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 a smoked turkey breast yourself or buy it. Accompany the easy entree with store-bought macaroni salad. Brighten the table with sliced fresh tomatoes and drizzle them with olive oil. Garnish with fresh basil leaf strips. Add crusty rolls. No matter what you call it, salad or dessert, Cantaloupe Salad Supreme is delicious.
Plan ahead: Save enough turkey and macaroni salad for Monday.
Save enough coconut for Friday.
Cantaloupe Salad Supreme
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4 to 6 minutes
1 large cantaloupe, peeled and left whole
3 tablespoons each orange juice and honey
1 cup halved red seedless grapes
3 kiwi (peeled, quartered and sliced)
2 tablespoons toasted coconut (see note)
Cut 6 rings 1/2 inch wide from the center section of cantaloupe; remove seeds, place one ring each on a salad plate that has been lined with lettuce; set aside. Cube the remaining cantaloupe. In a medium bowl combine orange juice and honey. Add grapes, kiwi and the cubed cantaloupe; stir gently to coat. Spoon into center of reserved cantaloupe rings. Sprinkle with coconut.
NOTE: To toast coconut: Heat oven to 350. Spread coconut in shallow pan. Bake 4 to 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Stir and watch carefully or it will burn.
Per serving: 131 calories, 2 grams protein, 2 grams fat (11 percent calories from fat), 1.1 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 12 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.
MONDAY / Heat & Eat
Take it easy tonight and make grilled smoked turkey, Swiss (reduced-fat) cheese and tomato sandwiches on rye bread. Serve with leftover macaroni salad on lettuce.
Scoop fat-free vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Thursday.
TUESDAY / Meatless
Start a new up-the-fiber habit tonight with Whole-Wheat Penne Pasta With Tomato-Olive Sauce. Serve with a romaine salad and crusty bread.
Make instant pistachio pudding with skim milk for dessert.
Whole-Wheat Penne Pasta With Tomato-Olive Sauce
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes plus pasta
8 ounces whole-wheat penne pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 finely chopped medium onion
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 14 1/2 -ounce can chopped Italian-style tomatoes and juice
1 15-ounce can rinsed and drained chickpeas or garbanzo beans
10 sliced kalamata olives
1 teaspoon each crushed fennel seeds and dried oregano
Cook pasta according to directions but without oil or salt. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet warm oil on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook on medium 5 minutes or until softened. Add tomatoes and juice, chickpeas or garbanzo beans, olives, fennel and oregano. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl; add sauce and toss.
Per serving: 396 calories, 14 grams protein, 9 grams fat (19 percent calories from fat), 0.9 grams saturated fat, 71 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 713 milligrams sodium, 14 grams fiber.
WEDNESDAY / Budget
Kids like to perform, so serve them Be-A-Ham Kebabs tonight. Coat broiler rack with cooking spray. Heat broiler. Cut 1 pound, 3 / 4 -inch-thick cooked ham steak into 3 / 4 -inch cubes. Drain 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks and reserve juice. Alternately thread ham and pineapple on 4 12-inch metal skewers. Place on broiler rack. Whisk reserved pineapple juice with 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard; brush on kebabs. Broil 3 inches from heat 6 to 10 minutes or until ham is lightly browned; turn and baste halfway through. Heat remaining juice mixture; serve with kebabs. Accompany with rice and green beans. Add whole-wheat rolls. Offer sugar cookies for dessert.
Plan Ahead: Save the leftover pineapple for Friday.
THURSDAY / Express
Store-bought meatloaf is a quick meal. Add baked potatoes for an easy go-with. Steam fresh asparagus and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the spears. Add a packaged green salad and garlic bread.
Spoon fresh berries over leftover ice cream and you've prepared a fine meal.
FRIDAY / Budget
Save some pennies and serve Taco Soup for dinner. Accompany the soup with spicy cheese toast (like pepper Jack cheese on dense white bread). Add a mixed green salad. Leftover pineapple chunks topped with leftover coconut makes dessert.
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: about 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 to 20 minutes
1/2 pound each ground turkey breast and lean ground beef
1 medium chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
2 14 1/2 -ounce cans beef broth
1 14 1/2 -ounce can chopped tomatoes and juice
1 1/2 cups picante sauce