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

MENU PLANNER

September 05, 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/Express

Enjoy a simple-to-prepare Sunday meal with deli sliced ham and deli marinated bean salad. Add Broccoli Slaw for some crunch. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon each of mustard seed and celery seed. Bring to boil, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, place 1 (16-ounce) package broccoli slaw mix and dressing; toss to coat. Chill at least 4 hours; stir occasionally. Serve this quick meal with sourdough bread. A store-bought coconut cake nourishes your sweet tooth.

Plan ahead: Save half the slaw for Monday and enough cake for Tuesday.

Monday/Family

Take the day off to celebrate the Labor Day holiday and let someone else in the family prepare Honey Lime Chicken (see recipe). Serve with your own grilled vegetables and leftover broccoli slaw. Your fan club will want your potato salad, too. Add crusty bread. Dessert? How about fat-free chocolate ice cream and chocolate chip cookies? Now, that wasn't too much labor, was it?

Plan ahead: Save 4 grilled chicken breasts for Tuesday and enough ice cream for Wednesday.

Tuesday/Heat and eat

Chicken and Black Bean Salad will be quick and cool. In a large bowl, combine 2 (16-ounce) cans black beans (rinsed and drained), 4 leftover cooked chicken breasts (shredded), 1 (8-ounce) can corn (rinsed and drained), 1 medium tomato (chopped), 1/2 cup reduced-fat Italian dressing, 1/4 cup each of chopped cilantro and chopped red onion and 1 teaspoon cumin. Toss to mix. Place the 8 cups mixed salad greens on a large platter. Place the chicken/bean combo on the salad greens.

Serve with baked corn chips and leftover cake.

Wednesday/Budget

Without economical egg-salad sandwiches (and peanut butter), I wouldn't have made it through Mary Washington College! See recipe for a much healthier version than the mayonnaise-packed one of my misspent youth. Serve the updated sandwiches with sweet pickles and carrot sticks. Add canned chicken noodle soup and crackers if you're extra-hungry. Leftover ice cream with strawberry sauce is good for dessert.

Tip: Save some strawberry sauce for Thursday's dessert.

Cheese Tortellini With Tomatoes needs no meat. In a large pot, combine 1 (14-ounce) package frozen cheese tortellini and cook according to directions, using vegetable broth as liquid. During last 5 minutes of cooking time, add 1 (14-ounce) can diced stewed tomatoes and juice and 1 (10-ounce) package frozen tiny green peas. Ladle into bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with a mixed-greens salad and garlic bread. For dessert, make instant strawberry pudding with skim milk and swirl with strawberry sauce.

Friday/Kids

The kids can help prepare Cheesy Chili Quesadillas (see recipe). Serve with carrot and celery sticks. Your angels will lap up this Berry Smoothie. In a blender, process 1 pint fresh berries (any kind), 1 cup plain yogurt and 1 cup lemon sorbet until smooth and frothy. Pour into 4 tall, chilled glasses. Yum.

Plan ahead: Buy extra sorbet for Saturday's dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

We can't eat enough grilled fish this time of year, and this Teriyaki Halibut is one reason (see recipe). We served it with Risi e Bisi (see recipe) and a Boston lettuce salad. Add crusty bread. Lemon sorbet with a twist of lemon is a cool dessert.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

deli sliced ham

deli marinated bean salad

sugar

cider vinegar

mustard seed

celery seed

packaged broccoli slaw mix

sourdough bread

coconut cake

Monday

honey

soy sauce

limes

boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

vegetables to grill

ingredients for potato salad

crusty bread

fat-free chocolate ice cream

chocolate chip cookies

Tuesday

canned black beans

canned corn

tomato

reduced-fat Italian dressing

cilantro

red onion

cumin

salad greens

baked corn chips

Wednesday

eggs

celery

onion

low-fat mayonnaise

sweet pickle relish

salt and pepper

whole-wheat bread

lettuce

tomatoes

sprouts

sweet pickles

carrot sticks

canned chicken noodle soup

crackers

strawberry sauce

Thursday

frozen cheese tortellini

vegetable broth

canned diced stewed tomatoes

frozen tiny green peas

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

garlic bread

instant strawberry pudding

skim milk

Friday

canned turkey chili (no beans)

chunky salsa

chopped mild green chilies

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

fat-free flour tortillas

cooking spray

carrot and celery sticks

fresh berries

plain yogurt

lemon sorbet

Saturday

halibut steaks

soy sauce

dry sherry

garlic

fresh ginger

brown sugar

vegetable oil

cooking spray

margarine or butter

olive oil

celery

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