A guide to preparing a week's worth of meals

MENU PLANNER

January 14, 2001|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

Gather the family together today for a meal featuring Glazed Roasted Chicken.

Arrange parsley-buttered po-tatoes and cooked frozen peas and carrots around chicken. Add dinner rolls.

For dessert, everyone will drool over Cherry Sundae Pie.

Plan ahead: Marinate chicken and prepare pie the day before. Save 2 chicken halves, enough pie and cook 3 extra plain potatoes for Monday.

Glazed Roasted Chicken

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Marinating time: 8 hours or overnight

1/2 cup light teriyaki sauce

1 / 4 cup frozen and thawed orange juice concentrate (undiluted)

3 tablespoons dark sesame oil

4 minced garlic cloves

2 3-pound whole chickens

In a small bowl, mix together teriyaki sauce, orange juice concentrate, oil and garlic. Divide and reserve and refrigerate half the marinade. Halve and rinse chickens (discard giblets and neck; remove excess fat). Add one fourth of marinade and 2 chicken halves to a large resealable plastic bag and turn to coat with marinade. Repeat with another one fourth of marinade with other two chicken halves.

Refrigerate 8 hours or over-night. Heat oven to 450. Remove chickens from bags; discard marinade. Place chickens, skin side up, on large foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 45 minutes or until meat thermometer reaches 180. Brush with reserved marinade during cooking. Remove from oven. Discard marinade. Cut into serving pieces and place in center of a large platter. (To reduce fat and calories, remove skin before eating.)

Per serving (without skin): 280 calories, 37 grams protein, 12 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 3 grams saturated fat, 4 grams carbohydrate, 108 milligrams cholesterol, 327 milligrams sodium, no fiber.

Cherry Sundae Pie

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Freezing time: 3 hours to over night

Standing time: 5 to 10 minutes

1 16-ounce can well-drained dark sweet cherries

1 9-inch reduced-fat or regular graham cracker pie crust

4 cups softened fat-free vanilla ice cream

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fat-free chocolate topping

1/2 cup toasted pecans

light whipped cream

Place half the cherries in pie shell; top with 2 cups of the ice cream. Drizzle the 1/3 cup chocolate topping over ice cream. Add remaining cherries. Sprinkle pecans on top. Spoon remaining ice cream evenly over pie. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons chocolate topping. Freeze several hours or overnight. Let thaw 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream.

Per serving: 320 calories, 6 grams protein, 8 grams fat (22 percent calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 58 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 173 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Heat and Eat

Prepare Chicken Potato Salad tonight for a quick meal. In a large serving bowl, toss together cooked, skinned and diced leftover chicken halves, 3 medium cooked and diced (leftover) potatoes, 1 15-ounce can drained and diced beets, 1 finely chopped medium red onion, 1/3 cup diced dill pickles and 3 tablespoons fresh dill. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup reduced-fat red wine vinaigrette, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon light brown sugar; mix well. Pour over salad mixture and toss to coat. Serve with poppy seed bread sticks. Add leftover pie for dessert.

TUESDAY / Meatless

Make Tomato Bean Soup for a hearty no-meat meal. In a medium saucepan combine 2 14 1/2 -ounce cans pasta-style tomatoes, 1 15-ounce can each light red kidney and cannellini beans, 2 14 1/2 -ounce cans vegetable broth, 1 / 4 cup water and 1 10-ounce pack-age frozen chopped spinach (squeezed dry). Add 1/2 cup orzo pasta. Cover and bring to a boil on high. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes or until orzo is tender. Serve with cheese toast (sprinkle any reduced-fat shredded cheese over dense bread and broil until cheese melts) and mixed greens. Enjoy oatmeal cookies for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY / Express

Meatball hoagies won't take long to prepare. Heat a medium nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat. Cook 1 small chopped onion and 1 small chopped green bell pepper 4 minutes. Add 1 15 1/2 -ounce can sloppy joe sauce and 16 frozen cooked meatballs; cook 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring often. Spoon evenly into 4 hoagie rolls. Serve with deli-style carrot and raisin salad (see note). Add baked potato chips. For dessert, add leftover cookies alongside fat-free strawberry ice cream for a sweet treat.

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