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

MENU PLANNER

May 28, 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 broiled lamb chops for the family today. Serve the chops with brown rice. Accompany your meal with carrots tossed with a little butter and chopped fresh dill. Serve with dinner rolls. For dessert, select any store-bought layer cake and serve it with fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Plan ahead: Broil 2 extra lamb chops, prepare enough carrots and save some cake for Monday. (Note: If your budget permits, prepare 4 extra lamb chops for Monday instead of 2). Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Tip: If desired, brush the lamb chops with a mixture of olive oil, minced garlic and dried oregano before broiling.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Serve Couscous Lamb Pitas tonight. Remove leftover lamb from chops and dice meat; warm meat. Prepare couscous according to directions. Mix lamb with couscous; a peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber; and moisten the mixture with plain fat-free yogurt. Line whole wheat pitas with a lettuce leaf and stuff with lamb-couscous mixture. Heat the leftover carrots and add to your meal. Finish with leftover cake.

Tuesday/Meatless

Try colorful and delicious Rigatoni With Sugar Snap Peas (see recipe) tonight. Serve with a green salad and Italian bread. Instant pistachio pudding made with skim milk is an easy dessert. Top the pudding with fat-free whipped cream for a little pizazz.

Wednesday/Express

Make fast French dip sandwiches tonight with a few store-bought ingredients -- like deli roast beef, canned brown gravy and French bread from the bakery. Warm the beef and gravy separately. Split and toast the bread. Lay the beef on the bread, fold over and give everyone a separate bowl of gravy for dipping. Serve with frozen oven French fries sprinkled with paprika and some green beans. Pears are good for dessert.

Thursday/Kids

Kids like "mine" stamped on most everything, so why not give them My Own Meat Loaf (see recipe). You can get in the act with mom's own mashed potatoes and make your specialty. Add fresh steamed spinach and any biscuits. Let the kids decorate store-bought cup cakes for dessert.

Friday/Budget

Stamp out overspending with this Vegetable Soup. In a large saucepan, combine 3 cups tomato juice, 1 (14 1/2 -ounce) can fat-free chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and 1 (16- ounce) bag frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots or another combination). Bring to boil over medium-high heat; cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add 1 (15-ounce) can rinsed and drained kidney beans and heat 5 minutes or until heated through. Add one of my personal favorites, grilled cheese sandwiches (use dense white bread and reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese), to the meal. Fresh fruit and cookies are standing by for dessert.

Tip: Add any leftover vegetables to the soup.

Saturday/Entertaining

Your lucky guests will enjoy Parmesan Flounder (see recipe) tonight. Serve with Confetti Rice (see recipe). Serve with a Boston lettuce salad and baguettes. For dessert, serve leftover vanilla ice cream with Praline Sauce (see recipe). Spoon over ice cream.

Shopping list

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

Sunday

lamb chops

brown rice

carrots

butter

fresh dill

dinner rolls

any store-bought layer cake

fat-free vanilla ice cream

Monday

couscous

cucumber

plain fat-free yogurt

whole wheat pitas

lettuce

Tuesday

rigatoni

fat-free cottage cheese

garlic

fresh basil

Parmesan cheese

plain fat-free yogurt

olive oil

salt

pepper

frozen sugar snap peas

salad greens

Italian bread

instant pistachio pudding

skim milk

fat-free whipped cream

Wednesday

deli roast beef

canned brown gravy

French bread

frozen oven fries

paprika

green beans

pears

Thursday

ketchup

canned mild chopped green chilies

shredded carrots

eggs

Worcestershire sauce

salt

ground turkey breast

lean ground beef

quick-cooking oats

potatoes to mash

fresh spinach

any biscuits

store-bought cup cakes

Friday

tomato juice

fat-free chicken broth

garlic powder

dried oregano

pepper

frozen mixed vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots or another combination)

canned kidney beans

dense white bread

reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

fresh fruit

cookies

Saturday

cooking spray

flounder fillets

Parmesan cheese

low-fat mayonnaise

paprika

shredded carrots

frozen tiny green peas

raisins

salt

pepper

rice

Boston lettuce

baguettes

light brown sugar

dark brown sugar

maple syrup or maple-flavored syrup

butter or margarine

pure vanilla extract

fat-free half and half

pecans

The recipes:

Rigatoni with Sugar Snap Peas (Tuesday)

Makes 6 servings

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