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

Menu Planner

October 17, 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

Serve flavorful spiral-sliced baked ham to the family today. Baked Sweet Potatoes With Maple and Lime (see recipe) is a sweet-tart accompaniment. Add steamed green beans and your favorite store-bought muffins. A store-bought lemon meringue pie carries on the sweet-tart theme for a grand finale.

Plan ahead: Save enough ham and sweet potatoes for Monday. Also, chop 1 cup ham for Tuesday if you have any left over.

Tips: If you have a mandoline slicer, use it to slice the potatoes and onions. Cut the pie into 6 slices rather than the recommended 5 to save fat and calories.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Ham sandwiches on rye with slices of apple and a little honey-mustard sauce spread on the bread make an easy entree. Heat the leftover sweet potatoes and add deli coleslaw to complete your meal. If you have any leftover pie, serve it or fruit for dessert.

Tuesday/Budget

Tuna, Ham and Rice Skillet saves money and time (see recipe). In a large, nonstick skillet, cook 1 (7-ounce) package of any yellow rice mix according to directions, but without salt or fat. Stir in 1 (10-ounce) package frozen tiny green peas (thawed), 1 (2-ounce) jar chopped pimentos (drained), 1 cup chopped deli or leftover ham and 1 (6-ounce) can water-packed albacore tuna (drained). Heat through. Serve with a mixed green salad and bread. Make banana pudding with skim milk for dessert.

Wednesday/Kids

Feed the gang Mexidogs tonight. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lay out 6 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas. On each tortilla, spread a generous 1/4 cup vegetarian refried beans (from a 15-ounce can) to within 1 inch of edge; add 1 tablespoon chunky salsa and 1 fat-free hot dog near edge of tortilla; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon shredded Monterey Jack cheese. Roll tortillas over hot dogs; fold up bottom and continue rolling, leaving top open. Place tortilla seam side down in a 12-by-8-inch baking dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high (100 percent power) 5 to 7 minutes or until dogs are thoroughly heated and cheese is melted.

Add some crunch to your meal with oven fries and jicama and carrot sticks. For dessert, oatmeal cookies and peaches will feed your inner (and outer) child.

Thursday/Meatless

Cooler fall days are a good time to welcome Corn and Potato Chowder (see recipe). Serve the rich blend with a green salad and multigrain rolls. For dessert, top fresh fruit with shredded coconut.

Friday/Budget

Stop by the supermarket frozen-food case for your favorite packaged frozen rice mix. I picked up a rice-in-a-bowl variety. The brand I chose features 10 varieties that cost $2.79 each. Each one has about 350 calories and 20 grams of protein. The adult in us liked the spicy beef and broccoli flavor; the child went for the sweet-and-sour chicken because of the mild (bland) flavor. Add a packaged of green salad and crusty bread. With store-bought fat-free pound cake for dessert, you have yourself a meal.

Plan ahead: Save enough pound cake for Saturday.

Saturday/Entertaining

Sweet and salty flavors abound in Honey-Mustard Chicken (see recipe). Serve the easy entree with couscous tossed with currants (see recipe). Add steamed carrots and a Boston lettuce salad. Serve with sourdough bread. For dessert, drizzle leftover pound cake with fat-free chocolate sauce, berries and toasted slivered almonds.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

spiral-sliced baked ham

limes

pure maple syrup

olive oil

sweet potatoes

salt and pepper

red onions

fresh bread crumbs

fresh sage

green beans

muffins

frozen lemon meringue pie

Monday

rye bread

apples

honey-mustard sauce

deli coleslaw

fruit

Tuesday

packaged yellow rice

frozen tiny green peas

jar of chopped pimentos

deli ham (if no leftovers from Sunday)

water-packed albacore tuna

salad greens

bread

ingredients for banana pudding

skim milk

Wednesday

fat-free flour tortillas

canned vegetarian refried beans

chunky salsa

fat-free hot dogs

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

oven fries

jicama

carrot sticks

oatmeal cookies

peaches

Thursday

margarine or butter

onion

baking potatoes

fresh sage

bay leaf

flour

dry white wine

vegetable broth

evaporated skim milk

frozen corn

parsley

scallions

reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese

salad greens

multigrain rolls

fresh fruit

shredded coconut

Friday

packaged frozen rice mix

packaged salad greens

crusty bread

fat-free pound cake

Saturday

cooking spray

honey

grainy mustard

vegetable oil

curry powder

salt

pepper

chicken

currants

cinnamon

turmeric

cumin

couscous

carrots

Boston lettuce

sourdough bread

fat-free chocolate sauce

berries (any kind)

slivered almonds

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