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

Menu Planner

July 25, 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

You'll have more time with the family when you prepare your own baked turkey breast. Serve it with Green Rice (see recipe). Steamed fresh carrots sprinkled with chopped fresh dill and tossed with a little margarine or butter make a colorful side dish. Strawberry-Pineapple Compote is summertime-friendly. In a large bowl, stir together 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Just before serving, toss syrup mixture with 2 cups each strawberry halves and fresh pineapple chunks. Spoon into stemmed dessert dishes and garnish with fresh mint sprigs if desired.

Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and half the rice for Monday.

Monday/Leftovers

No need to heat the kitchen tonight with Turkey Waldorf Salad (see recipe). Serve with leftover rice and store-bought poppy-seed muffins.

Plan ahead: save half the turkey salad for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Budget

You'll save money on groceries and on your air-conditioning bill with tonight's no-cook, cool meal of stuffed pitas. Halve whole-wheat pitas, line with a lettuce leaf and stuff with leftover Turkey Waldorf Salad. Serve with store-bought potato salad and sliced tomatoes. Fresh cantaloupe slices with fat-free vanilla ice cream make an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Friday.

Wednesday/Kids

The kids will wash their hands early when you serve them Kid-chiladas (see recipe). Accompany the Tex-Mex feast with rice and store-bought guacamole on shredded lettuce. Popsicles are a good-and-slurpy dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook extra rice for Friday.

Thursday/Meatless

Try this summertime favorite -- Penne Pasta With Ricotta and Tomatoes (see recipe). Serve this simple pasta combo with mixed greens and Italian bread. Add cookies for a quick dessert.

Friday/Express

You can make your own fast food with Spicy Lentil Soup over leftover rice. In a large saucepan, combine 2 (19-ounce) cans lentil soup and 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and simmer. In a small skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon paprika and / teaspoon cayenne pepper over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Ladle soup over left- over rice and drizzle spiced oil on top.

Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Serve leftover ice cream with store-bought hot fudge sauce for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Tilapia With Honey Lemon will please any guest (see recipe). Serve the mild fish with your own rosemary-roasted red potatoes and fresh sugar snap peas.

For dessert, spoon vanilla almond sauce over slices of store-bought angel food cake. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar and stir to blend. Bring to a boil, stirring. Continue to boil 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add 2 teaspoons almond extract and 1 tablespoon butter. Stir until butter is melted. Spoon over cake and top each slice with 1 tablespoon toasted sliced almonds.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

turkey breast to bake

long-grain brown rice

vegetable broth

bay leaves

fresh spinach

flat-leaf parsley

scallions

fresh basil

fresh tarragon

whole or ground nutmeg

fresh carrots

fresh dill

margarine or butter

maple syrup

balsamic vinegar

pure vanilla extract

fresh strawberries

fresh pineapple

fresh mint, if desired

Monday

Red Delicious apples

celery

walnuts

scallions

plain fat-free yogurt

low-fat mayonnaise

frozen apple juice concentrate

salt

salad greens

poppy-seed muffins

Tuesday

whole-wheat pita bread

lettuce

potato salad

tomatoes

cantaloupe to slice

fat-free vanilla ice cream

Wednesday

cooking spray

lean ground beef

onion

reduced-fat cottage cheese

canned diced tomatoes and green chilies

canned tomato sauce

flour tortillas

reduced-fat shredded Mexican-blend cheese

rice

guacamole

lettuce

Popsicles

Thursday

penne pasta

canned whole plum tomatoes

fresh basil

garlic

part-skim ricotta cheese

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

Italian bread

cookies

Friday

canned lentil soup

lemon

olive oil

paprika

cayenne pepper

salad greens

crusty bread

hot fudge sauce

Saturday

tilapia fillets

salt

pepper

lemon

Dijon mustard

white-wine vinegar

honey

fresh tarragon

parsley

ingredients for rosemary-roasted red potatoes

fresh sugar snap peas

angel food cake

cornstarch

dark-brown sugar

almond extract

butter

sliced almonds

Green Rice (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 35 minutes

2 cups long-grain brown rice

4 1/2 cups vegetable broth

2 bay leaves

4 cups packed fresh spinach, shredded

2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 cup thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon

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