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

MENU PLANNER

April 30, 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

Prepare your own Leg of Lamb for the family today. Serve with Wild and Brown Rice With Grapes (see recipe) and steamed fresh asparagus. Add a Boston lettuce salad and sourdough bread. Store-bought, fat-free pound cake is an easy dessert.

Plan ahead: Cook brown rice ahead to save time. Save enough cake for Monday and buy enough grapes for Tuesday.

Monday/Budget

This Chicken Stew With Peanut Sauce (see recipe) is an excellent way to save money. Serve with couscous and a green salad. Mop the juices of the stew with pita bread. Accompany the leftover cake with store-bought lemon pudding.

Tuesday/Kids

"Crazy Plates," a new, kid-friendly cookbook, has recipes, cartoons and plenty of tips that will feed the kid and tickle the funny bone in everyone. Try The Whole Enchilada (see recipe) for the whole family tonight. (To make things easier, you can buy precooked chicken.) Serve with leftover grapes and extra fat-free tortillas. Gingersnaps are good for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough enchiladas for Wednesday.

Wednesday/Heat and Eat

Dinner will be ready in a flash because you're serving leftover enchiladas -- just heat in the microwave and eat. (As a rule of thumb when reheating in the microwave, 1 cup of cooked food heats in about 1 minute on high, 100 percent power. At medium, or 50 percent power, it takes twice as long.) Serve with mixed greens. Cool down with fat-free chocolate fudge frozen yogurt.

Plan ahead: Save enough yogurt for Thursday.

Thursday/Express

Stop by the deli for sliced roast beef and make your own Beef Sandwiches on Kaiser rolls (trim all visible fat first). Make a quick horseradish sauce by combining 2 tablespoons each low-fat sour cream and mayonnaise, 1 1/2 teaspoons each prepared horseradish and Dijon mustard and a little fresh lemon juice; mix well. Spread sauce on sliced rolls, top with beef and thinly sliced cucumbers. Serve with baked chips and a green salad. Leftover yogurt is dessert.

Friday/Meatless

Cheese Ravioli With Broccoli (see recipe) has plenty of flavor. Serve with a mixed lettuce and tomato salad and Italian bread. Add fresh fruit for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

We enjoyed the flavors of Asian-Style Pork Tenderloins (see recipe) with friends (be careful not to overcook the pork). Serve with rice tossed with fresh chopped parsley and a little butter and sugar snap peas. Add crusty rolls. For dessert, sorbet and macaroons are foolproof.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

leg of lamb

wild rice

brown rice

vegetable oil

celery

onion

fresh sage

salt

pepper

seedless grapes

tomato

parsley

fresh asparagus

Boston lettuce

sourdough bread

store-bought, fat-free pound cake

Monday

chicken drumsticks

salt

pepper

cooking spray

garlic

chili powder

sweet potatoes

canned stewed tomatoes

frozen tiny green peas

reduced-fat peanut butter

lemon

couscous

salad greens

pita bread

store-bought lemon pudding

Tuesday

cooking spray

tomato sauce

salsa

chili powder

cumin

dried oregano

cooked chicken breast

brown rice

canned black beans

carrots

red bell pepper

scallions

lime

cilantro

corn tortillas

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

reduced-fat sour cream

gingersnaps

Wednesday

salad greens

fat-free chocolate fudge frozen yogurt

Thursday

deli sliced roast beef

Kaiser rolls

low-fat sour cream

low-fat mayonnaise

prepared horseradish

Dijon mustard

lemon

cucumbers

baked chips

salad greens

Friday

packaged fresh cheese ravioli

cooking spray

onion

garlic

margarine or butter

frozen broccoli florets

fresh sage

vegetable broth

salt

pepper

Parmesan cheese

salad greens

tomatoes

Italian bread

fresh fruit

Saturday

orange juice

hoisin sauce

fresh ginger

dark sesame oil

sesame seed

pork tenderloins

rice

parsley

butter

sugar snap peas

crusty rolls

sorbet

macaroons

Wild and Brown Rice With Grapes (Sunday)

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes plus soaking time for wild rice

Cooking time: about 50 minutes plus brown rice

1/4 cup wild rice

2 cups water, divided

1/2 cup brown rice (see note)

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/4 cup thinly sliced celery

2 tablespoons chopped onion

3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

/ teaspoon salt

dash freshly ground black pepper

1 cup halved seedless grapes

1/2 cup chopped tomato

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

whole fresh sage leaves for garnish

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