A guide to preparing a week's worth of meals

MENU PLANNER

September 10, 2000|By Susan Nicholson | Susan Nicholson,Universal Press Syndicate

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

1/2 cup mild salsa Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Cover a cookie sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Add steak, bell pepper and cumin; cook, stirring constantly, 4 to 6 minutes or until meat is browned and pepper is softened. Stir in salt and remove from heat. Sprinkle half the cheese over half of each tortilla. Top with steak mixture; sprinkle with remaining cheese. (Adults might like chopped onions in their quesadillas.) Fold tortillas in half to cover filling; fasten each half with a wooden pick. Place on cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until browned and cheese is melted. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine tomato and salsa. Remove quesadillas from oven and cut into 3 or 4 sections; remove picks. Top with salsa. Per serving: 255 calories, 21 grams protein, 5 grams fat (18 percent calories from fat), 2.3 grams saturated fat, 29 grams carbohydrate, 43 milligrams cholesterol, 753 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

THURSDAY / Meatless

You won't miss meat with this Vegetable Omelet.

Serve with frozen hash-browned potatoes and cornbread from a mix. Buy a chocolate layer cake for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cake for Friday.

Vegetable Omelet

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: about 15 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes

cooking spray

1 large seeded and chopped tomato

4 small chopped yellow or

zucchini squash or a combination of both

1/2 cup each chopped red onion,

green bell pepper and sliced mushrooms

1 cup egg substitute

4 whole eggs

1 or 2 teaspoons hot sauce

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

4 ounces reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat a large nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat and cook tomato, squash, onion, bell pepper and mushrooms 8 minutes or until liquid is evaporated; remove vegetables from skillet and keep warm. Wipe skillet with paper towel; recoat with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together egg substitute, eggs, hot sauce and salt. Reheat skillet to medium. Pour half of egg mixture into skillet and cook 1 minute or until eggs start to set; gently lift edges with a spatula and tilt pan so uncooked portion flows underneath. Cook another 30 to 60 seconds or until eggs are nearly set but still moist on top. Spoon half of vegetables and half of cheese onto half of omelet. Fold plain side over vegetable / cheese side; cook 30 seconds. Transfer to warmed serving platter; cover to keep warm. Repeat with remaining ingredients to make another omelet. Sprinkle omelets with parsley, cut in half and serve immediately.

Per serving: 231 calories, 23 grams protein, 11 grams fat (41 percent calories from fat), 5.2 grams saturated fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 228 milligrams cholesterol, 533 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

FRIDAY / Budget

Enjoy an updated version of Turkey Melts tonight. Serve with deli carrot-raisin salad. Add leftover cake for dessert.

Turkey Melts

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 5 minutes

4 slices toasted whole wheat bread

1 / 4 cup reduced-fat Thousand Island dressing

8 ounces turkey breast slices

1 small avocado (about 5 ounces)

3 medium sliced tomatoes

4 ounces sliced (leftover) provolone cheese.

Heat broiler. Place toast on a cookie sheet. Spread each slice with dressing. Top with turkey, avocado, tomatoes and cheese. Broil just long enough to melt cheese.

Per serving: 324 calories, 21 grams protein, 17 grams fat (45 percent calories from fat), 6.3 grams saturated fat, 25 grams carbohydrate, 44 milligrams cholesterol, 1193 milligrams sodium (reduce the sodium to 590 milligrams per serving by using a turkey breast you cook yourself), 5 grams fiber.

SATURDAY / Entertaining

Show your grilling talent with Herbed Grouper.

Serve with Black-eyed Pea Salad and multi-grain rolls.

For dessert, buy fruit tarts.

Herbed grouper

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 to 14 minutes

cooking spray

2 4-ounce cubed steaks, cut into thin strips

1 medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

1 teaspoon cumin

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

4 large fat-free tortillas (burrito size)

1 medium chopped tomato

1/2 cup mild salsa

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