Each day of the week offers a menu aimed at a different...

MENU PLANNER

March 04, 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

Think of warm tropical breezes instead of cold March winds when you prepare Caribbean Roast Pork Loin for the family. Heat oven to 350. In a small bowl, blend 1 teaspoon each olive oil and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon each nutmeg and cinnamon. Rub onto 1 2-pound boneless pork loin roast (trimmed of visible fat). Place in shallow pan; roast 45 minutes to 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with Poppy Seed Noodles (toss cooked noodles with poppy seed and a little margarine or butter) and sugar snap peas. Add dinner rolls. Make Ginger Peach Crisp for dessert. Scoop fat-free vanilla ice cream on top.

Plan ahead: Save enough pork and gingersnaps for Monday. Save enough ice cream for Saturday.

Ginger Peach Crisp

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

cooking spray

24 crushed reduced-fat gingersnaps (about 3 ounces)

1 / 4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon margarine or butter, cut into small pieces

2 15-ounce cans drained sliced peaches in light syrup

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine gingersnaps, sugar and cinnamon. With a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut in margarine or butter until mixture is crumbly. Arrange peaches in baking dish; sprinkle with gingersnap mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve warm.

Per serving: 159 calories, 1 gram protein, 4 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 0.8 grams saturated fat, 32 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 101 milligrams sodium, 1 gram fiber.

MONDAY / Heat & Eat

Make Savory Pork Stir Fry with leftover pork. Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add 2 cups cooked (leftover) pork cut into strips and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir 1 16-ounce package frozen stir-fry vegetables and 1 tablespoon water into pork. Cover; cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are hot. Serve over rice. Add crusty bread. Munch on leftover gingersnaps for dessert.

TUESDAY / Budget

This Enchilada Casserole is low cost and mild enough for kids. Serve with a grapefruit salad. Make instant chocolate pudding for dessert (use skim milk to lower calories).

Enchilada Casserole

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 1 hour

cooking spray

1 10-ounce can enchilada sauce, divided

12 ounces ground turkey breast

1 medium chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 15-ounce can rinsed and drained white beans

1 10 3 / 4 -ounce can reduced-fat condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup low-fat sour cream plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon each cumin and dried oregano

12 6-inch corn tortillas

4 ounces shredded regular sharp cheese (1 cup)

chipotle (smoked jalapeno) salsa for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8- by 12-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 the enchilada sauce over bottom of dish; set aside. In a large nonstick skillet, cook turkey, onion and garlic 4 to 5 minutes or until turkey is no longer pink and onion is softened; drain. Add beans, soup, sour cream, cumin and oregano. Place 4 tortillas in baking dish on top of enchilada sauce, tearing to cover. Top with 1/2 the meat mixture and 1/3 cup cheese. Repeat once with 4 more tortillas, remaining meat and 1/3 cup cheese. Top with remaining 4 tortillas and remaining enchilada sauce. Cover tightly with foil that has been coated with cooking spray (to prevent sticking to top of casserole). Bake 45 minutes. Remove cover. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Garnish with sour cream and salsa.

Per serving: 346 calories, 26grams protein, 13 grams fat (32 percent calories from fat), 6.2 grams saturated fat, 36 grams carbohydrate, 71 milligrams cholesterol, 926 milligrams sodium, 6 grams fiber.

WEDNESDAY / Express

Make Vegetable Beef Soup using dehydrated soup mix. (Or another flavor.) I made the entire 8-serving package and doctored it with extra vegetables and liquid for a hearty meal. (See label for ideas.) Add a mixed-green salad and crackers. Buy cupcakes for dessert.

THURSDAY / Kids

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