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.
Make the family meal a simple one and serve store-bought smoked turkey. Add deli potato salad and stir in 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish for a different flavor. While you're in the deli, add coleslaw to the list. Add multi-grain rolls, too. For dessert, make Pear Crisp (see recipe) and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough turkey, potato salad, coleslaw, crisp and ice cream for Monday.
Monday/Heat and Eat
Make Smoked Turkey and Swiss Wraps (see recipe) using turkey leftovers. Add leftover potato salad to the menu. Dice 1/2 red bell pepper and stir into the leftover cole slaw. Warm leftover crisp in the microwave and top with leftover ice cream. Wow, that was easy.
Make Minutes Meat Loaf (see recipe) and save time and money. Make the family really happy and serve your own mashed potatoes. Add steamed fresh green beans and whole wheat rolls. Fresh pineapple chunks sprinkled with coconut is a tropical-like dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough meat loaf for Wednesday.
Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Thursday.
These Mexican Pizzas (see recipe) are kid-proof. Serve rice and a chopped lettuce and cherry tomato salad to accompany the pizzas. For dessert, fruit and leftover cookies are standing by.
I took a few liberties with Virginia Beach, Va., prize-winner Connie Weis' Black Bean Enchilada Casserole (see recipe): I took out the meat and substituted frozen, cooked, crumbled vegetable protein instead. It saves lots of fat and calories most of us don't need anyway. Serve with avocado slices on lettuce. Make instant vanilla pudding with skim milk for dessert and top with caramel sauce.
Plan ahead: Save enough caramel sauce for Saturday.
Who will the lucky guests be when you serve Spinach-Stuffed Flank Steak (see recipe)? Serve with your own roasted potatoes, carrots and onions, and a romaine salad. Add sourdough bread. For dessert, drizzle warm leftover caramel sauce over store-bought brownies.
What you'll need for this week's menus (consult recipes for exact amounts)
store-bought smoked turkey
deli potato salad
Anjou or Bosc pears, lemon
light brown sugar
margarine or butter
pecans fat-free vanilla ice cream
fat-free flour tortillas
reduced-fat Swiss cheese tomatoes, lettuce, red bell pepper
ground turkey breast, lean ground beef
any store-bought stuffing mix
barbecue sauce, potatoes to mash
fresh green beans
whole wheat rolls
packaged green salad
Nestle's (or another brand)
fat-free flour tortillas
canned vegetarian refried beans
cooked, refrigerated or frozen, chopped chicken breast
reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese
red bell pepper
frozen, cooked, crumbled
taco seasoning mix
canned black beans
canned chopped green chilies
reduced-fat sour cream
reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
goat cheese, chunky salsa
avocados, lettuce, instant vanilla pudding, skim milk, caramel sauce
bacon, top round or flank steak, salt pepper frozen, chopped spinach
Parmesan cheese potatoes, carrots and onions to roast
romaine lettuce sourdough bread store-bought brownies
Pear Crisp (Sunday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 8 to 10 minutes
Standing time: 5 minutes
4 cups peeled, cored and sliced Anjou or Bosc pears (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup each flour and packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
2 tablespoons chopped pecans