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

MENU PLANNER

February 20, 2000|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.

Sunday/Family

The family is always pleased when leg of lamb (see recipe) is on the menu. Serve the juicy lamb with packaged long-grain and wild rice. Toss fresh cooked sliced carrots with chopped fresh parsley and a little butter. Add dinner rolls. For dessert, make a fresh fruit cup and serve it with cookies.

Plan ahead: Save some lamb and prepare enough carrots for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Leftover lamb will make delicious lamb sandwiches. Use dense white bread and brush with a thin coat of olive oil; top bread with thin slices of lamb, roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes and sliced Kalamata olives. Accompany the sandwiches with leftover carrots. For dessert, top fat-free vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.

Plan ahead: Save enough vanilla ice cream for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Kids

Remind the kids that tonight's pasta looks like little butterflies and they'll enjoy bow tie pasta with basil and Parmesan (see recipe) even more.

Serve with green beans and breadsticks. Help the kids make banana splits for dessert. For one split: Halve a banana and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a dessert dish and top with 1/2 cup each fat-free strawberry and leftover vanilla ice creams, chocolate syrup and light whipped cream. Add a maraschino cherry if you like.

Plan ahead: Save enough strawberry ice cream for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Budget

Meatloaf is always a popular budget-stretcher, and Spicy Meatloaf (see recipe) continues the tradition. Serve with baked potatoes and sauteed zucchini squash. Add whole-wheat rolls. Leftover ice cream is an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Save 2 servings of the meatloaf and bake 4 extra potatoes for Thursday.

Thursday/Express

Chili-stuffed potatoes will be quick tonight. Heat leftover baked potatoes and a can of store-bought vegetarian chili. Crumble Wednesday's meat loaf into the chili. Slash the tops of the potatoes and spoon chili over potatoes. Sprinkle shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese on top. Serve with a packaged green salad and sourdough rolls. Make instant chocolate pudding with skim milk for dessert.

Friday/Meatless

Black bean frittata (see recipe) is flavorful and easy. Serve with one of the packaged yellow rice mixes and with fat-free flour tortillas. Crunch on jicama and carrot sticks. Add fresh fruit for dessert.

Saturday/Easy Entertaining

Your guests will look forward to your own grilled fish. Serve your specialty with roasted red potatoes. Napa slaw is the perfect accompaniment (see recipe). Add crusty bread. For dessert, sprinkle peeled pear halves with crumbled Gorgonzola cheese.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

leg of lamb

garlic

Parmesan cheese

fresh parsley

salt pepper

cooking spray

packaged long-grain and wild rice

fresh carrots

parsley

butter

dinner rolls

fresh fruit

cookies

Monday

dense white bread

olive oil

roasted red peppers

tomatoes

Kalamata olives

fat-free vanilla ice cream

caramel sauce

Tuesday

bow tie pasta

lean ground beef

garlic

canned tomatoes

salt

pepper

fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

green beans

breadsticks

bananas

fat-free strawberry ice cream

chocolate syrup

light whipped cream

maraschino cherries

Wednesday

lean ground beef

ground turkey breast

white bread

eggs

canned diced tomatoes and green chilies

onion

chili powder

black pepper

chili sauce

shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

potatoes to bake

zucchini squash

whole-wheat rolls

Thursday

store-bought vegetarian chili

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

packaged green salad

sourdough rolls

instant chocolate pudding

skim milk

Friday

salsa

cilantro

vegetable oil

scallions

baked tortilla chips

eggs

canned black beans

jalapeno peppers

cumin

shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese

packaged yellow rice

fat-free flour tortillas

jicama

carrot sticks

fresh fruit

Saturday

your own fish to grill

red potatoes to roast

cilantro

garlic

gingerroot

honey

crushed red peppers

soy sauce

limes

dry white wine

canola or other vegetable

oil sesame oil

Napa cabbage

red bell pepper

carrot

scallions

crusty bread

fresh or canned pears

crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

Leg of lamb (Sunday)

Makes 12 servings

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Standing time: 10 to 15 minutes

1 5- to 6-pound well-trimmed leg of lamb (see note)

8 cloves sliced garlic

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

cooking spray

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