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

Menu Planner

July 02, 2000|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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

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.

This week's menus

Sunday/Family

Everyone will like your own grilled chicken breasts for the family gathering today. For a delicious accompaniment, Lentil Salad With Watercress (see recipe) is flavor-packed as well as fiber-packed. Use crusty bread to mop the juices. You'll make everyone smile when you present strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Prepare 6 extra grilled chicken breasts for Monday and Tuesday.

Tip: You'll save fat and calories when you make the shortcake with fat-free pound cake and use fat-free frozen yogurt and light whipped topping.

Monday/Kids

The kids will come running for Chicken Tostadas With Shredded Lettuce and Avocado (see recipe). For dessert, they can make instant fat-free vanilla pudding with sliced bananas. Teach them to make the pudding with skim milk.

Plan ahead: Make extra pudding for Tuesday night.

Tuesday/Heat and Eat

For a light and easy meal, make Asian Chicken Salad (see recipe) with leftover grilled or other cooked chicken. Hearty appetites might want rice as a side dish. Look in the refrigerator for the leftover pudding for dessert. Top it with light whipped topping.

Wednesday/Express

We liked Digiorno's (or another brand) Light Alfredo Sauce over Fettuccine. The 10-ounce refrigerated container of sauce is about $3.50. Just before serving, stir 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream into the sauce. Limit the sauce to

cup per serving. Toss sauce with the fettuccine and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Add a packaged green salad and crusty bread from the bakery for an easy meal.

Thursday/Meatless

You'll think you're on the islands with Greek Vegetable Medley (see recipe). On the side, serve couscous and warm whole-wheat pita bread. For dessert, fresh fruit is refreshing as a cool island breeze.

Friday/Budget

You'll be popular and save money when you serve Spaghetti With Fresh Spinach (see recipe). Add a green salad and Italian bread.

Saturday/Entertaining

Expect rave reviews when you serve your guests Shrimp and Orzo (see recipe). Accompany the seafood-pasta combo with a Boston lettuce with light vinaigrette salad. Sprinkle with crumbled Roquefort and toasted walnuts. Add multigrain rolls. A cool dessert, Apricot Freeze (see recipe), is a lot like sorbet, but easier to prepare.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

skinless chicken breasts

olive oil

balsamic vinegar

salt

black pepper

fat-free chicken broth

dried lentils

yellow onion

garlic

bay leaf

fresh tomato

red onion

Italian parsley

fresh sage

watercress

crusty bread

fresh strawberries

fat-free pound cake

fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt

light whipped topping

Monday

canned stewed tomatoes

canned black beans

jalapeno pepper

cumin

flour tortillas

reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese

dark green lettuce

avocado

instant fat-free vanilla pudding

skim milk

bananas

Tuesday

rice vinegar

low sodium soy sauce

brown sugar

dark sesame oil

hot sauce

Romaine or other lettuce

red bell pepper

scallions

dry roasted peanuts

rice

light whipped topping

Wednesday

DiGiorno's (or another brand) Light Alfredo Sauce

fettuccine pasta

fat-free sour cream

Parmesan cheese

packaged salad greens

crusty bread

Thursday

olive oil

onions

garlic

cooking spray

white potatoes

zucchini

red and green bell peppers

salt

black pepper

plum tomatoes

parsley

dried oregano

couscous

whole-wheat pita bread

fresh fruit

Friday

spaghetti

olive oil cooking spray

olive oil

onion

garlic

Italian seasoning

reduced-fat condensed cream of celery soup

black pepper

fresh spinach

plain nonfat yogurt

tomatoes

Parmesan cheese

fresh oregano

salad greens

Italian bread

Saturday

fat-free chicken broth

orzo

frozen green peas

packaged shredded carrots

cooked and peeled shrimp

store-bought sun-dried tomato pesto

plum tomato

Parmesan cheese

Boston lettuce

light vinaigrette

crumbled Roquefort cheese

walnuts

multigrain rolls

canned pear halves

apricot preserves

brandy or apricot liqueur

fresh mint

Lentil Salad With Watercress (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 20 to 25 minutes

FOR THE DRESSING:

2 tablespoons each olive oil, balsamic vinegar and water

1/4 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE LENTILS:

3 1/2 cups water

1 (14 1/2-ounce) can fat-free chicken broth

1 cup dried lentils

1/2 medium yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

1 bay leaf

FOR THE SALAD:

1 large diced tomato (about 1 cup)

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 bunch watercress, tough stems removed

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