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

MENU PLANNER

April 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

Make it a family day with Marinated Top Sirloin Steak (see recipe) on the menu. Serve the steak with your own roasted red potatoes and coleslaw. Add crusty bread. For dessert, a store-bought lemon meringue pie is perfect.

Plan ahead: Save enough pie for Monday.

Monday/Meatless

Make Baked Spanish Rice Casserole (see recipe) and try the frozen and cooked crumbles that look like ground meat but are actually vegetable protein. Serve with fresh steamed carrots and whole wheat bread. Leftover pie is waiting for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough of the casserole for Tuesday.

Tuesday/Kids

Watch the kids line up for tacos tonight. Use your favorite store-bought taco shells and stuff with Monday's heated leftover casserole. Top the filling with salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. Adults might want to add sliced jalapeno peppers to their tacos. Serve with canned pinto beans. Make a chopped salad with lettuce and tomatoes. Enjoy store-bought cupcakes for dessert.

Plan ahead: Buy enough cupcakes for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Express

Make Beef Stew Bowls (see recipe) in a hurry tonight using just two store-bought ingredients. Serve with a packaged green salad. For dessert, try apricot halves along with leftover cupcakes.

Plan ahead: Save enough apricots for Friday.

Thursday/Budget

Here we go again, saving money and enjoying Spinach-Stuffed Meatloaf (see recipe). Baked potatoes are always a welcome side dish with meatloaf. Brighten the plate with any fresh sauteed summer squash. Serve with any biscuits. Fresh fruit is a refreshing dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough meatloaf and bake extra potatoes for Friday.

Friday/Heat and Eat

What's better than meatloaf? Meatloaf Sandwiches, of course. Slice hoagie rolls, slather with low-fat mayonnaise or your favorite spread, add a slice of leftover meatloaf and top with a crisp lettuce leaf. Using leftover potatoes, make baked potato wedges. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes in 8 wedges, coat with cooking spray and paprika or cayenne. Bake on a cookie sheet covered with foil for 20 minutes or until hot. Garnish them with a little shredded cheese. For dessert, spoon leftover apricots over fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Saturday/Entertaining

Some lucky guests will enjoy your own baked flounder tonight. Serve with Carolina Brunch-Style Grits (see recipe), from this year's Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist, Inez Duke of Mars Hill, N.C. Green beans are a great accompaniment to the meal. Add dinner rolls. Top leftover ice cream with fresh or frozen strawberries and garnish with light whipped cream for the simplest dessert.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

orange juice

garlic

soy sauce

black pepper

fresh tarragon

olive oil

well-trimmed top sirloin steak

red potatoes

ingredients for coleslaw

crusty bread

store-bought lemon meringue pie

Monday

cooking spray

long-grain rice

vegetable oil

onions

celery

green bell peppers

packaged frozen and cooked textured vegetable protein crumbles

canned Mexican-style (or stewed) tomatoes

canned chopped chilies

Romano cheese

provolone cheese

carrots

whole wheat bread

Tuesday

taco shells

salsa

reduced-fat sour cream

jalapeno peppers

canned pinto beans

lettuce

tomatoes

store-bought cupcakes

Wednesday

cooking spray

packaged refrigerated bread sticks

canned beef stew

shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

scallions

packaged green salad

26-ounce jar apricot halves

Thursday

cooking spray

vegetable oil

fresh mushrooms

onion

garlic

frozen chopped spinach

salt

pepper

shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Parmesan cheese

ground turkey breast

quick-cooking oatmeal

1 percent milk

egg

dried basil and oregano

baking potatoes

any fresh summer squash

any biscuits

fresh fruit

Friday

hoagie rolls

low-fat mayonnaise or other favorite spread

lettuce

cooking spray

paprika or cayenne

any shredded cheese

fat-free vanilla ice cream

Saturday

ingredients for baked flounder

quick-cooking grits

canned corn with red and green peppers

frozen chopped spinach

taco seasoning mix

onion

margarine or butter

reduced-fat or regular shredded Cheddar cheese

green beans

dinner rolls

fresh or frozen strawberries

light whipped cream

Marinated Top Sirloin Steak (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Marinating time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 6 to 8 minutes

Standing time: 5 minutes

1/2 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons chopped garlic

3 tablespoons soy sauce

2 teaspoons black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 1-pound top sirloin steak, well-trimmed

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