A guide to preparing a week's worth of meals

MENU PLANNER

January 28, 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

Sweeten up family time with Honey-Dill Chicken on the menu today. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 cup each honey and Dijon mustard. Stir in 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel and 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill. Cut 1 2 1/2 - to 3-pound chicken into quarters. (Or, for convenience and to save time, buy chicken quarters). Place skin side down on baking sheet. Brush sauce on top of chicken; coat well. Turn chicken over. Gently pull back skin and coat with sauce. Replace skin and brush with remaining sauce (to reduce fat and calories, don't eat the chicken skin). Bake 30 minutes or until juices run clear. Serve with Two-Potato Fries. Add green beans and multigrain rolls. Top angel food cake with fat-free strawberry ice cream for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Tuesday.

Two-Potato Fries

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 40 minutes

cooking spray

3 / 4 pound Yukon gold (or other all-purpose potatoes)

3 / 4 pound sweet potatoes

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 / 4 teaspoon paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut each potato lengthwise into 8 wedges. Place wedges in a large bowl and toss with oil, paprika and salt and pepper. Spread potatoes on baking sheet and bake 25 minutes; loosen, turn and bake 10 to 15 minutes longer.

Per serving: 173 calories, 4 grams protein, 3 grams fat (16 percent calories from fat), 0.2 grams saturated fat, 37 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 30 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Kids

Everyone can help make Cheesy Pizza Pockets for dinner tonight. Serve with a chopped lettuce salad. For dessert, let the kids be in charge of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookies. Just follow package directions -- they'll be done in about 10 minutes.

Plan ahead: Save enough cookies for Tuesday.

Cheesy Pizza Pockets

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 18 to 22 minutes

3 / 4 pound lean ground beef

1/3 cup chopped onion

1 / 4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1/2 cup (2 ounces) part-skim shredded mozzarella cheese

1/2 cup pizza sauce

flour

1 10-ounce can refrigerated pizza crust

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until beef is no longer pink; drain well. Season with salt and pepper; stir in cheese and sauce. On a lightly floured surface, unroll pizza dough; cut into 6 sections. Divide and spoon filling into center of each section. Bring 4 corners of each rectangular section together, pinching to seal. Loosely close straight edges of dough to form pockets. (It's not necessary to seal edges completely). Carefully transfer to ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until golden.

Per serving: 247 calories, 18 grams protein, 8 grams fat (31 percent calories from fat), 582 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrate, 26 milligrams cholesterol, 582 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

TUESDAY / Meatless

We're crazy about low-fat, high-flavor Portobello Burgers. Just brush the big mushrooms with a little olive oil and broil them 3 to 5 minutes per side. Serve them on toasted Kaiser rolls spread with low-fat mayonnaise. Tonight, for a change sprinkle grated mozzarella over the "burgers." Add lettuce, if desired. Serve with Poppy Seed Noodles on the side. (Cook no-egg-yolk noodles and toss with margarine and poppy seed.) Add fresh broccoli. Why not have leftover ice cream and leftover cookies for dessert?

WEDNESDAY / Budget

Pretend you're Irish -- enjoy slow-cooker Lamb Stew for dinner. Serve with a romaine salad and whole-wheat rolls. Make instant lemon pudding (with skim milk) for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough stew for Thursday.

Slow Cooker Lamb Stew

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 3 to 8 hours

1 cup beef broth

1/2 cup each tomato puree and dry red wine

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon each dried thyme and minced garlic

1 bay leaf

12 small scrubbed red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 pound carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2 inch pieces

2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder in 2 inch chunks

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

cooking spray

1 small sliced onion

1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

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