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

Menu Planner

June 18, 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

Atlanta friend Elaine Hentschel prepared this delicious Herbed Roast Lamb (see recipe) recently. Serve it with Hearts of Palm with Cherry Tomato Salad (see recipe). Serve the salad, along with parsleyed rice and dinner rolls for a perfect family meal. Buy a lemon meringue pie for dessert. Plan ahead: Save enough lamb, half the salad and enough pie for Monday. Prepare 2 extra cups of cooked rice for Tuesday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Take full advantage of Sunday's leftovers and make Fettuccine With Lamb and Mint (see recipe). Serve with leftover hearts of palm salad on lettuce and whole wheat pita bread. Leftover pie works for dessert.

Tuesday/Meatless

Who cares if meat is missing tonight with Southwestern Stuffed Peppers (see recipe)? Serve with canned black beans and a green salad. Add warmed fat-free tortillas. Peaches are good for dessert.

Wednesday/Budget

You can take a bow and put money in the bank when you serve Turkey Lasagna (see recipe). Serve with an Italian salad and garlic bread. Munch on oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Thursday/Kids

It's kid's night, so serve the little darlings Toasty Bean Tostadas. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat both sides of 8 (8-inch) fat-free flour tortillas with cooking spray. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheets and bake 8 minutes or until crisp. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook 8 ounces lean ground beef 3 minutes or until no longer pink; drain well. Add 1 (16-ounce) can vegetarian baked beans and heat through. Divide the beef/bean mixture among the tortillas; top each with shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese and bake 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve with shredded lettuce, mild salsa and reduced-fat sour cream. (The adults might like to add some chopped onions and sliced jalapeno peppers.) Serve with your own carrot and pineapple salad. Your angels can make instant chocolate pudding with skim milk and top it with their favorite marshmallow topping.

Friday/Express

Pretend you made it all yourself, but instead pick-up Buitoni's (or another brand) Three Cheese Mini Tortellini and top with its marinara sauce. Sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese on the combo for a flavor punch. Add a packaged green salad and Italian bread. For dessert, enjoy apricots.

Saturday/Entertaining

We're celebrating our anniversary in Houston this year (where it all began) with dinner at Cafe Annie's. If you can't make it there, you can still serve Chef Robert Del Grande's Filet Mignon With Avocado and Sea Salt (see recipe) for a romantic dinner for two.

Alongside, Chef Del Grande recommends Cilantro and Serrano Chili Rice. In a 1-quart saucepan over high heat, combine 1 1/2 cups fat-free chicken broth with 1 cup Texmati rice (or another aromatic rice). Bring to a boil, stir well, and cover the pan. Reduce heat to very low and simmer 15 to 18 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon butter, half a minced medium onion, 1 minced serrano chili and 1/4 cup minced cilantro; mix well. Stir the cilantro mixture into the hot rice until the butter melts and the ingredients are well distributed. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Serve with a bibb lettuce salad and crusty bread. For dessert, swoon over Meringues with Coffee Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce. Just fill store-bought meringues with coffee-flavored or another flavor ice cream and top with chocolate sauce.

Adapted from "50 Ways to Feed Your Lover" (Morrow, 2000) by J. Sarlin & J. Saltiel, $22.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

fresh mint

fresh oregano

ground cinnamon

salt

ground nutmeg

pepper

garlic

well-trimmed, boned and rolled leg of lamb

lemon

canned hearts of palm pieces

red onion

"grape" or "teardrop" or other small tomatoes

fresh basil

white wine vinegar

olive oil

fresh parsley

long-grain rice

dinner rolls

store-bought lemon meringue pie

Monday

fettuccine

cooking spray

olive oil

onion

red bell pepper

garlic

ground coriander

cayenne pepper

salt

canned whole

tomatoes

tomato paste

parsley

fresh mint

lettuce

whole wheat pita bread

Tuesday

cooking spray

red (yellow or orange) bell peppers

canned corn

shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese

canned tomatoes and green chilies (such as Rotel)

canned black beans

salad greens

fat-free tortillas

peaches

Wednesday

ground turkey breast

garlic

onion

canned chopped tomatoes

tomato paste

Italian seasoning

lasagna noodles

low-fat cottage cheese

shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Italian salad

garlic bread

oatmeal cookies

Thursday

fat-free flour tortillas

cooking spray

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