk biscuits

ground turkey

canned tomatoes

tomato paste

sugar

shredded, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

carrot and celery sticks

ingredients for pear salad

cookies

Saturday

boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

flour

cooking spray

vegetable oil

chicken broth

onion

green bell pepper

raisins

pine nuts

lemon

salt

black pepper

feta cheese

parsley

couscous

fresh asparagus

dinner rolls

fruit tarts

Long-Grain and Wild Rice With Pine Nuts and Feta Cheese Salad (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: less than

15 minutes

Cooking time: time to cook

rice and toast pine nuts

Chilling time: 4 hours to overnight

1 (7-ounce) package long-grain and wild-rice mix, cooked

1 (4-ounce) package crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup each: chopped green and yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts (see note)

1 (2-ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons tarragon wine vinegar

1 tablespoon water

/ teaspoon black pepper

lettuce leaves

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