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
Prepare your own pork roast today. Serve the roast with Apple-Cabbage Compote and Sunday Rice. Add dinner rolls. Store-bought rugelach is an easy dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough pork and rugelach and cook enough plain rice for Monday.
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 1/2 cups peeled chopped Granny Smith apples
5 cups thinly sliced red cabbage
1 medium chopped red onion
3 / 4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 / 4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 / 4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Add apples, cabbage and onion. Cook 3 minutes. Mix in juice, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium and cook 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft; stir occasionally.
Per serving: 148 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram fat / 7 percent calories from fat), 0.1 grams saturated fat, 35 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 114 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
1 teaspoon margarine or butter
3 / 4 cup chopped onion
3 / 4 cup coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 clove crushed garlic
1 9- or 10-ounce package frozen French-style green beans, defrosted and drained
3 cups hot cooked rice
1 / 4 cup toasted slivered almonds
Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium heat; melt margarine or butter. Add onion, pepper and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until softened. Add green beans and continue cooking 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low; stir in rice and almonds; cook 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Per serving: 163 calories, 4-grams protein, 3 grams fat / 18 percent calories from fat), 0.4 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 11 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
Monday / Heat and Eat
Make a Pork and Vegetable Stir Fry using Sunday leftovers. Cut about 1 pound leftover cooked pork into strips; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil until hot. Add one 1-pound package frozen stir-fry vegetables and cook according to package directions; drain. Stir in leftover pork and 1/2 cup stir fry sauce and cook 2 minutes or until hot. Spoon over hot leftover rice. Serve with cucumber spears. Add leftover rugelach and pears for dessert.
TUESDAY / Express
The goblins will howl with delight when you serve Stove Top (or another brand) Oven Classics tonight.
I prepared the Traditional Roast Chicken Bake and used boneless skinless thighs for all the ghosts. Serve the combo with frozen tiny green peas and deli coleslaw.
Slice and bake Pillsbury's (or another brand) refrigerated Halloween shape cookies for your trick or treaters.
Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Wednesday.
Wednesday / Kids
Be a kid and enjoy Alli- gator Hot Dogs over Swampy Baked Beans. Cut slits crosswise in each fat-free hot dog to within 1 inch of each end and boil until done. Serve the dogs over canned vege- tarian baked beans.
On the side, your children will love deli Orange Worm and Bug Salad (carrot and raisin to the adults). Add cornbread from a mix.
Dessert is leftover cookies.
THURSDAY / Meatless
Make Tex Mex Tostadas tonight. Serve this simple meal with frozen oven fries. Make a fresh fruit cup for dessert.
Tex Mex Tostadas
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: less than 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 10 minutes plus tostadas
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions
6 whole eggs
4 egg whites
8 7-inch fat-free flour tortillas
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese
Heat oven to 375. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, stir-fry mushrooms and onions 5 minutes or until softened. In a medium bowl, lightly beat whole eggs and egg whites. Add to vegetable mixture and cook 4 or 5 minutes or until desired doneness. Coat tortillas with cooking spray; place on a cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes or until crisp. Divide and spoon egg mixture onto tostadas. Top with cheese and serve immediately.
Per serving: 348 calories, 22-grams protein, 10 grams fat / 27 percent calories from fat), 4.1 grams saturated fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, 326 milligrams cholesterol, 736 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.
FRIDAY / Budget