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

MENU PLANNER

March 26, 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

Flavorful Peach Lamb Kebabs (see recipe) will be a family favorite. Serve the sweet and tangy combination with rice and sugar snap peas. Add baguettes. Make a chocolate marble cake from a mix and go easy on any icing to save on calories.

Plan ahead: Save half the kebabs and enough cake for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Heat the leftover lamb and vegetables and serve over couscous (moisten the lamb and vegetables with a little broth or water if mixture seems too dry). Sprinkle with toasted sesame seed and sliced scallions. Add a green salad and sourdough bread. Leftover cake makes a quick dessert

Tuesday/Express

Pick up a rotisserie chicken at your market, remove the skin and serve it with wild mushroom risotto (Quick Pot by Spice Hunter is one brand) or another flavor. (Be good to yourself and make it without adding butter.) Serve with a packaged green salad and multigrain rolls. Fresh fruit chunks make a simple dessert.

Wednesday/Meatless

Tonight's Skillet Chili (see recipe) is high in fiber and easy to prepare. Serve with a crisp lettuce wedge with a light vinaigrette. Crumble a little blue cheese over the salad for added flavor. Add crusty bread. For dessert, oatmeal cookies are on everyone's list of favorites.

Plan ahead: Buy enough blue cheese and save enough cookies for Thursday.

Thursday/Budget

All budgets could use a little squeeze every now and then, and these Ham and Pear Pitas (see recipe) will do it tastily.

Serve the economical, quick-fix meal with your own or deli pasta salad. Finish with leftover cookies and fat-free strawberry ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Friday/Kids

Kids' Beef and Mac Supper (see recipe) will bring them to the table on time. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad and bread.

Keep them at the table a little longer with a slurpy apricot smoothie.

In a blender, combine 1 15 1/4 -ounce can of almond-flavored (or plain) chilled apricot halves and juice, 1 8-ounce container low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt, 2 or 3 drops pure vanilla extract and 6 to 8 ice cubes.

Cover and blend on high until smooth. Add more ice cubes to make it thicker if desired.

Saturday/Entertaining

Make entertaining easy tonight and use the slow cooker to make Italian Pot Roast (see recipe).

Serve with spaghetti tossed in a little olive oil and the sauce from the meat.

Add a mixed green salad and sesame bread sticks. For dessert, top store-bought brownies with leftover strawberry ice cream.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

lamb for cubes

green and red bell peppers

red onions

whole fresh mushrooms

peach preserves

soy sauce

fat-free chicken broth

Dijon mustard

cornstarch

rice

sugar snap peas

baguettes

chocolate marble cake mix

ingredients for or store-bought icing

Monday

couscous

sesame seed

scallions

salad greens

sourdough bread

Tuesday

store-bought rotisserie chicken

wild mushroom risotto boxed mix

packaged green salad

multigrain rolls

fresh fruit chunks

Wednesday

olive oil

onion

chili powder

cumin

canned diced tomatoes and green chilies

fresh zucchini

canned black beans

rice

lettuce

ingredients for or store-bought light vinaigrette

blue cheese

crusty bread

oatmeal cookies

Thursday

whole wheat pitas

salad greens

sliced ham

canned pears

blue cheese

ingredients for or deli pasta salad

fat-free strawberry ice cream

Friday

lean ground beef

onion

garlic

beef broth

Italian seasoning

frozen tiny green peas

elbow macaroni

tomato sauce

Parmesan cheese

lettuce

bread

canned almond-flavored (or plain) apricots

low-fat plain or vanilla yogurt

pure vanilla extract

Saturday

salt

pepper

boneless beef bottom round roast

canned Italian-style or stewed tomatoes

onion

shredded carrots

dry red wine (if using)

tomato paste

garlic

dried basil

spaghetti

olive oil

salad greens

sesame bread sticks

store-bought brownies

Peach Lamb Kebabs (Sunday)

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time 20 minutes

Cooking time less than 45 minutes

1 1/2 pounds well-trimmed cubed lamb

1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces

2 medium red onions cut into 4 wedges each

16 whole fresh mushrooms

1/3 cup peach preserves

2 tablespoons each soy sauce and water

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free chicken broth

1 tablespoon each Dijon mustard and cornstarch

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