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

MENU PLANNER

June 04, 2000|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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

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

You'll have plenty of time with the family when you prepare Clay Pot Roasted Chicken. Soak clay pot according to directions (usually about 10 minutes). Place halved lemon in cavity of a 3 1/2 - to 4-pound chicken. Tuck wings under and tie legs with string. Place chicken in pot, breast side up; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried tarragon. Cover with lid. Place in cold oven. Turn oven to 450 degrees and bake 1 hour. Uncover and bake 15 more minutes or until meat thermometer inserted in thigh reaches 180 degrees. Serve chicken with orzo tossed with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Alongside, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers drizzled with a little cider vinegar and olive oil are colorful. Add whole-wheat rolls. For dessert, offer pineapple sherbet and sugar cookies.

Plan ahead: Save enough chicken and sherbet for Monday.

Tip: Discard chicken skin to avoid extra fat and calories.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Use those chicken leftovers and make Chicken Hash (see recipe) tonight. Serve with frozen tiny green peas and a spinach salad. Add any muffins. Leftover sherbet is on call for dessert.

Plan ahead: If you have any leftover spinach, save for Wednesday.

Tip: If not enough leftover chicken is available, use canned chicken breast.

Tuesday/Express

"Gone Fishin' " has new meaning when you catch frozen crisp-coated fish fillets and make fish fillet sandwiches. Bake fillets according to directions. Spread low-fat tartar sauce on toasted sandwich buns, top with the fillets and add sliced tomatoes and shredded lettuce. Serve with shoestring potatoes. Pick up some coleslaw in the deli and some fresh fruit in produce, and you have a perfect catch from a grocery store fishing trip.

Wednesday/Budget

No one will care that you saved money with Beef and Spinach Pilaf (see recipe), because it tastes good and it's so easy. Serve the combo with store-bought carrot and raisin salad and whole-wheat pitas. Instant banana pudding made with skim milk can be perked up with fresh sliced bananas.

Tip: Chop and use any leftover fresh spinach in casserole if available.

Thursday/Meatless

Creamy Baked Pasta (see recipe) has all the marks of comfort food. Serve with mixed greens and garlic bread. Munch on cookies for dessert.

Friday/Kids

Sign up the kids for summer baseball and Turkey Tacos (see recipe) at the same time. Serve with canned pinto beans. Hit a home run and serve grapes for dessert.

Tip: For easier filling, place taco shells in upside-down muffin pan.

Saturday/Entertaining

Invite your friends over for Grilled Pork Tenderloin and Savory Slaw (see recipe). Serve with roasted potatoes and crusty bread. Buy fruit tarts for dessert.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

lemon

chicken

dried tarragon

orzo

Parmesan cheese

tomatoes

cucumbers

cider vinegar

olive oil

whole-wheat rolls

pineapple sherbet

sugar cookies

Monday

frozen hash brown potatoes

fat-free chicken broth

Worcestershire sauce

onion

red bell pepper

dried sage

black pepper

salt

vegetable oil

salsa or ketchup if desired

frozen tiny green peas

fresh spinach

any muffins

Tuesday

frozen crisp- coated fish fillets

low-fat tartar sauce

sandwich buns

tomatoes

shredded lettuce

frozen shoestring potatoes

deli coleslaw

fresh fruit

Wednesday

lean ground beef

red onion

yellow bell pepper

long-grain rice

fat-free chicken broth

black pepper

ground nutmeg

frozen chopped spinach

Parmesan cheese

store-bought carrot and raisin salad

whole-wheat pitas

instant banana pudding

skim milk

bananas

Thursday

medium pasta shells

canned chickpeas

part-skim ricotta cheese

Parmesan cheese

onion

eggs

salt

dried oregano

frozen chopped broccoli

jar red pasta sauce (such as marinara)

salad greens

garlic bread

cookies

Friday

packaged corn taco shells

cooking spray

vegetable oil

ground turkey breast

canned stewed tomatoes

mild salsa

canned corn

shredded lettuce

shredded cheese

avocado

canned pinto beans

grapes

Saturday

pork tenderloins

garlic or vegetable oil

hickory-flavored barbecue sauce

packaged coleslaw mix with carrots

sweet onion (such as Vidalia, Walla Walla or Texas Sweet)

red bell pepper

bottled ranch salad dressing

cilantro

lime

potatoes to roast

crusty bread

store-bought fruit tarts

Chicken Hash (Monday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time:15 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

5 cups frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed

2 cups chopped cooked (leftover) chicken

1/4 cup fat-free chicken broth

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 large chopped onion

1 large chopped red bell pepper

1/4 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

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