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

MENU PLANNER

August 15, 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 geared to 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

Treat the family to Grilled Lamb Burgers With Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce for a Greek-inspired meal (see recipe). Serve with Dilled Red Potatoes. Coat an 18-by-24-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil with cooking spray. In center of foil, place 1 sliced red onion and 4 medium red potatoes, cut in bite-size pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon fresh dill and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Double-fold sides and ends of foil, leaving room for air to circulate. Grill 15 to 20 minutes in a covered grill (or bake 30 to 35 minutes in a 450-degree oven). Serve with steamed fresh green beans. A cake with fudge-stripe icing from the supermarket freezer makes an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Monday.

Monday/Meatless

Tonight's Wagon-Wheel Pasta With Peppers and Eggplant doesn't need meat for its full flavor (see recipe). Serve with a green salad and bread sticks. Add leftover cake.

Tip: If slender or Japanese eggplant are unavailable, use larger ones and cut in bite-size pieces.

Tuesday/Budget

Take advantage of the summer's garden bounty and save money at the same time with Stuffed Roasted Peppers (see recipe). Serve with baked potatoes and a fresh spinach salad. Add sourdough bread. Fat-free strawberry ice cream is a summertime-cool dessert.

Plan ahead: Save half the peppers and cook enough potatoes for Wednesday, and save enough ice cream for dessert.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Heat the leftover stuffed peppers and top with salsa, if desired. Make baked potato wedges with leftover potatoes. Heat oven to 450 degrees, cut each potato in 8 wedges (lengthwise), coat with cooking spray and bake on baking sheet 20 minutes or until hot. Serve with steamed fresh broccoli and crusty rolls. Leftover ice cream with chocolate sauce is good for dessert.

Thursday/Kids

Use your tomatoes from your garden for the kids' Spaghetti and Fresh Tomatoes (see recipe). Serve with frozen French-cut green beans and bread. The kids will love Popsicles for dessert.

Friday/Express

Spicy Sichuan chicken from the supermarket freezer is an easy meal. The 32-ounce container I bought cost $5.39 and served four. Enjoy it with celery and carrot sticks and crusty bread. Fortune cookies will guide you toward your future -- and dessert.

Tip: If the chicken/rice combo is too spicy for the children, dilute it with extra cooked rice.

Saturday/Entertaining

Pork Tenderloin With Herbs (see recipe) will please any guest. Serve with orzo and steamed artichokes. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, Fizzy Grapes will refresh everyone. In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup fresh orange juice, julienned zest (yellow part only) of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add 1 cup each of halved red and green seedless grapes; toss. Spoon into 4 stemmed dessert dishes; top each dessert with 1/4 cup sparkling cider or wine.

SHOPPING LIST

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

Sunday

leaf lettuce

cherry tomatoes

lean ground lamb

bread crumbs

fat-free plain yogurt

fresh mint

eggs

garlic

cumin

dried oregano

cucumber

red onion

salt

pita breads

cooking spray

red potatoes

olive oil

fresh dill

pepper

fresh green beans

frozen cake with fudge-stripe icing

Monday

wagon-wheel pasta

refrigerated basil pesto

fat-free Italian dressing

eggplant

cooking spray

jar of roasted red peppers

cherry tomatoes

salad greens

bread sticks

Tuesday

red or yellow bell peppers

lean ground beef

ground turkey breast

fresh zucchini

salt

pepper

packaged olive-oil

and garlic-flavored couscous mix (or another flavor)

kalamata or ripe olives

crumbled feta cheese

baking potatoes

fresh spinach

sourdough bread

fat-free strawberry ice cream

Wednesday

salsa

cooking spray

fresh broccoli

crusty rolls

chocolate sauce

Thursday

spaghetti

extra-virgin olive oil

plum tomatoes

salt

sugar

pepper

fresh mozzarella

fresh basil

frozen French-cut green beans

bread

Popsicles

Friday

spicy Sichuan

chicken

celery and carrot

sticks

crusty bread

fortune cookies

Saturday

cumin

dried thyme and

sage

cinnamon

garlic powder

salt

well-trimmed pork tenderloins

peach preserves

cooking spray

orzo

fresh artichokes

dinner rolls

fresh orange juice

lemon

sugar

red and green

seedless grapes

sparkling cider or

wine

Recipes

GRILLED LAMB BURGERS WITH CUCUMBER-YOGURT SAUCE (SUNDAY)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

4 leaves leaf lettuce

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

FOR THE BURGERS:

1 pound lean ground lamb

2 tablespoons bread crumbs

2 tablespoons fat-free plain yogurt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 egg whites

1 teaspoon each: minced garlic, cumin and dried oregano

FOR THE SAUCE:

1 cup fat-free plain yogurt

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