This week's menus

Menu Planner

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

October 24, 1999|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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.

Shopping List

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


boneless chuck roast

dehydrated onion-mushroom soup mix

dried thyme



salad greens

dinner rolls

jelly roll


beef broth

pearl barley

frozen mixed vegetables

deli coleslaw or ingredients to make your own



vegetable oil

cumin seeds

fresh ginger

curry powder

canned chickpeas

canned chopped tomatoes






acorn squash

brown sugar

salad greens

pita bread



cooked roast chicken

frozen broccoli casserole

packaged salad greens

fresh fruit


French bread loaf dough

pizza sauce

packaged pepperoni slices

green bell pepper

shredded reduced-fat mozzarella

carrot and celery sticks

fat-free vanilla ice cream

butterscotch sauce


vegetable oil

ground turkey breast



fresh tomatoes

canned pinto beans

taco sauce

chili powder


ground cumin


taco shells


shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


instant vanilla pudding

skim milk


fresh tuna


fresh herbs (any kind)

Parmesan cheese

olive oil


red pepper flakes

portobello mushrooms


red bell pepper

fresh parsley

fresh thyme


crusty bread


cooking spray


A Sunday dinner of Beef Pot Roast and Vegetables (see recipe) always reminds me of my mother (it was one of her standards). Add a mixed green salad and dinner rolls. A store-bought jelly roll makes a good dessert.

Plan ahead: Chop 2 cups cooked roast and save enough jelly roll for Monday. If you have leftover vegetables, save them for Monday, too.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Beef, Barley and Vegetable Soup will warm you on a cool fall day. In a Dutch oven, bring 5 cups beef broth and 1 cup water to boil. Add 1/2 cup pearl barley and 4 cups frozen mixed vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Add 2 cups leftover chopped roast and any vegetables left over from Monday; simmer 10 minutes until barley and vegetables are tender. Serve with homemade or deli coleslaw and crackers. Dessert is leftover jelly roll.


Gingered Couscous With Chickpeas spells fall (see recipe), es- pecially served with acorn squash. For the squash: Pierce two 1 1/2 -pound acorn squash with fork or sharp knife all the way to center and place in microwave on paper towels. Microwave on high (100 percent power) 12 to 16 minutes (turn over after 8 minutes); let stand 5 minutes. Cut in half and scrape out seeds and membranes. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar. Finish your meal with a green salad and pita bread. If you're still hungry, add a cookie for dessert.


Stop by the market tonight for a cooked roast chicken. Pair it with a broccoli casserole from the market's freezer. I bought a package of creamy broccoli, chicken and cheese with rice. It was $2.99 in my market for a 28-ounce package. Serve it with a packaged green salad and fresh fruit.


While you're secretly saving money on tonight's meal, the family is begging for more of it. That's what happens when you serve Pan Pizza Casserole (see recipe). Add carrot and celery sticks. For dessert, serve fat-free vanilla ice cream with butterscotch sauce.

Plan ahead: Save enough butterscotch sauce for Friday and Saturday and enough ice cream for Saturday.


No self-respecting kid could turn down Turkey Tacos (see recipe). Serve them with rice. The children can make instant vanilla pudding with skim milk. For fun, they'll like to swirl leftover butterscotch sauce through the pudding.

Tip: To fill tacos, invert a muffin pan and stand the shells between the cups. Spoon filling into shells. (A 10-year-old gave me this tip.)


Invite me over when you prepare your own grilled tuna. I'll arrive early if you add orzo tossed with fresh herbs and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Be prepared when you add Stuffed Portobello Caps to the menu (see recipe); the whole neighborhood will show up. Add crusty bread.

For dessert, butterscotch banana splits will make everyone linger at the table. Heat broiler. Place 6 peeled bananas, halved lengthwise, on baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush with butterscotch sauce; broil 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with leftover frozen fat-free vanilla ice cream and additional butterscotch sauce.

Beef Pot Roast and Vegetables (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 3 1/2 hours

1 boneless chuck roast (about 4 pounds)

1 cup water

1 packet dehydrated onion-mushroom soup mix

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, quartered

1 pound fresh carrots, cut into thirds

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