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

Menu Planner

July 09, 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

Fire up the grill and make Mustard-Apricot Grilled Chicken (see recipe) for the family today. Serve with corn on the cob with lime butter. (Squeeze fresh lime juice to taste into melted butter or margarine and spread over corn.) Add an Orange-Spinach Salad With Honey Orange Dressing (see recipe) and sourdough rolls. Store-bought fat-free pound cake is an easy dessert. Plan ahead: Grill 4 extra plain (without glaze) chicken breasts, cook 4 extra ears of corn and save enough cake for Monday.

Monday/Heat and Eat

Enjoy barbecued chicken sandwiches tonight. Using 2 forks, shred leftover cooked chicken breasts, mix with bottled barbecue sauce to taste and heat. Spoon over toasted poppy seed buns. Serve with corn salad. Cut leftover cooked corn kernels off cob. In a medium bowl, combine corn with 2 or 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro, 3/4 cup salsa and 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Toss and serve. Bring out the leftover cake for dessert.

Plan Ahead: If time permits, prepare Tuesday's lentil / rice recipe and then reheat when ready to serve.

Tuesday/Meatless

Join us for Savory Lentils and Rice (see recipe) tonight. Serve with sliced cucumbers in cider vinegar and whole wheat pita bread. It's the perfect season for fresh fruit for dessert.

Wednesday/Kids

What kid could resist Turkey Picadillo Wraps (see recipe) for dinner. (Adults might like a little cayenne pepper added to their picadillo mixture.) Serve with steamed fresh carrots. For dessert, try Nestle's Toll House Rich Brownies, which can be found in a refrigerated case at the market. Just "break and bake" one brownie for each person, or all of the package.

Plan ahead: Save enough brownies for Thursday.

Thursday/Express

Make dinner super-quick tonight with Chicken Quesadillas. In a small bowl, combine two 5-ounce cans drained chicken breast or one 9- or 10-ounce package refrigerated cooked chicken breast, 2/3 cup each salsa and shredded Monterey Jack cheese and 3/8 cup finely chopped scallions. Divide evenly among four 8-inch fat-free flour tortillas. Cover with 4 more tortillas. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Place 1 quesadilla at a time in skillet and cook 2 minutes; turn and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with reduced-fat sour cream and extra salsa if desired. Serve with quick-cooking rice and jicama sticks. For dessert, leftover brownies and fat-free vanilla ice cream are fast.

Plan Ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Friday/Budget

For me, the best part of summer is the home-grown tomatoes my father sends to me express so that we can have bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches. I make them on whole-wheat toast with low-fat mayonnaise. Serve with baked chips. If you must have more food than that, heat a can of your favorite soup. Serve a chunk of watermelon for dessert.

Saturday/Entertaining

Invite friends for Caribbean Beef Burgers and Mango Salsa (see recipe). Serve burgers open-face on thick slices of toasted dense bread, if desired. Add deli potato salad. For dessert, cantaloupe wedges with leftover ice cream is cool and tropical.

Shopping List

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

Sunday

apricot preserves

lemons

fresh ginger

Dijon mustard

salt

pepper

boneless skinless chicken breasts

corn on cob

limes

butter or margarine

oranges

cider vinegar

honey

vegetable oil

pepper

cucumbers

fresh spinach

fresh mint

shredded part-skim mozzarella

store-bought fat-free pound cake

Monday

bottled barbecue sauce

poppy seed buns

cilantro

salsa

limes

Tuesday

vegetable oil

sweet onions (such as Vidalia)

brown rice

curry powder

dry mustard

salt

black pepper

lentils

cilantro

reduced-fat sour cream

cucumbers

cider vinegar

whole-wheat pita bread

fresh fruit

Wednesday

cooking spray

ground turkey breast

canned stewed tomatoes

raisins

cinnamon

quick-cooking rice

fat-free flour tortillas

shredded reduced-fat cheddar

fresh carrots

Nestle's Toll House Rich Brownies

Thursday

canned chicken breast or package refrigerated cooked chicken breast

salsa

shredded Monterey Jack cheese

scallions

fat-free flour tortillas

cooking spray

reduced-fat sour cream

quick-cooking rice

jicama

fat-free vanilla ice cream.

Friday

bacon

lettuce

tomatoes

whole wheat bread

low-fat mayonnaise

baked chips

any canned soup

watermelon

Saturday

lean ground beef

dry Caribbean or another jerk seasoning

mango

cilantro

scallions

jalapeno pepper

lime

thick-sliced dense bread

deli potato salad

cantaloupe

Mustard-Apricot Grilled Chicken (Sunday)

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

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