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

MENU PLANNER

May 20, 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

Prepare Chicken Waldorf Salad With Barley today for a different family meal. Then, amaze them with Cantaloupe Soup. Place 1 medium seeded and chopped cantaloupe and 1/2 cup orange juice in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 1/2 cups additional orange juice; mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh mint. Add store-bought bran muffins to your refreshing meal. For dessert, make or buy chocolate mousse and garnish it with light whipped cream.

Plan ahead: Grill 2 extra chicken breasts for Monday.

Chicken Waldorf Salad With Barley

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: about 30 to 40 minutes

Cooling time: 30 minutes

3 / 4 cup pearl barley

3 3 / 4 cups water

1 1 / 4 teaspoon salt, divided

2 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise

3 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt

1 / 4 teaspoon lemon zest (yellow part only)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 / 4 teaspoon sugar

1 1/2 cups green and red seedless grapes, halved

1 cored and diced Gala or Delicious apple

1/2 cup thinly sliced celery

six 4- or 5-ounce grilled boneless skinless chicken breast halves (see note)

1 / 4 cup toasted chopped walnuts

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat 2 minutes. Add barley, stir and cook 4 minutes or until lightly toasted. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine toasted barley, water and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt; bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 25 to 35 minutes or until tender. Drain; cool 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon zest, juice, the remaining salt and sugar. Stir in cooled barley, grapes, apple and celery. Spoon onto serving platter. Slice and arrange 4 chicken breasts over salad. Garnish with walnuts.

Note: Reserve 2 chicken breasts for Monday.

Per serving: 403 calories, 32 grams protein, 8 grams fat (17 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 53 grams carbohydrate, 66 milligrams cholesterol, 897 milligrams sodium, 9 grams fiber.

MONDAY / Heat & Eat

Head South for Chicken and Broccoli Grits. Serve with a mixed-green salad and cornbread from a mix. Add peaches for dessert.

Chicken and Broccoli Grits

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 32 to 38 minutes

cooking spray

4 cups 1 percent milk

1 / 4 teaspoon salt

1 cup uncooked quick grits

2 cooked (leftover) chopped chicken breast halves

one 16-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli (thawed and well-drained)

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese, divided

1 small finely chopped onion

2 slightly beaten egg whites

Heat oven to 350. Coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, bring milk and salt to a slight boil over medium heat. Slowly whisk in grits. Reduce heat to low and simmer, 7 to 8 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken, broccoli, 1 cup cheese, onion and egg whites; mix well. Spoon into prepared dish. Bake uncovered 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the 2 remaining tablespoons cheese and bake 10 to 15 more minutes or until bubbly.

Per serving: 293 calories, 26 grams protein, 7 grams fat (20 percent calories from fat), 3.9 grams saturated fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 375 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

TUESDAY / Budget

Linguine and Tuna makes a penny-pinching dinner. Serve with sugar-snap peas and garlic bread.

Cool off with lime sherbet for dessert.

Plan ahead: Save enough lime sherbet for Thursday.

Linguine and Tuna

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: less than 15 minutes plus linguine

Standing time: 1 minute

8 ounces linguine

1 tablespoon margarine or butter

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1 / 4 cup sliced scallions

1 tablespoon fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoons minced parsley plus parsley for garnish

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 / 4 teaspoon pepper

1 whole egg

2 egg whites

2 / 3 cup evaporated skim milk

16-ounce can drained and flaked water-packed tuna

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