A guide to preparing a week's worth of meals

MENU PLANNER

September 24, 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

Try Pork Loin With Hot Pepper Glaze from Atlanta cookbook author and cooking teacher Ray Overton for a family feast. Serve it with Unfried Rice. Add a green salad and multigrain rolls. Buy a deep-dish peach cobbler for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork, rice and cobbler for Monday.

Pork Loin With Hot-Pepper Jelly Glaze

Makes 15 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour 10 minutes

cooking spray

1 boneless pork loin (about 4 pounds), trimmed and tied

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

1 cup hot-pepper jelly or apple jelly

2 / 3 cup apple cider or apple juice

5 whole Granny Smith apples for garnish

3 whole jalapeno peppers for garnish

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking pan with foil; coat with cooking spray. Remove string from pork; remove fat as necessary. Place in prepared pan and rub with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.

Reduce heat to 350. Spread jelly all over pork. Pour cider or juice around pork. Return to oven and roast, basting with pan drippings every 10 minutes or so, until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 155, about 55 minutes.

Remove from oven and let stand 15 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160.

Slice and overlap slices on a large warmed platter. Drizzle with pan drippings. Garnish with apples and jalapeno if desired. (Adapted from "The South," by Ray Overton, Time-Life Books, 2000, $22.95.)

Per serving: 260 calories, 26 grams protein, 9 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 3.2 grams saturated fat, 17 grams carbohydrate, 74 milligrams cholesterol, 219 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Unfried rice

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 minutes

cooking spray

2 slightly beaten eggs

1 1/2 cups long-grain rice

2 14 1/2 -ounce cans Oriental broth

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 medium sliced carrots

4 sliced scallions

1 cup frozen peas

Heat a medium nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray on medium heat 1 minute. Add eggs and cook 3 or 4 minutes or until set, stirring often. Remove from pan, coarsely chop the eggs and set aside.

In a large saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat, add rice. Cook 3 or 4 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, garlic powder and carrots. Bring to boil; reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 15 minutes.

Add scallions and peas. Cook 5 minutes more or until rice is done and most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in reserved eggs and heat 1 minute or until heated through.

Per serving: 176 calories, 5 grams protein, 2 grams fat (8 percent calories from fat), 0.5 grams saturated fat, 34 grams carbohydrate, 53 milligrams cholesterol, 530 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

MONDAY/ Heat and eat

Take advantage of Sunday's leftovers and enjoy Pork With Peppers.

In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook 2 large sliced yellow (or red or orange) bell peppers 5 minutes or until softened. Add 1/2 cup dry white wine and 1 clove crushed garlic and reduce liquid to 2 tablespoons by boiling. Add 1 cup fat-free chicken broth, 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Slice about 3 / 4 pound cooked (leftover) pork and add to mixture. Cook 2 minutes or until pork is hot and sauce thickens.

Serve it over leftover rice. Add a mixed greens salad and crusty bread.

Warm the leftover cobbler and top it with fat-free vanilla ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

TUESDAY / Kids

Lasso the kids for Tex-Mex Casserole (see recipe) tonight. Tie up some jicama sticks on the side. Belly up to the bar for a berry float for dessert.

For one float: pour 2 tablespoons strawberry syrup into a tall glass. Slowly pour in well-chilled club soda until about , full. Stir and add 2 scoops fat-free strawberry ice cream and top with fresh sliced strawberries.

Plan ahead: Save enough casserole and ice cream for Wednesday.

Tex-Mex Casserole

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 20 minutes

cooking spray

1/2 pound each ground turkey breast and lean ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onions

1 pressed garlic cloves

2 10-ounce cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (mild) (Rotel is one brand)

2 16-ounce cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 6-ounce package cornbread mix

skim milk

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