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

Menu Planner

September 26, 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

Steak Jamaican reminds you of the islands (see recipe). Serve with baked potato wedges. Coat them with cooking spray and a little paprika before baking. Sugar snap peas are a good side dish. Add crusty bread. For dessert, a store-bought angel food cake with fat-free strawberry ice cream is a treat.

Plan ahead: Save half the steak for Monday and enough ice cream for Wednesday. Bake 3 pounds (or six 8-ounce) extra whole potatoes (do not cut into wedges) for Tuesday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Steak Stir-Fry takes advantage of leftovers. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Add 1 (10-ounce) package coleslaw blend and 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms; cook, covered, 3 minutes. In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce and 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Add sauce and leftover steak to skillet and cook 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve with quick brown rice and sourdough bread. Pineapple chunks garnished with toasted coconut make a simple dessert.

Tip: To toast coconut, spread 1/4 cup sweetened coconut in a pie plate and microwave on high 30 to 60 seconds or until browned; cool before using.

Tuesday/Meatless

Hold the line on food costs with savory Baked Potato Soup (see recipe). Add a spinach salad and crackers. For dessert, gingersnaps and pears are easy.

Wednesday/Budget

Quick Red Beans and Rice (see recipe) will put a lock on high grocery bills and will not take all day to cook like the traditional version. Serve this New Orleans favorite with packaged collard greens. You'll have to have cornbread with this meal. (Use a mix for convenience.) Leftover strawberry ice cream is a soothing finish.

Thursday/Kids

Make 'em smile when you serve your little darlings Kids' Favorite Grilled Drumsticks (see recipe). Serve with oven-cooked potato nuggets and deli carrot/raisin salad. The kids can make slice-and-bake sugar cookies and serve them with peaches for dessert.

Tip: Remove the skin from chicken to save fat and calories.

Friday/Express

Make a fast Pantry Chili tonight. In a large saucepan, combine 2 (15-ounce) cans great Northern or other white beans (rinsed and drained), 2 (16-ounce) jars picante sauce, 2 (5-ounce) cans chicken breast in broth and 1 teaspoon cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 minutes. Ladle into bowls over rice. Garnish each bowl with 1 tablespoon shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Serve with a green salad and crusty bread. Add fresh fruit for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Citrus Baked Dover Sole is perfect for guests (see recipe). Serve with steamed whole artichokes and this honey mustard dip: In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup prepared mustard with 2 tablespoons each of cider vinegar and honey, and mix well.

Wild rice and couscous is a delicious side dish. Prepare 1 cup wild rice and 1/3 cup couscous according to directions on each package. In a medium bowl, combine cooked rice and cooked couscous along with 6 sliced scallions and 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts. Fluff with fork and serve. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, store-bought fruit tarts are colorful.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

honey

limes

vegetable oil

Dijon mustard

garlic

salt

pepper

well-trimmed top round steak

baking potatoes

cooking spray

paprika

sugar snap peas

crusty bread

angel food cake

fat-free strawberry ice cream

Monday

vegetable oil

packaged coleslaw blend

fresh mushrooms

hoisin sauce

soy sauce

barbecue sauce

ground ginger

quick brown rice

sourdough bread

pineapple chunks

coconut

Tuesday

margarine or butter

onions

garlic

fat-free chicken broth

1 percent milk

salt

white pepper

scallions

fresh spinach

crackers

gingersnaps

pears

Wednesday

long-grain rice

vegetable oil

red onion

celery

garlic

canned red or kidney beans

Canadian bacon

fat-free chicken broth

Worcestershire sauce

parsley

red-pepper sauce

packaged collard greens

cornbread mix

Thursday

maple syrup

chili sauce

cider vinegar

prepared horseradish

dry mustard

chicken drumsticks

potato nuggets

deli carrot/raisin salad

slice-and-bake sugar cookies

peaches

Friday

canned great Northern or other white beans

jarred picante sauce

canned chicken breast

cumin

rice

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

salad greens

crusty bread

fresh fruit

Saturday

sole fillets

salt

white pepper

oranges

lemons

cornstarch

whole artichokes

prepared mustard

cider vinegar

honey

wild rice

couscous

scallions

pine nuts

dinner rolls

fruit tarts

Steak Jamaican (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 10 minutes

Marinating time: 6 to 8 hours

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