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

MENU PLANNER

January 23, 2000|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

Enjoy lean and flavorful Sesame-Orange Marinated Flank Steak with the family today (see recipe). Serve with poppy seed (eggless) noodles. (Toss 12 ounces cooked noodles with a little margarine or butter and about 1 teaspoon poppy seeds.) Steam fresh or frozen snow peas for a colorful side dish. Add bread. For dessert, serve fat-free pound cake with any sherbet.

Plan ahead: Save 1 cooked flank steak and enough cake for Monday.

Monday/Heat and eat

Use leftover flank steak to make your own beef and vegetable stir-fry. Use frozen stir-fry vegetables or fresh ones from the salad bar and a store-bought stir-fry sauce. Cut the meat into thin slices, then strips, and add them after the vegetables are almost done; cook just enough to heat. Serve this quick combo over rice and add whole-wheat rolls. Leftover cake is a quick dessert.

Tuesday/Budget

On a cold winter evening, Lusty Leek and Potato Soup (see recipe) will warm you. Serve with a romaine salad and focaccia. For dessert, leftover sherbet and cookies are simple.

Wednesday/Kids

If you have kids, you'll love the cookbook "One Bite Won't Kill You," by Ann Hodman (Houghton Mifflin, $15). Even if you don't have munchers, the book is a hoot. Here's one of the author's favorites for her own angels; she calls it "More" (see recipe). At our house we always say something good tastes like "more," and maybe she agrees. Serve "More" with a chopped lettuce salad and bread. Store-bought cupcakes are a kid kind of dessert.

Thursday/Express Prepare a quick Tuna Melt tonight. Make or buy the tuna salad. Spread it on whole-wheat bread, add a sliced tomato (if they are not too horrible) and top with reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese. Broil just until cheese melts and the sandwich is hot. Serve with store-bought tomato basil soup. Add a little crushed dried or fresh sliced basil to the soup for added flavor. Serve with store-bought brownies.

Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Friday.

Friday/Meatless

Tonight's combination, Pasta with Spinach and Tomatoes, makes you think you're in Italy. Well, maybe (see recipe). Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Add leftover brownies.

Saturday/Entertaining

You've just been to Italy; now take your guests to France with Pork Chops Nicoise (see recipe). Serve this Mediterranean favorite with boiled small red potatoes and sauteed zucchini. Your meal demands baguettes. Sorbet is a natural dessert. Now add some dainty sugar cookies.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

soy sauce

sesame oil

beef broth

dark brown sugar

fresh ginger

garlic

orange

flank steaks

poppy seeds

eggless noodles

fresh or frozen snow peas

bread

fat-free pound cake

any sherbet

Monday

frozen or fresh stir-fry vegetables

store-bought stir-fry sauce

rice

whole-wheat rolls

Tuesday

olive oil

leeks

yellow boiling potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn

fat-free chicken broth

salt

pepper

romaine

focaccia

cookies

Wednesday

cooking spray

rotini (twists) pasta

lean ground beef

reduced-fat tomato soup

garlic

salt

pepper

reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

lettuce

bread

store-bought cupcakes

Thursday

ingredients for or store-bought tuna salad

whole-wheat bread

tomato

reduced-fat shredded Swiss cheese

store-bought tomato basil soup

dried or fresh basil

store-bought brownies

Friday

fettuccine

onion

olive oil

canned Italian-style or stewed tomatoes

frozen chopped spinach

salt

pepper

crumbled feta cheese

salad greens

garlic bread

Saturday

vegetable oil

pork loin chops

garlic

canned tomatoes

salt

crushed red peppers

black pepper

kalamata olives

red potatoes

zucchini squash

baguettes

sorbet

sugar cookies

Sesame-Orange Marinated Flank Steak (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 5 minutes; Marinating time: 2 to 8 hours

Cooking time: 10 minutes

Standing time: 10 minutes

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons each sesame oil and beef broth

2 tablespoons each dark brown sugar and finely chopped fresh ginger

4 crushed garlic cloves

4 strips orange zest (orange part only)

2 1-pound flank steaks

In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, beef broth, brown sugar, ginger, garlic and orange zest; mix well. Divide and pour into 2 resealable plastic bags. Add 1 steak to each bag. Marinate in refrigerator 2 to 8 hours. To broil both steaks: remove meat and discard marinade. Broil 6 inches from heat for 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand 10 minutes. To serve, slice thinly cross grain.

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